Academic Inquiry Seminars

Academic Inquiry Seminars (AIQS) offer an introduction to the forms and processes of academic writing at the university.  They focus on developing effective writing processes & contributing to meaningful scholarly and community conversations. 


Students complete a Directed Self-Placement (DSP) process prior to matriculation in order to determine which of several environments will provide the best seminar experience for them. Each Academic Inquiry Seminar meets the same course outcomes and receives equivalent academic credit. 

  • Topical Seminars are organized around a topic of study, through which comprehensive instruction in academic writing is delivered. The majority of first-year students will take Topical AIQS.

  • Foundations Seminars provide more direct writing support to students who need or want more experience with the writing process. These courses provide students with opportunities to develop their own writing processes and their confidence about their ability to perform college level writing.

  • Seminars for Non-Native Speakers of English are designed for students whose first language is not English (including students who have attended high school in English-speaking countries) and who need or want direct support in reading and writing in academic English. These courses devote extra time to grammatical, rhetorical, and other concerns specific to non-native speakers of English; they are taught by faculty members who have special training in teaching English as a second/other language.

    • Some students may begin their experience in an Academic English Seminar, which is designed to improve the fundamental reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills of students for whom English is not their first language. This course is taken prior to enrollment in an Academic Inquiry Seminar; it earns regular academic credit, but it does not satisfy the AIQS requirement.