Department of Your Department

The First Year Experience

Course Description

Designed specifically for liberal arts and human sciences majors, this course introduces students to the concept of undergraduate research while preparing them to be successful college students at Virginia Tech. Students will learn about the mission of a research university, the nature and scope of research in liberal arts and human sciences, and, most importantly, how undergraduate students can participate in the university,s research mission. As part of the course, students will learn about university resources, explore opportunities for co- and extra-curricular learning, create an academic plan for their future, prepare their first college resume, and get to know faculty and staff in the college and their major departments as part of their exploration.


The course will not only prepare students for college life at Virginia Tech but also encourages students to start thinking about becoming undergraduate researchers. The course covers all areas of research including creative scholarship. There are two tracks in this class with one designed specifically for first-year students new to college and another for transfer students who have some experience as a college student but are new to Virginia Tech.


Students must be a declared major within the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. (3H, 3C)

Course Objectives

After having completed this course students will be able to:

  • Explain the role of research within the university’s mission
  • Define undergraduate research
  • Identify research topics and develop research questions
  • Analyze and solve problems using the IDEAL problem solving model
  • Integrate academic, co-curricular, and extra-curricular activities into an academic plan
  • Conduct research related to career goals and occupations
  • Construct a reflective representation of work through E-Portfolio
  • Identify resources, services, and programs to support academic success at Virginia Tech.

    Pathways to Success:

This is an approved Pathways to Success course. Pathways to Success is a program designed for first-year students - freshmen and transfer students- with the intent of equipping students with the appropriate tools necessary to engage in substantive exploration and discovery of themselves and the world around them. We will accomplish this through numerous curricular and co-curricular opportunities, in order to develop students into reflective and responsible learners and citizens. As such, the program is focused on the development of lifelong learning skills, such as problem solving, inquiry, and the integration of knowledge.


As part of the Pathways to Success initiative, the course must continually assess its effectiveness through its student outcomes. An example of your work, a paper, some test questions, survey results, or other work may be selected at random, for assessment. This process will not affect your grade, will not require you to do additional work, and your work will be confidentially handled. Through your cooperation we are working to improve teaching and learning at Virginia Tech.




E-mail Diana Ridgwell for questions about enrollment and more information