The University of Chicago

University of Chicago Writing Program

Writing Program courses

View our course catalog.

Graduate students, professional school students, and advanced undergraduates: The Little Red Schoolhouse: At the graduate and advanced undergraduate level, writers at the University come to us having succeeded so well in one set of challenges that they face another. They have mastered their specialty and developed their arguments to the point that they now know more about their subject than their readers do. As a result, writers must stop writing for their teachers -- who can often draw on background knowledge to infer the meaning of unclear sentences and muddled arguments -- and start writing for the kinds of audiences they'll face in the real world: smart, skeptical, but crucially dependent on the words on the page to make meaning.

To help advanced writers meet this challenge, we offer an elective course called Academic and Professional Writing (English 13000/33000, also known as "The Little Red Schoolhouse"). This course helps advanced writers structure complex data, develop extended arguments, and position their work as a contribution to ongoing debate in their fields. The course is offered in several different versions for graduate students, MBA students, professional students, and advanced undergraduates.

Special topics courses: For graduate students and advanced undergraduates, we also offer advanced special topic elective courses in subjects such as argument, style, biography, rhetorics of law, and rhetorics of censorship.

First year undergraduates: Humanities 19100: First year undergraduates in the College are introduced to the analysis and practice of advanced writing through writing seminars (Humanities 19100) that are linked with Humanities Core courses. While the Writing Program as a whole deals with writing in many professions, our writing seminars for the Humanities Core concentrate only on expert academic writing: the kind of writing done by scholars and scientists, the kind of writing that our students will be asked to do throughout their College years.

Jobs for graduate students

The Writing Program is one of the largest sources of academic employment for graduate students on campus. Each year we offer three kinds of renewable teaching positions: Lectors in Academic and Professional Writing, Writing Interns in the Humanities Common Core, and Writing Tutors for the College Tutoring Program. If you are a University of Chicago graduate student interested in one of these positions, our annual applications process begins each January. Our requirements are simple: we're looking for people who write well themselves and who are interested in teaching. Previous experience teaching writing is not required, and we hire graduate students from as many different fields as we can. All Writing Program instructors take a quarter-long course in the pedagogy of writing before they start teaching, and during their first quarter of teaching, they work closely with experienced writing program personnel.
View information on our available jobs and the application process.

Grammar on the web

Looking for grammar help on line? The web has a rich array of resources available, but some of them are more useful than others. We maintain an annotated listing of web sites on and off-campus that illuminate the mysteries of grammar, syntax, and other writing-related issues.
Grammar on the web

Writing Tutors and Interns

The Writing Program trains and supervises the Tutors who assist Common Core students on their papers and the Interns who offer writing instruction in the Humanities Common Core. For further information on writing Tutors and Interns, go here.

Other writing help at the University of Chicago

For courses in fiction and poetry, visit the Creative Writing Program. For courses in English as a second language, visit The English Language Institute.