Loyola University Chicago

Writing Program

Writing-Intensive Designation



The College of Arts and Sciences requires all CAS students to take two Writing-Intensive courses, which are discipline-specific. These designed sections of a course emphasize the conventions of and critical thinking necessary to write well in the discipline. Writing-Intesive sections include a variety of writing assignments that will be integrated closely with the learning objectives of the course. The Writing-Intensive degree requirement may be satisfied with a course that also satisfies a Core or major/minor requirement or one that serves as a general elective in the student’s record. In some cases, a particular course may be identified as Writing Intensive but only certain sections are designated as such.

Writing Intensive courses are coordinated by the Writing Across the Curriculum Coordinator, a trained faculty member who understands that the kinds of writing required of students varies widely across the curriculum. Writing Intensive courses focus on discipline-specific writing, emphasizing the critical thinking necessary to write well in the discipline, the conventions of writing in the discipline (e.g., format and documentation), and writing as a process. Typically, Writing Intensive courses do not exceed 18 students as the smaller class size allows professors to work with students more closely.

Course Guidelines

  • Students should write a minimum of fifteen pages of graded work.
  • The percentage of the course grade for written work should be at least 30%.
  • Graded assignments should include short (2–3 pages), medium (4–6 pages) and longer (7–12 pages) papers. Page length, of course, depends on the discipline, but students should not be expected to write one lengthy paper without having had prior feedback on shorter papers.
  • The course syllabus should clearly state the requirements for graded writing assignments, the number of papers to be written, due dates, page requirements, and the weight of each paper.
  • The sequence of assignments should move from tasks that are easier (such as summary) to more difficult (such as analysis, synthesis, argument, research).
  • Some “low stakes” non-graded writing should be assigned for practice in writing strategies (in-class writing and journal responses meant to prepare students for writing papers).
  • Some class time should be devoted to the conventions of writing in the discipline, such as structural requirements, documentation format, and document design.
  • Class time should be devoted to the principles of good writing, such as organization, unity, development, clarity, directness, and correctness through “learning to write” activities, such as generating tentative thesis statements, working on options to structure an essay, combining choppy sentences with logical links, and editing for excess.
  • The process of writing should be addressed by moving through the stages of writing: prewriting, drafting (peer review, conferences) revising, and editing).
  • Some class time should be devoted to discussions of student sample papers, perhaps as models of successful responses or as examples of papers that need further revision.
  • Expectations for papers should be made clear on writing assignments (purpose, audience, documentation format, document design).
  • Evaluative criteria for writing assignments should be clear.
  • For current conventions regarding grammar and punctuation, instructors should consult a recent handbook.
  • Students needing extra help with their writing should be directed to the Writing Center.

Please NoteTo request a course be newly designated as Writing Intensive, a syllabus reflecting the guidelines should be sent to the Writing Across the Curriculum Coordinator, Julie Fiorelli, for approval at the beginning of the semester prior.