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The University requires that all students take two Supplemental Writing Skills (SWS) courses. These courses, which require Writing 150 with a grade of C (not C-) or better as a prerequisite, are designated SWS in each semester's course schedule. Please read the schedule carefully, because not all sections of a multi-section course are necessarily SWS sections. Those that are not designated SWS do not result in SWS credit. It is recommended—though not required—to take one SWS course to fulfill a requirement in one's major and one SWS course to fulfill a requirement outside of one's major. Transfer students with a MACRAO associate's degree must take one SWS course (normally in the student's major).
Courses that have received the SWS designation are not merely courses that require written assignments; they adhere to certain guidelines. At least four (4) hours of class time are devoted to writing instruction. Students turn in a total of at least 3,000 words of writing during the term. Part of that total may be essay exams, but a substantial amount of it is made up of finished essays, reports, or research papers. The instructor works with the students on revising drafts of their papers, rather than simply grading the finished piece of writing. For a three-credit course, at least one-third of the final grade is based upon the writing assignments.
Students must pass the writing skills courses (Writing 150 and the two SWS courses) with a grade of C or better in each course. Students may receive SWS credit for courses taken as Credit/No-Credit if the student passes the class with a "Credit" grade. Students with a grade of C- or lower in an SWS course may repeat another SWS section of the course or pass another SWS course with a grade of C or better before graduation. Transfer students with the MACRAO associate's degree must pass one SWS course with a grade of C or better.