First Year Writing

The First Year Writing courses (UW 1020s) exist to strengthen students’ writing abilities in ways that will serve them during their academic careers at GW and in their future pursuits. UW 1020 courses emphasize the importance of strong writing, critical thinking and communication skills for future academic and professional success.



UW Requirement Details

2 students looking at their papers
  • All entering first year and transfer undergraduate students are required to take UW 1020, which is a four-credit course.
  • Students can take UW 1020 in either the fall or the spring semester. UW 1020 is occasionally taught during the summer.
  • Neither AP, IB, nor any other test will exempt a student from UW 1020.
  • UW 1020 is designated as a pre-disciplinary course: the goal is to enable students to write effectively in various contexts, within the university and beyond.
  • Unlike some required GW and WID courses, UW 1020 cannot be counted toward the requirements of any major or minor.


Hybrid and Service Learning Formats

In addition to traditional classroom formats, some UW 1020 courses incorporate hybrid or service learning elements.

  • Hybrid courses blend face-to-face classroom instruction with online learning to improve learning outcomes, with a significant portion of coursework completed online.
  • Service-learning courses address a community need through direct or indirect service and community-based research.


“Former Senior Curator Arthur Wheelock visited our UW 1020 class at the National Gallery of Art, and I enjoyed having the opportunity to hear his insights on art history research and art from the Dutch Golden Age. Because of his long career and decades of experience, he was able to give us advice for our research essays.”

Lauren Grueninger
BA ’23, Philosophy and English