The Writing Requirement

Learning to write well is a developmental process that occurs over time. For this reason, beginning with the class of 2018, all Brown undergraduates, must work on their writing at least twice as described below (information for faculty is available here):

Part I of the Requirement - Semesters 1-4:

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:
Admitted as sophomores Will automatically meet part I if the student took an approved English, Literary Arts, or Comparative Literature course at their prior institution. No exceptions will be made.
Sophomore transfers with no such course must take an approved course at Brown, but they have an additional two terms to do so. 
Admitted as juniors Exempt 

Part II of the Requirement - Semesters 5-7:

Most students must complete a second approved course in semesters 5-7.

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

Biology, Applied MathGerman Studies concentrators, and Math concentrators beginning with the class of 2019, have the option to 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 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.

Courses that meet the requirement:

Three categories of courses meet Brown's writing requirement:

English, Comparative Literature, and Literary Arts courses all meet the writing requirement. Students are encouraged to enroll in English 0900, which focuses on critical reading and writing, or English 1030a, which focuses on the research essay. Other popular courses focus on journalistic writing (English 1050g) and creative nonfiction (English 0930).

Writing-designated (WRIT) courses:

  • provide students with substantive feedback on a minimum of two written assignments of any length and in any language (for example, students may draft and revise a written assignment or may simply be able to apply feedback on their writing to later assignments);
  • can be in any field or discipline;
  • provide instruction, feedback, and guidance in either disciplinary or academic writing conventions. 

    Note: Faculty may add or remove the WRIT designation from one offering of the course to the next, thus it is the student's responsibility to ensure that a course is approved as WRIT in cab at the time of enrollment. 

Writing Fellows courses allow students to work on their writing with a Brown undergraduate, called a Writing Fellow, who has been trained in composition and pedagogy.