Students will demonstrate university-level writing proficiencies appropriate to their coursework.

Learn more about the Writing graduation requirement.


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The Value of Writing

We write not only to communicate what we know, but to understand ourselves better, to comprehend our world more fully, and to discover what we think. The ability to write well promotes success in college regardless of major; after college it enhances success in any field that involves sustained thought. Being able to write well is the mark of an educated person. But writing well is a skill that takes time to develop and requires practice. Writing courses give students further opportunities to practice what they have learned in the first-year Writing and Reasoning sequence (WRTR 1312 and 1313) and to advance their skills.


Student Learning Outcome

Students will demonstrate university-level writing proficiencies appropriate to their coursework.

Fulfill Writing by:

Students may use pre-matriculation transfer coursework to satisfy Graduation requirements. The coursework must be college-level, credit-bearing work, taken and passed for a letter grade. Students must receive SMU transfer credit for the course.


Courses that transfer in with an SMU equivalent number (for example FREN 2401) will automatically satisfy any Proficiency & Experience requirements fulfilled by the course. The same is true for many courses on the listed on the SMU Transfer Equivalency Guide


Courses that transfer in with generic course numbers (for example, ENGL 10XX) will not automatically satisfy Proficiency & Experience requirements and must be petitioned using the Proficiency & Experience (PE) Fulfillment Verification petition.


Students must submit one petition for each graduation requirement, even if they are using a single course to petition multiple requirements. Students may use a single course to satisfy up to three Proficiency & Experience requirements (assuming the course meets the criteria for all three).  


How to petition generic transfer coursework:

  1. Fill out the Proficiency & Experience (PE) Fulfillment Verification petition, selecting the requirement they are hoping to fulfill and checking the second option that says “A transfer (non-SMU) course that I completed after high school and prior to matriculation at SMU.”
  2. Attach a complete syllabus which includes a daily schedule, grade breakdown, assignments, and assigned readings.
  3. Attach a copy of the Transfer Evaluation Report (TER), showing that the course being petitioned has transferred to SMU for credit. Visit my.SMU > Academics > Request Transfer Evaluation
  4. Attach a brief supporting statement, using the provided template, that explains how the course fulfills the Proficiency & Experience being petitioned.

Petitions are electronic and are usually reviewed within two weeks of receipt. Students should not assume that a petition has been completely processed until they receive a formal notification of approval or denial from the Office of General Education via The Common Curriculum email (theccmail@smu.edu). The formal notification, in cases of approval, follows the formal update to the students Degree Progress Report (DPR), noting that the petitioned requirement is satisfied.

Use the course search options below to find Writing-tagged courses at SMU. Following successful completion of the course, your Degree Progress Report (DPR) will be updated to reflect satisfying this graduation requirement. Learn how to find tagged courses below via one of two means. 

Search courses on the Common Curriculum website:

  1. Go to Course Search on the SMU Common Curriculum website
  2. Click Filter by Graduation Requirements and select Writing

Search courses in my.SMU:

  1. Go to my.smu.edu and select “Students”
  2. Login using your username and password
  3. Once logged into your Student Dashboard, select Class Information on the left-hand side bar
  4. Under Class Information, select Advanced Class Search
  5. In the Search Criteria boxes:
    1. select the term you want to take the class
    2. in Course Attribute, select Common Curriculum P and E
    3. in Course Attribute Value, select Writing
  6. Select Search and the available courses will be displayed

Students may apply to fulfill the Writing requirement through a co-curricular activity. These criteria apply to experiences that meet the Writing curricular requirement and describe the characteristics of the experience, the steps a student must follow to petition the experience for approval, and the number and types of assignments students must submit to satisfy the requirement. Some activities that have been previously approved include:

  • Content creation firm internships
  • Writing and publishing a research paper in an academic journal

Before the Individual Activity:

  1. Write up a narrative summarizing the plan to fulfill all Writing Experience Criteria requirements.
  2. Submit a Common Curriculum Proficiency and Experience Pre-Approval Petition with your plan.
  3. Once approved, begin the individual activity. 

During the Individual Activity:

  1. Student experiences must involve 15 hours of engaged interaction such as an internship, an engaged learning project, independent research, or work assisting a faculty member. For activities completed after matriculation at SMU, a faculty mentor must provide detailed feedback on the student’s written work.
  2. This written work must involve a minimum of three opportunities across the duration of the experience for students to write, and must total 3600-4500 words (approximately 12-15 full pages, double-spaced, in Times New Roman 12). It may include reflective genres such as blogs, journals, and first-person essays that record, describe, analyze, and evaluate the experience, but may also include other genres relevant to the experience. Such writing must be evaluated in accordance with the characteristics of well-organized writing, whether or not that evaluation includes a grade.

After the Individual Activity:

  1. Submit EITHER copies of all written work completed as part of the activity, or, in cases where that is not possible (such is in cases where an activity is completed prior to matriculation at SMU), a written reflection of at least 1000 words that responds to the following prompt:

Please describe in detail the activity you used to complete the Writing requirement. In your reflection, answer the following questions. How did you meet the requirement of completing 3600-4500 words of writing? Who was the audience for your written work? What resources did you use to understand how best to improve your writing? How did you incorporate drafts and revisions into your writing process? Who provided feedback on your writing? How did your ability to communicate information in writing improve.

  1. Request third-party verification of hours in the form of a letter, engagement portal screenshot, etc. 
  2. Submit the Common Curriculum Proficiency and Experience Fulfillment Verification petition with the above reflection.

Sometimes students complete, or desire to take, an SMU course which was not tagged with the desired Proficiency & Experience, but after reviewing the Student Learning Outcomes, Supporting Skills, Course Content Criteria, they believe they may have satisfied the requirement. Use this process below to petition credit for the graduation requirement. 

Current SMU students who wish to take an SMU course that they believe has activities that satisfy this Proficiency & Experience, must submit, prior to beginning the course:

  1. The Proficiency & Experience (PE) Pre-Approval petition and request individual activity-based fulfillment.
  2. Attach a complete syllabus which includes a daily schedule, grade breakdown, assignments, and assigned readings.
  3. A detailed supporting statement, using the provided template, of how the activities in the course meet the requirements for Writing.

Upon completion of the course and a posting of the student's grade, students must submit:

  1. Proficiency & Experience (PE) Fulfillment Verification petition.
  2. A copy of the student's Degree Progress Report (DPR) with the letter grade of the course. 
  3. A complete syllabus which includes a daily schedule, grade breakdown, assignments, and assigned readings. Attach the student assignment(s) which meet the writing requirements.
  4. A final supporting statement, using the provided template, on how the course achieved the Student Learning Outcome, Supporting Skills, and Course Content Criteria. Where possible, providing specific examples.