Skip to Content

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of a Minor in Writing?

This academic minor is useful for any undergraduate student who is looking for the freedom to design writing projects that may not exist in his or her major. Students develop an electronic portfolio of writing they produce throughout their undergraduate career. The digital portfolio provides a place to reflect on their development as writers, demonstrate their proficiency in visual rhetoric, and showcase their writing abilities. Students have the opportunity to create a digital portfolio first in WRITING 220 and then again in WRITING 420 to build on acquired skills.

Who can be part of the Minor in Writing program?

Any U-M undergraduate can be part of the Minor in Writing program. It is designed for students interested in developing a range of writing abilities and approaches, including (but not limited to) disciplinary, professional, and personal. This academic minor complements students’ primary course of study by encouraging them to produce work that merges disciplines and pushes boundaries, as well as examines rhetorical awareness across a range of genres and modes.

I don’t have a writing-heavy concentration. Will this minor benefit me?

Yes! Writing clearly and effectively is important in all disciplines, whether sending a well-crafted and clear office memo or publishing a personal narrative in a prestigious journal. Like the Minor itself, what you can do with writing is incredibly versatile and can be tailored to your own goals.

Is creative writing required?

The Minor in Writing allows for some traditionally creative writing, but focuses more on expository and argumentative writing of various genres and media -- some of which can be quite creative (e.g., a creative nonfiction essay or an audio essay), but which also includes academic research papers, journalistic articles, documentaries, and the like. If you want to focus exclusively on poetry, fiction, or drama, the Creative Writing minor offered through the Department of English may better suit you.

However, you will learn to write creatively in the sense that you will approach topics as problems to solve or further explore. Students use strategies learned in their disciplines, from the Minor, or from elsewhere to attempt to solve the problems that matter to them - and to present the results to the appropriate audience.

What are the prerequisites for the Minor in Writing?

Students must have satisfied the First-Year Writing Requirement with a final grade of C or higher, and have at least three fall/winter terms remaining in their program. The three terms allow for a required full "gap" term (Fall/Winter) between the Gateway (Writing 220) and Capstone (Writing 420) classes. Writing 220 and 420 may not be taken back-to-back. Spring/Summer terms do not qualify as full terms.

Engineering students must have completed Engineering 100 with a grade of C or higher. Transfer students can complete the FYWR with a transfer course approved by Sweetland.

What kinds of classes will I be taking?

Students must take at least 15 credits of courses that count towards the Minor. A specific set of courses must be completed, with an average minimum GPA of 3.3 for courses counting towards the academic minor.

WRITING 220, or the Gateway course, introduces students to the Minor and encourages them to reflect on themselves as writers and develop their skills with digital media in the Gateway ePortfolio.

An English course covering either academic argumentation, professional writing, or creative nonfiction (English 225: Academic Argumentation (4), English 229: Professional Writing (4), English 325: Art of the Essay (3), LHSP 230: Writing & the Arts II (3)), or a Sweetland new media writing course is required to further the student’s range of writing abilities.

Two Upper-Level Writing Requirement courses are required: one within the student’s major and one that may be outside of it. The first can satisfy a major requirement, but the latter must be independent from the student’s major credits. This requirement encourages students to explore writing both inside and outside of their comfort zones.

The Minor in Writing experience concludes with WRITING 420, the Capstone course. Students design and create a final capstone project that they truly care about while putting to use the skills that they have acquired from the Minor (and elsewhere!) throughout their undergraduate years. This work is showcased in the Capstone ePortfolio.

I already took an Upper-Level Writing course. Will that count towards the minor?

Yes! As long as it is officially designated as an ULWR course, it will count towards the Minor.

What are some projects that Minor in Writing students have created in the past?

Check out our Gateway and Capstone pages for links to past projects.

What will I learn in the Minor in Writing program?

Students who complete the Undergraduate Minor in Writing will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Produce complex and well-supported arguments that matter in academic and non-academic contexts.
  • Explore different strategies for organizing, revising, and proofreading writing of varying lengths and genres.
  • Identify and implement rhetorical choices that meet the demands of specific genres, audiences, and rhetorical situations
  • Compose in a variety of modes, including a range of new media such as blogs, interactive maps, online magazines, etc.
  • Identify the expectations that characterize writing in their major, and use this knowledge to write effectively in a range of genres in that discipline.
  • Learn the language to describe writing processes, rhetorical choices, genre expectations, and disciplinary discourse to discuss writing-in-progress and writing development over time.
  • Collaborate with other writers to improve writing-in-progress.

Not only will you gain these skills, but you will also make new connections and learn from writers with varying majors who care about writing as much as you do.

When can I apply to the Minor in Writing?

You are required to have at least three fall/winter terms left as an undergraduate to apply (see Prerequisites info above), but you can apply as soon as you decide that the program is for you.

Ok! I’m ready to apply!

To apply for the Fall 2017 cohort, visit the Application Process page!