Loyola University Chicago

Department of English

Writing Program

Program DetailsHelpful Resources

Overview of the Writing Programs

The Writing Programs reflect Loyola's continued commitment to helping students write clearly and eloquently. In keeping with that goal, the writing courses are designed to meet the needs of students with various levels of skill and experience in writing. The university employs several methods of placement—e.g. standardized test scores, the Writing Program Assessment, a language proficiency test and previous coursework—to determine each student's needs. During registration, you will receive advice on which courses will best build upon your writing foundations. Most incoming students enroll in one of four courses: English 100, 102 or 103, or UCWR 110.

Most students will take UCWR 110, the Core Writing Seminar, during the Fall or Spring of their first year. This course is intended to help students become skilled analytical readers; writers of clear, focused, graceful, mechanically correct, and appropriately complex prose; and competent researchers. The skills learned in UCWR 110 are essential to your success in all college classes, and Loyola's Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) program. A final course grade of "C-" or better is required to complete UCWR 110; students who do not earn this grade must repeat the course in the immediately following semester. Some students may be required to take either English 100 (Developmental Writing) or English 102 (Basic Writing I—English as a Second Language) or English 103 (Basic Writing II—English as a Second Language) before taking UCWR 110.

College of Arts and Sciences

The Course Requirements for the College of Arts and Sciences state that “all CAS students must take two Writing Intensive courses which are designated sections of courses that are taught with a special emphasis on writing, courses that include a variety of writing assignments that will be integrated closely with the learning objectives of the course.” One Writing Intensive course is required in the core; the other is suggested in the student’s major. In some cases, a particular course is designated as Writing Intensive, but often, only certain sections of a course are so designated.

The Writing Intensive course has a cap of 18 students. Smaller class size allows professors to work with students on both the principles of good writing and course content.

Writing Intensive courses are coordinated by the Writing Across the Curriculum Coordinator, who understands that the kinds of writing required of students vary widely across the curriculum. However, Writing Intensive courses differ from non-writing intensive courses because of classroom focus not only on course content but also on writing about course content, including the critical thinking necessary to write well in the discipline; the conventions of writing in the discipline, including format and documentation; and the acknowledgement of writing as a process.

The following guidelines are intended to standardize Writing Intensive courses so that students know what to expect in their classes.

  • Students should write a minimum of fifteen pages of graded work
  • The percentage of the course grade for written work should be at least 30%
  • Graded assignments should include short (2–3 pages), medium (4–6 pages) and longer (7–12 pages) papers. Page length, of course, depends on the discipline, but students should not be expected to write one lengthy paper without having had prior feedback on shorter papers.
  • The course syllabus should clearly state the requirements for graded writing assignments, the number of papers to be written, due dates, page requirements, and the weight of each paper.
  • The sequence of assignments should move from tasks that are easier (such as summary) to more difficult (such as analysis, synthesis, argument, research).
  • Some “low stakes” non-graded writing should be assigned for practice in writing strategies (in-class writing and journal responses meant to prepare students for writing papers).
  • Some class time should be devoted to the conventions of writing in the discipline, such as structural requirements, documentation format, and document design.
  • Class time should be devoted to the principles of good writing, such as organization, unity, development, clarity, directness, and correctness through “learning to write” activities, such as generating tentative thesis statements, working on options to structure an essay, combining choppy sentences with logical links, and editing for excess.
  • The process of writing should be addressed by moving through the stages of writing: prewriting, drafting (peer review, conferences) revising, and editing).
  • Some class time should be devoted to discussions of student sample papers, perhaps as models of successful responses or as examples of papers that need further revision.
  • Expectations for papers should be made clear on writing assignments (purpose, audience, documentation format, document design).
  • Evaluative criteria for writing assignments should be clear.
  • For current conventions regarding grammar and punctuation, instructors should consult a recent handbook.
  • Students needing extra help with their writing should be directed to the Writing Center.

Please note:

To request that a class be newly designated as Writing Intensive, a syllabus reflecting the guidelines should be sent to the Writing Across the Curriculum Coordinator (Melissa Bradshaw, mbradshaw@luc.edu) for approval at the beginning of the semester prior to the semester for the new WI class

Instructors new to teaching Writing Intensive courses are invited to attend a Writing Workshop led by the Writing Across the Curriculum Coordinator. Memos will be sent to all those listed for WI courses.

New and veteran Writing Intensive Instructors should meet once or twice a semester to discuss syllabi, assignments, classroom practices, and teaching strategies in order to learn from each other.