Writing Intensive Courses

Writing Intensive courses help produce an educated, articulate citizenry capable of reasoning critically, solving complex problems, and communicating with clear and effective language.

MU’s writing requirement — English 1000 along with two WI courses (6 total WI credits)* — is part of a 30-year-old trend in U.S. higher education known as “writing across the curriculum,” or “writing in the disciplines.” Since 1987, every undergraduate degree granted by MU has been strengthened by the WI requirement.

English 1000 is encouraged before students enroll in a WI course. For an instructor ​​to add ENGLISH 1000 as a recommendation or a prerequisite to a WI course: Go to CIM Courses to request that a course include ENGLSH 1000 as a) recommended or b) a required prerequisite. Please note that changes to prerequisites require a course to go through the campus level course approval process.

Over 170 courses from disciplines across the university are offered each semester.

Benefits of Writing Intensive Courses

Writing Intensive courses maintain a low student-to-teacher ratio (25:1), require at least 6,600 words of writing, and give students ample opportunity to revise their work to improve their performance. Writing assignments are designed to teach course content and to assess students’ learning, giving faculty the chance to focus on content, concepts and quality of argument while students take responsibility for surface features such as grammar and syntax. WI assignments are tied directly and specifically to the goals of the course and are fully integrated into the syllabus. Through writing and revising, students not only master course concepts, they also learn to think and write in ways particular to their chosen disciplines.

Writing Intensive courses foster the ability to

  • develop modes of disciplinary writing
  • pose worthwhile questions
  • evaluate arguments
  • give and receive criticism profitably
  • distinguish among fact, inference, and opinion
  • articulate complex ideas clearly
  • deal with problems that have no simple solutions
  • consider purpose and audience
  • understand how given disciplines define themselves
  • become informed, independent thinkers

The 3-Part Writing Requirement at MU:

  • Through the English Department: recommended English 1000, a one-semester, first-year composition course.
  • Through the Campus Writing Program: Two WI courses (6 credit hours)*.

One WI course may be taken in any discipline; the other must be an upper-division WI course in the major. The Campus Writing Board reviews and approves courses as writing-intensive. Departments, not the Campus Writing Board, determine which WI courses may count as “upper-division courses in the major.”

A grade of C- or better is required in both Writing Intensive courses, in order to meet MU’s General Education Requirements.

Information about WI courses from the MU General Education Program:

For information about the first WI Course taken in any discipline click here.

For information about the second WI Course in the major and upper division click here.

Note: According to the Coordinating Board of Higher Education Articulation Agreement, students who transfer to MU with an AA degree have fulfilled the “first” WI course and need to take only the “second,” upper-division in-the-major WI course. This would be recorded on the transcript as a writing intensive-designated coursework from anywhere in the University curriculum, or from an English Composition I transfer course equivalent from another Missouri regionally-accredited institution or a border state (ENGLSH 1010W).

* Most WI Courses are 3 credits, but some courses are sequenced and students may receive less than 3 designated WI credits as part of these multi-course sequences. Individual departments may apply to the Campus Writing Board to modify the requirement of 6 credits under these circumstances.