The Writing Requirement

Working on Your Writing At Least Twice: A Minimum Expectation


Learning to write well is a developmental process that occurs over time. For this reason, all Brown undergraduates must work on their writing with intention and focus at least twice during their undergraduate studies (information for faculty is available
here). The Writing Requirement at Brown requires students to take at least one writing-designated (WRIT in [email protected]) course or any English, Literary Arts, or Comparative Literature course in semesters 1-4 as well as at least one additional qualifying writing course in semesters 5-7.  

Semesters 1-4 | Part I: All students must complete an approved course at Brown University*


Note: A student's Internal Academic Record will list the Writing Requirement as completed 24-48 hours after a passing grade has been entered.

* Only Transfer and RUE students may satisfy Part I of the Writing Requirement with a transfer credit from a non-Brown course taken at a previous institution. To satisfy Part I, the transfer credit must be an unassigned English, Literary Arts, or Comparative Literature course credit. Transfer and RUE students with no such prior course must take an approved course at Brown, unless they matriculated as juniors, but they have an additional two terms to do so.  Transfer students who matriculated at Brown as juniors are exempted from Part I of the Writing Requirement but must satisfy Part II of the Writing Requirement at Brown, like all other undergraduates. 

Students (non-transfer and non-RUE) who do not satisfy Part I of the Writing Requirement will be blocked from participating in pre-registration for their fifth semester. In order to get the registration hold lifted, the student would have to meet with an academic advising dean to devise a plan to finish Part I as soon as possible. 

Semesters 5-7 (or the penultimate semester) | Part II: Students must complete a second approved course** at Brown


Note: A student who is not listed in one of the above concentrations must complete a writing-designated course or a course in English, Literary Arts, or Comparative Literature. They may not use independent studies courses to satisfy the Writing Requirement unless the department offers an independent study course that is writing-designated. To make such arrangements, a department must submit a course proposal for a new independent study course in which every section, regardless of the instructor, would meet the criteria for a writing-designated course.  

**Approved Alternatives to a Second Writing-Designated Course Allowed Only in Select Concentrations

Biology (including the AB/SCB, Applied Math-Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Biophysics, Computational Biology, and Health and Human Biology), German Studies concentrators, and Math concentrators may submit writing completed in the concentration to satisfy the requirement in lieu of a second writing-designated course. Writing must be approved by the end of the 7th (or penultimate) semester and will be reviewed and approved by the concentration advisor or a faculty member that they may designate in ASK. Speak with your concentration advisor for additional information. 

Instructions for students and faculty in participating departments are available in the IT knowledgebase.

Students who do not satisfy Parts I and II of the Writing Requirement will not be eligible to graduate. Students who anticipate difficulty meeting these requirements in a timely way should consult with an academic advising dean for guidance by scheduling an appointment as soon as possible.