Chapman students on Bert Williams Mall in front of Memorial Hall.
General Education Program

» First-Year Focus

The First-year Foundations Course (FFC) is a key element of Chapman University's General Education program. FFC courses focus on critical engagement, exploration and communication related to complex issues rather than on mastering a body of material. The goal is to guide students towards becoming self-motivated, independent learners who can work independently and collaboratively to frame issues and questions that have engaged the intellectual interests of historians, philosophers, fine arts, and media critics, scientists, economists and political theorists over the centuries.

FFC is taught by faculty who are committed to supporting students in their transition from high school to university-level critical inquiry. Field trips, guest speakers, collaborative research, multimedia projects and active engagement in class activities are important elements of each course.

All first-year students enroll in an FFC section during their first year at Chapman, and are encouraged to do so in their first semester. Transfer students who have not earned 24 credits at a college or university (excluding dual enrollment and testing credit) prior to starting Chapman are also required to enroll in an FFC course within their first semester.  

Spring 2020 First-Year Foundation Courses

Some colleges will require their majors to take a specific FFC courses. If you are in a major that doesn't require you to take a specific FFC course, then you will be directed to choose from a listing of all FFC course options for Spring 2020. Please choose your major below to determine your FFC option.

(If you wish to change your major prior to selecting your FFC course you will need to contact the Office of Admission. If the Office of Admission approves your change of major, you may then register in the FFC course corresponding with your new major.)

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First-Year Foundations Scholars Program

This program focuses on providing personalized support for first-year and first-generation students by connecting you to your FFC professors who can serve as mentors and advocates.

A select group of about 70 students will participate in the mentoring program. Our goal is to provide opportunities for faculty mentoring to enhance the success of first-year and first-generation students. Below are some common questions about this program that are answered with quotes from our first cohort of students this past fall.

How Can a Faculty Mentor Benefit Me?

“This first-generation program helped me find the guidance I needed during my first year here at Chapman University. Whenever I needed help or advice, my advisor/mentor was always there to help me in any possible way, which allowed me to better adapt. I was motivated to continue with my eagerness for an education which is important for any first-generation student.” —Adel, 2017

“The most valuable experience I had with the First-Generation program was the connection and relationship with my faculty mentor. If I had a question or I didn’t understand something, my mentor was someone I knew I could go to.” —Emily, 2017

Why Did Previous Students Participate?  

“Although this transition may be full of new challenges that seem intimidating, there is no doubt that the experiences are absolutely amazing. Participation in this program is an opportunity to network and find new ways to get involved on campus all while having expert guidance as you embark on this wild journey.” —Chris, 2017

How Does It Work and What's Required If I Choose to Participate? 

  • All first-year students enroll in a First-Year Foundations course (FFC). For students in this program, your FFC professor becomes your mentor/advocate as is there for you as you transition to the university.
  • You are asked to check-in with your faculty mentor (either in-person or via e-mail) at least every other week where you can ask any questions you might have, or let them know about your experience and progress at the university
  • Special events are planned as a part of the program but your participation is optional. Events typically include invited lunches and dinners, or group trips to cultural, arts, and sporting events.
  • Participation in this program does not require much extra time but will have tremendous academic and professional benefits.

Next Steps to Participate 

This program is available by invitation only. If you have not received an invitation and are interested, please email

If you have received an invitation and want to participate, please submit the form provided in the email. You can read the description for a participating course by clicking on the relevant major under "Chapman University Majors" above. Please submit your major and your FFC preference list no later than Wednesday, July 3. You will receive a confirmation email shortly thereafter.

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