Students and WI

All directly admitted first year students at RIT are automatically placed in a section of FYW First Year Writing (150). While the majority of students will be placed into UWRT 150 Writing Seminar, others may be placed into ISTE 150, or Honors 150.*

UWRT 150 emphasizes academic literacy – reading, writing, critical thinking, and analysis, 

If you feel like you need more preparation for academic reading and writing, please go to the Writing Center in the Wallace Library where you can talk to a trained writing consultant about options and resources that will be right for you.

*some students in NTID and at some international campuses may place into CRW 100

UWRT 150

Course Description

FYW Writing Seminar is a three-credit course limited to 19 students per section. The course is designed to develop first-year students’ proficiency in analytical and rhetorical reading and writing, and critical thinking. Students will read, understand, and interpret a variety of non-fiction texts representing different cultural perspectives and/or academic disciplines. These texts are designed to challenge students intellectually and to stimulate their writing for a variety of contexts and purposes. Through inquiry-based assignment sequences, students will develop academic research and literacy practices that will be further strengthened throughout their academic careers. Particular attention will be given to the writing process, including an emphasis on teacher-student conferencing, critical self-assessment, class discussion, peer review, formal and informal writing, research, and revision. Small class size promotes frequent student-instructor and student-student interaction. The course also emphasizes the principles of intellectual property and academic integrity for both current academic and future professional writing.

Find a Sample Syllabus HERE

Find a Sample Assignment HERE

Find two Sample Readings: Nancy Sommers and Laura Saltz, "The Novice as Expert: Writing the Freshman Year" (2004) and Vershawn Ashanti Young, “Should Writers Use They Own English?” (2010)


UWRT 325

Course Description 

Writing Genre, Theory & Practice is a three-credit course. This course is designed to foster students' development as academic writers and communicators through the study of genre, literacy, and peer-to-peer interactions. Students will read, interpret, and reflect on a variety of texts, analyze writing-related artifacts, revise their own writing in a variety of mediums, and conduct ethnographic-oriented observations of writing consultation sessions in the RIT Writing Commons. Particular attention will be given to the writing and revision process, peer-to-peer conferencing, class discussion, and ethnographic research and remediation projects. Through engagement with each other and students and staff in the Writing Commons, students will develop successful reading, writing, and communication practices that will inform their participation in other academic and workplace contexts (e.g. writing center consultations, undergraduate research). To be enrolled in UWRT 325, students need to have completed UWRT 150 First Year Writing.


UWRT 365

Course Description 

Civic engagement describes the different ways individuals and collectives work to identify public concerns, defend or redefine public values, seek to correct historical injustices, and make positive change for the common good or a specific community. In this course, students will gain an understanding of key concepts and vocabulary within interdisciplinary civic engagement and social justice literature, engage a variety of contemporary issues of public concern and the groups that seek to address these issues through different forms of civic engagement, and learn about the role rhetoric plays within these diverse and situated civic contexts. Students will identify a public concern (i.e. homelessness, voting restrictions, health care disparities, environmental racism, economic inequality, the school-to-prison pipeline) they want to learn more about; identify a group or groups seeking to address that issue through practices of civic engagement; and analyze, research, and present on that issue and group through formal and informal writing and public speaking/presentation assignments. Students will learn tools and perspectives in rhetorical analysis and genre awareness, effective writing practices for a college-level humanities course, effective public speaking/presentation skills, and revision and workshopping strategies for both writing and presentation contexts.


Library Resources

  • The UWP Writing Center (located on the first floor of Wallace as of Fall 2023 - currently in A level of Wallace) is your most valuable writing resource! 
  • Summon is what the RIT Library calls its search tool. Here, you have access to all of the physical and digital resources within the Wallace Center, Cary Collection, and RIT Archives.  This tutorial and fun quiz, LIV@RIT,  will help you to get acclimated with the library and develop the skills you need to search in Summon, determine good sources, use the open internet thoughtfully, and cite your sources.  
  • This Citation Style Guide hosted by RIT Libraries covers APA and MLA citation styles, as well as a video tutorial about correct formatting in Microsoft Word. There are also links and instructions about four reference and citation management tools:  Noodlebib, Endnote, Mendeley, and Zotero
  • The RIT Librarians are available to help students with research and/or to answer any of your questions. On the Meet Your Librarians webpage, access librarian email addresses and phone numbers. You can schedule a one-on-one consultation with the librarian of your choice by using the Librarian Appointment online scheduling tool. You can also chat live with a librarian for immediate assistance during the hours of 9 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday.
  • Infoguides provide information for conducting research in a variety of disciplines, in support of a particular RIT course, or about tools such as citation builders. Each infoguide includes a description indicating the disciplinary focus and the resources contained within. The Library has created an infoguide specifically for Writing Classes. Check it out!
  • The RIT Library offers a variety of helpful tutorials. Visit the RIT Library YouTube Channel to get help with search strategies, finding eBooks, looking for resources within the Digital Collection, and more!

