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University Writing Program > Course Information > Course Descriptions > UWP 102B - Writing in the Disciplines: Biological Sciences
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UWP 102B - Writing in the Disciplines: Biological Sciences

  1. Catalog Description

    UWP 102B. Writing in the Disciplines: Biological Sciences (4) Lecture/discussion-3 hours; extensive writing. Prerequisite: course 1 or English 3 or the equivalent and upper division standing. Open to majors in a biological science or to students concurrently enrolled in an upper division biological science course. Advanced instruction in writing in the discipline of biology. GE credit: Wrt (cannot be used to satisfy a college or university composition requirement and GE writing experience simultaneously). -I, II, III (I, II, III.)

  2. Course Goals
  • To introduce students to the forms of discourse in the biological science
  • To introduce students to the rhetoric principles underlying the standard formats for the major genres of scientific writing
  • To teach students the rhetorical principles underlying effective scientific style
  • To teach students the conventions of writing in the sciences, such as maintaining objectivity and appropriately using scientific terminology and the passive voice
  • To teach students to distinguish between good and bad scientific style
  • To strengthen students' ability to organize, draft, and revise
  1. Entry Level

    Students should have completed UWP 1 or ENL 3 or the equivalent and have upper division standing. Students should be majoring in some area of the biological sciences or should be enrolled in an upper-division biological sciences course. They should be familiar with the general principles of good writing, including organization, development, sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation.

  2. Topical Outline
  • Understanding the writing process: drafting, revising, editing
  • The nature of writing in the biological sciences; the scientific paper as argument;
    • summarizing scientific information; writing in scientific genres and formats;
    • literature reviews, proposals, research reports, abstracts, etc.; writing the personal statement
  • Analyzing audiences, writing in different scientific genres, presenting scientific material to a lay audience
  • Documenting the scientific paper; the nature of evidence; kinds of sources: journal articles, the Internet; citation formats; formats for references; strategies in presentation
  • The principles of scientific style, writing clear and focused sentences, using verbs effectively, connecting information cohesively, writing coherent paragraphs, maintaining objectivity, using specialized terminology appropriately
  1. Grading Criteria
  1. The course will be graded by a letter grade.
  2. Grades will be based on the students' performance on in- and out-of-class writing assignments and on a final exam. Students will write a minimum of 6000 words; the number of assignments and the weight of each assignment will vary according to the instructor. Instructors may choose assignments from among the following types of assignments: oral report, summary report, literature review, proposal, research report, lab report, abstract, an article on a scientific subject directed toward a lay audience, or similar project related to scientific research.
  1. Reading

    The course may use a text such as Writing in the Sciences by Penrose and Katz, or similar text focusing on scientific writing. The instructor may alternatively present to the class individually developed materials necessary for each assignment. The instructors will also assign reading abstracts, journal articles, technical reports, and other publications in the biological sciences.

  2. Explanation of Potential Course Overlap

    UWP 102B does not overlap with any other course. UWP 102B is distinguished from UWP 101, Advanced Composition, from UWP 102A (Writing in the Disciplines), from other 102s, from UWP 104E (Writing in the Professions: Science), and from other general advanced writing courses, by its specific emphasis on writing in the discipline of the biological sciences. UWP 102B is distinguished from the companion courses by its emphasis on instruction in writing rather than on the subject matter of the companion course.

  3. Justification of Units

    UWP 102B is a four-unit course, based on three hours per week of lecture/discussion. As with all upper division writing classes, an additional unit of credit is justified by the significant amount of work that students must do outside of class time to plan, draft, and revise the 6000 or more words of required writing. In addition to this substantial written requirement, students will meet individually with the instructor for discussion and evaluation of their work. The estimated time of preparation of the writing assignments (research, consultation, drafting, revision) is thirty hours, and amount consistent with Carnegie Rule guidelines.

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