What is a Writing-Intensive course?

As a requirement to graduate with a Bachelor's degree, students must successfully complete at least two Writing-Intensive (W) courses with a grade of C- or better, one of which must be upper division, within the student's major, taken at SFU. Students in double minor programs should select an upper division W from one of the two discipline areas in which they are taking their double minors. It is strongly recommended that students take their first W course as early as possible, preferably in the first 30 credits.

This requirement presumes that students registering in W courses have met a basic competency standard (see 'Literacy Requirements' for admissions). Students not ready for W courses must successfully complete Foundations of Academic Literacy (FAL X99) prior to registering in W courses.


A Writing-Intensive course provides students with opportunities to use reading, writing, and revision to increase understanding and further development of ideas. A writing-intensive course fosters the development of transferable writing skills for effective and professional communication, and the ability to express ideas in the forms and genres typical of the student’s program of study. These skills may include structures and styles, accepted modes of reasoning and argumentation, convincing use of evidence, and appropriate technical language.

Writing-intensive courses are expected to explicitly address the craft of writing, and they must include significant levels of timely, actionable instructor feedback and student revision in response to feedback to ensure the development of strong transferable writing skills. A minimum of 50% of the course grade must be based on individual (not group) written work.

Click here for a list of SFU courses designated Writing.