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What is a one-unit seminar and
why are there three numbers for them?

ANLD 90 (Undergraduate Seminar),
ANLD 87 (Freshman Seminar), &
ANPR 192 (Senior Seminar)

The course numbers 87, 90, and 192 are, in principle, reserved in all departments to small, 1-unit, P/NP "seminars" in which students are expected to do most of the talking. Some 1-unit seminars are sponsored by colleges or interdisciplinary programs rather than by departments.

In each series, a student may complete up to four seminars, so long as none of them is repeated. As far as I can tell, seminars taken in one series do not count against the limit in either of the other series.

For unannounced reasons, if you take more than one seminar simultaneously in the same series and department, the registrar's computer will hiccup and you will need to go to the department coordinator to get the registration accomplished. For Anthropology that is Erin Morey (SSB-210, emorey@ucsd.edu, x4-0110).

The 90 Series: Undergraduate Seminars (Abolished)
History & Goals: Administered by Warren College, the 90 Series was a faculty-initiated project originated in the 1980s. The "Undergraduate Seminars" (occasionally called "Warren 90s") once had reserved places for freshmen because the series was especially intended to provide small classes for students whose other classes tended to be large, introductory lectures. But from the beginning it was also seen as a place for students of various levels to interact with each other and for students at all levels to get a "feel" for various prospective majors.
In recent years, many seniors used the 90 series to pick up the last remaining credit or two needed for graduation, or to use their last quarter or two in college to sample some field they "missed" while working on a major, so senior participation tended to rise in the Spring Quarter.
Abolition: Effective Fall, 2006, this series, the most intellectually rewarding of the three, was abolished by administrative fiat. No pedagogical reason was provided.
Fine Print:
The 87 Series: Freshman Seminars
History & Goals: The 87 Series, begun in 2003, was initiated in competition with the 90 series in order to use the term "Freshman Seminars," an idea which became fashionable in higher-education circles in the late 1990s, where small "intimate" classes were touted as a vital part of "the freshman experience." It was rumored that only the potential cost and the potential increase in time-to-degree prevented the Office of the President from making such seminars compulsory for all entering freshmen. (There is no comparable concern for entering transfer students, who are new to the campus, but are officially not having a "freshman experience.")
The administration was keen to ensure that this series be limited to freshmen, a restriction enforced by the registration computer. But because of Advanced Placement credits, many freshmen in fact enter with (or within easy reach of) sophomore standing, so it was decided that sophomores should be admitted on a space-available basis. In actual practice, nothing prevents juniors and seniors from auditing these classes with the permission of the instructor.
(The registration computer allows graduate students to sign up for any undergraduate course. Instructors in the 87 series are officially advised to have them manually dropped, but obviously there are instructors who do not do so. However graduate students may not count lower-division courses toward their minimum course load, as I understand it.)
Fine Print:
The 192 Series: Senior Seminars (Extinct)
History & Goals: The 192 series, initiated in Fall, 2006 and de-funded in 2009, was aimed at seniors, but was open to juniors on a space-available basis (and presumably to others with sufficient manipulation). It was explicitly intended by the administration to replace the 90 series for upper-division students, since they were intentionally excluded from the 87 series. No very clear goal was articulated for this innovation, although it may have grown from the sense that seniors should be getting upper-division credit for seminars rather than lower-division 90 credit. (Then again, some other educational fashion may have been involved involved of which I was simply unaware.)
Fine Print:

It will be obvious from all of this that I am in greater sympathy with the goals of the now extinct Undergraduate Seminar (90) program than with the two newer programs, which I see (both individually and separately) as generally being disadvantageous to all levels of students, but especially to upper-division students. As long as there is space, I am willing to welcome all students into any 87 courses I teach insofar as I am technically able to do so.

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