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Interdisciplinary Writing Program

Many, if not most, transfer students have a clear sense of what they would like to major in by the time they arrive on the UW campus. The Interdisciplinary Writing Program, or "IWP," can help students reach that goal! The IWP, which is based in the English department, offers small writing seminars linked to a wide variety of UW courses. Our 5-credit seminars are linked with disciplines ranging from Biology to American Indian Studies; from English to Atmospheric Sciences. If you plan to enroll in one of these lecture courses, many of which satisfy major prerequisites, you can sign up for the accompanying IWP writing course too. Here are some of the reasons you should consider enrolling in an IWP course:

The IWP writing courses have been shown to help students succeed in the linked lecture course.

 Depending on the writing seminar, students explore many of the same topics and readings that are assigned in the lecture course. Discussing and writing about content from the lecture course reinforces concepts and builds literacy that is relevant (which means students can do better on lecture exams!). Just as important, students learn to write in a specific discipline, which is a skill that major admissions committees and prospective employers always seek in applicants. Students say that studying a topic in one class, while simultaneously writing about it in another, is an incredibly rewarding experience—through their intensive writing, some students even discover topics they hope to study in grad school and on into their professional lives.

Students get to work on their writing in a small group setting (21 students max!), and have many opportunities to work one-on-one with their instructor and peers.

One of the core principles of the IWP is that writing should always be front and center in every course. For that reason, classes are capped at 21, and every student will be supported as they develop, revise, and polish their writing. All IWP courses feature intensive student-instructor conferencing and peer review as part of the curriculum, which enables students to produce texts they are really proud of. Many students testify that the intellectual community they develop in the IWP is one of their most gratifying undergraduate experiences. What’s more, working so closely with peers helps foster relationships that can be difficult to find in lecture courses or elsewhere at a large institution. Through the small writing seminar students can build study groups for their lecture courses, and forge relationships with instructors that prove to be academically and professionally fruitful.

 All IWP courses can be used to fulfill the "C" (Composition) or "W"(Writing Intensive) requirements.

Taking an IWP course automatically satisfies the “C” (Composition), or if you already have a “C” credit, it satisfies the “W” (Writing Intensive) credit. In fact, you can satisfy all three of your required writing credits by taking three separate IWP courses! That way you can move through your core requirements, all while becoming intellectually prepared for your major.

Check out our fall course offerings below, and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact: Karen Wennerstrom, IWP Program Coordinator, at  or Carrie Matthews, IWP Director, at

Here are some of the courses we will be linking with this fall:

  • HSTAA 110, History of American Citizenship – ENGL 198 C
  • ANTH 101, Exploring Sociocultural Anthropology – ENGL 198 J
  • AIS 102, Introduction to American Indian Studies – ENGL 198 L
  • ASTR 10, Astronomy - ENGL 199 A
  • BIOL 180 A & B, Introductory Biology – ENGL 199 C, D, E, L, M
  • ATM S 111, Global Warming: Understanding the Issues – 199 F
  • ENGL 202, Introduction to the Study of English Language and Literature – ENGL 297 A, ENGL 297 B
  • ENGL 491 B, Community Literacy Program – ENGL 298 A
  • POL S 202, Introduction to American Politics – ENGL 298 B
  • POL S 203, Introduction to International Relations – ENGL 298 C
  • JSIS 200, States and Capitalism: The Origins of the Modern Global System– ENGL 298 G
  • BIOL 200, Introductory Biology – ENGL 299 A
  • BIOL 220, Introductory Biology – ENGL 299 B
  • PSYCH 202, Biopsychology – ENGL 299 C