University Writing Requirements (by college)

Looking for information on the Entry Level Writing Program and requirements?

All undergraduates must fulfill a two-course writing requirement, by completing each course with a grade of C- (or P) or higher or by testing out of one or both courses (see Upper Division Composition Exam below).  All courses require a minimum of 6,000 words of writing, designed to introduce students to academic and professional writing, advance their analytic skills, and improve their writing process.  Each college prescribes a sequence, which can be adapted to students’ needs.  To be most effective, courses should progress from introductory to intermediate or advanced writing, as students’ cognitive skills develop and they need to write more sophisticated, longer papers, for more varied audiences, and in diverse genres and formats.  Course options and other details vary by college.
Please note: All writing courses have prerequisites.

College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences: 

Students must complete either two courses emphasizing written expression or one course emphasizing written expression and one course emphasizing oral expression:

(a) one course selected from UWP 1, ENL 3, UWP 48, 49, 101, 102A-L, 104A-T, or Nematology 150;

(b) the second may be a different course selected from the (a) list, or Comparative Literature 1, 2, 3, 4, NAS 5, or Communication 1 (the last emphasizing oral communications skills).

College of Biological Sciences

Students must complete 8 units of writing courses, to include 4 upper division units. (A list of acceptable courses is available in the Dean's Office.)

College of Engineering

UWP 1, ENL 3, COM 1, 2, 3 or 4, or NAS 5 can satisfy the lower division expository writing course requirement.

Students can satisfy the upper division writing requirement by completing an approved upper division writing course after satisfying the lower division writing requirement. Students should consult their program's degree requirements for the list of courses approved for their major.

College of Letters and Science: 

Students may satisfy the writing requirement by completing:

a) one course from UWP 1, ENL 3, COM 1, 2, 3, 4, or NAS 5; and

(b) one course selected from UWP 101, 102A-L, or 104A-T.


Upper Division Writing Examination

After completing 70 units, all students have the option of taking a challenge exam. In L&S and A&ES, students can test out of the whole writing requirement; in Engineering, they test out of only the upper division course. Administered by the College of Letters and Science, the Upper Division Writing Exam is offered once in each quarter (excluding summer sessions). The exam does not yield credit. Students may take the exam a maximum of two times. For more information, see the web site: /program-information/upper-division-composition-exam-information.


University Writing Program Curriculum

General Education

Any writing course may satisfy a General Education writing experience requirement, but it may not simultaneously satisfy a college writing requirement. ENL  3, COM 1, 2, 3, 4, and NAS 5 also carry Arts and Humanities GE credit.  NAS 5 offers GE Diversity credit.

Lower Division Writing Courses

All introductory or freshman writing courses have as a prerequisite the fulfillment of the Entry Level Writing Requirement. Students must satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement within their first three quarters at Davis; students held for courses in Linguistics have up to three additional quarters, depending on the number of linguistics courses they are required to take. (See for more information.)

Students should be advised to take introductory writing courses as early as possible in their academic careers to benefit maximally in other courses. All introductory courses are 4-units, taught in lecture/discussion format: active participation in discussion, writing exercises, workshops, and other collaborative group work is crucial to advancing communication skills. All courses require frequent writing, both in class and take home, with some mandatory drafting and revision.

Lower Division Writing Courses:  Introductory

University Writing Program

UWP 1 Introduction to Academic Literacies.
Composition, the essay, paragraph structure, diction, and related topics. (I, II, III)


ENL 3 Introduction to Literature.
Introductory study of several genres of English literature, emphasizing both analysis of particular works and the range of forms and styles in English prose and poetry. (I, II, III)

Comparative Literature

COM 1, 2, 3 or 4 Great Books of Western Culture. An introduction to the great books of Western civilization in a certain period, with frequent writing assignments and instruction in writing process, conventions, style, and grammar.
COM 1 The Ancient World. (I, II, III)
COM 2 From the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment. (I, II, III)
COM 3 The Modern Crisis. (I, II, III)
COM 4 Major Books of the Contemporary World. (I, II, III)

Native American Studies

NAS 5 Introduction to Native American Literature.  Study of selected Native American texts, with intensive focus on analysis and frequent writing assignments to develop critical thinking and writing skills. (I, II, III)

Lower Division Writing Courses:  Intermediate

Students in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences may fulfill the second course requirement with an intermediate writing course (UWP 48 or UWP 49). Compared to taking two introductory courses, this sequence benefits students who need a bridge between introductory and advanced courses and who want to develop their critical thinking and communications skills. Prerequisites are UWP 1, ENL 3 or the equivalent.

UWP 48 Style in the Essay. Style, language, and structure in the essay. Instruction in analyzing style, developing a written voice, revising sentences, developing effective paragraphs and arguments, and writing with force and clarity. (I, II, III)   
UWP 49 Writing Research Papers. Development of skills in critical reading, analysis, documentation, and writing needed for research-based assignments. Instruction provided in formulating research topics and in developing effective arguments. Reading and writing assignments may focus on a single theme. (I, II)   

Upper Division Writing Courses

Advanced courses encourage students’ continued progression in analytic and writing skills, not only for upper division courses but also for graduate school or professional work. All advanced courses carry 4 units of credit, but meet for 3 class hours, to acknowledge the extensive writing assigned.  Prerequisites are UWP 1 ENL 3, or the equivalent and upper division standing.
UWP 101 Advanced Composition. Instruction for students in all disciplines in advanced principles of expository writing both within and beyond the academy. Assignments provide practice in a variety of modes of writing: narrative, analysis, explanation, argument, critique. (I, II, III)

Writing in the Disciplines

Writing in the Disciplines courses provide advanced instruction in the elements of expository writing, with special emphasis on their application to writing projects in a specified academic field.  These courses require concurrent enrollment in a specified course in a subject-matter discipline, acceptance into a specified major or minor, or consent of instructor. English 102 may be repeated once for credit if the second course focuses on writing in a different discipline.  Note:  Unlike all of the other writing courses, these courses are NOT all offered every quarter.

