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Commons Seminars

Interested in exploring dance? Energy and environment? Theatre? Psychology? Illness and medicine? Politics? Or study abroad, design thinking and creative expression as they relate to immersive experiences?

Commons Seminars are optional, one-credit, spring-semester seminars for first-year undergraduates only. They have no pre-requisites, and all are open to first-year students from any of the four undergraduate schools and colleges.

Whether or not these themes are related to your general area of study—and whether they are offered through your or any other school—these courses bring you together with a small group of students and a professor or team of instructors, all equally passionate to discuss these issues and questions.

Commons Seminars meet for the equivalent of fifteen contact hours but the course schedule is flexible (they may meet weekly, bi-monthly, over several weekends, etc.). They are intended to be small learning communities and are capped at fifteen.

Commons Seminars do not count toward any major.


In addition to our 15 traditional Commons Seminars, we offer 10 so-called iSeminars or “I”mmersion Seminars.

What is an iSeminar?

 iSeminars (“I”mmersion Seminars) are modeled on our regular Commons Seminars (see above), but differ in a significant way. iSeminars are intended to prepare you to pursue your passions through rigorous, compelling, and unique projects.

These projects will help you imagine ways to make a difference in the world by introducing them to ideas related to immersion from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. This is descriptive of the proposed and upcoming Immersion Vanderbilt experience itself, thus these seminars will be pre-emptive, preparatory, and exploratory, led by faculty from all four undergraduate schools who are dedicated to the University’s proposed immersion experience program.

First-year students are only allowed to enroll in ONE Commons Seminar or Commons iSeminar.  Please review the course descriptions carefully before signing up to be aware of course expectations and schedule. 

Check out the products of Commons Seminar EUS 1001.01: Berlin in the Twentieth Century: A Mapbox Project here.

The Medical Center Reporter coverage of Commons Seminars: Series lets undergrads explore new ideas.


Commons Seminars for the Class of 2020

AADS 1001.01 Capoeira: The African-Brazilian Dance of Deception

ANTH 1001.01 Princes, Wicked Stepmothers, and Good Men: Disney and Gender

BSCI 1001.01 Human Health and Disease: Complex or Complicated?

CMST 1001.02  20th and 21st Century Visual Rhetoric

EDUC 1001.02 Improvisation and Learning

EES 1001.01 Girls Like Dinosaurs Too: Discoveries of Women in Science

ES 1001.03 Electric Power Generation: Energy Choices and Environmental Consequences

EUS 1001.01  Mapping Berlin in the 20th Century 

HIST 1001.01 Digital Microhistory Lab: The Hidden History of 20th Century Fort Negley

ITA 1001.01 Honored Societies: Masons, Mafia, and, Fraternities 

MHS 1001.01 Genes, Disability and Parenthood

NSC 1001.01 The Epigenetics Era: What new Discoveries in Epigenetics Tell us about the Interface of Genes and Environment

NSC 1001.2  ‘How To Develop A Drug For My Grandmother’s Dementia’

SOC 1001.01 Guns: An American Obsession

THTR 1001.01 Choreography as Social Identity in the American Musical

iSeminars for the Class of 2020

CMST 1001.01 Preparing for Immersive Experiences: The Art and Science of Studying Politics

EDUC 1001.01 Preparing for Immersive Experiences: Identity and Audience in Teaching and Learning

ES 1001.01 Preparing for Immersive Experiences: Designing an Immersive Engineering Experience 

ES 1001.02 Preparing for Immersive Experiences: Design through a Critical Lens

HART 1001.01 Preparing for Immersive Experiences: Researching the Built Environment 

HIST 1001.01 Preparing for Immersive Experiences: Merging Science, Technology and the Human 

MUSO 1001.01 Preparing for Immersive Experiences: Creative Expression and the Search for an Authentic Truth

MUSO 1001.02 Preparing for Immersive Experiences: Finding Meaning in the College Jungle

SPAN 1001.01 Preparing for Immersive Experiences: Strategies for a Successful Study Abroad Experience 

SPED 1001.01 Preparing for Immersive Experiences: Encountering Exceptionality