enroll in themed interdisciplinary clusters of UW-Madison classes • small class sizes • dedicated instructors


FIGs logo

First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs) are clusters of (usually) three UW classes, linked together to explore a common theme, and offered to incoming freshmen who attend these classes together as a cohort.


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 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.

Small class sizes

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.

2020 SOAR Students

Welcome! Please review the “What is a FIG” section to learn more about the program, then take a look at the full array to offerings for fall 2020. If you would like to reserve a seat in a specific FIG, please click on the “How to Enroll” tab to learn the process.   Enrollment only occurs during your SOAR week. To learn more about the Student Orientation Advising and Registration (SOAR) Program, please click here.


Learn more about how you can 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

Each fall, more than 1,000 UW freshmen enroll in a FIG.