The goal of the First-Year Writing Requirement is to prepare students to write in diverse academic contexts. As a broad preparation for the range of writing tasks students will encounter at the University of Michigan and beyond, FYWR courses emphasize evidenced, academic writing in a variety of genres and rhetorical situations. A FYWR course is foundational for students to master the kind of analysis and argumentation found in sophisticated academic writing.

The First-Year Writing Requirement should be completed in the first year with a minimum grade of C– and must be satisfied before electing a class to satisfy the Upper-Level Writing Requirement. Advanced Placement (AP) credit does not fulfill the FYWR

FYWR courses assign writing tasks designed to help students:

  • produce complex, analytic, well-supported arguments that matter in academic contexts;
  • read, summarize, analyze, and synthesize complex texts purposefully in order to generate and support writing;
  • demonstrate an awareness of the strategies that writers use in different rhetorical situations;
  • develop flexible strategies for organizing, revising, editing, and proofreading writing of varying lengths to improve development of ideas and appropriateness of expression; and
  • collaborate with peers and the instructor to define revision strategies for particular pieces of writing, to set goals for improving writing, and to devise effective plans for achieving those goals.

First-Year Writing Requirement courses offered for a particular term can be found by using the advanced search function in the LSA Course Guide and selecting “first-year writing” under the "Other Requirements/Groupings" feature.

Students who seek a more individualized and gradual introduction to college writing may choose to take WRITING 100: Transition to College Writing and/or WRITING 120: College Writing for Multilingual Writers offered by the Sweetland Center for Writing before a First-Year Writing Requirement course.

WRITING 100 is a 3-credit ungraded course designed for students who:

  • learn best with one-to-one instructor support;
  • seek more experience drafting and revising academic essays;
  • prefer a more gradual introduction to writing longer academic essays on a variety of topics; and/or
  • would benefit from an additional term to gain confidence in their writing and reading skills at the college level.

WRITING 120 is a 3-credit graded course designed for students who:

  • feel most comfortable with academic writing in a language other than English and/or
  • want an opportunity to work closely with an instructor to become better prepared for writing in English.

Placement.  Rather than placing students in a specific course, first-year students (except LSA Honors and RC) are asked to complete the Directed Self-Placement (DSP) to help them judge their own readiness for and comfort with college-level writing. Prior to attending Orientation, students complete an online reading and writing assignment and answer questions about that experience and their previous writing experiences. When meeting with their advisor during Orientation, students receive a course recommendation based upon their responses to the DSP essay and questions, evaluate themselves as writers, discuss their course recommendation, and choose a writing course that will enable them to become more proficient and confident in college-level academic writing. Students’ DSP essays are sent to the instructor of their first writing course as an introduction to their writing and to help instructors work with students to identify strengths and areas for improvement.

Transfer students who have completed writing courses at another college or university may be able to use those courses to satisfy the First-Year Writing Requirement. The list of currently approved and non-approved courses is available at:

This webpage also provides information on what steps to take if the transfer course is not on either list.


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