Academic Experience

At the heart of the FSI program is an immersive and rewarding academic experience. In the summer of 2024, residential students will take two full, credit-bearing courses that count toward graduation requirements.  

All FSI students will take HUM 250: Ways of Knowing, an introduction to scholarly thinking, reading, and writing. In addition, residential students will enroll in a second quantitative/STEM course based on their academic interests, including:

  • POL/SOC 245: Visualizing Data
  • MOL 152: Laboratory Research in the Life Sciences
  • EGR/STC 150: Foundations of Engineering 
  • COS 125: The Art and Science of Computer Programming 
  • APC 152: Mathematical Communication in the Quantitative Disciplines
  • NEU 1XX: Thinking Quantitatively about Brains and Behavior 
  • PSY XXX: Statistics in Healthcare: Essential Quantitative Skills for Psychologists, Doctors, and Consumers

FSI Students also attend weekly colloquia with Princeton Professors as an expansion of their Ways of Knowing Course.

  • Pas featured speakers include Professors Ruha Benjamin, Alejandro Rodriguez, and Reena Goldthree

Colloquia are designed to further class concepts, learn more about research Princeton professors are engaged in, classes they teach, and network with their peers and future Professors and mentors.

Scholars Academic

FSI students read and learn scholarship from the world's top thinkers through the Ways of Knowing course.


As a Freshman Scholar, you’ll be enrolled in a for-credit humanities course titled Ways of Knowing. This seminar emphasizes critical thinking, reading, and writing, and allows you to engage with texts, fellow scholars, and your course instructor to dig deeply and creatively into questions about power, institutions, and identity. Having this course under your belt will help prepare you for text- and writing-intensive classes in the fall, and give you additional curricular flexibility to pursue other meaningful experiences, like scholarly research, service work, or mentorship opportunities. Finally, Ways of Knowing meets your general education requirements. If you are an AB student, Ways of Knowing satisfies your Epistemology and Cognition AND Culture and Difference general education requirements. If you are a BSE student, Ways of Knowing satisfies EITHER your Epistemology and Cognition OR your Culture and Difference general education requirements; please reach out to Dean Peter Bogucki regarding general education requirements for BSE students. 

Lab pic


Depending on their academic interests, FSI residential students will also be placed into one of the following four quantitative courses. The course components include attending lecture, completing readings, lab work, module work, problem sets, and writing assignments.

The following courses will be offered:

EGR 150: Foundations of Engineering 

This course provides a hands-on introduction to the foundational principles of engineering. The purpose of this course is two-fold. First, it provides a project-based introduction to engineering that mixes electronics, mechanical construction, and computational data analysis. Second, it provides a firm theoretical foundation for the project in both math and physics. In lab, students will have the opportunity to build, test, and iterate the design of a rocket. Complimenting the lab experience, students will engage in lectures and precepts to enhance their physics and mathematics content knowledge. (Distribution requirement fulfilled: Science and Engineering with a Lab)


MOL 152: Laboratory Research in the Life Sciences 

This course will introduce students to laboratory research through a 6-week original research investigation. Although lecture and discussion will be incorporated as needed, by far the largest part of the course will consist of authentic hands-on research. Students will learn how to perform essential laboratory techniques, to design experiments, and to analyze and interpret experimental data. Students will gain experience in both written and oral presentation of scientific results. Students will use synthetic biology tools to conduct original promoter analysis research. (Distribution requirement fulfilled: Science and Engineering with a Lab)


COS 125, The Art and Science of Computer Programming

This course is an introduction to computer programming for students with little to no previous experience. Students will learn to write, read, and reason about computer programs. Topics include conditionals, loops, sound, animation, arrays, and functions. This course offers an alternative arts-inspired presentation of the first half of the material covered in COS 126. (Distribution requirement fulfilled: Quantitative and Computational Reasoning)

SOC/POL 245: Visualizing Data 

Equal parts art, programming, and statistical reasoning, data visualization is critical for anyone who seeks to analyze data. Data analysis skills have become essential for those pursuing careers in policy evaluation, business consulting, and research in fields like public health, social science, or education.  This course introduces students to the powerful R programming language, the basics of creating data analysis graphics in R, and reasoning about what data visualizations can tell us. We will learn these topics through the lens of a single social scientific subject: intergenerational mobility, the relationship between social and economic origins and destinations over the life course. We will use real life data to describe, visualize, and understand intergenerational mobility in the United States. (Distribution requirement fulfilled: Quantitative and Computational Reasoning) 


PSY XXX: Statistics in Healthcare: Essential Quantitative Skills for Psychologists, Doctors, and Consumers 

This course is an experiential lab course in which students engage in original laboratory research. It is designed to provide students a broad foundation in research and quantitative skills and knowledge often used in healthcare settings, with a focus on studies that focus on improving human health. We will cover the basics of conducting human subjects research, experimental and interventional design, how to generate and test hypotheses, as well as basic statistical analysis techniques.

(Distribution Requirement fulfilled: Science with a Lab) 


NEU 1XX: Thinking Quantitatively about Brains and Behavior 

In this introductory, laboratory-based neuroscience course, you will learn about how the brain performs computations, conduct neuroscience experiments exploring invertebrate and human physiology and behavior, and develop skills in quantitatively analyzing the data you collect. The course will culminate in a research project based on one of the three experimental systems we explore.

(Distribution requirement fulfilled: Science with a Lab)


APC 152, Mathematical Communication in the Quantitative Disciplines

This course showcases how techniques in pure mathematics can be applied to solve problems in a variety of quantitative disciplines, including Economics, Chemistry, Ecology, Probability and Statistics, and Computer Science. The course has two main goals. First, we aim to show that mathematics is not an isolated subject, but rather a web with connections and contributions to all of science. Second, we will put great emphasis on developing students' oral and written communication skills when it comes to describing their thoughts, arguments, and solutions. Indeed, solving a math problem is not just a matter of arriving at the correct final answer, but also communicating delicate, technical arguments in such a way that others can understand precisely what we mean. This skill will prove invaluable as students go on to discuss the material in Princeton STEM courses with their classmates and professors. This course will not assume or require any calculus knowledge. (Distribution requirement fulfilled: Quantitative and Computational Reasoning)