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.

W courses fulfill the following conditions:

  1. Students have opportunities to use writing as a way of learning the content of the course and are taught to write in the forms and for the purposes that are typical of the discipline and/or profession, in ways that are clearly distinguished from remedial and foundational skills courses.
  2. Examples of writing within the discipline are used as a means of instruction about typical structures, modes of reasoning, styles of address, and the use of technical language and of evidence.
  3. Students receive appropriate feedback and response to their writing that is based on explicit criteria and is directed at improving the quality of their writing.
  4. Revision is built into the process of writing for formal assignments, usually in terms of revisions of the same paper, or alternatively, in revisions accomplished through successive similar assignments.
  5. At least 50% of the course grade is based on written work for which students receive feedback.

    Courses that require written assignments but do not provide explicit instruction on writing nor opportunities for revision do not qualify as W courses.

Click here for a list of SFU courses designated Writing.