The UW English Comp Requirement

Choosing a Course

All students at the university must take a composition course to graduate, unless they have received transfer credit for the course (see the UW advising website for more information). There are a number of options for all UW students, and some options designated for honors students. Each one provides an opportunity to develop and practice effective writing skills and habits to help you write at the college level and beyond.

If you think of yourself as an adequate writer and you would like to work on your skills and assure that you develop more effective writing practices, you can take:

An entry-level course in the English Department's Expository Writing Program, each of which is designed around a shared set of learning outcomes, but has a unique content focus. These courses help students to develop and practice the skills and habits that are foundational to academic writing, and to recognize how to adapt these skills and habits for the varied demands of university-wide writing.

  • ENGL 131 - Composition: Exposition
    The most popular EWP offering, in this writing course students work closely with their peers and instructor to develop a portfolio of writing that reflects an ability to write papers with complex claims that matter in academic contexts. The readings in this class focus on academic discourse from a variety of disciplines.
  • ENGL 111 - Composition: Literature
    In this writing course students work closely with their peers and instructor to develop a portfolio of writing that reflects an ability to write papers with complex claims that matter in academic contexts. The readings in this class focus on both literary texts and scholarship about literature.
  • ENGL 121 - Composition: Social Issues
    In this writing course students work closely with their peers and instructor to develop a portfolio of writing that reflects an ability to write papers with complex claims that matter in academic and non-academic contexts. The course focuses on a particular social issue, the study of which is enhanced by direct service activities in the Seattle community. Students combine readings, course work, and direct service to write well-documented, evidence-based argumentative papers. Previous sections of this course have enabled students to conduct their service activities in the Seattle Public Schools, local women's centers, homeless shelters and soup kitchens, AIDS organizations, and arts programs.

Visit the English Department's Expository Writing Program website for more information »


If you think of yourself as an adequate writer and you would like to work on your skills and develop more effective writing practices as you explore another discipline, you can take:

An entry-level course in the English Department's Interdisciplinary Writing Program linked with an entry-level lecture course in a specific discipline. These composition courses are designed to help students improve their writing skills while further exploring the ideas and materials assigned in the lectures. Assignments in the writing link will draw on materials from the accompanying lecture course and often include drafts of papers submitted in the lecture course. (Please note that to register for one these composition courses, students must also register for the linked lecture course.)

  • ENGL 197 - Interdisciplinary Writing/Humanities (VLPA)
    Linked to entry-level courses in the departments of Art History, Comparative Literature, Dance, Humanities, Music, and Philosophy.
  • ENGL 198 - Interdisciplinary Writing/Social Science (I&S)
    Linked to entry-level courses in the departments of Anthropology, Geography, History, History of the Americas, International Studies, Political Science, Sociology, and Women Studies.
  • ENGL 199 - Interdisciplinary Writing/Natural Science (NW)
    Linked to entry-level courses in department of Astronomy

An intermediate-level course in the English Department's Interdisciplinary Writing Program linked with an intermediate-level lecture course in a specific discipline. These composition courses are linked to lecture courses that require more sophisticated disciplinary knowledge. As the content becomes more sophisticated, so does the writing required in the courses. If you are a candidate for the lecture course, then you are a candidate for the writing course. (Please note that to register for one these composition courses, students must also register for the linked lecture course which may have prerequisites.)

  • ENGL 297 - Intermediate Interdisciplinary Writing/Humanities (VLPA)
    Linked to intermediate-level courses in the departments of Art History, Comparative Literature, Dance, Humanities, Music, and Philosophy.
  • ENGL 298 - Intermediate Interdisciplinary Writing/Social Science (I&S)
    Linked to intermediate-level courses in the departments of Anthropology, Geography, History, History of the Americas, International Studies, Political Science, Sociology, and Women Studies.
  • ENGL 299 - Intermediate Interdisciplinary Writing/Natural Science (NW)
    Linked to intermediate-level courses in department of Astronomy

Visit the English Department's Interdisciplinary Writing Program website for more information »


If you think of yourself as an adequate writer and you would like to work on your skills and develop more effective writing practices as you explore another discipline, you can take:

A course in the Comparative Literature Department, which emphasizes cross-cultural comparison of literary works.

  • C LIT 240 - Writing in Comparative Literature

Visit the Comparative Literature Department's course schedule to find when this course is offered »


If you think of yourself as a strong writer and you would like to bypass the entry-level courses in favor of more challenging opportunities, you can take:

An intermediate-level course in the English Department's Expository Writing Program. All sections of this course focus on developing accurate, competent, and effecting writing and communication, but do so by moving beyond the introduction to general academic writing to introduce students to the rhetorical and social conventions of writing in academic, public, and/or professional contexts. Course content, themes, and rhetorical focus will vary considerably by instructor. (See below for more information on Honors-designated sections of English 281)

  • ENGL 281 - Intermediate Expository Writing

A junior- or senior-level expository writing course. These courses tend to be offered less regularly than the intermediate-level courses and vary by instructor. Check with English Advising before enrolling.

  • ENGL 381 - Advanced Expository Writing
  • ENGL 481 - Special Topics in Expository Writing

Visit the English Department's course schedule to find out about current offerings and complete course descriptions »


If you think of yourself as a strong writer who would like to have an Honors classroom experience in an English Department Intermediate Expository Writing course, you can take:

An Honors student-designated section of English 281, usually offered once each Autumn quarter. (Be sure to consult with an Honors Program advisor in order to identify the Honors designated section of English 281.)

  • ENGL 281 - Intermediate Expository Writing (Honors section)

Visit the English Department's course schedule to find when this course is offered »


If you are a freshman or sophomore Honors student who is an adequate writer and you would like an Honors classroom experience that uses writing to explore a range of disciplines, you can take:

An intermediate-level Honors Program course. This interdisciplinary, writing-based course acts as a gateway for Honors students to develop methods of researching and gaining knowledge. Students use critical reading of texts, dialogue, and reflective writing as the means to understand knowledge production across disciplinary fields. This course counts for "C" credit as well as for the core Interdisciplinary course requirement within the Honors Program. (if the "C" and Interdisciplinary requirements have already been fulfilled this course may then count toward the "Additional course" requirement).

  • HONORS 205 - What We Know and How We Know It

View HONORS 205 course description on the Honors website »


If you are an honors student who is a strong writer and you are ready to use writing as a method to explore another discipline intensively, you can take:

A junior-level Honors Program course. This discipline-specific course investigates emerging topics of interest in the Arts and Sciences, allowing for investigation of subject matter through writing and dialogic inquiry. Writing in this course will be used as a way of thinking - a method of investigating the topic at hand and a way of showing evidence for the content learned. This course counts for "C" credit as well as for one of the Honors Core "Additional course" requirements.

  • HONORS 345 - Interdisciplinary Writing Seminar: Special Topics

View HONORS 345 course description on the Honors website »

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