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Teaching a Write 2 Course

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WRITE 2 (WR 2) classes are generally seminars with enrollment of 16 or lower, taught by faculty, that fulfill the Write 2 part of Stanford University's Writing and Rhetoric General Education requirement.

Faculty may design and propose courses to fulfill the University’s Write 2 requirement. Faculty interested in teaching WR 2 courses can contact Program Director Marvin Diogenes ( for further information about the proposal process or consultation about course design and WR 2 components involving writing and speaking pedagogy.

As PWR 2 courses are the most common way for students to fulfill the WR 2 requirement, it may be helpful to have a contextual overview of PWR 2s:

  • Generally taken in a student's second year, PWR 2 is designed to build on students’ introduction to research-based writing in PWR 1 and serve as a bridge to their later work in WIM courses, other writing and speaking assignments in the major and WAYS courses, and the writing of Honors Theses.
  • Students in PWR 2 continue to focus on research-based writing, making rhetorical choices about format, genre, diction, style, and media as appropriate to the goals of their research and to the audiences they wish to address.  PWR 2 adds an instructional focus on the oral presentation of research, including appropriate multimedia support for the presentation.
  • In addition to the major PWR 2 assignments (research proposal, written research-based argument, oral/multimedia presentation of research, and a genre/mode assignment such as a podcast or website), instructors generally ask students to do additional informal writing in the form of drafts, blogs, and peer reviews; importantly, students also have opportunities to practice speaking in the form of impromptu speaking exercises, interim presentations on their research process, and rehearsals of the major oral presentation of research.  Some instructors ask their students to perform their oral presentation to an audience outside of class, in an academic conference or community performance.
  • Page and Minute Counts: During the quarter, students should expect to complete 18-20 minutes of oral presentations and 18-25 pages of writing in a variety of formats (with a substantial number of pages devoted to the major research project).

WR 2 proposals are reviewed by the WRR Governance Board. The Board’s approval for a class to fulfill the WR 2 requirement is usually granted for a period of three years after which the faculty member teaching the course may be invited to report to the Board on the experience of teaching the WRITE 2 course.

Getting your course certified

Courses must be approved as a WR 2 by the WRR Governance Board.  Proposals should be submitted in the fall or early winter the academic year before the course will be taught.  The PWR faculty director and administrative director are available for consultation on the preparation of the writing and speaking components of the course proposals and can advise faculty on the expectations of the Governance Board.  

WRITE 2 courses:

  • carry at least 3 units of credit
  • are generally seminar courses
  • provide writing, research, and oral presentation assignments and include opportunities for students to present the results of scholarly inquiry in varying forms (e.g. in print, on the web, before a live audience)
  • offer students consistent opportunities for practice and revision of major written assignments and oral presentations, with feedback provided by faculty
  • provide instruction in writing and oral communication keyed to standards appropriate to university-level work, including attention to integrating the writing and oral communication instruction with the content of the course
  • require that students produce 18-25 pages of writing and 15-20 minutes of speaking

Further, it is recommended that WRITE 2 courses:

  • incorporate peer review into the students' process of preparing and revising written assignments and oral presentations
  • give students opportunities to work collaboratively on presentations
  • supplement feedback from faculty with support or coaching from other sources, which could include videotaping and/or tutoring support from the Hume Center for Writing and Speaking and the Oral Communication Program

Notes to faculty preparing WRITE 2 course proposals

WRITE 2 classes are often also Introductory Seminars; students apply via the usual Introductory Seminar process — they submit an application which includes a statement of interest, and faculty read the applications and select the students for the class.

In the proposal form the faculty member should provide for the Governance Board with full descriptions of the writing and speaking assignments, their placement in the syllabus and relationship to each other, the instruction and feedback elements built into the assignments, and the way assignments grow out of course materials.  The syllabus (for a new course, this may be a syllabus draft) need not have as much detail as the proposal form but should make clear to students the ways in which the course assignments fulfill the WR 2 requirement. The Board also recommends that the syllabus include a description of the support available through the Hume Center for Writing and Speaking.


  • Fall—development of WRITE 2 proposals, including optional consultation with PWR directors.  Proposals should be submitted for Governance Board review by the end of fall quarter (preferably) but no later than the end of the second week of winter quarter.
  • Winter and Spring—Governance Board review of WRITE 2 proposals. The Board will approve the proposal or request specific revisions or clarifications related to the WR 2 components of the course.

Propose a Write 2 course now