New Student Advising

2013–14 University Seminars


As an admitted student, you received information about SPU's New Student Advising event. During this event, you'll meet with an academic advisor and register for Autumn Quarter classes.

You can register for your Autumn Quarter University Seminar (USEM) course even sooner — after completing your required online tutorial.
Here's how:
  • Read the Autumn Quarter USEM Descriptions before you do the tutorial.
  • Choose four or five open seminars that interest you.
  • List your USEM choices in order of preference, when prompted (toward the end of your tutorial).
We will then register you for your top available USEM choice. (USEMs fill up quickly, so don't delay completing your tutorial.)

Open USEMs

For a list of open University Seminar courses, visit the USEM listing in the Time Schedule.

University Scholars

If you were invited to join the University Scholars honors program and you accept, you will register for University Scholars Seminar instead of registering for a USEM.

Interested and well-qualified students, if not invited at admission, are encouraged to apply to University Scholars.

What Is University Seminar?

USEM is a required five-credit class you will take during the Autumn Quarter of your freshman year. It’s the first course you'll take in SPU's Common Curriculum, part of the liberal arts requirements all students must take before graduating.

Each USEM is designed and taught by a full-time faculty member, and is a class of no more than 20 students.

USEMs introduce students to the rigors of a university education in a writing-intensive course in which teaching and learning is infused with a Christian perspective.

What Is USEM's purpose?

Your USEM will help you make the transition between high school and the academic culture of a university.

Although specific topics for each seminar are different, each includes the common requirements of university courses that you need to master to succeed in your major. These include the following:

  • Write university-level essays.
  • Prepare for midterm and final examinations.
  • Listen to, and take notes from, lectures.
  • Make oral presentations in class.
  • Use print and electronic resources in the SPU Library for research.
  • Study a topic in depth.

After USEM

In Winter and Spring quarters, you will take two other courses in the Common Curriculum --one in each quarter. The course UCOR 1000: Arts and the Christian Community, is an arts and humanities course; UFDN 1000: Christian Formation, is a faith exploration course. Here is a link to more detailed descriptions of those offerings, as described in the On Track: Degree Planner.

You'll take them in addition to courses in the Exploratory Curriculum each quarter:

University Core 1000: Arts and the Christian Community (UCOR)
This course considers the question "Who am I, and for what have I been created?" Through examining literary and artistic works that have shaped cultures past and present, this course explores how we are created to be unique persons and to be in community with others. Key themes are artistic ways of knowing, individualism and conformity, and faith as a formative virtue.

University Foundations 1000: Christian Formation (UFDN)
This course explores the lived experience of faith by considering the role of Scripture, tradition, human reason, and human experience in Christian formation. Significant classic and contemporary works regarding the Christian life serve as the basis for encountering the claims of Christian faith.

Exploratory Curriculum
Another part of SPU's liberal arts requirement is the "Exploratory Curriculum." It allows you to choose courses in the arts and humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematics to explore your interests and help you choose a major. Many of these courses are prerequisites to particular majors. You'll take courses to meet these requirements each quarter, along with your USEM, UCOR, and UFDN courses.

Your USEM professor, who serves as your academic advisor during your first year, will help you select courses related to your interests and goals, and will inform you about campus resources for achieving academic success.