In the Composition Seminar, students build on their existing skills to develop writing practices and gain confidence in preparation for the University Writing Seminar and other courses across the Brandeis curriculum.
The seminar approach enables students and instructors to work together on digital and multi-modal projects in a collaborative environment that facilitates mutual support and intellectual risk taking.
Pre-draft exercises, workshopping, peer review, and faculty conferences are incorporated into three writing and research projects. For the final assignment, students work in small groups, researching, designing, and developing a website. Projects may focus on campus programs, artifacts, archives, famous alumni, history, or current events.
Students usually take the Composition Seminar in the semester before their University Writing Seminar.
Frequently Asked Questions
An online writing assessment, taken in the spring before entering Brandeis, helps the writing program reach out to students who might most benefit from what the Composition Seminar has to offer. Students wishing to enroll directly into CSEM without taking the online assessment may do so and should inform the Writing Program at UWP@brandeis.edu.
Students who believe they should not take CSEM should consult with the Director of First-Year Writing. Write to UWP@brandeis.edu for referral.
CSEM is a full-credit course. It counts as one of the 32 courses required for graduation.
CSEM sections are limited to 12 students. Instructors work closely with their students, providing one-on-one tutorials, sustained attention to individual development, and extensive comments on drafts. In larger classes, instructors cannot give this kind of individualized attention.
Depending on availability, students may change their section to another in the same semester.
No, CSEM must be taken in your first semester at Brandeis, followed by a University Writing Seminar in your second semester. If you do not take CSEM in your first semester, you may be placed on academic probation.
English Language Learners should enroll in CSEM if they receive this opportunity as determined by the Online Writing Assessment. These students are also encouraged to sign up for free tutoring in the English Language Programs.
The Writing Center offers support for all students, including those enrolled in CSEM, with 30- and 60-minute one-on-one tutorials, available by appointment. CSEM students are invited to all Writing Center workshops, which may include close reading; grammar and usage; and the UWS Lens Paper and Research Paper.