Writing Intensive Courses

Overview: Writing Intensive Courses at RIT


In order to ensure that students emerge from their years at RIT with competencies in writing that will serve them well in their work and in their lives as global citizens, the University integrates substantial and sequenced instruction in writing across all colleges, and throughout their time here. This is accomplished by requiring students to take three “writing intensive” (WI) courses: First Year Writing, General Education WI, and Program WI.

What is a “Writing Intensive” Course?

  1. All WI courses have writing-related learning outcomes. Some general examples of outcomes include:
    • Use writing as a tool to discover ideas.
    • Demonstrate the ability to use writing as a way of communicating ideas.
    • Identify discipline-specific ways of writing.
    • Demonstrate proficiency in disciplinary writing conventions appropriate to the course.
    • Show competency in written Englishes according to an assigned disciplinary Style Guide(s).
  2. The course will have sequenced informal and formal writing assignments intended as "writing to learn" and "learning to write" experiences. Informal writing might include brainstorming, free writing, journals, and reaction-response essays. Formal "learning to write" assignments might include critiques, reviews, laboratory reports, case studies, observations, essays, proposals, and research papers.
  3. Students receive feedback from their instructor and will have an opportunity to use that feedback to complete substantive revision of written work. This feedback can be supplemented by peer mentors, writing fellows, and writing center instructors.
  4. Program WI courses include classroom modules dedicated to particular writing conventions—vocabulary, organization, use of evidence, citation—specific to a given discipline or profession.
  5. A minimum of 20% of the grade for a WI course is based formal writing.

First Year Writing Intensive Courses

First Year Writing plays an essential role in students' transition from secondary to post-secondary education. The first year experience is designed to develop 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. The course also emphasizes the principles of intellectual property and academic integrity for both current academic and future professional writing.

General Education Writing Intensive (GE-WI)

General Education Writing Intensive (GE-WI) courses are integrated into course requirements for students at RIT. 

General Education Writing Intensive courses are located throughout the curriculum and use writing as a way to engage students in course content. General Education WI courses reinforce and expand upon the knowledge and practices introduced in First Year Writing. In General Education Writing Intensive courses, students are introduced to and practice reading, writing, and revising written forms common to the various disciplinary contexts of General Education "Perspective," "Immersion" and elective courses. 

Program Writing Intensive (PR WI)

Program Writing Intensive (PR-WI) courses are intended to apprentice students in forms of writing specific to their discipline. Program WI courses reinforce and expand upon the knowledge and practices introduced in First Year Writing and in the GE-WI classes. We recommend this be taken in the third or fourth year. If a student or college chooses to do so, a second PR-WI course may be used to satisfy the GE-WI requirement.