Welcome to the University of Minnesota First-Year Writing Program. We look forward to working with you in our classes, our offices, and in the Center for Writing.
The primary purpose of first-year writing at the University of Minnesota is to provide incoming students with the fundamental skills and knowledge about writing demanded in university study. Students write in academic genres such as essays, summaries, and research papers and learn the appropriate conventions and styles that make those forms convincing. In a workshop environment, students practice and study writing as a recursive process of critical thinking, analytical reading, and significant research, all leading to graceful written communication. Drawing on students' diverse skills, backgrounds, and experiences, instructors lead students to discern and participate in important public and university-level conversations. First-year writing offers students a foundation for development and refinement of their writing abilities throughout their college career and beyond.
The University of Minnesota's First-Year Writing Requirement
As of Fall Semester, 2007, all University students will be required to pass WRIT 1301 or WRIT 1401. Some students will be required to pass WRIT 1201 before taking WRIT 1301, thus assuring a full year of writing instruction.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a First-Year Writing course like?
First-Year Writing courses are small (usually capped at 24 students), and they are structured around active student engagement: small and large group discussions, peer review workshops, writing activities, and other kinds of active learning. The instructor and other students provide feedback on your writing. The focus is on processes of thinking, writing, revising, and editing for academic purposes and audiences. You can expect to conduct library research in order to add your voice to one or more ongoing academic discussions, and to learn about university-level writing expectations, strategies, and resources.
- English is not my first language. What should I do?
Consider enrolling in one of the sections of WRIT 1301 reserved for non-native speakers of English http://fyw.umn.edu/writ1301/nonNative.html, taught by specialists in teaching English language learners. Contact Sheryl Holt firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Which First-Year Writing course should I take?
Check with your advisor.
- Is there an exemption exam or process to fulfill the requirement?
No; the way for University students to fulfill the requirement is to successfully complete either WRIT 1301 or WRIT 1401 (or, for transfer students, to receive transfer credit for an approved course from another institution).
- Are all sections of a First-Year Writing course the same?
All sections work toward common course outcomes, with a similar focus on writing processes, strategies, discussion, and active learning. Readings and particular assignments can vary across sections.
- Are there additional resources available on campus for writers?
Yes. The center for Writing's Student Writing Support http://writing.umn.edu/sws/index.html offers one-to-one consultations for all U of M students. The Smart Learning Commons https://wiki.umn.edu/SMART offers support for library research, technology, and writing.
- Is a First-Year Writing course a "Writing Intensive" course?
No. Although there is plenty of writing in a First-Year Writing course, the First-Year Writing requirement and the Writing Intensive requirement are different University requirements.
- I've completed the First-Year Writing Requirement. Are there other writing courses I could take?
The department of Writing Studies offers several upper-level writing courses, including WRIT 3029W: Business and Professional Writing, WRIT 3101W: Writing Arguments, and WRIT 3562W: Technical and Professional Writing.
Student Writing Guide
Download the Student Writing Guide