News Story

First-Year Seminar Applications Open

Video gallery: Learn more about first-year seminar courses from four Georgetown College professors. (Videos by Kuna Malik Hamad/Georgetown College)

May 29, 2018 –  We’re already excited to welcome the Class of 2022 to the Hilltop in just a few months. For now, we encourage you to learn more about our special academic options for first-year students: the Liberal Arts Seminar, the FLL Hager Scholars Program, and the Ignatius Seminars.

Each of these application-based programs offers an opportunity to begin your academic journey at Georgetown with an exploration of a particular topic in a small group environment. Participants will learn through rigorous coursework and small class discussion, all led by some of the university’s most dedicated and accomplished faculty members.

Students interested in any of these programs must fill out the relevant application by June 4. This allows students to be matched to their seminars with time to finish filling in their schedule when general pre-registration opens in July.


Ignatius Seminars are three-credit classes taught in the Fall semester only, each focusing on a specific topic in the humanities and social sciences that its faculty leader specializes in. Topics in 2018 range from the interaction of psychology and Shakespeare to the history of Washington, D.C.

This year, students who apply for our Ignatius Seminars also have the opportunity to take a class with one of three senior University administrators.

University President John J. DeGioia will teach an Ignatius Seminar entitled, “Pursuing Common Good.” Provost Robert M. Groves will teach an Ignatius Seminar entitled, “Looking at the World through Different Lenses.” The dean of Georgetown College, Christopher Celenza, is also headed into the classroom this fall with his Ignatius seminar entitled, “Thinking through Writing.”

Students and professors alike consider the Ignatius Seminar to be a valuable experience for first-years interested in exploring deep subjects in a small class environment.

“The engaging and exciting learning environment of my Ignatius Seminar was a one-of-a-kind experience,” said Isabel Short (C’21) who took a seminar last fall.

“Part of what the Ignatius Seminars are about is giving students the chance to grow in every possible way and to integrate the learning of the spirit, the body, the mind, all the parts of the human person, to give students a chance to live that out,” said Associate Professor of Theology Erin Cline, who is in her second year of teaching the Ignatius Seminar “Human Flourishing, East and West.”


The Liberal Arts Seminar (LAS) is a rigorous six-credit class exploring a new topic in the liberal arts over the course of the entire academic year. This year’s Seminar will focus on the history of the Mediterranean Sea region.

Long a route for trade, pilgrimage, and exploration, the Mediterranean has been the battlefield of empires and has become both a vista for nostalgic artists and a graveyard of migrants. The 2018-2019 Liberal Arts Seminar will explore the Mediterranean as a laboratory of exchange, contact, and border crossings, and how literature, culture, and knowledge have circulated around the Mediterranean from the Middle Ages to the present on waves of thought, story, and song.

The LAS is co-taught this year by four professors: Elliott Colla of the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies and Comparative Literature Program; Emily Francomano of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Comparative Literature Program; Nicoletta Pireddu of the Department of Italian and Comparative Literature Program; and Jonathan Ray of the Department of Theology.

“The purpose of literature and of culture is not that of identifying with a reality in order to be reinforced with what you have thought so far. It’s more a matter of meeting the other, discovering that there are other ways of looking at reality, and this can only make us global citizens.” Pireddu said.

“I think the team teaching dynamic and the nature of the interdisciplinary course itself are something that are somewhat unique to Georgetown,” Ray added. “It introduces [students] to a lot of skills and a lot of themes that you can use in your courses for the rest of your time at Georgetown.”


Named in honor of Dr. Serafina Hager, a long-serving Italian professor and dean, the FLL Hager Scholars Program seeks to showcase and celebrate the incredible strength and diversity of language study at Georgetown.

In addition to a course in their declared language or linguistics major, Hager Scholars take a series of courses that fulfill core requirements in other disciplines, taught by faculty who are particularly interested in the ways that language study informs their fields.

“The FLL Hager Scholars program provided an excellent way of immersing myself in a variety of fields related to languages and linguistics,” said French major Olivia Giacomo (C’21). “I have gained a greater understanding of and appreciation for cultures around the world, which will stay with me throughout my studies at Georgetown.”

First-Year Options