Writing Intensive Courses

Basic Requirements

1. Students must take two “writing-intensive” courses that together offer at least four semester hours of credit.  For example, two two-hour courses or one one-hour and one three-hour course would meet the requirement.

2. Students must have completed English 111 and 112 or equivalent before taking any “writing-intensive” courses.

Guidelines for Writing-Intensive Courses

The purpose of a writing-intensive requirement is to insure that students continue to practice and develop the writing, reading, and critical thinking skills they learned in the first-year composition courses, and to insure that they learn to use the conventions of discourse and research methodologies of their major discipline. To meet this requirement, a course should include at least the following elements:

1. A minimum of 5,000 words (around twenty typed pages) of assigned writing over the course of the semester.

2. A mix of formal and informal writing exercises. Formal writing would include research papers, essays, position papers, and reports that have gone through more than one draft before being presented in the finished form. Informal writing would include study questions, in-class responses, journals, heuristic exercises, and essay examinations.

3. A process-oriented approach to the teaching of writing. Simply defined, this means that the writing of a finished product is divided into stages, with oral or written feedback at each stage. 

Additional Recommendations

1. Course syllabi should include a statement on plagiarism, an explanation of the grading standards used for evaluating writing, and a description of the Continuous Writing Check procedure. 

2. Courses designated “writing-intensive” should be limited to twenty students for effective supervision. 

3. Each department should try to offer at least one “writing-intensive” course at the 200 level and one at the 300 or 400 level to encourage students to spread the requirement across their academic careers.  Advisors in disciplines with less than two “writing-intensive “ courses should guide students into courses consistent with their discipline, aiming for one at the sophomore level and one at the junior and senior level.