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First-Year Writing Requirement

The goal of the First-Year Writing Requirement (FYWR) is to prepare students to write in diverse academic contexts. As a broad preparation for the range of writing tasks students will encounter at the University of Michigan and beyond, FYWR courses emphasize evidenced, academic writing in a variety of genres and rhetorical situations. A FYWR course is foundational for students to master the kind of analysis and argumentation found in sophisticated academic writing.

The First-Year Writing Requirement should be completed in the first year with a minimum grade of C– and must be satisfied before electing a class to satisfy the Upper-Level Writing Requirement (ULWR). Advanced Placement (AP) credit does not fulfill the FYWR.

FYWR courses offered for a particular term can be found in the LSA Course Guide by using the “Skills Req” drop-down menu and selecting “First-Year Writing (FYWR)”.

Transfer students who have completed writing courses at another college or university may be able to use those courses to satisfy the FYWR. Detailed information about the approved and non-approved courses is available through the Sweetland Center for Writing's First-Year Writing Requirement page.

Students who seek a more individualized and gradual introduction to college writing may choose to take WRITING 100: Transition to College Writing and/or WRITING 120: College Writing for Multilingual Writers through the Sweetland Center for Writing before a First-Year Writing Requirement course.

WRITING 100 is a 3-credit ungraded course designed for students who:

  • learn best with one-to-one instructor support;
  • seek more experience drafting and revising academic essays;
  • prefer a more gradual introduction to writing longer academic essays on a variety of topics; and/or
  • would benefit from an additional term to gain confidence in their writing and reading skills at the college level.

WRITING 120 is a 3-credit graded course designed for students who:

  • feel most comfortable with academic writing in a language other than English and/or
  • want an opportunity to work closely with an instructor to become better prepared for writing in English.

Writing Placement

To help students choose their first writing course at the University, the Sweetland Center for Writing provides the First-Year and Transfer Directed Self-Placements for Writing. Neither Directed Self-Placement (DSP) is a test. Rather, each DSP is designed to give students insight into the kind of writing expected of undergraduates at the University of Michigan in order to help them judge their own readiness for and comfort with college-level writing. The specific DSP students must complete depends upon whether they have already met the FYWR with a transferred course.