First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs)

are clusters of (usually) three UW courses, linked together to explore a common theme, and offered to incoming freshmen who attend these classes together as a cohort.

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Choose from dozens of FIGs offered each fall semester. →

The main FIG course

At the heart of each FIG is a top-notch instructor who develops and leads a course exclusively for you and the other students in your FIG. Your FIG course is capped at 20 students and may include outside-the-classroom experiences, like field trips, to help you explore the topic and get to know your classmates.

Two linked courses

The FIG instructor selects two complementary UW courses, combining and expanding what you learn in these classes with the main FIG course.

Small class size

If the linked courses are large lectures, your group may have your own “discussion section” or lab as a smaller break-out class which meets in addition to the lecture.

Why do students choose FIGs?

Learn more about how to enroll →

Extra attention

You’ll have the dedicated attention of an instructor who really wants to work with first-year students like you.

Make friends

Studying together and helping each other, you’ll get to know the students in your FIG well, making your first campus year easier.

Better learning

Integrating ideas from different courses will help you learn in a more interesting and holistic way.

Proven popularity

Nearly 20% of UW freshmen enroll in a FIG.

My FIG helped me form a community at UW–Madison. The twenty students in my FIG were all committed to the same goals, and throughout the semester we organized multiple review sessions that helped our overall success.