Writing in the Disciplines

The University Writing Program supports GW students in maintaining a robust writing practice throughout their academic careers.

WID Writing Requirements

After they have completed UW1020, students must take two Writing in the Disciplines (WID) courses. WID courses build on the general academic writing frameworks students work with in UW1020. The WID curriculum is designed for students to receive sustained instruction in writing over the course of their studies at GW. Most students take more than the two required WID courses, as instruction in writing enhances their learning.

WID courses have a significant writing component, but are not designed to teach students basic writing skills. Rather,  WID courses engage students in writing frequently and intensively to improve overall learning in their discipline. They are designed to facilitate student involvement with particular bodies of knowledge, their methods of scholarship, and modes of communication. Learn more about the credit requirements for Writing in the Disciplines.

For Faculty

Interested in teaching a WID class? Learn about the requirements and how to propose a course.

Need support for your teaching? Apply for graduate assistants and peer writing preceptors.

Because appropriate amounts of writing will vary across disciplines (for example, mathematics students generally write less than philosophy students), the instructor will determine appropriate course guidelines for assignments and target appropriate quantities of writing. While the amounts of writing may vary, all WID courses will

  • teach students to write in modes characteristic of the discipline or interdisciplinary field, attending to the discipline's genres, purposes, and audiences.
  • stage writing assignments that build upon each other throughout the course, providing scaffolding support as needed.
  • ask students to draft and revise in response to substantive feedback from faculty and peers; each student should gain practice in providing meaningful peer response.
  • value such disciplinary work by assigning graded writing (excluding timed exams) as at least 40 percent of the course grade.

Faculty are encouraged to be innovative in their course design. This can take many forms, such as linking assignments in which early writing becomes part of a larger final project. Writing could have a more public component, with the goal of presenting GW's Research Days, publishing in the GW Undergradaute review journal, or some other kind of class event.