W Codes

Trinity College students are required to take two 'writing intensive' courses (W'-coded) in order to graduate.  W-coded courses must meet the guidelines for WID courses (see below). 

To receive a W code, the instructor must submit a course change form to the Arts and Sciences Committee on Courses. Codes are not given retroactively or after a course has begun.

More information about the W code and the other curricular requirements under Curriculum 2000.

Guidelines for WID Courses

The aim of the Writing-in-the-Disciplines program is to engage undergraduates in writing as a form of critical inquiry and scholarly research. This means that the work students do as writers needs to be a visible and integral part of a writing-designated course. Students in such courses should thus expect to:

Write frequently throughout the term

Students should be given regular practice in and comments on their writing. Assignments might take various forms, including, for instance, a series of brief response papers, or several mid-length papers, or a longer research project divided into sections.

Discuss the work they are doing as writers at various points during the term

Students might present papers seminar-style to the class, collaborate on assignments, post research on the web, or otherwise read and respond to one another's work.

Reflect on and improve their work as writers

Students might revise some of their writings in response to comments from their instructor, or write a series of papers in response to a set of linked topics or issues, or draft proposals for or submit sections of longer projects, or expand short response papers into longer essays.

Consider the roles and uses of writing in the discipline they are studying

Students might analyze the structures of various genres of writing (critical essay, lab report, research article, policy memo, etc.), become familiar with standard forms of documentation, or discuss some of the characteristic styles of argument and discourse in the field.

The sort of course that would not fit these guidelines would be one, for instance, in which the only appearance of writing was a research paper due at the end of term, or one in which writing was used largely as a means of evaluation - that is, a course in which essays or papers were occasionally assigned in the place of tests or other projects but which did not provide occasions for students to discuss or revise their work as writers. The key is to imagine a course in which student writing is, itself, a focus of study. So long as that criterion is met, our hope is that faculty will develop courses that are as diverse as possible in the topics they explore, the forms of critical and scholarly writing they encourage, and the modes of inquiry, research, and conversation they provoke.