Nobody at Stanford can escape writing—not even CS majors.
Stanford undergraduates are required to take part within the Program in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR), designed to show college students tutorial studying and writing expertise. Many college students fulfill this system necessities by taking PWR 1 of their freshman 12 months and PWR 2 of their sophomore 12 months. Whereas each courses function a central writing element, PWR 2 additionally incorporates oral shows.
Stanford isn’t the one college with writing-focused common schooling necessities. Its Ivy League friends Harvard and Yale additionally require that college students take particular writing programs early of their undergraduate careers.
PWR college director Adam Banks wrote in an e-mail to The Each day that Stanford “has all the time had a writing requirement for undergraduates.” In keeping with Banks, this system was known as “Freshman English” within the Eighties and early Nineteen Nineties, then “Writing and Essential Pondering” within the Nineteen Nineties by way of the early 2000s and in 2001, the College Senate accepted the present program identify and necessities.
The aim of PWR is to “introduce Stanford undergraduates to analytical and research-based writing within the college within the first 12 months and the oral presentation of analysis in lots of modalities within the second 12 months,” Banks wrote. PWR depends on a “student-centered tutorial methodology,” full participation and sophistication actions to interact college students, based on Banks, with programs meant to enhance college students’ rhetorical communication.
Anthony Qin ’25 mentioned he loved working together with his PWR professor. “I believe the most effective factor I acquired out of PWR is unquestionably the lecturers themselves,” Qin mentioned. “They’ve all the time stayed after class, and I acquired to speak to them and prepare conferences with them.”
The category helped Joelle Warden ’26 develop her expertise in writing stronger theses and extra detailed analysis questions. She mentioned that PWR was simpler for her as a result of she has a robust background in writing.
PWR will be enjoyable for college kids who take pleasure in writing, however that college students who don’t take pleasure in writing may disagree.
“I can see why folks wouldn’t prefer it,” mentioned Shuvia Jha ’24, including that whereas there are “some ways to satisfy a writing-type requirement,” PWR takes a extra structured method.
“A few of my mates [who] have been much more STEM-y didn’t prefer it as a result of it was plenty of work and in the event you’re not into that sort of labor, you’re simply not going to take pleasure in it,” Jha mentioned.
Although college students could have a variety of opinions about this system, all PWR courses supposed to assist college students develop as writers. Banks wrote that this system encourages instructors to check-in which college students in the course of the quarter to obtain suggestions concerning the class construction and actions.
“It doesn’t matter what main a scholar chooses, writing is an important means college students study,” Banks wrote, “And it doesn’t matter what careers a scholar decides to comply with, the power to put in writing and converse persuasively, thoughtfully, strategically and ethically makes an enormous distinction in somebody having the ability to thrive of their chosen occupation.”