First Year Interest Groups (FIGs)

a start for university success

What is a FIG and why sign up?

A First Year Interest Group, or FIG, is a group of students who meet weekly for an hour during the fall term of their first year at Dal. Groups are typically composed of students (about 15-20 per group) who have similar academic interests or goals, and who are enrolled in some of the same first year courses.  

FIGs complement the classroom experience and help new students adjust to university. Signing up for a FIG allows you to meet other new students with similar interests. It can help you find study partners, share ideas, and maybe even form lasting friendships. It can also help you become better informed about the resources Dal offers to students and about life in Halifax. FIGs are free, informal, interactive groups that will help you make the most out of your first year at Dal.

What will I do in a FIG?

  • Get to know other students. (Maybe you’ll find a study partner.)
  • Meet Dal faculty and students who work in your area of interest
  • Find out how to get involved (volunteer opportunities, events, clubs)
  • Learn about future opportunities for students with your interests (e.g., scholarships, summer research, co-op, study abroad)

Who should enrol in a FIG?

Any new student in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences who has been accepted as a first year undeclared BA student can enrol in a FIG.

How do I enrol in a FIG?

You enroll in a FIG when you register for your regular courses, using the same registration procedure. First, make sure that the time slot of the FIG doesn’t conflict with the times of your other courses. Then register for the appropriate FIG section (FIGA 0001, 0002, etc.)  Your student advisor can help if you have questions.

Does a FIG count toward my degree?

The FIG will appear on your academic transcript – it will be obvious to future employers along with the credit courses you complete.  However, because it is not for credit, a FIG does not count as part of the 90 or 120 credit hours you must complete for a BA degree.

Will I receive a grade for my FIG?

If you complete the FIG, it will appear on your academic transcript with a P (pass) beside it. Grades are not given for FIGs, and FIGs are not included in calculation of your GPA. However, to receive a P you must participate in the FIG sessions (unless you are ill, of course).

What if I don’t like my FIG?

We expect that most students will enjoy their FIG, and will feel that the time has been well spent. After all, finding others with similar interests is a key part of an enjoyable and successful university experience. However, if for some reason you find that you do not want to participate in your FIG, you may withdraw. The FIG will then not appear on your transcript.

Can I sign up for more than one FIG?

No. We want to offer the opportunity to participate in a FIG to as many students as possible, and so students may not register in more than one group. 

FIG options for Arts students:

1)      FIGA 0001: International Politics & Development

You are coming to Dal to learn more about international relations and Canada’s place in the world. You might be considering either a career in international human rights work, development projects, or politics. You’re curious about the political arrangements that structure our world and how to influence them.

Co-requisites:  INTD 1102.03: Halifax and the World, Pt. 1 and either POLI 1060.03: Political Worlds: Themes and Contexts or POLI 1103X/Y.06: Intro to Government and Politics
MONDAY 1:35-2:25, McCain 2132

2)      FIGA 0002: Literature & the Performing Arts

You are coming to Dal to study literature, drama, and the performing arts. You might be considering a career as an artist or as a teacher of the arts. You enjoy exploring how creative works help us understand ourselves and our world.

Co-requisites: PERF 1000.03: Introduction to Performance and either ENGL 1010.03: Intro to Prose and Fiction or ENGL 1020.03: Intro to Poetry and Drama
MONDAY 2:35-3:25, McCain 2130

3)      FIGA 0003: Health & the Helping Professions

You are interested in human health and plan ultimately to go into a medical or related profession, and would like to meet people with similar goals. In the meanwhile, you want to develop a good grounding in the social sciences and ethics, useful preparation for any such plans.

Co-requisites: SOSA 1200X/Y.06: Intro to Sociology and either PHIL 1000X/Y.06 or PHIL 1010X/Y.06: Introduction to Philosophy
MONDAY 3:35-4:25, McCain 2016

4)      FIGA 0004: History & Myth

You are coming to Dal to learn more about how the world came to be as it is and about the stories we tell to make sense of the connections between past and present. You may not have a clear sense of your future career goals just yet – maybe law? maybe writing or teaching? – but you know you like learning about the past.

Co-requisites: CLAS 1103.03 and CLAS 1104.03, RELS 1201.03 and RELS 1202.03: Gods, Heroes, and Monsters I and II: Ancient Mythology and HIST 1020.03: Introduction to European History
WEDNESDAY, 3:35-4:25, DUNN 221C 

5)      FIGA 0005: Popular Culture

You are interested in video games, graphic novels, and similar cultural expressions here and around the world. You may have one of a wide variety of ultimate career goals, but in the meantime, you’d like to meet people with common interests and to take courses that provide some insight into pop culture’s significance.

Co-requisites: SOSA 1100X/Y.06: Introduction to Anthropology and ENGL 1040.03 (ENGL 1041.03):, Reading Popular Culture
WEDNESDAY, 1:35-2:25, McCain 2130

6)      FIGA 0006: Open

You want an opportunity to meet other first year students, but none of the headings or course combinations above seem quite right for you. Sign up for this one!
WEDNESDAY, 2:35-3:25, McCain 2017 

7)      FIGA 0007: Human Behaviour (Open to both BA and BSc students)

You are coming to Dal to learn more about human behaviour. You may be interested in the underlying triggers of mental illness, or be curious about how children learn to speak or to develop social skills. Or maybe you’re interested in how groups of humans behave – how crowds form and act as they do, why some societies tend to competition while others seem to promote cooperation, etc.

Co-requisites: PSYO 1011.03: Intro to Psychology and Neuroscience and SOSA 1002.03: People and Culture
Tuesday, 3:35-4:25, Science Academic Resource Centre, Wallace McCain Learning Commons