Discover Your Island

Frequently Asked Questions

Learning Communities

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi's First-Year Learning Communities Program (FYLCP) is an innovative nationally recognized program which helps students to make successful academic and social transitions from high school to the University. In 2001, the Texas Higher Education Board recognized the excellence of the program by awarding it a Texas Higher Education Star Award. In 2002 A&M-Corpus Christi was selected as one of thirteen "Institutions of Excellence in the First College Year" by the Brevard College Policy Center on the First Year of College, and in 2003 was selected as a "Founding Institution" of the Foundations of Excellence® in the First College Year project, sponsored by the Policy Center on the First Year of College and supported by the Lumina Foundation for Education. TAMU-CC is also part of the National Learning Communities Conference Consortium and was a founding member of the Texas Learning Communities Consortium.
TAMU-CC students enroll in their first year in specially selected groups of 2 to 4 classes known as dyads, triads, and tetrads. The students and teachers within each dyad, triad, or tetrad form a learning community. The same group of students takes all of the classes within a given learning community together, which gives them many opportunities to work together, get to know each other, and learn together. The teachers in each learning community also work with each other, in order to develop connections among the classes: relating content, assignments, and activities in one class with content, assignments, and activities in other learning community classes. For more information, see our detailed description of our learning communities here.

The FYLCP has been built upon years of research concerning learning communities. The research indicates that well-designed learning communities benefit students in many ways. For example, students who participate in learning communities:

  • Have more opportunities to express themselves orally and in writing in academic contexts;
  • Develop their academic skills more fully;
  • Are more engaged or involved in learning experiences and in college life;
  • Experience greater intellectual development;
  • Report higher levels of satisfaction with their college or university;
  • Are more likely to complete their courses and stay in school; and
  • Tend to earn higher grades.

The courses in learning communities are co-requisites, meaning that students must enroll in the entire learning community schedule. Breakages of learning community schedules are not permitted for a variety of reasons, but mostly to ensure that students have the best experience possible. 

At Islander Launch (new student orientation), first-year students meet with an advisor or faculty member who will help them select their first learning community based on a combination of major requirements, interests, and class schedule preferences. For the spring semester, students will self-register for learning communities after consultation with an advisor about which courses they are eligible to take. 

Click here to see a listing of the current learning community schedule. 

First-Year Seminar

As of Fall 2015, all full-time, first-year students are required to take both UNIV 1101 and UNIV 1102.

A first-year student is defined as a student who is in their first year of college coursework after graduating from high school. Dual and/or AP credit hours do not impact first-year student status. Thus, a student could technically have brought in more than 30 credit hours that were earned while still enrolled in high school but still be considered a first-year student at TAMUCC.

For more information about this requirement, refer to the undergraduate catalog description here.

Students who transfer to TAMUCC from another institution may or may not be required to take First-Year Seminar based on the number of credit hours they bring with them.

Transfer students who have earned less than 12 college credit hours (after graduating from high school) are required to take both UNIV 1101 and UNIV 1102. Students who become full-time A&M-Corpus Christi students after having completed 12-23 semester hours are required to take only one First-Year Seminar (either 1101 or 1102). Finally, students who become full-time A&M-Corpus Christi students after having completed 24 or more semester hours are exempt from the First-Year Seminar requirement.

A first-year seminar, first-year experience, or student success course can be found at many institutions of higher education. Thus, transfer students might be able to substitute a course taken at another school for TAMUCC's UNIV 1101 and/or UNIV 1102 requirement. In these cases, students should consult with their academic advisor. 

Even if students are not required to take UNIV 1101 or UNIV 1102, research indicates that it is a helpful course for all students, regardless of previous experience. Thus, transfer students are invited to consider the possibility of taking First-Year Seminar as part of their transition to the University.

For more information about the First-Year Seminar requirements for transfer students, refer to the undergraduate catalog description here.

Yes, but they are restricted to certain groups of students.

Each fall, one section of First-Year Seminar is reserved to meet the needs of student veterans, while other sections may be designated for student athletes only.

There are also "independent" sections of First-Year Seminar available that are designed for students who have completed most (if not all) of their core curriculum requirements. These classes are reserved for students who took a significant number of dual and/or AP credit courses in high school and therefore are not taking traditional first-year courses in learning communities. The professors who teach these courses are intentional about creating an experience that replicates the benefits of the learning community model (engagement, peer interaction, etc) in a small class and discussion-oriented setting.

Finally, online sections of First-Year Seminar are available each semester. These sections are intended for upper-division students who never took the course or for students who are repeating the course for credit. (Note: The online UNIV 1101 and UNIV 1102 sections in the summer are reserved for graduating seniors who need the credit to graduate in the summer.)

To view these specialized First-Year Seminar options, go to the online class schedule here and select the semester, then Main Campus, then UNIV, then All Courses.

Traditional first-year students should take First-Year Seminar as part of a learning community to ensure the best learning environment possible to make a successful transition to TAMUCC. 

First-Year Seminar is meant to be primarily an intellectual experience. It is a class in which students engage in activities and assignments that are directly related to (1) the lecture course(s) in the learning community; (2) the Composition/Communication course connected to the Seminar (if applicable); and (3) the successful transition to college.

A Seminar class period typically consists of 2-3 planned activities, and in every class, students will engage in some combination of small group and whole class discussion, writing-to-learn activities, as well as critical thinking and information literacy activities. Seminar professors plan their classes in collaboration with their teaching partners, considering the expectations of the other LC course(s) and the needs of their particular students. Because students' needs are different in each learning community, First-Year Seminar is a flexible course designed to meet the students' needs in a particular section based on what is going on in the learning community during a given week. 

The Seminar course is designed to help students navigate their college experience, so daily topics can range from proper email etiquette to the purpose of higher education to a discussion that relates large lecture material to lived experience, but it is always done within the context of the other learning community courses. For example, a typical daily activity in a First-Year Seminar class linked to History or Philosophy lecture might involve breaking apart an assigned reading. The discussion would likely include the content of the reading, but also focus on strategies to improve comprehension and/or how this reading relates to current events, with the goal of helping students to be able to make connections and transfer their learning to future settings. 

An important component of Seminar is helping students to become more active in their own education and to develop the necessary skills to be successful in their second year of college and beyond. Seminar professors link students to other campus resources (academic advisors, peer mentors, CASA, the Writing Center, Bell Library, Career Services) in order to provide them with the support needed to achieve a successful transition.