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Your First Year

The First-Year Experience

The First-Year Experience at UC is designed to make all new students successful. With that in mind, you will experience the following:

  • Living Learning Community — Brings academics and social life together 
  • Connections — With other students, with faculty, and with the whole University 
  • Growth — In all those areas that will lead you to success 
  • Independence — In how you solve problems and in how you learn 
  • Service — Finding ways to use your talents

We encourage you to take full advantage of what UC offers by getting involved with your peers and by seeking out faculty and other professionals here to help.


The first-year curriculum at the University of Charleston combines academic coursework with co-curricular and residential life activities to create a rich First-Year Experience (FYE).

You will participate in the following learning experiences:

  • FYE course in humanities, social science, or natural science 
  • A mentoring group with your peers, a faculty member, and an upperclassman Peer Educator 
  • Courses in your chosen major 
  • Other courses to help you build skill and knowledge in our required outcomes areas

Students generally participate in one FYE class in the fall semester and one FYE class in the spring semester. The FYE classes examine the foundations of the Social Sciences, Humanities, and Natural Sciences as well as build the student's communication, and critical thinking skills. They also serve to orient students to the scholarly process.

Writing assignments in these classes are designed to fulfill the requirements for completion of the COMM 101 and COMM 102 Writing portfolios. Public speaking assignments address the requirements for most of the COMM 103 Fundamentals of Oral Communication portfolio, while a variety of assignments provide instruction and practice in the computer skills necessary for the UNIV 111 Computer Skills portfolio. This course design makes it possible to accumulate a significant number of additional credits towards graduation during the First Year, without registering for additional courses.

Other features of the FYE include:

  • Faculty Mentor — your guide through transition to college life and your advocate
  • Faculty Advisor — your connection to your major and to your chosen career 
  • Peer Educator — a student who has been successful in college and who helps you understand what it really takes for you to be successful 
  • UNIV 101 — your regular class with peers, Mentor, and Peer Educator — makes sure you are connected to the campus resources you need and helps you understand and demonstrate graduation requirements 
  • Co-Curricular Activities — campus organizations, both academic and social, events sponsored by Student Life Office, and much more

Typical First-Year Schedule

The First Year's strong introduction to the liberal arts is accompanied by introductory coursework in the academic discipline or major field. The specific classes will vary from major to major, but a typical schedule will look like the one below. 

Fall Semester  Credit  Spring Semester  Credit 
FYE Class     3 or 4 FYE Class 3 or 4
UNIV 101 1 UNIV 102 1
Course in Major 3 Course in Major 3
LLO course 3 LLO course 3
Course in Major 3 Course in Major  3
Total  13 or 14 Total  12 or 14

As explained above, the University of Charleston's curriculum makes it highly probable that students will earn additional credits during the First Year without registering for additional coursework. The student can start work on some of these credits before arriving on campus.

Possible Additional First-Year Credits

Fall Semester  Credit  Spring Semester   Credit 
COMM 101 Portfolio     3 COMM 102 Portfolio 3
UNIV 101 3 COMM 103 Portfolio 3
    UNIV 112 Ethics Module 1
Total  6 Total  7

COMM 101 and 102 Portfolios are written composition portfolios.
COMM 103 Portfolio is an oral communication (speech) portfolio.
UNIV 111 requires demonstration of computer skills.
UNIV 112 is a set of experiences delivered in UNIV 102 that acquaint students with the traditional theories of ethical decision making.

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