one programs,  seminars

potato, potato

do you recommend first year seminars? how do they compare to the ones programs? (tbh i still don’t quite understand the ones programs) thanks so much!!


hey hey,

i absolutely would recommend first year seminars! my first year, i was lucky enough to take both a ‘one’ program for a full credit, as well as a half-cred first-year 199 seminar. in both cases, i had a great experience and even got to bump my gpa up a little bit. i do a pretty detailed plug for the specific 199 i took in this post, if you wanna check it out.

what’s the difference? i find that most of the ones are targeted more so towards humanities/social science breadth requirements– we’re talking global innovation, literature, cinema.don’t let that stop you if that’s not what you’re into: trinity has a few global health/environment streams, and meanwhile a stream of st. mike’s one works with tech. vic one is the only program i’m aware of that has a straight-up mathematical and physical sciences stream. however, for the most part i don’t find that ones gear themselves heavily towards math/science/physics etc. you’ve definitely got more options among the first-year seminars.

ones are also all run out of specific colleges, as you can tell pretty easily from their names. what? you’re telling me uc one runs out of uc? yes, that’s exactly what i’m telling you. meanwhile, first-year seminars aren’t affiliated the same way. they tend, instead, to be organized by breadth requirement. you’ve got your ones (not to be confused with the other ones u of t whY), your twos, your threes… you know how to count ’til five.

something else i’ve found differentiates the ones is that they tend to have some type of central idea or theme organizing their offerings. this tends to follow along the lines of what the college in general is known for. st. mike’s, a former catholic institution, offers ones that explore the intersection between faith and other subjects; innis’s ones cover either writing or cinema, which makes sense as that college runs those programs; trin tends to run more ir/ethics-tinged programs for a similar reason. if you check out this page, you’ll see that each one program has a clear focus/mission statement.

one other difference is that some of the ones, like munk one, can count towards POSt. meanwhile, seminars just…don’t. they count towards breadth req and your 20 credits, but that’s about it.

format-wise, i found that both the one and the seminar that i took felt pretty similar. both weighed participation 10%, didn’t send too much coursework home, and had fantastic instructors willing to go above and beyond. they were also pretty small classes that forced us to talk to each other– i ended up making good friends in my one program in particular, just because it was a yearlong thing.

that’s the main reason i’d really encourage you to take a one or seminar, actually! u of t does have its big n’ scary reputation of being hella antisocial, and truth be told it’s next to impossible to make friends in con hall classes. i actually tried, my first day, being the eternal optimist that i am — the girl beside me turned out to be a fourth year. i asked her if she was a TA. that was the end of that.

anyway, if there’s anything specific you were wondering that i didn’t speak to, feel free to let me know! otherwise, hope this helped, friend.

over n out,


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