Writing-Intensive (W) Courses

What is a Writing-Intensive (W) Course?

Every student at Queens College must take College Writing 1 (ENG 110), College Writing 2, and two additional writing-intensive courses—known as W courses.

A writing-intensive course typically uses writing to help students develop their understanding of course materials and concepts. W courses tend to be smaller than non-W courses, so that instructors can devote time and attention to the writing and writing process of individual students. W courses also give students a chance to practice writing in ways that are particular to specific disciplines.

There are as many types of W courses as there are fields of academic study—for example, English 140W (Introduction to Poetry), Mathematics 213W (Writing with Mathematica), Psychology 213W (Experimental Psychology), Media Studies 330W (The Music Industry), or Sociology 381W (Senior Seminar). You can expect some of the following from any W course you take:

  • at least 10–15 pages of writing
  • at least three writing assignments over the course of the semester
  • attention to writing in class
  • opportunity to revise your work
  • attention to the writing process
  • attention to the writing methods specific to the course or discipline

Which Writing-Intensive Courses Should You Take?

You should consider carefully which writing-intensive courses to take. Every student—and every writer—is different. As you make choices about the W courses you’ll take, think about what you want or need to learn, what kinds of feedback you’ve received from teachers in the past, and what kinds of writing will help you most in your future profession and your life.

While there is no one-size-fits-all program of W courses, you should consider the following:

  • It will be helpful if you take at least one W course in your major or minor (if offered) because this will introduce you to discipline-specific writing techniques that will serve you well in many of your courses.
  • It’s a good idea to take at least one upper-level (300-level) W course. This will give you the opportunity to explore the relationship between writing and advanced thinking in a particular field.
  • Choose W courses whose topics interest you. W courses involve a great deal of concentrated writing and thinking. You’re likely to learn more if you’re invested in the course materials and topics.
Date: October 02, 2017

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