Academic Writing

Clear, effective, and analytical writing forms the basis for success in university and beyond.

3 credit hours | Academic Writing is the first course in a two-semester sequence required for students in every field of study.

students at table

The Value of Academic Writing

Students entering as first-year students (with 0-23 of post-high school transfer hours) must take both WRTR 1312 and WRTR 1313 at SMU (or equivalent), regardless of whether they have prior credit from AP/IB exams or transfer credit.

Transfer students (those who have studied at another institution for at least one regular term and who transfer in at least 24 credit hours of post high school transfer credit) take WRTR 1313 if they are transferring in credit for one Freshman Writing course. Students who are transferring in credit for two Freshman writing courses do not need to take WRTR 1312 and WRTR 1313 unless both courses were earned as dual credit; in which case, students must take WRTR 1313.


Student Learning Outcome

Students will demonstrate competency, clarity, coherence, and organization in their writing.

Requirement Details

  1. Demonstrate the ability to state a clear thesis and develop it through appropriate support in the body of the essay.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to develop paragraphs and organize them in a logical progression.
  3. Craft sentences with attention to sentence variety, diction, grammar, mechanics, spelling, and punctuation.
  4. Integrate ideas and information from other writing effectively into their own.

Courses in this category:

  1. Focus on critical reading and written assignments, including expository writing and analysis of texts.
  2. Require 4500-6000 words of formal, closely graded, out-of-class writing (approximately 15-20 full pages, double-spaced, in Times New Roman 12).
  3. Introduce students to the idea that critical reasoning comprises analysis grounded in in the evaluation of written sources. These skills will be further developed in WRTR 1313.
  4. Expect students to use all aspects of the writing process and include one-on-one writing conferences on major writing assignments.
  5. Use feedback and commenting language common to SMU writing courses.