Beyond the Traditional Classroom

Beyond the Traditional Classroom


Rutgers University offers a host of unique opportunities for learning beyond the traditional classroom setting. These include low-pressure, high-impact classes for first-year students such as Byrne Family First-Year Seminars and First-year Interest Group Seminars (FIGS), as well as academic experiences in focused living environments.

Byrne Family First-Year Seminars

More than 200 unique 1-credit elective seminars are offered to first-year students in each of the fall and spring semesters. Taught by distinguished faculty ready to share their scholarly zeal, these seminars are limited to 20 students per class. Each will pique your curiosity and give you an eye opening intellectual workout with no pressure and no formal exams — on a pass/no-credit basis. These classes are a great way to meet others who share your curiosities and to discover the wide world of learning that is yours at Rutgers University.

Examples of past seminars include:

• The Ecology of the Jersey Shore: Collect data from salt marshes and barrier islands in two daylong field trips

• Media in the Digital Age: Utilize digital technologies to create innovative digital media projects

• Anatomy of a Broadway Play: Culminates with a trip to NYC to see a Broadway show

• Urban Adventure-Community Not Escapism: Includes field trips to explore the human-built environment

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First-Year Interest Group Seminars (FIGS)

Small, seminar-style, 10-week classes called FIGS are taught by specially-trained peer instructors who are ready to help you explore academic and career interests. They also will help you “learn the ropes” of academic life at Rutgers University. Delve into everything from environmental policy to philosophy to business. Low-pressure, 1-credit courses are graded pass/no credit. These courses are offered in the fall and open to first-year students in the School of Arts and Sciences, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, and Rutgers Business School. Note to potential peer instructors: FIGS are a great way to develop leadership skills!

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Special Living Options

Rutgers University provides a variety of special living options including:

Learning communities

Self-selected groups of students with similar academic interests share common residential and academic experiences.

Douglass Residential College (DRC)

Close-knit community of women that provides support for academic achievement, career preparation, and leadership programs encouraging learning beyond the classroom. Rutgers is the only flagship public research university in the nation to offer students the opportunity to join a women’s residential college.

Special Interest Housing

Students with similar interests self-select to live together. Options include creative writing, music appreciation, performing arts, visual arts, cultural studies, history and political science, philosophy, cinema studies, LGBT issues and more:

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