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Some majors and programs at USD offer credit for a seminar course designed especially for their first year. Meet weekly and enjoy the benefits of a small class connecting you to a professor who will mentor you, and other students who share this interest with you, through your first semester at USD.


  • USD 101: This course promotes academic awareness, critical thinking and motivation through the use of videos, readings, activities and discussions. Topics include college expectations, Vermillion, communication, diversity, major and career development, learning styles and campus resources. Any student is welcome in USD 101. Sections are available for specific majors, including business and pre-medicine.
  • Introduction to the Dental Professions: This course will give you an introduction to the dental professions and careers. Exploration of dental hygiene practice and an overview of the USD dental hygiene curriculum and degree framework will be included.
  • Media Experience: This course is a first-year seminar designed to introduce students to career, academic and student media opportunities in Media & Journalism and Sport Marketing & Media. Join other Media & Journalism majors as you help each other successfully navigate the first semester of college. Meet faculty and explore the fields of advertising, digital media, journalism, public relations, sport marketing and strategic communication. You’ll also learn to design a professional resume and personal website and how to get involved in student media organizations as a freshman.
  • Art Seminar: Students interested in art are introduced to the art world through lectures from art professionals, demonstrations and visiting artists.
  • Are You Smarter Than a Fourth Grader?: A popular TV game show with a similar title challenges the contestants and the audience to examine what they remember from elementary school (or what they forgot). The text will challenge you to examine what factors influence individual intelligence and what it takes for brains to work at their best.
  • Motivate. Inspire. Teach!: Did you ever have a teacher who changed the way you thought about the world or yourself as a learner? Through books and classroom visits you will explore how you can be an exceptional educator who can make a real difference for future generations.
  • TRiO Scholars: This section is a required complement to the TRIO Scholars Living Learning Community (LLC), for LLC participants only. We’ll supplement your capabilities with positive energy, making you more confident in yourself, your studies and your future. Build lasting relationships, connect with your new community, and realize how your strengths can take you to great places!
  • Connecting Cultures: This course is designed for Native American freshmen. College is a new environment with exciting opportunities for meeting people and taking on challenges. Learn timely strategies for making the most of your college experience, meet other native students from communities large and small, and build a supportive network in a cohort-based classroom setting.
  • International Student FYE (international students only): This course is intended to assist incoming international students with their transition to life as a USD student and life in the United States. Focus will be placed on sharing resources with the students, discussing their experience during their first semester at USD and encouraging them to become engaged and active members of their campus community.
  • Leadership Development: This course will enhance first-year students’ leadership skills and cultivate their knowledge of leadership theory and application by giving them the opportunity to explore through multiple modes of inquiry and learning experiences. Emphasis will be placed on the students’ development of their own philosophies of leadership through self-reflection, peer-to-peer dialogue and experiential learning opportunities.
  • FYE Seminar: Reading: Designed for students with an ACT reading score of 16 or below. Many students in college feel overwhelmed by the amount of reading they have to do, particularly if reading is something they struggled with in middle and high school. Research shows you can improve your reading skills at any age and this course is designed to do just that. This course will provide students with specific strategies they can use to read more efficiently and effectively. Through individual and small-group work, students will gain essential reading skills necessary for college success. Readings will be taken from both academic and popular fiction sources.
  • Engage in Study Abroad, Service-learning & Research: Graduate with the skills and knowledge necessary to be ready for whatever comes after graduation by getting the scoop on how to engage in High Impact Practices (HIPs) offered to all students at USD. This course will show you how service-learning, study abroad and undergraduate research can help ensure that you get the most out of your education. We call them HIPs; we think you’ll call them your best college experiences.