Writing in the disciplines represents a national trend and multiple examples and models can be found in a variety of universities. In general schools define a discipline-specific writing intensive course by the following four criteria.

Process writing

Professors wanting to integrate writing into classes in their discipline allow students to experience writing as a process activity not a summative evaluation. Students need to write, receive feedback, and then write again in the light of that feedback. The more students experience this process, the more opportunities they have to grow in writing and thinking skills.

Quantity of writing required

Although inclusion of writing used to be expressed in terms of a minimum number of pages required, many schools are also looking at the number of writing assignments required as well. The more students write on a continual basis, the stronger their engagement with the material and with the intellectual work of the course.


Meaningful writing

Effective writing in the disciplines establishes a strong connection between writing assignments and the course material and course objectives. Writing should be an effective tool for student learning of the subject matter, should be designed to help students investigate the subject matter or to gain experience in interpreting data. Finally, the discipline’s audience and traditions should shape the writing.

Significant writing

Finally, if we want students to take writing seriously and progress in learning to think and write, we must grade them on the competence of their individual writing. In addition, writing will have to represent a high enough percentage of the student’s course grade to motivate the student to take the writing task seriously.