First-Year Writing

A student at a laptop in class

First-year writing courses are the centerpiece of the First-Year Experience and are 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 in the disciplines so that students can apply their writing skills to courses in their major and beyond (see this link for more information about the UWS curriculum).

Each student chooses a University Writing Seminar from a list of topic-driven seminars on a range of interdisciplinary topics. Prior to the seminar, some students complete a semester of Composition (COMP), a course that offers students a greater level of experience with college writing.

Composition is taught in a small-group setting, allowing for opportunities to workshop ideas and writing strategies with seasoned writing instructors in a collaborative environment. Major course goals include building up confidence and flexibility with the types of writing students will encounter throughout their college careers and beyond. International students and/or English language learners may be advised to sign up for free tutorials in the English Language Programs to supplement their work in 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. Humanities fellows receive writing instruction in the humanities seminar in lieu of first-year writing.