Beyond the Writing Requirement

Writing Courses Beyond FYW

The first-year writing courses are only the beginning of a student's experience as a writer at Wellesley. Students will receive focused writing instruction in many of their courses at Wellesley. But if they want to study writing in and of itself, the following options are available:

Writing 201: Intensive Writing Workshop 

This course is a workshop and tutorial intended for students who have already taken FYW, but who still feel they would like to improve their writing further. Students who enroll in this course meet once a week with a specially trained teaching assistant (a Wellesley junior or senior) who works under the close supervision of the faculty member in charge of the course. The TA and student develop assignments individually tailored to the needs and interests of the student. The assignments are academic in nature, and at least one paper involves research. Students meet a second time each week as a group with the faculty member. In that meeting, they discuss common readings and workshop their papers. Listen to what students have to say about Writing 201

Writing 231D: Writing the Wave: Women Writing the 21st Century Essay

This course will examine the recent, dramatic rise in the numbers of women writing and publishing the essay. This new wave of literary production, driven in part by the spirit of the #metoo movement, has inspired Cheryl Strayed to call it the essay’s “golden age.” Through studying the works of contemporary prose writers, we will explore the causes and effects of this phenomenon. We will also investigate how women are using and re-shaping the essay to foreground female experience and to confront difficult topics such as rape, harassment, abuse, and the silencing that so often surrounds those experiences. This rise in women’s voices is changing our literary and social landscape, and it is even shifting the form of the essay itself. Students will study this movement and contribute to it through their own writing. 

Writing 250: Independent Study in Writing

Students who are self-motivated and interested in studying writing as an academic subject may enroll in an independent study with a member of the Writing Program faculty. Writing 250 is appropriate for a student who may want, for example, to study in depth a particular genre of writing, or the social conditions of writing, or the teaching of writing. A student who primarily wants more practice developing her skills in academic writing should consider Writing 201 instead. In Writing 250, the student is responsible for identifying a faculty member with whom to work and for establishing the agenda of the course. Writing 250 is available for a full or a half-unit of credit, and it may be taken in either the fall or the spring semester. Permission of the supervising faculty member is required, as is the approval of the Director of the Writing Program.

Writing 277/Anthropology 277: True Stories: Ethnographic Writing for the Social Sciences and Humanities

Do you like to "people watch"? Do you wish you could translate your real-world experiences into narratives that are readable and relatable, and also intellectually rigorous? If so, you probably have an ethnographic writer hiding somewhere inside you, and this class will give them the opportunity to emerge. Ethnography, a “written document of culture,” has long been a key component of a cultural anthropologist’s tool-kit, and scholars in other fields have recently begun to take up this practice. We will read classic and contemporary ethnographies to better understand the theoretical and practical significance of these texts. Students will also have the unique opportunity to be the authors and subjects of original ethnographic accounts, and at various stages in the semester they will act as anthropologists and as informants. Although this course will emphasize an anthropological method, it is appropriate for students from various disciplines who are looking to expand their research skills and develop new ways to engage in scholarly writing. 

Writing 291: Secrets of the Library: Advanced Academic Research and Writing

This course is designed for humanities and social sciences majors who want more practice writing in their major discipline. Students will explore library archives, special collections, and rare books, learning how and why to study and write about these rich primary materials. They will have access to the physical collections at Wellesley and Harvard’s Houghton Library, as well as both schools’ vast digital archives. Librarians will introduce students to the collections, and, as a group, they will make trips to area libraries. Students will learn how to work with library materials as scholars do, devising a viable topic and approach, doing hands-on research, producing a significant writing portfolio, and offering oral presentations of their work. The materials in these collections will appeal to students interested in the humanities and social sciences, and in the history of science, medicine, and the law. 

Writing 293: Advanced Writing: The West of Ireland in Literature, Art and Culture

Why has the west of Ireland produced so many poets, lyricists, musicians, dramatists and fiction writers? This intensive, interdisciplinary writing course will allow students to engage that question as they are introduced to the terrain, villages, counties, cultural history, arts and people of the west of Ireland. In this two-week course in Ireland, students will explore and write about the cities of Letterfrack, Louisburg, Galway and Cork. Site visits will include Kylemore Abbey, the islands of Inishbofin and Achill, Bowen’s Court, Big House country, the Renvyle Peninsula. The course will comprise daily lectures by faculty, small group discussions, and daily writing, as well as visits by Irish poets and academics who contribute to the rich traditions of the Irish West. 

Writing 307/Sociology 307: Learning by Giving: Nonprofit Organizations and American Cities in the Twenty-first Century

The goals of this team-taught course are several: 1) to develop a community-based research experience that will strengthen students’ substantive understanding of American cities and the organizations that serve their populations; 2) to offer students the opportunity to hone their social science research skills; 3) to strengthen students’ communication skills by offering them an alternative venue and audience for their writing; and 4) to foster collaboration among students on a project of consequence. Students will work in teams to research, write, and submit a grant application for a nonprofit organization. Course participation will require travel to Boston. Preference will be given to students who have a demonstrated commitment to service. 

Writing 325: Advanced Writing Seminar

This course will support senior McNair Scholars in developing their writing and communication skills and in preparing to apply to graduate school. Students will become more confident, effective writers as they produce drafts of personal statements, fellowship applications, poster presentations, and manuscripts for publication. This course will offer students the opportunity to practice communicating their scientific knowledge and research results to different audiences and gain the benefits of being part of a community of scholars. Open only to seniors participating in the McNair Scholars Program. 

Writing 391: CPSW: A Word After a Word After a Word is Power: Women Writing the 21st Century

Margaret Atwood professes that, “A word after a word after a word is power.” Propelled by the #MeToo movement, LeanIn, and the women’s march, women are baring their truths, beliefs, and experiences in an explosion of public words. In this seminar students will become immersed in the dynamic contemporary landscape of women’s writing, spanning memoir, poetry, journalism, and political commentary. Within an intimate workshop setting, students will develop their own voices through assignments that will include book reviews, op-eds, social media analyses, and interviews. By taking turns as writers and editors, students will become skilled in evaluating and fostering their own writing as well as the writing of others. This course takes as its premise the intensive Calderwood format of having students regularly produce, critique, and revise their and their peers' writing by taking turns alternating being writers and editors throughout the semester. 

Writing in Other Disciplines

Many upper-level courses at Wellesley require significant writing and provide students the opportunity to develop their writing skills at an advanced level. Students who would like help identifying writing-intensive courses may consult with the Director of the Writing Program.

A Note on Creative Writing

All creative writing courses are offered through the Department of English and Creative Writing.