Skip to Content

Search: {{$root.lsaSearchQuery.q}}, Page {{$}}

Upper-Level Writing Requirement

LSA and a few other colleges require students to complete the Upper-Level Writing Requirement (ULWR). The goal of the ULWR is to teach students to recognize and practice the range of writing activities and forms typical of academic and professional contexts.

The Sweetland Center for Writing offers Writing 350, designed to be taken at the same time as a ULWR course, to support transfer student writing. Sweetland offers Writing 229 for multilingual and international students,

Satisfying the Upper-Level Writing Requirement

  • the ULWR course must be taken at the UM-Ann Arbor campus 
  • transfer credit is not accepted
  • you must first complete the First-Year Writing Requirement (FYWR) with a C- or higher
  • you cannot take your FYWR and ULWR courses at the same time
  • the course must be an approved ULWR course
  • you must receive a C- or better in your ULWR course
  • you can take your ULWR course pass/fail, however, you must receive a final course grade of C- or better to fulfill the requirement.

ULWR not showing up on your record?

Verify that the course was an approved ULWR course during the term you selected it. Go to the LSA Course Guide, choose the correct term and “Upper Level Writing” from the Skills/Req drop-down menu. If the course does not appear on this list, it was not an approved ULWR course and you will need to complete a course that is approved to fulfill the ULWR. If the course was approved to fulfill the ULWR, email your name, UMID number, course and section number, and the term you completed the course in the email. A Sweetland staff member will investigate the situation and let you know the status.

Special Arrangements

I’m a graduating senior and I’m unable to fit an approved ULWR class in my schedule this semester. What can I do?
If you have at least 100 credits toward graduation, you may request the Sweetland Center for Writing’s approval to use an unapproved U-M course to fulfill your ULWR. To do this, please submit an Individual Arrangement Petition.

Can I use my honors thesis to fulfill the ULWR?
Students completing an honors thesis can opt to count it toward their ULWR by filling out an Honors Thesis Intent Form and submitting it electronically to the Honors Office at

Can any other special arrangements be made to fulfill the ULWR?
Students with a minimum of 100 completed credits who want to take a non-approved course to fulfill their ULWR can fill out an Individual Arrangement Petition, and submit it electronically to

ULWR Course Goals

In ULWR courses, students learn to:

  • build on skills and strategies developed in first-year writing courses;
  • produce complex, analytical evidence-based arguments that address specific audiences;
  • refine their ability to write effectively both within and beyond specific disciplines;
  • use feedback to improve their writing through revision;
  • demonstrate familiarity with the genres and conventions characteristic of effective writing.

Writing assignments in ULWR courses:

  • require a substantial amount of polished writing, usually between 25 and 40 pages (7500-12,000 words) over the course of the semester (or the equivalent in digital media projects), though this may vary among disciplines;
  • take a variety of forms typical of academic and professional writing in particular fields, including projects that incorporate collaboration, digital media, or other relevant genres;
  • integrate writing with course content;
  • are sequenced throughout the semester to facilitate the development of ideas and concepts;
  • provide clear and explicit guidelines to help prepare students for challenging rhetorical tasks;
  • include a clear indication of when and how writing-related instruction will take place during lecture and/or discussion;
  • provide at least three structured opportunities for students to receive feedback on their writing-in-progress, and requiring substantial revision of at least 50% of their writing.