Faculty & students at the University Writing roundtable

Writing in the Disciplines

Writing in the Disciplines (WID) courses are designed to help students develop a robust writing practice throughout their academic careers, starting with intensive attention to writing in a specific topic area. Every semester, GW offers more than a hundred WID courses across nearly every discipline, from STEM to theater to Japanese. Recent WID courses have broached topics as diverse as Arab Politics; Race, Gender and Shakespeare; Sports and Event Marketing; Washington, D.C., History and Culture; Broadcast News Writing; Epidemics in American History and much more. The WID program also hosts annual distinguished lectures for the university community.

For their writing requirement, all undergraduate students are required to take UW 1020, University Writing (4 credits) and at least two Writing in the Disciplines (WID) courses (minimum 6 credits) for a total of 10 credit hours. WID courses are identified by a "W" appended to the course number. WID courses may also fulfill general education, distribution, school-specific, or major requirements, if the courses are designated for that purpose. Students should consult their school and/or department to determine which courses may be double counted for degree requirements.




Policies and Requirements

  • All GW students — non-transfer and transfer alike — must successfully complete at least two WID courses totalling six credits over two different semesters, in any department or program, preferably in their second and third years. Many majors also have senior capstones that also require disciplinary writing; these may or may not be WIDs.
  • Because the goal of WID is to engage students in intensive attention to their writing over time at GW:
    • Passing UW 1020 is a prerequisite to receiving WID credit for a course. A WID course taken before or simultaneously with UW 1020 will not count toward the WID requirement.
    • Students may receive WID credit for up to four WID credits in a single semester. They may take more than one WID course simultaneously, but only four credits per semester will count toward the WID requirement.
    • Summer Sessions I and II count as a single semester. Only up to four credits of WID taken during a summer semester will count toward the WID requirement.
  • Only courses designated with a W in the GW Bulletin are WID courses. A non-WID course cannot fulfill any part of the WID requirement, even if a WID version of that course exists.
  • Only the WID Administrators may grant a WID exemption.
  • Only the WID Director can approve new WID courses, which must be submitted through a WID course approval process.
  • Students may take as many WIDs as they wish. Many GW students take more than the two required.
  • The two WID courses can be in the student's major, minor or a related field, but they do not have to be; many students choose to take more than two WIDs and count them toward other requirements.
  • We recommend that students take one WID course in the sophomore year and one in the junior year. However, students may choose to take WID courses as late as the senior year.
  • Transfer students with 30 or more credits who have taken 4-6 credits of English composition and who have been approved for exemption from UW 1020 are still required to take two WID courses. If you believe you qualify for an exemption, review the exemption requirements.
  • WID courses can fulfill more than one requirement simultaneously. For example, a WID course can fulfill a general education curriculum (G-PAC) requirement and a major requirement at the same time.
  • If WID and non-WID versions of a course are offered simultaneously, students wanting WID credit should enroll in the WID version. Students will not receive WID credit if enrolled under a non-WID course number, even if it is cross-listed with a WID section.


WID Course Offerings

There are as many as 150 WID courses offered per semester.

  • To see descriptions of the latest WID course options, please use the Course Search tool on the Office of the Registrar’s Schedule of Classes page. Check the box for "writing-intensive course" (at the bottom of the search form, under Additional Requirements).
  • To find a WID course that fulfills a particular area of GW's General Education Curriculum (G-PAC) requirements, browse the G-PAC course list on the Undergraduate Advising website.