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.

Questions? Write to us at [email protected]




    Policies and Requirements

    • All GW students — non-transfer and transfer alike — must successfully complete at least six credits of WID, 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.
    • The six WID credits 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 six credits of WID; they overlap with most other requirements.

    • We recommend that students take 3 WID credits in the sophomore year and 3 in the junior year. However, students may choose to take WID credits 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 6 credits of WID.

    • 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.



    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.