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Writing in the Disciplines Courses

Writing in the Discipline (WD) courses attach special importance to academic writing as it is practiced in a particular disciplinary or interdisciplinary context. Students writing in WD courses engage in research and inquiry grounded in scholarly models and are offered opportunities to reflect on discourse valued in disciplinary practices. 

Writing in the Discipline courses serve the interests and needs of CC writers at all levels of proficiency, but are especially appropriate in courses designed to introduce students to the skills and practices of writers moving into or through a particular major. These courses help students develop the rhetorical skills of effective writers—specifically, the ability to:

  • frame a viable topic of inquiry or research question;
  • utilize effective evidence;
  • write in a discipline-appropriate prose style;
  • develop a sense of writing to a specific audience;
  • use writing as a heuristic tool in disciplinary work.

WD course guidelines

  • Courses designated as Writing in the Discipline are identified as such by departments. WD courses are not vetted by the Writing Committee; departments submit a list of courses identified as WD directly to the Registrar. While a block class requiring a significant degree of writing would ideally seat no more than 20 students, seating caps are also set by departments. Departments should submit a list of WD courses to the Registrar prior to block 7 registration.
  • The amount of writing required in a WD course is also determined within departments. A minimum of 10 double-spaced pages of polished writing is recommended, but disciplinary practice, the nature of writing assigned, and class size may influence the amount of writing required. 
  • Opportunities for individual conferences with faculty, small group peer response, written criticism during the writing process, or presentation of finished work are all encouraged in WD classes. A sense of writing to a particular audience grounded in disciplinary concerns and interests is a sensible WD goal, as is the practice of less formal writing, e.g. field notes, journal/e-journal entries, contributions to a course website, or in-class free writing.