The Arts & Sciences Writing Program

Through its courses and tutorials, the Writing Program helps BU undergraduates acquire writing and communication skills and more general habits of mind essential both to their full participation in the intellectual life of the University and to their future personal, professional, and civic lives.

Learning Outcomes

CAS WR 111 Academic Writing for ESL Students 1 teaches ESL students to use effective strategies for reading college-level texts and for acquiring new vocabulary in academic contexts; to build a logical analytical argument in a short essay; to express ideas using a controlled range of structures; to identify and practice various writing styles and formats; to fluently perform classroom language functions; to understand the culture of the American academic classroom; to acquire knowledge of grammar and basic meta-language; and to perform meta-cognitive and self-reflective tasks.

CAS WR 112 Academic Writing for ESL Students 2 teaches ESL students to read academic texts on varied subjects with accurate comprehension and intellectual discernment; to recognize and use the conventions of expository and argumentative discourse; to develop the tools to critique academic texts, including the ability to identify and critique thematic and rhetorical structures; to write grammatically correct prose, using appropriate diction; to plan, write, and revise academic papers with structural accuracy, clarity, coherence, and attention to stylistic features of written English; to understand American academic conventions; to develop the ability to respond to the writing of others; and to use effective strategies for self-editing.

CAS WR 120 First-Year Writing Seminar teaches students to read a range of genres with understanding, appreciation, and critical judgment; to express themselves orally and converse thoughtfully about complex ideas; to craft responsible, considered, and well-structured written arguments; to produce clear, coherent prose in a range of genres and styles, using different media and modes of expression as appropriate; to plan, draft, and revise efficiently and effectively, and help their peers do the same by responding productively to their work; and to reflect on their own reading, writing, and editing practices.

CAS WR 150 Writing, Research & Inquiry builds on the skills cultivated in WR 120 and teaches students to strategically search for and select both scholarly and nonscholarly sources and read them with understanding, appreciation, and critical judgment; to engage a range of sources in order to address research questions and to communicate findings in the form of responsible, considered, and well-structured written arguments; and to reflect on how research, reading, writing, and editing practices differ for varied audiences, genres, and purposes.

CAS WR 151 Writing, Research & Inquiry with Oral and/or Signed Expression builds on the skills cultivated in WR 120 and teaches those covered in WR 150. It also places special emphasis on teaching students to express themselves orally and converse thoughtfully about complex ideas, recognizing and cultivating the vital connections between oral and written communication.

CAS WR 152 Writing, Research & Inquiry with Digital/Multimedia Expression builds on the skills cultivated in WR 120 and teaches those covered in WR 150. It also places special emphasis on engaging with sources in different modes and media and developing an understanding of the capabilities of various communication technologies.

CAS WR 153 Writing, Research & Inquiry with Creativity/Innovation builds on the skills cultivated in WR 120 and teaches those covered in WR 150. It also places special emphasis on the ability to think and communicate in original ways, helping students discover how to generate ideas, risk productive failure, and execute sustained projects of their own design.

CAS WR 415 Public Writing teaches students to understand motivations for communicating academic research to a public audience; to read various genres of public writing with appreciation and critical judgement and to identify their textual and visual conventions; to adapt oral communication and prose styles for different audiences and purposes; to choose and use digital tools ethically and effectively; to translate academic research into responsible, considered, and well-structured written, oral, and visual arguments for public audiences; and to integrate multiple modes of communication in a single project.

CAS WR 597 Tutoring Writing in the Disciplines provides instruction and support for department-based writing tutors. Students learn about discipline-specific writing practices, genres, and conventions; develop practical tutoring methods to help peers of all abilities and linguistic backgrounds become more independent writers; and reflect on their experience as advanced writers and mentors.

CAS WR 599 Tutoring in the Global University prepares writing consultants to work effectively with diverse student populations at various levels of linguistic and writing abilities. The course asks consultants to reflect on their roles within the community of the Writing Center and cultivates strategies to help them to mentor students as they navigate the educational challenges and opportunities at a global university.


All first-year, first-time students will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, a general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements are flexible and can be satisfied in many different ways, through coursework in and beyond the major (or minor) and, in some cases, through cocurricular activities. WR 111 fulfills a Hub unit in The Individual in Community. WR 112 fulfills a Hub unit in Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy. WR 120 fulfills a Hub unit in First-Year Writing Seminar. WR 150, WR 151, WR 152, and WR 153 fulfill Hub units in Writing, Research, and Inquiry; and Research and Information Literacy. WR 151 fulfills an additional Hub unit in Oral and/or Signed Communication. WR 152 fulfills an additional Hub unit in Digital/Multimedia Expression. WR 153 fulfills an additional Hub unit in Creativity/Innovation. While it is permissible for students to take more than one writing course at the 150 level (WR 150, WR 151, WR 152, or WR 153), it is not generally recommended. WR 415 fulfills Hub units in Digital/Multimedia Expression; Writing-Intensive Course; and Oral and/or Signed Communication.

For other ways of fulfilling the First-Year Writing (CAS WR 120) and Writing, Research, and Inquiry (CAS WR 150, 151, 152, or 153) requirements, see the BU Hub Bulletin page.

Placement Notes

  • Students who submit TOEFL scores or other proof of English language proficiency as part of their applications for admission to Boston University will be placed into CAS WR 111, CAS WR 112, or CAS WR 120, based on their performance on a placement test.
  • Students who are not required to take the writing placement test will be placed into CAS WR 120.