Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Adviser Homepage > Adviser Information File > General Education Requirements 

Google

Adviser Information File
Undergraduate Policies and Procedures

Additional Writing


CONTENTS       Requirement
      University requirement
      Arts and Sciences requirement
      Other colleges
Acceptable English composition courses
      Other composition courses
      Transfer courses
W courses
      Posting UW W courses
      Backdating UW courses
      Transfer courses
1-credit waiver
Grades required
      Transfer pass/fail courses
Overlaps and restrictions
Exemptions
      Postbaccalaureate students
      Proficiency tests
      Transfer Associate Degree Agreement
Registering for W courses
Optional W courses
Ws by special arrangement
W-course criteria

Requirement

   

University requirement

For freshmen entering the UW autumn 1994 or later (and for transfer students entering the UW autumn 1996 or later), the Faculty Senate has established an additional writing requirement of 7 credits, beyond the 5-credit English composition course required of all students. The 7 credits must be in "writing-intensive" courses; that is, either additional English composition courses or W courses.

There is no University-level English composition or additional writing requirement for students entering college before 1985. For freshmen entering the UW autumn 1985 through summer 1994 (and for transfer students entering the UW autumn 1987 through summer 1996), the University-level additional writing requirement is either an additional composition course or two W courses.

Arts and Sciences requirement

Students who start college anywhere in autumn 1985 or later and graduate from the UW College of Arts and Sciences must complete 10 credits of writing-intensive courses in addition to the 5 credits of English composition required. The 10 credits may be any combination of English composition and/or W courses. Note that Arts and Sciences does not allow a two-year grace period for transfer students in this instance; also note that Arts and Sciences uses the date the student started college, not the date the student entered the UW. Students who started college before autumn 1985 are eligible for an earlier "proficiency" requirement, described in Pre-1985 General Education and Basic Skills Requirements. See Determining quarter of entry if the date when the student started college isn't clear.

Other colleges

Each college has structured its requirements to meet or exceed the University additional writing requirement. Some colleges require specific courses to meet the additional writing requirement. See General Education and Basic Skills Requirements of UW Schools and Colleges. Each school or college of the University decides for itself to what extent it will follow the policy of Arts and Sciences in applying requirements to students who began college before 1985.
  
  

Acceptable English composition courses

    Any course(s) from the Arts and Sciences English composition list may count toward the additional writing requirement if the course is not being counted toward the English composition requirement itself. Courses from the additional UW English composition course list may also count.

Other composition courses

The UW courses listed below, and their transfer equivalents, may count toward the additional writing requirement but may not count toward the 5-credit English composition requirement.

B CMU 410  Business Reports and Other Specialized Communications (5)
*T C 231Introduction to Technical Writing (3)
T C 333Advanced Technical Writing and Oral Presentation (4)
T C 401Style in Scientific and Technical Writing (3)

*T C 231 may not satisfy the English composition requirement because it is only 3 credits. The equivalent course at community colleges is usually 5 credits, and can be used to satisfy the English composition requirement. Three credits of T C 231 plus at least another 2 credits of English composition could be used to satisfy the English composition requirement-but the UW offers only 5-credit English composition courses.

The following courses, and other similar courses, do not count toward the additional writing requirement (nor toward English composition): creative writing, short-story writing, novel writing, verse writing. All four types of courses do, however, count toward VLPA.

Transfer courses

Transfer courses in English composition will usually transfer as a direct equivalent (for example, "ENGL 131"), or as ENGL 1XX. ENGL 1XX composition courses from Washington community colleges should be flagged by the Office of Admissions as English composition. Advisers may approve other courses, including those transferring as UW 1XX, if the primary purpose of the course was formal writing instruction. The adviser should post the C using the SRF330 screen. Note that creative writing and verse writing courses, which count as English composition courses at Washington community colleges, are counted by the UW as neither composition nor W courses.
  
  

W courses

    W courses emphasize writing and provide students the opportunity to develop their writing skills within a particular discipline, such as history or biology. In W-prefix courses writing is an integral part of the course, contributing to the understanding and appreciation of the subject matter being taught. Writing takes place over an extended period of time, so that students receive feedback on their writing and have the opportunity to implement suggestions in later writing assignments--for example, by revising a major paper for subsequent evaluation or by writing several similar papers. See below for specific W-course criteria.
  
  

Posting UW W courses

    Since winter 1995, Ws have been assigned to courses by departments using the W-course criteria described below. Departments add or remove a W from a course in the same manner as any other time schedule change, by making the change on time schedule work sheets, or by sending an email with the request to the Time Schedule Office. If a W is posted on a course through the seventh week of the quarter, the course will be posted on the students' records as a W course. After the seventh week of the quarter, the instructor should instead award a W to each student using the W circle on the grade sheet.

Before winter 1995, a list of approved W courses for each quarter was prepared by the Arts and Sciences W-Course Committee. If a W course offered before winter 1995 is not properly recorded on a student's transcript, contact Scott Winter at Undergraduate Advising.

Backdating UW courses

Students may use the
W-Course Petition form, also available at the Undergraduate Gateway Center, to request that a W be posted on a completed UW course which met the W-course criteria but was not so posted. The student must provide documentation in the form of the graded papers, the course syllabus, or the instructor's signature on the petition. The form is to be used only for courses completed in a previous quarter. For a course in progress, the student should contact the instructor. Instructors can award Ws to individual students when grades are submitted at the end of the quarter.

