Upper-Level Writing Requirement

Most UM schools and colleges require students to complete the Upper-Level Writing Requirement (ULWR) with an approved ULWR course which must be taken at the UM-Ann Arbor campus. The goal of the Upper-Level Writing Requirement (ULWR) is to teach students to recognize and employ the writing conventions of their chosen major.

Before enrolling in an Upper-Level Writing Requirement course, students must first complete the First-Year Writing Requirement with a C- or better. A C- or better is also necessary in a designated ULWR course to fulfill the requirement. 

Transfer credit is not accepted, as the ULWR course must be taken at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (See Special Arrangement requests at the bottom of the FAQ below). The Sweetland Center for Writing offers a range of courses that support transfer student writing, including Writing 350 and two courses specifically for multilingual and international students, Writing 240 and Writing 340. Note: These course do not fulfill the ULWR.

List of Fall 2014 ULWR courses offered in the LSA Courseguide.

ULWR Learning Outcomes

In ULWR courses, students learn to:

  • logically organize their thoughts into writing;
  • use clear and concise language;
  • analyze information masterfully;
  • incorporate appropriate evidence into their analysis;
  • understand the central concepts, approaches, materials and written conventions in their chosen major.

Over the course of the term, students will complete several writing assignments that are related to course content and intended to help students practice the rhetoric of their specific discipline. Possible assignments may include journals, research papers, critical analyses, and/or lab reports. Students will receive feedback on their writing from their ULWR instructor and are expected to revise much of their work throughout the term.

ULWR Frequently Asked Questions

Can I take my First-Year Writing Requirement (FYWR) and the Upper-Level Writing Requirement (ULWR) at the same time?
No. You can only complete the ULWR after you have successfully completed the FYWR with a C- or better.

What grade do I need to fulfill the Upper-Level Writing Requirement?
A course grade of C- or better is required to fulfill the ULWR. Prior to Winter Term 2006, a ULWR grade of “Satisfactory” was required.

Can I take my Upper-Level Writing Requirement as pass/fail?
Yes, your grade can appear on your transcript as pass/fail. However, you must still receive a final course grade of C- or better to fulfill the ULWR.

Does English 225 count for my Upper-Level Writing Requirement?
No. English 225 does not fulfill the ULWR for LSA students. However, it does fulfill the ULWR for School of Music, Theater, and Dance students.

Can transfer credit fulfill the Upper-Level Writing Requirement?
No. Only designated courses taken through UM-Ann Arbor are acceptable.

I took a course to fulfill the Upper-Level Writing Requirement but it isn’t showing up on my record. How can I correct this?
Verify that the course was an approved ULWR course during the term you selected it. Go to the LSA Courseguide, choose the correct term, and highlight the “Upper-Level Writing” option under the “Other Requirements/Groupings” feature. If the course does not appear on this list, it was not an approved ULWR course and you will need to complete a course that is approved to fulfill the ULWR.

If the course was approved to fulfill the ULWR, email Teri Ford at the Sweetland Center for Writing. Include your name, your UMID number, the course and section number, and the term you completed the course in the email. A Sweetland staff member will investigate the situation and let you know the status.

I can’t fit an approved Upper-Level Writing Requirement class in my schedule. What can I do?
If you have at least 100 credits toward graduation, you may request the Sweetland Center for Writing’s approval to use an unapproved UM course to fulfill your Upper-Level Writing Requirement. To do this, please submit an Individual Arrangement Petition before the third week of classes.

What special arrangements can be made to fulfill the ULWR?

Students completing an honors thesis can opt to count it toward their ULWR by filling out an Honors Thesis Intent Form and submitting it to the Honors Office, 1330 Mason Hall.

Students with a minimum of 100 completed credits who want to take a non-approved course to fulfill their ULWR can fill out an Individual Arrangement Petition, and submit it to Teri Ford in 1310 North Quad. Petitions are due one week before the drop/add deadline of the semester in which the student wishes to elect the course and must be approved by Sweetland Administrators.