What is a W-Course ?

Writing-intensive courses at Temple are courses in which students receive substantial, individualized instruction in writing in their majors. All undergraduate students must complete writing-intensive courses as a condition of graduation.

Courses are officially designated "writing-intensive" after they have been reviewed by the Writing-Intensive Course Committee and determined to meet the guidelines for w-courses. Writing-intensive courses are identified by the last two digits of the course number: courses numbered xx96, xx97, and xx98 are writing-intensive.

The writing-intensive courses at Temple are designed to teach students about the kinds of writing that are used and valued by members of their field. Different academic disciplines (and the professions associated with them) have markedly different ideas about what comprises good writing, from the forms that texts take, to the nature of arguments and originality, to the length of sentences, to methods of quoting and citing. The w-courses offer students an opportunity to explore the way people in their field think about and use writing, and to practice writing the kinds of texts they the may be expected to produce after graduation.

The writing-intensive courses are part of the major; they are not General Education or elective credits. They are typically majors-only courses that are taught by faculty in the disciplines who have expertise in writing in their field. The majority of w-courses are taught at the junior and senior level. Many are seminar courses in which students develop substantial essays based on independent research; however, just as writing varies across the disciplines, so do the w-courses vary.

Among the w-courses taught at Temple, are:

The defining feature of a w-course is not the amount of writing students do, but the amount of instruction students receive. The writing instruction is usually embedded in a back-and-forth process in which students prepare for and write drafts of their work; get feedback from their instructor; and then revise their drafts based on that feedback. This opportunity to reflect and improve on drafts is essential to the development of excellence in writing. Thus, students will find that nearly all w-courses include some form of required revision.