Writing Requirements at GW
Last Updated: 1-25-08
All undergraduates at GW must complete a literacy requirement: one freshman writing seminar (UW20) and two WID (Writing in the Disciplines) courses. Students must complete UW20 before enrolling in a WID course for WID credit.
The two WID courses should be in the student’s major, minor, or a related field, and must be completed in separate semesters in order to receive WID credit.
Since good writing skills take time to develop, the writing requirement is purposely designed to be spread over several semesters. It is not something to be completed as fast as possible. Instead, the recommended pattern is: UW20 in the first year, one WID course in the sophomore year, and one in the junior year.
- All entering freshmen are required to take UW20, a 4 credit course. Students can take it in either the fall or the spring semester.
- Students who received a 4 or 5 on the AP English exam or a 6 for IB English A1 get three credits of English 099. However, neither AP, IB, nor any other test will exempt a student from UW20.
- Students transferring to GW with fewer than 30 credits will be required to take UW 20 without exception.
- All GW undergraduates are required to complete two WID courses to graduate.
- UW20 is a prerequisite for all WID courses. Students must complete UW20 before enrolling in a WID course for WID credit. (Students who have not completed UW20 may enroll in a WID course, but they will not receive WID credit, only the standard credit.)
- Transfer students with 30 or more credits who have taken 4 credits of English composition will be exempt from UW 20; they will still be required to take two WID courses.
- Students should take one WID course in their sophomore year and a second one in their junior year. WID courses may be taken as late as the senior year to satisfy the requirement, but this is not recommended.
- Students may enroll in more than one WID course at a time, but they will not be permitted to use two WID courses in the same semester to satisfy the WID requirement.
- Students may take two WID courses in the same year to satisfy the WID requirement, but not in the same semester.
- WID courses can fulfill more than one requirement simultaneously. For example, a WID course can fulfill part of the literacy requirement and a GCR and/or a major requirement at the same time.
- Students may take more than two WID courses if they wish; there is no limit. Many students take several, even in the same semester.
Students transferring to GW with fewer than 30 credits. You are required to take UW 20. There are no exceptions.
Students transferring to GW with 30 or more credits. You are welcome to take UW20. However, you may be eligible to be exempted from UW20, if at least 3 of those transferred credit hours are in first-year writing or composition courses. Consult the options below to determine whether you are eligible to apply for exemption:
- If you have completed 3 credit hours in writing or composition courses at your previous university, you may want to apply for an exemption from UW20. Before doing so, compare the work you did in your previous writing course to the UW20 template, paying particular attention to the requirements. Your chances of successfully petitioning for an exemption will be much higher if your previous course had similarly stringent requirements, especially in regards to research.
- If you have at least 4 credits of first-year writing or composition at your previous university but these have not been listed as "COMP" on your GW transcript, then exemption is not automatic. You may apply for exemption.
- If at least 4 transferred credits are listed as "COMP" on your GW transcript, you are automatically exempt and need take no further action. You may begin taking your WID courses. Please confirm with your advisor if you think that this option might apply to you.
Applying for Exemption. Both the form and instruction sheet are available for downloading (see link below). Exception requests and accompanying materials (including syllabus and graded writing samples) must be submitted in hard copy form to the receptionist in Rome 553.
Current GW Exception Requests
Ad hoc arrangements for receiving WID credit in non-WID courses will not be approved. It is not possible for students to make “special arrangements” with their professors to earn WID credit in a course that has not been proposed by an individual department or faculty member and approved for the WID Program.