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WRITING 340: Advanced Writing

Course Description & Objectives


Writing 340 builds on the foundations of critical thinking, reading, and writing established in Writing 140, burnishing these skills and augmenting them with an emphasis on the professional, public, and academic aspects of majors and career fields.

The Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences offers five versions of Writing 340, encompassing wide disciplinary concentrations. These five are Arts & Humanities, Health Sciences, Natural Sciences, Pre-Law, and Social Sciences, along with several Special Topics.

The writing requirements in Writing 340 are similar to, but not identical with, those in Writing 140. All students produce thirty-forty pages of formal writing over the course of the term, and they revise two essays of their own choosing for a portfolio that constitutes twenty-five per cent of their course grade. Typically, these pages are accomplished through four assignments plus a diagnostic essay that is administered early in the semester. In addition, an oral component is usually introduced at some point in the class, typically as a complement to written work. (E.g., a moot court exercise might be part of the Pre-Law pedagogy or a mock professional conference might be set up among Social Sciences sections.)

Usually one of the assignments in any Writing 340 class is slightly longer than the others—perhaps ten-twelve pages--and incorporates concentrated research within the professional literature of that discipline. Special attention is usually devoted to the public and ethical issues that attend to specific majors and the professions to which they lead (E.g., questions of biomedical ethics often frame an assignment within the Health Sciences sections of Writing 340.) Lecturers are asked to permit their students to focus about half of their writing specifically within their individual major. (So, depending on their majors, students within an Arts & Humanities section would be allowed to tailor one or more of their essays to their interest in English, Philosophy, Literature, Art History, etc.) Outside of the College, the Schools of Business and Engineering present their own varieties of Writing 340, as well.

Lastly, while the framework of Writing 340 harkens back to Writing 140, expectations are greater for advanced writing students. The bar is raised, in part because Writing 340 students have consistently demonstrated that the maturity and sophistication of their writing permit them to meet these higher standards. While this reflects their growth as undergraduates, it is also clearly testimony to the underpinnings of good composition skills that they acquire in Writing 140.