Liberal Studies Program > First-Year Program > Focal Point Seminar

Focal Point Seminar (Winter & Spring)

Offered during winter and spring quarters, each Focal Point Seminar employs a multi-disciplinary approach to investigate a significant person, place, event, text, or idea. As with the Chicago Quarter, students may choose from an array of more than 100 course offerings taught by faculty from throughout the university.

A guiding principle is that understanding is deepened when the perspectives of various disciplines and methodologies are brought to bear upon the same issue. The faculty member who leads each seminar draws on his or her different experiences and intellectual perspectives, with the result that students learn how scholars strive to understand a singular topic in increasingly focused ways.

The second guiding principle is that students benefit from an early introduction to the seminar approach utilized frequently in higher education. Focal Point courses stress seminar behavior: active learning through critical questioning, speaking, listening and discussion driven by ideas gleaned from readings that include original works, primary sources and secondary literature. Writing and revision further sharpen the academic skills needed to succeed in and get the most out of college. To foster seminar behavior and encourage a mentoring relationship between faculty and students, enrollment in each class is limited to 20 students.

First-year students in the Driehaus College of Business, College of Communication, College of Computing and Digital Media, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, College of Science and Health, and College of Education will take a Focal Point Seminar during their second or third quarters at the university and after the successful completion of WRD 103. Students in the Honors Program, School of Music, and Theatre School are exempt from this requirement.

FY@broad: Focal Point Seminar + short-term study abroad

Each year since 2010, several sections of LSP 112 with a geographically-targeted, international focus participate in the FY@broad Program. Directly following the completion of the Focal Point Seminar (during spring break if it is a winter section or June if it is a Spring section), the students, under the leadership of the instructor and a trained staff professional, spend 7-10 days traveling in the region, country or city that is the focus of the course and building upon what they have already learned during the preceding quarter.

Students apply for FY@broad during the prior quarter, by November 1 for Winter Quarter courses or February 1 for Spring. Those accepted into a FY@broad course also register for a 2-credit section of ANT 397 Travel/Study. (Exceptionally, students in the university's Honors Program may register for a FY@broad section of the Focal Point Seminar, for which they receive designated Honors credit.  Note that to be eligible they must have successfully completed HON 100.)

Description of recent, current and upcoming FY@broad offerings may be found on the "Course Descriptions" page of this site or by going to studyabroad.depaul.edu and conducting a "Search for DePaul programs" with the program name "FY@broad."


The Office of the First-Year Program may be reached at 773-325-7573, at firstyr@depaul.edu, or via the live chat option.​