Writing Intensive

The Mason Core curriculum offers students a signature opportunity to develop writing competencies across their educational experiences that prepares them to participate in a variety of academic, professional, and civic communities. It does so in part by providing students with a “vertical” writing curriculum: a carefully sequenced series of Composition and Writing Intensive courses designed to facilitate the long-term growth of writers as they develop expertise in communicating knowledge, particularly disciplinary knowledge, across a range of contexts and audiences.

Writing Intensive courses, which are taught in the majors, serve as the third course in George Mason’s integrated writing curriculum. In these high-impact courses, students use writing to investigate questions and discover new knowledge, develop and refine their thinking through interactive writing processes, and learn field-specific ways to communicate their discoveries to a range of audiences. Faculty devote significant class time to instruction on writing in the major and provide constructive feedback on student drafts. Students further refine the writing skills required to succeed in their chosen fields. 

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completing a Writing Intensive Course, students will be able to: 

  1. Use informal or formal writing in ways that deepen their awareness of the field of study and its subject matter (Writing to Learn).   
  2. Compose one or more written genres specific to the field of study in order to communicate key ideas tailored to specific audiences and purposes; genres may be academic, public, or professional (Writing to Communicate).   
  3. Draft and revise written works based on feedback they receive from instructors and peers, using strategies appropriate to the genre, audience, and purpose (Writing as a Process). 

It is strongly recommended that students complete ENGH 302 prior to enrolling in a Writing Intensive course. 

Required: an approved course in the major*

*Most programs include the writing-intensive course designated for the major as part of the major requirements; this course is therefore not counted towards the total required for Mason Core.

Approved Courses: For the current list of approved courses, please see the catalog.

Writing-Intensive Course Criteria

In addition to meeting the above learning outcomes, all WI courses must meet the following criteria. Please refer to George Mason’s Writing Across the Curriculum website for more information on the WI course development process.

  • Section size is limited to 35.
  • WI Courses must be offered and taken in the major.
  • WI Courses must carry 3-credits.
  • Faculty will devote significant time to instruction on writing in the course and on how to complete assignments successfully.
  • Students are required to revise at least one substantive assignment in the course based on instructor feedback.
  • Students will receive instructor feedback on their writing.
  • All of the writing assignments in the course should count substantially toward students’ final grades in the course. To this end, students should be asked to write a minimum of 3500 words, divided among two or more assignments.

Course Approval Process

To submit a course for the Writing Intensive category, please complete the course planner template. Submit this form, the course syllabus, and any applicable assignments to CIM when complete. 

Please review the Writing Across the Curriculum approval guide for a more detailed overview.