Requirements for SWS Courses

All faculty designing SWS course proposals and/or teaching SWS classes need to be familiar with the following SWS course criteria:

  1. Any course may qualify to be an SWS course.
  2. SWS course enrollment should be limited to 30 students or less.
  3. At least one-third of the SWS grade will depend on the quality of a student's writing.
  4. At least four (4) class hours are to be devoted to writing discussions/activities.
  5. SWS courses must require at least 3,000 words of writing. Although in-class essay examinations may count toward the word quota, because such exams are exclusively one-draft writing assignments, courses that include only essay-exam writing will not be approved as SWS courses.
  6. SWS courses are expected to teach writing, not just certify that writing has been done.
  7. Revision is expected to be taught as part of the writing process. Courses which merely require a term project, no matter how lengthy, which is due in its first and final draft at the end of the semester, will not be approved as SWS courses.
  8. SWS instructors are expected to attend SWS workshops when available.
  9. SWS instructors should plan to use available forms of writing support, e.g. the GVSU Writing Center.
  10. Once a course has been approved as an SWS course, it remains approved, so long as its instructors meet SWS criteria. Such courses need not, however, always be offered for SWS credit. Neither the Writing Skills Committee nor the Student Academic Success Center will insert the SWS designation for a department.
  11. One-credit courses will not normally be approved as SWS courses.
  12. All SWS course syllabi used in SWS courses must follow the instructions at How to Construct an SWS Course Syllabus. Once a course is approved as SWS, it is the department or program's responsibility to ensure that any future revisions of the SWS syllabus of record continue to meet SWS guidelines.
  13. The SWS director will provide assistance in preparing SWS course proposals.

If you are creating an SWS proposal for an online or hybrid class, you must also take into consideration the instructions in Preparing an SWS Online or Hybrid Course Proposal.

Page last modified April 20, 2021