Web Resources

  • This Academic Integrity site includes student and faculty resources for understanding copyright, Turnitin, and institutional policies for both intentional and inadvertent plagiarism

Other helpful resources

  • The Purdue OWL has been a vital resource since its creation in 1995. The site includes information about subject-specific writing, English as a Second Language (ESL), professional writing as well as correct documentation in multiple citation formats.
  • Grammarly advertises itself as “the world’s most accurate online grammar checker.” The software is free with sign-up and can be installed as a plug-in for most browsers and word processing software. The site also offers Grammar Tips, a Blog about Writing, and Plagiarism Checker
  • The Editorial Freelancers Association helps writers looking for professional copyeditors. This is a fee-for-service organization through which writers post jobs and editors bid to be hired to complete them. The EFA provides information about common rates and requires a paid membership to access services.

Locating a Copy Editor

The Writing Center does not provide professional copy editing or proofreading services. If you are interested in having your thesis or dissertation edited or proofread for errors before you file with the Wallace Library, you will need to locate an editor and pay for this resource. The Editorial Freelancers Association is a professional organization that offers a member directory and job list. You can use this organization to contact and hire a professional copy editor. The EFA is in no way affiliated with RIT, the University Writing Program, the Writing Center, or the Wallace Library.

Name What You Know: A Writing Self-assessment

Take the survey HERE to reflect on your past and present reading, writing, and academic literacy knowledge and practices to assess where you are right now as a writer. This look back will help you to start thinking about the resources that will be right for you. 

 QR for survey

Options and Questions

You may schedule personal, weekly, one on one appointments in the Writing Centerand you may request a consultation with the writing program director at They will meet with you to address your specific writing questions and discuss resource options.  If you have any other, more general questions about writing at RIT, please contact the University Writing Program team at


UWRT 150, ISTE 110, and Honors 150 all count as FYW WI. AP Language and Composition counts, and some First Year Writing courses at other schools may count.

UWRT 150 sections 50 and above are typically reserved for non-first year students.

There are sections supported by captionists, interpreters or note takers. There are NTID sections with direct instruction in ASL.

In special cases, you may apply for a GE WI course substitution.  The petition form and instructions for the assemblage of a writing portfolio for consideration may be found HERE.  Substitutions are rarely granted. You and your advisor should plan out how you will fulfill your three WI requirements in your first year. (Please note that no last-minute petitions for WI substitutions will be considered after the two weeks prior to graduation. Students and advisors should do a graduation audit for the writing requirements well in advance of this time).

Stan McKenzie Prize

Deadline for Submissions

February 1, 2024

Submission Form

Who is eligible?

Students enrolled in the First Year Writing in Spring, Summer, or Fall may submit a portfolio of work. First Year Writing Courses during this competition period include: UWRT-150, ENGL-150, and ISTE-110.

What is a “Portfolio of Work”?

A portfolio of work for this prize consists of writing from the student’s First-Year Writing course that demonstrates development across drafts of a research-based writing project, as well as critical reflection about the writing process itself. The student should include the following items in digital format:

  • McKenzie Prize Submission Form
  • At least 2 drafts of a research-based paper (minimally a preliminary draft and the final draft) that integrate multiple sources to support a clear claim. The final draft should display correct and consistent citations of sources in an accepted publishing format (MLA, APA, or Chicago).
  • A Personal Reflection letter describing the process of research and revision for this paper. Include what has been changed in the final draft because of and based on the feedback/revision cycle.

Who can submit?

  • First Year Writing course faculty will notify students to urge them to submit portfolios for consideration. The students will need to acknowledge their willingness to be considered for this prize by completing the submission form.
  • All submitters should review the guidelines for the reflection cover letter (described below). Faculty may provide guidance to the students for the reflection letter.
  • The prize is open to currently enrolled RIT students. 

What is a reflection letter?

Students who are submitting work for this prize are asked to write an essay of 500-800 words in which they reflect on their process of writing and revising the submitted paper. A detailed guide is attached to the submission form.

What is the award process?

A panel of First Year Writing faculty will read complete portfolios, evaluate the quality of the writing and revision presented in the portfolio, and identify the winners. Awards will be presented at the Kearse Awards and McKenzie Prize Ceremony toward the end of the Spring semester. Following that tradition, the prize-winning students will be introduced by their First Year Writing instructors, who will each give a brief statement concerning the students’ work.

What is the award?

The first place award is $500. The second place award is $250.

Publication of Student Work

Traditionally, the writings that win the McKenzie Prize are published in an RIT collection along with other award-winning writing. They will be featured here on the UWP website, and award-winning portfolios also may be made available to future First Year Writing classes for instructional use.