University Writing Requirement

In 1995, the Academic Senate established the Writing Program as an expression of the following fundamental values and goals for writing at UNH: As the cornerstone of any higher education, academic and disciplinary literacy is the concern of the entire faculty and the whole University curriculum. Understanding that literacy is a long-term development process, the University community is committed to the following goals for student writing and learning:

  • Students should use writing as an intellectual process to learn material and to discover, construct, and order meaning.
  • Students should learn to write effectively in various academic and disciplinary genres for professional and lay audiences.
  • Students should learn to display competence with the generic features and conventions of academic language.

In order to help realize the above goals, writing intensive (WI) courses were established as well as the University Writing Requirement (UWR).

Writing-Intensive (WI) Courses

WI courses are identified by "Writing Intensive Course" in the "Attributes" section of the course descriptions.
See CEP 795W below for an example:

CEP 795W (01) - Investigations
2.0 to 4.0
Term: Fall 2017 - Full Term (08/28/2017 - 12/08/2017)
Class Size: 5  
CRN: 12453
Special assignments in readings, investigations, or field problems, or teaching experience. May be repeated. Prereq: permission. Writing intensive.
See instructor for permission then sign up in the dept office before registering through WEBCAT.
Attributes: Writing Intensive Course
Instructors: STAFF

Some courses have both writing-intensive and nonwriting-intensive versions, such as  HIST 405 History of Early America and HIST 405W History of Early America. In these cases, only the sections with the "W" in the course number are writing intensive.

A periodically updated master list of WI courses is available. Course attributes can change, so students should make sure to consult the course description for real-time information on WI status when they enroll. Not all courses are offered every semester, so for advance course planning students should consult with their advisors or the owning department.

University Writing Requirement (UWR)

All bachelor's degree candidates are required to complete four writing-intensive courses, which must include ENGL 401 First-Year Writing and three additional writing-intensive courses, one of which must be in the student's major, and one of which must be at the 600 level or above. 

Frequently Asked Question: "Can the same course satisfy the course-in-the-major requirement and the 600-level or above requirement?"

Answer: Yes, one course can satisfy both of these requirements (see pattern B below), but the course would only count as one of the three WI courses needed. In this case, the student would need to take two other WI courses (in addition to ENGL 401) to satisfy the requirement.  Thus, a complete WI sequence would conform to one of the two generic patterns below:

A) Separate Courses for the 600+ Level and in the Major Requirements                   

1. ENGL 401                                                                              

2. WI in the Major (any level)                                             

3. WI @600+ level  (any)                                                    

4. WI (any)                                                                        

B) The Same Course for the 600+ Level and in the Major Requirements     

1. ENGL 401

2. WI in the Major @600+ level

3. WI (any)

4. WI (any)

Note: the numbers in the above examples are for reference and don't reflect a required sequence. A particular major may have more specific requirements that may depart from the above models. 

The Rationale for Writing and Learning at UNH acknowledges that the WI course structure provides a minimum framework for writing in the curriculum and that there will be writing in non WI-designated courses.  The Writing Committee's position is that WI Course Attributes are definitive and that only courses bearing the WI Attribute will count for the WI requirement. In short, students are expected to enroll in UNH WI-designated courses to satisfy the WI requirement.