The current W-course criteria, adopted in spring 1994, are more liberal than the previous W-course criteria. In particular, before spring 1994 the writing assignments in a W course had to be graded by the professor; this effectively limited the class size of W courses to 50 or less. The new W-course criteria are retroactive. A student who completed a UW course which did not meet the criteria in effect when the course was offered but meets the new criteria can use the W-course petition form to request that a W be posted on the course.

Transfer courses

Some local community colleges also use the W prefix and follow UW's W-course criteria. If there is a W in the course's title on the student's transcript, the admissions specialist who compiles the transfer evaluation should post a W on the transfer course. If the W wasn't posted by Admissions, the adviser can post it on SRF330.

All academic advisers may approve transfer courses that satisfy the W-course criteria. It's up to the individual adviser to decide whether to require any documentation; most advisers accept the student's description of the transfer course's writing assignments. Advisers unfamiliar with the W-course criteria may refer students to the Undergraduate Gateway Center. The W-course petition form, used to backdate Ws on UW courses, is not used for transfer courses.

To post a W on a transfer course, advisers use the SRF330 screen. Enter a W in the W field for the course and Send.

See below for information about the Transfer Associate Degree Agreement.

  
  

1-credit waiver

    If an Arts and Sciences student completes only nine credits of additional writing, the adviser may approve a waiver of one credit of the additional writing requirement. For this to appear on a DARS audit or a DARS graduation application, a DARS exception is necessary. The adviser can either submit the exception or send a request to dars@u.washington.edu
  
  

Grades required

    Any passing grade in a writing-intensive course, including 0.7, is acceptable toward the additional writing requirement. As of autumn 1985, courses taken at the UW to fulfill any graduation requirement, including additional writing, cannot be taken Satisfactory/Not Satisfactory (S/NS).

Transfer pass-fail courses

A transferred course taken under a student-option pass-fail system may be counted toward the additional writing requirement only if it was taken before the student matriculated at the UW.

A transferred course that was available only on a non-graded basis is automatically acceptable, whether taken before or after matriculation at the UW. The course should appear on the transfer evaluation with a grade of CR (rather than S).

UW courses taken S/NS before matriculation at the UW campus granting the student's degree may also be used to satisfy the additional writing requirement.

  
  

Overlaps and restrictions

    Courses taken to satisfy the additional writing requirement may also count toward any other graduation requirement, including the student's major, except no course may count toward both the English composition requirement and the additional writing requirement. A course's credits may, however, be split between those two requirements. For example, a student who transfers a 6-credit English composition course may use 5 credits to meet the English composition requirement and apply the remaining 1 credit toward the additional writing requirement.
  
  

Exemptions

   

Postbaccalaureate students

Students who have already completed a bachelor's degree at the UW or elsewhere are exempt from the University (and Arts and Sciences) additional writing requirement.

Proficiency tests

There is no test for exemption from the additional writing requirement.

Transfer Associate Degree Agreement

Students who enter under the Transfer Associate Degree Agreement are not exempt from the additional writing requirement.
  
  

Registering for W courses

    W courses are designated in the quarterly Time Schedule with the notation WRITING or OPTIONAL "W" COURSE.

Whether or not a course is a W course depends on the nature of the writing assignments, which can change from quarter to quarter and instructor to instructor. In fact, different sections of the same course in a given quarter may or may not all be designated W courses. For this reason, there is no list of permanent W courses.

Students and advisers can generate a list of open W courses using the General Education Course Requirement Search.

  
  

Optional W courses

    Some courses are designed so that students may, if they wish, complete additional writing assignments and earn a W for the course. For example, if the writing requirement is a major paper, students may be given the option of doing a draft and a revision to earn a W. Optional W courses are designated in the quarterly Time Schedule with the notation OPTIONAL "W" COURSE.

The instructor will indicate the students who completed the W requirement by marking the W circle on the grade sheet for each student at the end of the quarter.

  
  

Ws by special arrangement

    Many students make special arrangements with an instructor to have a course count as a W course, even though it is not designated as a W course in the Time Schedule.

If a student is taking a course that requires extensive writing but is not posted as a W course, the student can discuss with the professor the possibility of earning a W for the course. The professor can award a W to an individual student in a course by marking in the W circle on the grade sheet. Or, as described above, the professor may decide to post a W on the course so that all students receive a W.

It is also possible for the student and the professor to make an arrangement in which the student will complete the extra work required to meet the W-course criteria. For example, a 10-page paper with no revision required is not sufficient to meet the W-course criteria; but a 10-page paper which is graded by the professor and then revised and resubmitted does meet the W criteria. Again, the professor awards the W on the grade sheet at the end of the quarter.

  
  

W-course criteria

    A W course must require at least 10-15 pages of graded, out-of-class writing, in the form of a long paper with a required revision or two or more shorter papers.

  • Papers may be graded by professors, instructors, TAs, and/or readers.
  • Students should receive some feedback on their writing; that is, comments on papers should not be restricted to content only.
  • Revisions do not count in the total number of pages of writing. Typical writing assignments:
    • one 10-15 page paper with a required revision
    • three similar 5-page papers
    • two short book reviews and one longer paper
  • Take-home exams do not count toward the 10-15 page total, unless students are given ample time for thoughtful writing and revision, and exams are graded for writing (organization, clarity of expression) as well as content.
  • In-class writing does not count toward the 10-15 page total.
  • Creative writing and verse writing do not count toward the 10-15 page total.
  • Journals and annotated bibliographies do not count toward the 10-15 page total.
  • Papers may be written in foreign languages if the work is graded primarily for content and organization.
  • The amount of writing required for a W is not determined by the number of credits assigned to the course. These criteria apply to all courses, even those assigned only one or two credits.