Starting next semester, the History Department will reserve two slots in each of its junior seminars for sophomores.
The change — which comes after discussions between the History Department and the Yale College Council about ways to increase seminar opportunities for sophomores — was announced to history majors in a departmental email today and to the sophomore class in a Friday email from the YCC.
Sophomores who are declared as history majors will have the option of pre-registering for seminars, while other sophomores will be able to show up to the courses during shopping period and indicate their interest, said Steven Pincus, director of undergraduate studies for the History Department. Sophomores will be admitted to the seminars “just like anybody else, based on instructor approval,” he added, but professors will be told to reserve two places for them.
In the past, sophomores have been able to enroll in history junior seminars, but Pincus said many students fail to consider taking these courses because of the “J” — “junior” — designation in their course listings. He said the History Department plans to rename them “undergraduate seminars” in order to dispel this impression.
“[Seminars] are what we do best,” Pincus said of the History Department, “and there’s no reason why Yale sophomores can’t do this. We very much want sophomores to take these courses.”
The YCC is also collaborating with the Political Science Department to make seminars in that department available to sophomores. Check back in Wednesday’s paper for extended coverage of these efforts.