First-Year Interest Groups Program

enroll in themed interdisciplinary clusters of UW-Madison classes • small class sizes • dedicated instructors
First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs) are clusters of (usually) three Fall-semester UW–Madison classes, linked together to explore a common theme, and open to incoming freshmen—who attend these classes together as a cohort.
Spring Interest Groups (SPRIGs) are pairs of two Spring-semester UW–Madison classes, linked together to explore a Big Question, and open to continuing undergraduate students—who attend these classes together as a cohort. A small number of SPRIGs are offered each year.


Learn more about the classes in a FIG

The main FIG seminar

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

Linked classes

The FIG instructor selects two complementary UW classes, combining and expanding what you learn in these classes with the main FIG seminar. You enroll in these classes along with your fellow FIG students.

Small class sizes

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


Learn more about how you can choose a FIG


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 semester easier.


Better learning

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


Proven popularity

Every fall, over 1,000 UW freshmen enroll in a FIG. Participants overwhelmingly say that their FIG was a great experience.