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 at least twice as described below (information for faculty is available here):

Pre-Matriculation First-Year Students (Fall 2020 Only)

The Writing Requirement at Brown is about working on writing, and requires students to take at least one writing-designated (WRIT) course in semesters 1-4 as well as at least one additional writing-designated course in semesters 5-7. While first-year students enrolled in a single course in Fall 2020 have not yet matriculated as degree candidates, we will consider any writing-designated courses (including any English, Comparative Literature, and Literary Arts courses) taken by incoming first-year students during the Fall 2020 semester to count toward their initial writing requirement in semesters 1-4. We encourage students to take additional writing-designated courses during their first four semesters. Please note that this is a one-time exception for the Fall 2020 semester, and that the notation indicating fulfillment of the first part of the Writing Requirement while enrolled in Fall 2020 may not appear on the internal academic record until December of 2021.


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

Note: the internal academic record will list the writing requirement as completed 24-48 hours after a passing grade has been entered.

* Transfer students who matriculated as sophomores are the only students who may satisfy part I with a non-Brown course. To satisfy the writing requirement, a non-Brown course must have transferred in as an unassigned English, Literary Arts, or Comparative Literature course credit. A course that cannot transfer as an English, Comparative Literature, or Literary Arts course cannot satisfy the writing requirement. Sophomore transfers with no such course must take an approved course at Brown, but they have an additional two terms to do so. 

Transfer students who matriculated at Brown as juniors are exempted from the first part of the writing requirement but must satisfy the second part of the writing requirement. 

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

**Approved Alternatives to a Second Writing-Designated Course Allowed 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. 

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.  

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