First Year Writing Program
Beginning with your first year at the
University of Michigan, writing will play a critical role in
your thinking and learning. In some classes, your writing will
be your most important tool for demonstrating that you understand
course concepts. Your ability to write prose that, at its best, is characterized by intellectual force, clarity, appropriate
organization and development of ideas, effective use of evidence, and stylistic control will be crucial to your success as a student
here. Because writing plays such a vital role in all academic
disciplines at Michigan, your first writing course must meet
your actual needs as a writer so that you can successfully make
the transition to college writing. All University of
Michigan students must satisfy the First-Year Writing Requirement.
The requirement should be completed within your first year.
First-Year Writing Requirement
All students entering the University
must satisfy the first-year writing requirement. They may do so by taking Practicum followed by
a first-year writing course, or by taking a first-year writing
course alone. Rather than placing students in the writing course
that Sweetland Writing Center judges most appropriate, students
decide which of these alternatives is better for them on the
basis of a self-assessment. Academic advisors and Sweetland Writing
Center faculty are available to assist students in making the
Practicum is the best placement for you
- you learn best with one-on-one instructor
- you have limited experience with writing.
- you have limited experience with revision.
- you typically wrote essays of under three
pages in high school.
- you wrote fewer than three essays a year
in high school.
- you do not often read for pleasure.
- you have difficulty making your writing
First-Year Writing is the best placement
for you if:
- you learn best from a combination of
peer critiques and instructor feedback.
- you anticipate needing some tutorial
support but not frequent individual meetings with the instructor.
- you have considerable experience with
- you have experience writing with a computer.
- you typically wrote three-to-five-page
essays in high school.
- you wrote three to five essays a year
in high school.
- you regularly read for pleasure.
2. Writing Practicum (SWC 100-105)
Writing Practicum is an ungraded, two-credit
course in which students develop writing skills that will enable
them to take full advantage of their experiences in Michigan
courses. Practicum is designed to support students who have limited
experience writing the sorts of pieces often assigned and valued
at the University. Practicum offers opportunities for students
to improve their ability to organize, develop, and support ideas;
analyze complex materials; and begin to use evidence and reasoning
to support their own claims. Class enrollment is limited to 18
students. Classes meet two hours per week and each student receives
an additional half-hour of individual instruction every other
week with the instructor. This concentrated individual attention
has proven crucial to the success of students with limited writing
In Writing Practicum, students will gain
- writing as a process of drafting and
- reading and writing analytically.
- developing a writer's voice, which includes
distinguishing between one's own ideas and those of others.
- studying models of writing that students
are expected to produce.
- using a computer to draft and revise
papers and to talk about writing.
- attending to grammar and mechanics.
Many Practicum sections are taught in
a computer-equipped classroom. Practicum instructors are especially
trained to work with writers who need more detailed attention
to their writing and who present a range of writing issues, some
associated with English as a Second Language and some with less
rigorous secondary preparation.
3. First-Year Writing Courses
First-Year Writing Courses are graded, four-credit courses with a wide range of topics. They serve to
introduce students to the kinds of argumentative and analytical
writing most often required in an advanced academic context.
Class sessions are often devoted to workshops that focus on examples
of student writing, and students typically receive responses
from their peers to each essay they write. Students have one
or more individual conferences with the instructor in the term, and instructors may require individual students to work with
a Writing Workshop instructor on particular issues for all or
part of the term.
First-Year Writing courses assign weekly
writing and revising tasks designed to help students learn to:
- summarize and characterize essays and
state their claims in their own words.
- evaluate an argument.
- develop an argument, taking a position
on an issue or proposing a solution to a problem.
- support arguments using course readings
and materials gathered through research.
- learn proper methods to attribute ideas
to their authors and to cite sources.
- use group resources to work collaboratively
and to revise extensively.
First-Year Writing courses focus on topics
such as ethics and social justice, history and myth, autobiography
and memoir. Readings may be from a variety of disciplines, such
as philosophy, women's studies, history, anthropology, cultural
studies, and art history.
First-Year Writing courses that
fulfill the First-Year Writing Requirement:
- Classical Civilization 101 (designated
Honors sections for Honors Program students)
- Classical Civilization 121
- Comparative Literature 122
- English 124
- English 125
- Great Books 191 (for Honors Program students)
- History 195
- Institute for the Humanities 104
- Linguistics 104
- Lloyd Hall Scholars 125
- RC Core 100 (for Residential College
- Slavic Survey 151
- University Course 153
Student enrolled in any University of
Michigan course can receive writing assistance from the Sweetland
Writing Center's Writing Workshop. For information, contact the
Sweetland Writing Center, 1139 Angell Hall, (734) 764-0429.
4. Transfer Courses
Transfer students who have completed a
first-year writing course at another college or university may
be able to use that course to satisfy the First-Year Writing
Requirement. Transfer students should consult the list of approved
courses at http://www.lsa.umich.edu/swc/requirements/firstyeartransf.html
to see if their course meets the requirement. We do not consider
Advanced Placement (AP) credit, Creative Writing courses, or
Journalism courses as equivalent to our First-Year Writing courses.
If your school or course is not listed on either the approved
or not approved list, please provide a course description (from
the college or university catalog), course guidelines, and the
syllabus. Also, fill out a "Petition for Transfer Course
Credit" form, available from the Sweetland Writing Center
or online. Submit
all materials to the Associate Director, Sweetland Writing Center, 1139 Angell Hall, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1003.
The Introductory Composition Requirement
should be completed in the first year.
Students enrolled in courses that meet
the Introductory Composition requirement may receive concurrent
writing assistance from the Writing Workshop. For information, contact the Sweetland Writing Center in 1139 Angell Hall, (734)
Upper-Level Writing Requirement
A student MUST have completed introductory
composition before being eligible to meet the Upper-Level
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