Writing-Intensive Course Criteria


Submission Deadline:

Please submit writing-intensive course proposals to the University Writing Committee by March 1st, 2019 for approval to be listed as a "W" course for the fall 2019 semester.


The University Writing Committee has developed a checklist to assist faculty with developing "W" course syllabi.  To access the checklist, please click here.


Approved by the Council of Deans on 10/25/17

  • Professional Development:
    • Before teaching a writing-intensive ("W") course for the first time, faculty will complete at least one writing instruction workshop coordinated by the USA Writing Center.  Faculty teaching "W" courses will also have access to a USA Online course site managed by the Writing Center.  (Click HERE for more information about the workshop.)
  • Prerequisites:
    • English 102, 105, or CLEP credit is a prerequisite for all "W" courses.
  • Course Level/Hours:
    • "W" courses are normally 300- or 400-level courses.
  • Credit Hours:
    • "W" courses are typically at least three credit hours.  Exceptions to the three credit hour recommendation include lab courses which are one credit hour.
  • Program Requirements:
    • Two "W" courses are required, and students must take at least one "W" course in their major.  The second course may be any other approved "W" course.
  • Class Size:
    • An enrollment cap of 25 students is recommended.
  • Course Review:
    • The University Writing Committee will periodically review "W" course syllabi of approved courses to determine compliance with the updated policy.
  • Course Organization:
    • Course syllabi should include learning outcomes related to the content, writing, and research in the discipline.  Writing skills appropriate to the discipline are to be taught by each instructor.
  • Required Number of Assignments/Words:
    • Three or more writing assignments (excluding essay exams) are required and spread out across the semester, totaling at least 4,000 words.
  • Required Types of Assignments:
    • At least one assignment should include a scholarly research component that is appropriate to the discipline.
  • Feedback:
    • Students will be provided feedback on writing assignments from faculty and/or peers.  The Writing Center is also available as a resource to provide feedback to students.
  • Revisions:
    • Students will be provided the opportunity to revise their writing assignments based on the feedback.
  • Assessment:
    • At least 30 percent of the course grade should be based on the required writing assignments.
  • Grades:
    • Assigned grades should be A, B, C, D, or F.
  • Existing Courses:
    • "W" courses approved prior to the 10/25/17 writing-intensive course criteria update will continue to be defined as "W" courses.