First-Year Writing

Instruction in expert academic writing for all first-year students fulfilling the Humanities Core requirement

Humanities Writing Seminars (HUMA 19100)

Unlike at many other institutions, the University of Chicago does not require a standalone “freshman composition” course of its students. Rather, students in the College are required to complete two quarters of Humanities Writing Seminars (listed as HUMA 19100-01-02) in conjunction with their Humanities Core sequence taken their first year. These writing seminars introduce students to the analysis and practice of expert academic writing, simultaneous with introducing them to critical inquiry. The seminars use the substantive discussions and assignments from their Humanities Core class as a tool for the advanced study of writing, in groups of no more than 7 students.


What do students learn in writing seminars?

In Humanities Writing Seminars, first-year students study various methods for the construction of sophisticated and well-structured arguments as well as the complications and limits of those arguments. We also address issues of readership and communication within expert communities. As students present papers in the seminars, we use the reactions of the audience to introduce techniques that expert writers can use to transform a text from one that serves the writer to one that serves readers.


When and how do I complete my Humanities Writing Seminar requirements?

In Autumn and Winter quarter, students meet with their Writing Intern in 80-minute writing seminars at least 3 times. Attendance is mandatory, and writing interns may assign drafts, critiques, or other work in preparation for these workshops. Students are automatically registered in HUMA 19100 when they register for a Humanities Core sequence and will receive a Pass credit upon successful completion each quarter. Credit for HUMA 19100 (Autumn quarter) is required for graduation.

What other resources are available for first-year writers?

In addition to the support of the writing seminars and meeting with a Writing Intern or Humanities Core instructor for office hours, first-year students writing for the Core (including HUMA, SOSC, BIOS, Art or Civilizations Core courses) receive priority for working one-on-one with our College Core Writing Tutors. Multilingual students who speak English as a non-native language may also see an ESL/EAL Writing Tutor to focus on English-specific writing issues.

We also have a series called Writing in College.

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