May 20, 2024  
Course Catalog 2022-2023 
Course Catalog 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Writing Requirement

The Committee on Writing administers this requirement.

The writing requirement is designed to help students develop the ability to do the following: communicate effectively in writing, understand writing as a process, engage in writing as a form of critical thinking, demonstrate rhetorical flexibility by addressing various audiences and purposes in their writing, and demonstrate awareness of the conventions and forms of writing in particular disciplines.

As noted in the College of Arts and Sciences Degree Requirements  section of this catalog, the writing requirement is as follows:

Students are required to complete two writing courses, either Writing-Intensive (WINT) or Writing-Advanced (WADV), by the end of the second year of study if at all possible. A third writing course, WADV, is strongly recommended. These courses must be completed at Oberlin College, with the exception that transfer students may petition to count one transferred course with a comparable focus on writing toward this requirement. The petition to request transfer of credit toward the writing requirement can be accessed here.

Criteria for WINT Courses

Courses carrying the Writing-Intensive (WINT) designation involve explicit instruction in writing, are generally limited in size to allow such instruction, and require multiple writing assignments. These courses are designed to help students develop, compose, revise, organize, and edit prose appropriate to the discipline or course.

  • WINT courses attend to the writing process. Faculty in WINT courses should pay explicit attention to the writing process, including the elements of organization, composition, revision, and editing prose, each as is appropriate for the course or discipline. This does not mean that faculty will need to teach mechanics per se.
  • Faculty in WINT courses should provide mechanisms for students to get feedback on their work and to incorporate this feedback into their writing for the course. This feedback may be in the form of faculty response or peer-review, for example.
  • WINT courses must require multiple writing assignments that total 15 or more pages of writing. A single long paper at the end of the semester would not meet this criterion unless the paper was developed in stages and revisions over the course of the semester. Raw lab notes, unedited journal entries, or similar types of writing would also not meet this criterion.
  • WINT courses should generally be limited to 20 students where possible. Research indicates that this is the ideal limit. Faculty wishing to teach WINT courses with enrollments above 25 students should plan to incorporate peer-review techniques and apply for Writing Associates.
  • The Committee on Writing will review and approve all courses carrying the WINT designation.
Criteria for WADV Courses

Courses carrying the Writing-Advanced (WADV) designation are associated with the major and aim at helping students develop as writers within a discipline, employing the conventions and styles appropriate to that field and demonstrating the depth and engagement with disciplinary issues and practices typical of knowledgeable practitioners. Students are encouraged to complete one course designated WADV in relation to their major field of study. In most cases, these courses will be upper-level or capstone courses geared to the major. Nonetheless, the department or program administering the major will determine which course(s) should have this designation, and which course(s) with this designation offered by related departments or programs would benefit their majors.

  • WADV courses follow the same criteria as the WINT courses, with particular emphasis on modes of writing and communication appropriate to advanced work in the discipline.
  • WADV courses carry the expectation that a certain level of disciplinary knowledge is required to undertake the advanced writing in the field.
  • The kinds of writing assigned to students are similar to the kinds of writing used by specialists in the field. This could include, for example, essays, extensive research papers, formal lab reports, and formal presentations.
  • The Committee on Writing will review courses designated as WADV and work with individual faculty as well as departments and programs on the development of these courses, but will defer to departments, programs, or curricular committees for the designation of WADV courses.