Writing and research are the cornerstones of the Duke undergraduate curriculum. The Thompson Writing Program (TWP) helps students develop as writers from their first through senior years at Duke, and supports faculty who teach writing in a wide range of courses across the curriculum. We do so in three main ways:

Writing 101 (20): Academic Writing: All entering undergraduates must complete Writing 101 (20) in their first year at Duke. Writing 101 (20), "Academic Writing" is an intense introduction to critical thinking and writing; it teaches students how to argue creatively in response to the work of other scholars and intellectuals.  Each section of Writing 101 (20) has a distinctive theme chosen by its instructor. (See Courses for brief descriptions of current and past themes.) Sections are capped at 12 students and taught by faculty who have studied a wide range of disciplines--from biology and engineering to political science and sociology to literature and philosophy and history--and who have also undergone special training in the teaching of writing. See Writing 101 (20) Assessment for how we reflect on and revise our work with student writers.

Writing in the Disciplines (WID): All students in Trinity College must also take two writing-designated courses in the disciplines. WID courses are designed and taught by faculty in all the various departments at Duke.   Such courses build on the skills developed in Writing 101 (20) in order to offer students a more specific sense of how to write in particular fields of study. The TWP reviews WID courses and provides support for the faculty teaching them. See WID Assessment for how we track the uses of writing across the curriculum at Duke.

The TWP Writing Studio offers free, one-on-one writing consultations to Duke students. The consultants at the Writing Studio are trained professionals who can help you move forward at any stage of your work on a piece of writing--from developing ideas to drafting to revising. Schedule appointments online. See Writing Studio Assessment for how we measure the effectiveness of our one-on-one work with student writers.

The Duke TWP was established in 2000 as an effort to increase the role of writing in the Duke undergraduate curriculum. See the 1999 Report of the TWP Task Force for the beginning vision of our program. In 2006, the (then) UWP received a CCCC Writing Program Certificate of Excellence for our support of both undergraduate students of writing and their teachers. In 2008, the UWP was renamed the Thompson Writing Program in honor of Robert Thompson, Dean of Trinity Colleges whose vision and support have been crucial to the success of the Program.  Please feel free to contact , Director of the TWP, if you have any questions.

Clare Woods, Director of the Thompson Writing Program



The Thompson Writing Program is named for Robert J. Thompson, Jr., who led the revitalization of the teaching of writing at Duke University. In 1999, as Dean of Trinity College, he directed the restructuring of the University Writing Program into three complementary parts: Writing 20 (renamed Writing 101 in 2009), a first-year seminar in academic writing designed and taught by a multidisciplinary group of scholars; Writing in the Disciplines, a set of advanced, writing-intensive courses taught by faculty in almost every department at the university; and the Writing Studio, a space for students to work one-on-one with tutors to improve their writing.

In 2008, to recognize his leadership and vision, the Duke University Board of Trustees renamed the Writing Program in Dean Thompson's honor.