As part of the Common Course of study, Lafayette students take 4 courses designated as “W” or “writing intensive.”

W courses are offered across the curriculum. They require students to write at least 20 pages or 5,000 words across the semester, receive feedback on their work, learn to revise in response to that feedback, and acquire strategies for composing, revising, editing, and proofreading.

Some W courses currently offered introduce students to the conventions of college writing (first year seminars, ENG 100); others take issues in writing as their primary subject of inquiry (e.g., English 202 Writing Seminars, ENG 250); and others teach discipline-specific writing conventions, using writing as a tool for learning a disciplinary subject.

While one of the four W courses—First Year Seminar—is required, the others are largely the student’s to determine. However, students are expected to take one W in their major department and one W outside of it. They should also plan your W courses to distribute writing experiences across all four years (this requirement is not one to be completed in the first two years, especially since Lafayette students do not formally declare a major until spring semester of their sophomore year).

The following guidelines were designed by CWP to help students choose appropriate W courses (appropriate, that is, to individual needs and interests). In choosing a W and planning your schedule, students should consider with advisers about the aggregate of bulleted items listed under each course. In other words, these are indeed a set of guidelines and not a checklist.

Finally, please also bear in mind that although the W requirement consists of four courses, students are not limited to that number. The development of writing skills takes time and effort and Lafayette’s  requirement is designed to allow them to choose the courses most relevant to their individual abilities, majors, and schedules.

Guidelines for Choosing a W Course