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Writing Seminar: Composing the Academic Essay

Five Sections Available to Choose From:

Course DatesWeeksMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRN
June 20, 2016 - July 08, 20163M-F 8:30A-11:20AWaitlistedAdam Golaski10100
June 20, 2016 - July 08, 20163M-F 8:30A-11:20AOpenNathaniel Conroy10604
July 11, 2016 - July 29, 20163M-F 8:30A-11:20AWaitlistedJessica Tabak10103
July 11, 2016 - July 29, 20163M-F 8:30A-11:20AOpenKathleen Fitzpatrick10101
July 11, 2016 - July 29, 20163M-F 8:30A-11:20ACourse Full, Waitlist ClosedAdam Golaski10273

Course Description

Based on Brown’s well-regarded Academic Essay course, in this class you will learn how to organize and craft a well-researched academic essay that explores a topic of your choice on an issue that matters to you. You will develop an idea, expand and support it with evidence, articulate it by means of a carefully-structured argument, and conclude it with implications for further investigation, all while using an engaged, intelligent voice. Topics typically focus on current issues of concern, and involve research across the disciplines.

This course will also familiarize students with essential research methods, including:

  • How to develop a well-focused research topic
  • How to identify the types of sources necessary to support a researched argument
  • How to access and navigate a library and its collections, physical and digital
  • How to evaluate online scholarly resources
  • How to use source materials to strengthen an argument


Over a three-week period, students will read and analyze exemplary academic writing, participate in group discussions, and share their work with their peers. They will learn to plan, draft, and revise their writing in response to group and instructor critiques and from further research, and they will identify and assess arguments made in source materials, engaging with and expanding the critical conversation on their chosen topic. Students will not only learn how to be better writers, but also how to be better thinkers on the topic of their choice.

These Writing Seminars, based on Brown's popular Critical Reading and Writing: The Academic Essay course, focus on its three core elements: self-expression; responsive writing; and research, analysis and argumentation. Students may take a single seminar or two or three seminars and in any order that suits their schedule.

Putting Yourself Into Words (one week) explores the balance between self-expression and effective communication essential to writing powerful personal narratives, college admissions essays, and creative reflections.

Writing the Expository Essay (two weeks) models college-level, expository writing; after analyzing primary texts, students write an argument in response them, correctly incorporating paraphrases and quotations.

Composing the Academic Essay (three weeks) stresses observation, investigation, and argument through close reading, evaluation and analysis of academic sources, developing an argument, and writing a research paper.

Suggested prerequisite: a proven facility with the English language, including grammar, and some confidence as a writer.

You might also be interested in: Writing for College and Beyond (online course)

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