University Writing Requirement and WI Checklist

Goals for Student Writing and Learning

In 1995, the Academic Senate passed a motion that established the University of New Hampshire's current University Writing Requirement [PDF]. This requirement rests on the broad belief that academic and disciplinary literacy represent the cornerstone of a university curriculum; it is an expression of the university's commitment to the following broad goals for student writing and learning.

  • Students should use writing as an intellectual process to learn material, to discover, construct, and order meaning.
  • Students should learn to write effectively in various academic and disciplinary genres for professional and lay audiences.
  • Students should learn to display competence with the generic features and conventions of academic language.

In order to help realize the above goals, Writing Intensive (WI)  courses were established as well as the University Writing Requirement (UWR).

Fulfilling the requirement

In order to fulfill the University Writing Requirement, all undergraduates must complete the following four courses with a passing grade:

  • EN401 (First Year Writing)
  • A Writing Intensive (WI) Course in the Major
  • A Writing Intensive (WI) Course at the 600 Level or Above
  • A Writing Intensive (WI) Course (any other)  

Frequently Asked Question

"Can the same course satisfy the course-in-the-major requirement and the 600 level or above requirement?" 


Yes, one course can satisfy both of these requirements (see pattern B below), but the course would only count as one of the three WI courses needed. In this case, the student would need to take two other WI courses (in addition to EN401) to satisfy the requirement.  For reference, a complete WI sequence would conform to one of the two patterns below:

A) Separate Courses for 600+ and in the Major              B) One Course for 600+ and in the Major            

1. EN401                                                                                          1. EN401

2. WI in the Major (any level)                                                   2. WI in the Major @600+ level

3. WI @600+ level  (any)                                                            3. WI (any)

4. WI (any)                                                                                      4. WI (any)

Note: a department or a major may have more specific requirements that would be in addition to the above.  The numbers are for reference. The actual sequence that courses are taken is immaterial. 

Planning your WI Courses

Courses bearing WI credit are marked with the WI Attribute in the  Registrar's Time and Room Course List.

For a Master List of all WI courses in the UNH catalogue, see the Registrar's Page.

The Writing Committee's position is that both the Writing Requirement and WI Course Attributes are definitive.  As such, only courses bearing the WI Attribute will count for the WI requirement.  In short, UNH students are expected to enroll in UNH WI-designated courses to satisfy the WI requirement.  The Rationale for Writing and Learning at UNH acknowledges that the WI the course structure provides a minimum framework for writing in the curriculum and that there will be writing in non WI-designated courses (without necessarily conforming to WI methods). To avoid a shortfall,  students should not plan on receiving WI credit after the fact for writing done in non WI-designated courses or enroll in non WI-designated courses expecting to receive WI credit.  Scheduling convenience or falling short of the WI requirement for graduation do not constitute grounds for exception.

Note: not all WI courses are offered each semester; for advance planning, students should check with an advisor or the owning academic department for whether a key course will be available in a particular semester.

WI Transfer Credit and Exceptions

NOTE: This page is available as a PDF.  

Petitions to the Writing Committee will be considered during the the following windows:
Fall: September 1 - October 30
Spring: February 1 - April 15
Petitions received outside of these timeframes will be considered in the next window.
For WI evaluation purposes, transcripts are considered frozen after April 15.

Exceptions to the Writing-Intensive (WI) Requirement:

General Note on Petitions: In general, petitions will not be favorably received if there are any conventional means available of acquiring WI credit, either in the immediate or future term. In other words, UNH students are expected to enroll in UNH WI courses to satisfy the WI requirement. Scheduling convenience or falling short of graduation requirements do not, by themselves, provide valid grounds for petition.

1. WI Credit for Non-WI Designated UNH Courses:

  • The Writing Committee's position is that both the Writing Requirement and the WI Course List are definitive.  Therefore, petitions from students asking that they be awarded WI credit for non-WI designated UNH courses will not be favorably received. This prohibition includes requests for WI credit for enrollment in courses prior to their WI designation or after their WI expiration.
  • Important Note on WI Credit for UNH Courses: The University Writing Requirement is long-standing and well known, with the Writing Intensive attribute clearly listed in the course description. Therefore, students should not assume that WI is negotiable, or enroll in non-WI designated courses with the expectation of receiving WI credit. Students who believe that a course should be WI may discuss the issue with the Instructor or Department concerned. In short, the owning department must change the course designation in order for students to receive WI credit. Students should understand that except under unusual circumstances, WI designations are fixed once a semester begins, and WI course designations cannot be retroactively changed to credit previous semesters.

