A group of students throw colorful chalk powder into the air.

First Year Experience

First Year Experience

The First-Year Program at Manhattanville helps new students to develop critical reasoning, research and writing skills, explore the liberal arts curriculum and navigate the transition to university.  Completion of the First-Year Program is required for all undergraduate students entering Manhattanville with fewer than 30 approved transfer credits.

The Goals of the Program

To provide students with foundational instruction in critical thinking

To provide an introduction to the liberal arts curriculum

To provide intensive foundational instruction in academic writing

To build close faculty/student relationships during the first university year

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The First-Year Program comprises both the Fall and Spring academic semesters. The 9-credit curriculum includes a First-Year Seminar (3 credits) and 6 credits of First-Year Writing.
First-Year Seminars are participatory introductions to the study of the liberal arts. First-Year Seminars topics and themes are diverse, reflecting faculty interests across the broad spectrum of the undergraduate curriculum. All First-Year Seminars count towards the fulfillment of the Humanistic Reasoning Capability of the university’s General Education degree requirements. Completion of the First-Year Seminar with an earned grade of at least C- is an undergraduate degree requirement at Manhattanville University.
Within the First-Year Program, Academic Writing faculty instruct students in the foundations of academic writing, including grammar, style, and structure, as well as strategies for written analysis, persuasion, and argumentation. First-year writing continues for a full year; the second semester course is devoted to the development of techniques for research and critical composition that will foster success throughout students’ educational programs.

FYP 1100: "Principles vs Prejudices"

CSCH 1100: "Principles vs Prejudices

Manhattanville also offers first-year students an optional (elective) course, ATLAS: Passport.  Its purpose is to guide new students in making a successful transition to the university, academically and socially. The course is designed to foster a sense of belonging to the community by working in small groups; exploring the university's rich history and mission; incorporating valuable skill building, and helping students continue to clarify the purpose, meaning, and direction of their university careers.

Philosophy Statement



Manhattanville University challenges students to develop the values and skills that make our community valiant. What it means to be valiant was notably expressed by the American abolitionist, orator and clergyman Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887):

It is not what we read, but what we remember that makes us learned. It is not what we intend but what we do that makes us useful. And, it is not a few faint wishes but a lifelong struggle that makes us valiant. 

Our welcoming first-year learning environment encourages students to become active participants in our university’s mission to educate “ethical and socially-responsible leaders for the global community.”

Each first year student engages in curricular and co-curricular learning opportunities rooted in the university’s tradition of education in the Liberal Arts and Sciences and its commitment to the value of academic, experiential, and service learning. Our diverse, inclusive, and supportive environment allows all students to become effective participants in their own learning and development. As first-year students join our community of engaged scholars, educators, and professional staff, they are encouraged to develop as independent, ethical thinkers. They are also empowered to search for knowledge, express their creativity, participate in community building, and synthesize a wide range of learning experiences.

Our first-year programming challenges students to develop the Valiant skills and values that are at the heart of our university’s mission:


  • Intellectual curiousity and analytical ability
  • Active participation in the Manhattanville Community
  • Respect for themselves and others
  • Compassionate engagement with each other and the world
  • Effective written and oral communication
  • Ability to understand and identify the ethical dimensions of problems