UWP 102A Writing in the Disciplines: Special Topics - Film Studies.  Open to upper division Film Studies majors and minors and Technocultural Studies majors or upper division students concurrently enrolled in an upper division Film course. (II)

UWP 102B Writing in the Disciplines: Biological Sciences.  Major or concurrent enrollment in an upper division course in BIS. (I, II, III)

UWP 102C Writing in the Disciplines: History.  Open to upper division History and American Studies majors and minors or upper division students concurrently enrolled in an upper division History or American Studies course. (II)

UWP 102D Writing in the Disciplines: International Relations.  Open to upper division International Relations majors or upper division students concurrently enrolled in an upper division course that fulfills an International Relations requirement. (II)

 UWP 102E Writing in Engineering.  Major or concurrent enrollment in an upper division course in UWP or ECS. (I, II, III)

UWP 102F Writing in the Disciplines: Food Science and Technology.  Open to upper division Food Science and Technology majors or upper division students concurrently enrolled in an upper division Food Science and Technology course. (III)

UWP 102G Writing in the Disciplines: Environmental Writing.  Open to upper division ESP, LAWR (ATM, ERS, HYD, and SSC), NAC and WFC majors and minors or upper division students concurrently enrolled in an upper division ESP, LAWR (ATM, ERS, HYD, and SSC), NAC or WFC course. (III)

UWP 102H Writing in the Disciplines: Human Development and Psychology.  Open to upper division Human Development and Psychology majors and minors or upper division students concurrently enrolled in an upper division Human Development or Psychology course. (I)

UWP 102I Writing in the Disciplines: Ethnic Studies.  Open to upper division AAS, AMS, ASA, CHI, and NAS majors and minors or upper division students concurrently enrolled in an upper division AAS, AMS, ASA, CHI, or NAS course. (I)

UWP 102J Writing in the Disciplines: Fine Arts.  Open to upper division AHI, ART, DES, DRA, and MUS majors and minors or upper division students concurrently enrolled in an upper division AHI, ART, DES, DRA, or MUS course. (I, III)

UWP 102K Writing in the Disciplines: Sociology.  Open to upper division Sociology majors and minors or upper division students concurrently enrolled in an upper division Sociology course. (III)

UWP 102L Writing in the Disciplines: Film Studies. Open to upper division Film Studies majors and minors and Technocultural Studies majors or upper division students concurrently enrolled in an upper division Film course. (II)

Writing in the Professions

UWP 104A Writing in the Professions: Business Writing.   Instruction in designing, writing, and documenting formal and informal reports directed toward a variety of work-related audiences. Instruction in presenting data graphically. Suitable for students planning careers in science, government, business, engineering, or industry. (I, II, III)

UWP 104B Writing in the Professions: Law.  Advanced principles of critical thinking, argumentation, and style, with special emphasis on their application to situations in the legal profession. Suitable for students planning careers in law, business, administration, or management (I, II, III)

UWP 104C Writing in the Professions: Journalism.  Writing non-fiction for magazines and newspapers, including problems of style and language. Special emphasis on conducting research, interviewing, analyzing markets, and writing query letters. (I, II, III)

UWP 104D Writing in the Professions: Elementary and Secondary Education. Advanced instruction in a variety of modes of expository writing, concentrating on topics related to teaching and issues in contemporary American education. Strongly recommended for teaching credential candidates. (I, II, III)

UWP 104E Writing in the Professions: Science.  Advanced instruction in writing abstracts, research proposals, scientific papers, other forms of scientific communication and in presenting data graphically. Primarily for students engaged in or planning careers in basic or applied research. (I, II, III)

UWP 104F Writing in the Health Profession.  Advanced instruction in several forms of expository writing common in the health professions, focusing on topics related to health, disability, and disease and emphasizing effective communication between the writer and different audiences. Suitable for students planning careers in such health professions as medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, genetic counseling, and optometry. (I, II, III)

UWP 104I Writing in the Professions: Writing for Internships.  Contemporary Leadership Minors and upper division students concurrently enrolled in an internship. (III)

UWP 104T Writing in the Professions: Technical Writing. Communicating effectively about technology and other technical subjects to varied audiences for varied purposes. Suitable for students entering professions that require communicating technical information to subject matter experts, managers, technicians, and non-specialists. GE credit: Wrt (cannot be used to satisfy a college or university composition requirement and GE writing experience simultaneously). Not open for credit to students who have completed course 104A prior to Fall 2012. (I, II, III)

For more information, go to:
or contact:
UWP Program Coordinator: Rodney Alexander, // 530-752-6283 // 109 Voorhies