2. WI Credit for: A) Transfer B) Administrative Correction C) Other:

  • A) Transfer Credit: To qualify for a WI credit, a transfer course must be from an accredited institution recognized by the UNH Registrar. In addition, it must:
    • carry at least 3 semester credits and receive a letter grade.
    • run for a minimum of 6 weeks.
    • meet one of the following three criteria:
      1. be a non-fiction, expository, or technical writing course with the word "writing" or "composition" in the title.
      2. be a formally designated  "Writing Intensive" course, listed as such the course catalog (ie, a formal WI curriculum comparable to UNH).
      3. be a course offered through a stand-alone "writing department" or a "writing" discipline (such as Journalism).

WI credit will not be considered for a parallel Basic or Freshman Composition course if the student has credit for ENGL401 at UNH. English 401 equivalence is determined by the English Department, not the Writing Committee.

Important Note on Transfer:

  • Resident UNH Students: It is the Writing Committee's position that Writing Intensive classes, as a core component of the undergraduate curriculum, are a defining component of a UNH education. As such, these high-impact learning experiences are best guided by UNH faculty. Furthermore, it is extremely difficult to document WI teaching methods external to UNH. Resident UNH students, therefore, should satisfy the writing requirement by enrolling in UNH WI classes. This includes students in study abroad and other exchange programs, who should plan on satisfying WI requirements before or after their off-campus experiences.

    Resident students are especially discouraged from attempting to satisfy complex WI credits (the in-the-major and/or 600-level WI) via external means. Not only is approval multi-staged and problematic, but it is the Writing Committee's position that these critical disciplinary courses should be managed within the UNH curriculum and taught by UNH faculty.

  • Transfer Students: In the case of students who have transferred from elsewhere, their transcripts have been screened for WI credit through the admissions process; therefore, any request for additional WI credit should be done in a timely fashion, defined as before the end of their first full semester at UNH. After that point in time, students should assume that their WI status stands as is, and should program appropriately in order to prevent a graduation shortfall.
  • B) Administrative Correction: for students who require an adjustment or correction to their records because of some official activity that transpired external to themselves (course catalog issue, academic department action, advisor error, or some other UNH organizational reason).

Important Note on Administrative Correction: Some of these cases could be within the domain of the Department, School/College, Registrar's Office, or the Academic Standards and Advising Committee. Check with your Advisor, the Academic Department, the Dean's Office of the school in question, or the Registrar. You may be able to resolve the issue without a petition.

  • C) Other: To address some systemic issue in a Department or Program's WI curriculum that is causing a shortfall, or to address some other circumstance not covered by transfer or administrative correction.

Petition Instructions:

A) Download and Fill out the "Undergraduate Petition for Variance in Academic Policy."

Download and print the Petition Form [PDF].

  1. Fill in the full information at the top.
  2. For the section that begins “I request…,” State that you wish a particular course to be considered for WI credit.  Fill in the following information for the course: the full course number, course title, department, instructor, and dates of study. If for transfer, also be sure to include the full name of the institution.

B) Determine the category of your request and proceed according to the instructions listed for each type below.

In the section “Reasons for the request…,”  list the category that your request falls under:

  • A) Transfer credit:  list this in the "Reasons for the request" section. Attach documentation from the institution offering the course that establishes that the course meets the criteria listed above for transfer credit.  It is incumbent upon the petitioner to provide complete and explicit documentation. A syllabus and a course description are fine, but not sufficient in all cases. To establish that the course was part of a formal WI system elsewhere, for instance, a copy of the pertinent passages in the institution's policy defining their WI course system, and a copy of the course catalog showing that the course in question was so designated when the student was enrolled, would be required. Please also provide URLs to online documentation, if available.  Inadequate or incomplete documentation will be grounds for disapproval. Sign the form where it says "signature." For assistance in completing a petition, see C. below.
  • B) Administrative correction:  list this in the "Reasons for the request" section; provide a brief explanation of the circumstances surrounding the issue.  In such cases, official input is key.  The "Advisor" comment area may be used for this, but a signed, word processed memo from a relevant UNH official source (department chair and/or advisor, faculty member, college, etc) would be most effective.  Attach it to the form and enter "see attached" in the comments area. For assistance, see C below. 
  • C) Other: Follow instructions as per Administrative Correction, to include comment from UNH officials (Department, Advisor, College, as appropriate).  The Writing Committee is concerned with determining academic credit, so the "Reasons for request" section should not dwell on personal circumstances beyond those necessary to establish justification for the petition  (note: needing WI credit to graduate does not, by itself, provide valid grounds for petition).  For assistance with "other" cases, see C below.

C) Send your completed petition to:   

Director, University Writing Programs at 

If, after reviewing the above instructions, you would like assistance with compiling a petition, or have any questions, contact the University Writing Programs.