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:

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. 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:

Class of 2017: Students may either take a second writing-designated course in semesters 5- 7 or upload an eligible writing sample that meets specific guidelines into ASK (where they may also find published guidelines).

All other students: 
Must complete a second approved course in semesters 5-7, unless they are in one of the few concentrations that allows writing completed in the concentration to satisfy the requirement in lieu of a second writing-designated course. Writing samples will be reviewed and approved by the concentration advisor.

 Courses that meet the requirement:

English, Comparative Literature, and Literary Arts courses all meet the writing requirement. Students are encouraged to enroll in English 0900, which focuses on critcal 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 each writing assignment (for example, students may draft and revise a written assignment or may simply be able to apply feedback on their writing to later assignments);
  • require at least two written assignments of any length and in any language; and
  • can be in any field or discipline. 

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.