Writing 250: Advanced Composition

Catalog Listing

Course Purpose:

Writing 250 is an advanced composition course designed to help students further develop the analysis, synthesis, argument, and research skills built in first-year writing in addition to introducing them to primary research. The course follows a Writing in the Disciplines approach, requiring students to choose topics within their fields to research and to write about to help prepare them for their later coursework in core classes. Writing 250 is offered both face-to-face and online, and beginning in Fall 2013 the curriculum will require students to complete four major writing assignments (an exploratory essay, topic proposal, literature review, and research prospectus) in addition to a multimodal project and ePortfolio. Our course outcomes can be found below.

Student Learning Outcomes

Building on the foundations of WRIT 100/101 and 102 (or their equivalents), students will progress in the following areas:


  • Advance in understanding that writing and composing in various media uses processes that include planning, research, drafting, peer review, and revision.
  • Develop and demonstrate an understanding of their own personal writing processes.

Exploration and Argumentation:

  • Apply rhetorical strategies effectively and ethically to different genres and methods of delivery, reading and responding to complex texts that represent a range of opinions that may differ from their own opinions.
  • Explore the nature of writing and reading, synthesizing external sources and ideas into sound arguments that logically argue a claim.

Purpose and Audience:

  • Understand that composition promotes action through writing, accomplishing rhetorical aims in contexts suitable for a variety of purposes, with an emphasis on academic purposes.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in matching writing styles to specific audiences, and applying academic writing to the wide variety of audiences that can be accessed by technological means.


  • Locate, evaluate, and integrate external sources, synthesizing such information into research-based writing, following and using appropriate citation practices.
  • Use an inquiry-driven approach to integrate supporting evidence for claims made, employing multiple methods of delivery to present research results.

Conventions and Mechanics:

  • Produce compositions that are free of logical fallacies and mechanical errors that distort meaning or interfere with clarity and comprehension.
  • Produce compositions that adhere to the conventions of academic standards.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should a student enroll in Writing 250?

Students are encouraged to enroll in Writing 250 during their sophomore year. Due to the focus of our curriculum, it is most beneficial for students to complete Writing 250 before enrolling in or completing the majority of their core classes.

What is the class size in Writing 250?

All sections of Writing 250 cap at 23 students and cannot exceed this cap. If a student is unable to enroll in a section when he/she prefers, then he/she is encouraged to continue checking the registration system and to add himself/herself to a wait list during the enrollment period if possible. If the enrollment period ends and the student was unable to enroll in a section then he/she is encouraged to try enrolling again the following semester or during a summer session.

Is there a common textbook required for all Writing 250 classes?

All sections of Writing 250 will use The Craft of Research (3rd edition) starting in Fall 2013. A handbook is also recommended, though not required, and instructors may require supplemental materials that will be noted in their syllabus.

What is the difference between an online section and a face-to-face/traditional section of Writing 250?

Both online and face-to-face Writing 250 sections follow the same sequence of assignments and adhere to the same course policies so that they are equally challenging. The most significant differences between the two are:

  • Unless the instructor requires it then students in an online section will not meet, whereas students in a face-to-face section meet consistently throughout the semester. Students in an online section may be expected to participate in a synchronous chat with their teachers and classmates during the semester, though, and/or to engage in other activities designed to build community with the class.
  • In an online section students will be responsible for completing their work at their own pace while meeting stated deadlines, whereas in a face-to-face section students must complete daily/homework assignments regularly for each class session. Although students in both online and face-to-face sections should have excellent time management skills, those enrolled in online sections especially need to be responsible about completing their work in a timely fashion since they do not meet with their instructor regularly.
  • Students enrolled in an online section will complete all work online, whereas students enrolled in a face-to-face section may submit assignments online and/or in print according to instructor policies.

Are there sections of Writing 250 with themes?

Writing 250 sections do not have themes, but all follow a Writing in the Disciplines approach.

What does Writing in the Disciplines mean?

Writing in the Disciplines means that students gain experience using the language conventions of their field as well as writing the genres that are common to their field (for example, a lab report for biology). In Writing 250 all students write the same genres, but we teach students how to develop research topics and questions specific to their disciplines as well as how to locate scholarship in their disciplines using library resources. Students thus learn the conversations that are occurring in the academic research in their field and how to analyze and synthesize those conversations in their own writing. As a final capstone assignment students also propose a study of their own design focused on an issue in their discipline and conduct a small-scale primary research project.