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 lifelong learners and 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. Ideally, an RIT student will pass through First Year Writing, General Education WI, and Program WI in years 1-4. (Some programs provide two PR-WI courses or a sequence in their discipline vs GE-WI in the 2nd or 3rd year).  (if students have taken the AP: Lang and Composition course and gotten a 3 or better, or if they have articulated transfer credit, they will not need to take FYW).

WI Sequence

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 and build knowledge.
    • 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 course and/or 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 writing-to-learn via 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, scaffolded 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 and reflection, 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.


  • What counts as First Year Writing Intensive? UWRT 150, ISTE 150, and Honors 150 all count as FYW WI. AP Language and Composition counts, and some First Year Writing courses at other schools may count.
  • If I'm a returning or transfer student, can I take FYW? UWRT 150 sections 50 and above are typically reserved for non-first year students.
  • Are there are supported sections of UWRT 150? There are sections supported by captionists, interpreters or note takers. There are NTID sections with direct instruction in ASL.

General Education Writing Intensive (GE-WI)

There are many General Education Writing Intensive (GE-WI) courses that may be integrated into course requirements for students at RIT. GE-WI courses are located throughout the curriculum and, building on the concepts introduced in the first year, use writing as a way to further engage students with content in a wide variety of academic discourses.  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. 


What happens if I'm missing a WI course? 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)

Program Writing Intensive (PR WI)

Program Writing Intensive (PR-WI) courses are intended to encourage students to think of writing as a way to learn, think, innovate, and communicate as they gain expertise in their respective fields of interest.  PR courses should also introduce students to the forms of writing (genres) specific to knowledge dissemination in their given discipline or profession. Program WI courses should reinforce and expand upon the threshold concepts and practices introduced in First Year Writing, and in the GE-WI classes students may elect to take. The UWP recommends that PR courses be taken in the third or fourth years.