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Criteria for W Courses

  • A Writing course will require multiple writing assignments that total at least twenty pages of analytic writing during the semester. Such writing must not simply comprise a page total, but meet with the stipulations below. Raw laboratory notes or journal observations, e.g., would not qualify, nor would one term paper at the end of the semester.
  • A Writing course will focus attention explicitly on expository writing, in addition to field-specific substance. The course should pay explicit attention to helping students develop, compose, organize, revise, and edit analytical prose appropriate to the discipline. The course will develop a student's abilities to identify and define a thesis; to organize, construct, and develop an argument; to collect, organize, and present evidence and documentation; and to interpret and analyze evidence and documentation. It will pay explicit attention to the mechanics of writing and editing, issues of intended audience and author's voice.
  • A Writing course will use a significant combination of the following pedagogical strategies: multiple writing assignments that include careful definition of goals and guidelines; feedback, written or oral, about the writing as well as the substance; use of the resources of the Writing Associates Program; peer review and editing by class members; feedback in individual faculty-student conferences; in-class exercises such as group discussions; and opportunities to revise, rewrite, and resubmit papers.
  • A Writing course will have priority in the allocation of Writing Associates, though being a "W" course will not guarantee assignment of a WA.
  • Designing a course to be a Writing course will justify limiting course enrollment, e.g., to fifteen, with departmental approval. Those willing to work with larger numbers are welcome to do so.
  • Writing may be in English or a foreign language.

Creative writing courses will not fulfill this requirement.