WID Program Information

Writing in the Disciplines (WD) – Classes in which instructors use writing assignments to enable students to practice writing conventions of a specific discipline to understand the values, genres, and formats (the thinking and writing of that discipline).

Typically, WD courses are those upper-level (perhaps capstone) courses that include writing assignments with discipline-specific concepts, genres, and conventions. In this case, it might be what writing scholar James Britton calls “transactional writing” meaning writing to accomplish something specific to inform, persuade, or instruct in a particular field.

Benefits and Goals of Writing in the Disciplines:

The most important reason for assigning writing tasks in disciplinary courses is to introduce students to the thinking and writing of that discipline. Even though students read disciplinary texts and learn course material, until they practice the language of the discipline through writing, they are less likely to learn that language thoroughly. In addition, teachers cite other specific advantages of WD tasks, large and small. Such writing helps students to:

  • integrate and analyze course content
  • provide a field-wide context to course material
  • practice thinking skills relevant to analyses in the discipline
  • practice professional communication
  • prepare for a range of careers in the field


  • Refers to courses that are:
    • Writing to Learn (WTL)
    • Writing Intensive (WI)
    • Writing Enhanced (WE)
  • Located throughout the university in which instructors are writing tasks to help students analyze or understand concepts.
  • Characteristics include:
    • Created to facilitate students' ability to think.
    • Shorter and less formal at early stages.
    • Designed to explore course concepts.
    • Lower-stakes grades often scaffolded into course assignments.
    • Ungraded or completion grades only.
  • 50% of course grades are derived from assignments that ask students to engage writing to help think through course concepts.


  • "Refers to courses that are:"WID" refers to Writing in the Disciplines courses in which writing assignments are used to enable students to practice writing conventions of a specific discipline to understand:
    • Values of the discipline
    • Genres of the dicipline
    • Formats of the discipline
    • The thinking and writing of that discipline
  • Typically, upper-level (i.e., capstone) courses.
  • Designed to help students write professionally acceptableprose in a particular field of study.
  • Emphasis on professional communication; students should demonstrate a mastery of the conventions of writing in a specific discipline.
  • Faculty and peer feedback is highly recommended throughout these courses.