University Writing Program

First-Year Writing

A student at a laptop in class

First-Year Writing is the centerpiece of the First-Year Experience and part of the Core requirements at Brandeis. In these courses, students engage with writing as the practice of advanced learning and communication.

The University Writing Seminar, which all students complete during their first year,* emphasizes writing as a means of thinking, exploring and understanding. It also makes transparent differences in conventions within the disciplines, so that students can apply their writing skills to courses in their major and throughout the Brandeis curricula. Each student chooses a seminar from a range of interdisciplinary topics.

Prior to UWS, some students complete the Composition Seminar, a one-semester course that offers additional experience with college writing. CSEM is taught in a small-group setting, allowing for opportunities to workshop ideas and writing strategies in a collaborative environment with seasoned instructors. Major course goals include building up confidence and flexibility to adapt to the different types of writing that students are assigned in college.

International students and English language learners may be advised to sign up for free tutorials in the English Language Programs to supplement their work in the First-Year Writing courses.

* Transfer students may be excused from first-year writing requirements if they have sufficient credits in relevant courses. Noncollege credits, including AP English, are not accepted.