Writing in the Major

The Writing in the Major (WIM) Requirement

Writing in the Major courses provide students with opportunities to develop writing skills in the context of their major fields. It begins the process of learning to write effectively in discipline-specific formats and styles. This writing requirement is usually completed by students in their junior or senior years.  WIM courses:

  • carry at least three units of credit
  • must be taken for a letter grade (see the relevant section of the Bulletin)
  • are taught by faculty, senior lecturers or lecturers
  • require a substantial amount of writing (the exact amount number and types of assignments vary according to what is appropriate for the discipline)
  • schedule writing at regular intervals throughout the quarter via multiple short papers and / or assigning a larger project in stages
  • emphasize the process of rewriting with individualized feedback and coaching from the instructor or TA (require at least one substantial revision)
  • devote attention to standards of writing in the discipline
  • integrate writing concerns into classroom activities (e.g., lecture, discussion, student presentations)
  • are situated in the overall curriculum of the major to contribute most effectively to students’ training in the discipline

University vs. Department / Program Writing Requirements

The university requires students to complete at least one approved writing-intensive course in each of their majors. However, a department or program may require its students to complete more than one such course. For further information, consult department and program descriptions in the Stanford Bulletin.

WIM Courses

Each department or degree-granting program designates its own WIM course(s). To fulfill the WIM requirement, a student needs to complete the course(s) approved for the student's own major. A WIM course from another major (that’s cross-listed in the student's major) fulfills the WIM requirement if it’s designated so by the degree-granting department / program.

To find out which course(s) fulfill the WIM requirement for the major:

  • Refer to the list of WIM courses
  • Then, double-check those course offerings with the department / program descriptions in the Stanford Bulletin.
  • Finally, consult with the Undergraduate Director or Administrator for the specific department / program.

While programs and departments occasionally change the courses that fulfill the WIM requirement, a course designated as fulfilling the requirement will continue to do so as long as it fulfilled the requirement at the time that it was taken.

WIM Courses and the Writing and Rhetoric 1 and 2 Requirements

WIM courses cannot fulfill the first- and second-year Writing and Rhetoric requirements. For information on courses fulfilling the first- and second-level Writing and Rhetoric requirements, review the following resources:

WIM Requirements for Students with Double-Majors or Individually Designed Majors

  • Double-majors must complete a WIM course within each of their majors.
  • Students with Individually Designed Majors (IDMs) fulfill the WIM requirement by completing a regularly designated WIM course. This WIM course needs to be approved as pertinent to the IDM by the primary advisor.

Writing Resources for WIM Students

Students can find help for their WIM courses from the following resources:

learn more:

  • For information on the WIM Requirement in a particular major, contact the Undergraduate Director or Undergraduate Administrator.
  • For information on a particular WIM course, contact the instructor.
  • For further information about the WIM program, contact Marvin Diogenes, 650-723-4642 or marvind@stanford.edu.