Frequently Asked Questions


University Writing Seminar (UWS)

Are all the UWS sections the same?
No. All UWS instructors must teach academic writing skills and assign a rhetoric text, a collection of readings and a grammar and style handbook. Within this framework, UWS instructors tend to teach texts they are most interested in or to structure their courses around themes they think students will find interesting. 

How much credit do I get for UWS? 
UWS is a full-credit course. It counts as one of the 32 courses required for graduation.

Can I be exempted from UWS?
Students who have taken a course equivalent to UWS (e.g., College Writing, Freshman Writing) at another university and earned a grade of B- or better may request to have this credit applied to their first-year writing requirements. All inquiries about transfer credit should be directed to the University Registrar; students should be sure to check with the Registrar before taking such courses. Please note that AP credit in English does not count toward fulfilling first-year writing requirements.

Should I take this course in the fall or spring?
Both options are viable, but most students benefit from taking the UWS as early as possible, so that they can then apply what they’ve learned to their spring courses. Some fall courses also tend to be less crowded, which can leave more room for one-on-one instruction. Consult with your first-year advisor, the Director of the University Writing Program, or the Administrator of University Studies if you have further questions.

The UWS course that I want to take is full. Why are there enrollment limits?
In these courses we ask instructors to work closely with first-year students. With writing courses in particular, the quality of the course depends partly on one-on-one tutorials, sustained attention to each person’s individual writing development and extensive comments on writing. With larger classes, instructors could not give this kind of individualized attention.

Can I skip taking UWS in my first year at Brandeis and take it later, when it would fit into my schedule better?
No, the UWS is a first-year requirement. If you do not fulfill it during your first year, you may be placed on academic probation.

What if I forgot to take a UWS?
If you have not taken a UWS by the time you are ready to graduate, you will need to take an equivalent course over the summer.

I would like to change my class schedule.  Is it possible to drop out of the UWS I am enrolled in and sign up for a different time?
To drop UWS, students must contact the Registrar's office.