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Career Exploration and Success
Rutgers logo
Career Exploration and Success
First-Year Interest Group Seminars (FIGS)

First-Year Interest Group Seminars (FIGS)

To Teach. To Learn. To Inspire

Each year, a talented group of students develops engaging one-credit courses that introduce first-year students to dozens of exciting fields and to a wide range of involvement, academic, and professional development opportunities here at Rutgers.

Are you interested in teaching a course at Rutgers as a FIGS Peer Instructor? Peer Instructors are full-time juniors or seniors when they teach a FIGS course. The Peer Instructor application and selection process is held each fall semester for the following academic year.

Facts & Figures

First-year Students Have Taken a FIGS
Rate the Teaching Effectiveness of Our Peer Instructor as Good or Excellent
Students Have Served as Peer Instructors

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are FIGS available to all first-year students?

    Currently, only students enrolling in the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, and the Rutgers Business School can enroll in a FIGS. Starting August 1, 2023, students enrolled in the Mason Gross School of the Arts can add a FIGS course via WebReg.

    How many students are in a FIGS?

    Each FIGS has no more than twenty-five first-year students. The small class size means that our courses are a great way to get to know fellow students and your FIGS Peer Instructor.

    I’m not sure what I want to major in. How should I select my FIGS topic?

    FIGS are a great opportunity to learn more about an area that interests you and to explore related majors, minors, and career paths. Ultimately, you should care about the content of the class so select a topic that you’d like to learn more about.

    What should I expect each week in my FIGS?

    Your weekly FIGS class will be planned and facilitated by your Peer Instructor. FIGS are seminar courses, which means they are based on participation. You will receive the most benefit from this class if you come each week and take advantage of learning from your Peer Instructor and fellow students. All FIGS students will have the opportunity to hear from a peer panel, meet a faculty member, explore the various aspects of your interest area, and learn about the many services and resources available at Rutgers. You will have some short homework assignments and projects, but they are all designed to complement your learning, not provide you with busywork.

    How do I register for a FIGS?

    When you attend New Student Orientation, talk to your academic advisor about taking a FIGS. You can select only one FIGS course. Visit WebReg to register for FIGS courses (course number 01:090:120 or 11:090:120. To see the list of available FIGS, visit the 2023 FIGS Course Catalog. Don’t delay. FIGS fill quickly.

    Can I add a FIGS after New Student Orientation?

    First-year students can add a FIGS during summer through the Drop/Add period at the beginning of the fall semester. Visit WebReg to register for FIGS courses (course number 01:090:120 or 11:090:120).

    Can I take a FIGS and a Byrne Seminar?

    Yes. If you are interested in both FIGS and Byrne Seminars, you should note this on your course request form when selecting your fall classes. FIGS are only offered during the fall. Byrne Seminars are offered in both fall and spring semesters.

    How am I graded in FIGS?

    FIGS are one-credit courses graded Pass/No Credit. There will be some homework to complete, but you will spend much of your time in this course exploring your interest area, discussing hot topics, and learning about the many resources available to you at Rutgers.

    Does participation in FIGS impact my grade point average?

    No. FIGS are graded Pass/No Credit, which means you do not receive a letter grade. Therefore, the grade that you receive is not factored into your grade point average.

    Does the credit count towards graduation?

    Yes, all students who successfully complete a FIGS course will receive one credit toward graduation. If you do not come to class and fail to complete the minimum assignments, you may receive a “No credit” grade in the course. FIGS do not satisfy specific core curriculum requirements.

    Can I drop my FIGS?

    The FIGS program follows the university-wide deadlines to withdraw. Students participating in a FIGS connected to their learning community should consult with the program director on the implications of dropping their FIGS course.

  • What do FIGS Peer Instructors do?

    Peer Instructors (PIs) are responsible for teaching one section of a First-Year Interest Group Seminar (FIGS). Each FIGS class meets a total of ten times during the fall semester only (once a week for eighty minutes). PIs collaborate with the FIGS Team to plan, develop, and implement a customized curriculum, designing classes around their academic expertise and the nine FIGS Elements. PIs also serve as helpful mentors, aiding students in adjusting to college life and understanding the many resources available at Rutgers.

    What are the qualifications to become a FIGS Peer Instructor?

    To apply to be a PI, you must be a full-time Rutgers undergraduate currently in their sophomore or junior year with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, with at least one full semester completed at Rutgers University. All PI’s must register for the 3 credit Peer Instructor Education seminar in the spring semester and participate in a three-day training August.

    View the FIGS Peer Instructor Application Packet here.

    What are we looking for in Peer Instructor candidates?

    We are looking for candidates who are committed to their studies, involved in the Rutgers community, and excited about mentoring first-year students. Strong leadership and public speaking skills are a plus!

    How do I apply?

    Applications will be available in Fall 2023 for candidates for Peer Instructor for the Fall 2024 semester.

    When will you hold interviews for the position?

    Following the review of applications, select candidates will be invited to sign up for virtual interviews in November. Final selection announcements will be made in December.

    Who are the interviewers, and what does the process entail?

    The selection committee consists of Career Exploration and Success professional and graduate staff and former PIs.

    For the individual interview, candidates will be asked to facilitate a 10-minute engaging activity sharing a concept related to their potential FIGS course topic. These interviews will allow candidates to discuss their interests, skills, and experiences with several members of the selection committee. The purpose of the interviews is for us to get to know you better and for you to see if becoming a PI is the right leadership position for you.

    When does the position start, and what is the time commitment?

    Serving as a PI is a major commitment. Once chosen, PIs must enroll in the 3-credit Peer Instructor Education course in Spring 2024 and attend a summer training in August. In the following fall semester, PIs teach their FIGS course, and meet regularly with members of the FIGS staff.

    Are Peer Instructors compensated for their services?

    In the spring semester, Peer Instructors earn three credits by completing the Peer Instructor Education course (01:090:320). In the fall semester in which they teach, PIs receive a stipend of $2000.

    When is Peer Instructor Education offered?

    All PIs must register for Peer Instructor Education, a three-credit course in the spring semester. Multiple sections of PI Education will be offered. After hiring, Peer Instructors rank their class section preferences and then receive a SPN for registration. Peer Instructors receive three credits for the course, which meets for 180 minutes (3 hours) a week.

    How can I learn more about becoming a Peer Instructor?

    For more information, e-mail


FIGS End-of-Year Peer Instructor Recognition