FAQ's

Which courses are Writing Intensive (W) this semester?

Writing-intensive sections change every semester.

Check the printed Schedule of Classes and the online Check Class Availabilityat the MyUH registration website. Sections with a "W" or "WI" Focus are writing-intensive.

TIP: The online Check Class Availability site has the most-up-to-date Focus information.

How many W courses do I have to take?

Most students must take five W courses to graduate from UH Mānoa.

Students who enter the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa directly or who transfer from another University of Hawai'i campus must take five writing-intensive courses to graduate from UH Mānoa. At least two of these five courses must be 300- or 400-level.

Students who transfer to UH Mānoa from outside the University of Hawai'i system have their requirement pro-rated based on the number of credits that UH Mānoa accepts. Writing intensive courses taken at other institutions do not count as fulfilling the W focus requirement. See the table below.

Year of transfer from outside of UH system Status at time of transfer (number of accepted credits)
  0-24 credits 25-54 credits 55-88 credits 89+ credits
1992-1998 5* 5* 3* 2**
Year of transfer from outside of UH system Status at time of tra
nsfer (number of accepted credits)
  0-36 credits 37-54 credits 55-88 credits 89+ credits
1999 or later 5* 4* 3* 2**
*including at least two W courses numbered at the 300- or 400-level.
**must be courses at the 300- or 400-level.

Why do I have to take W courses?

Many people assume that only English departments are concerned with writing. However, research shows that every field requires competent writers. And, every field has different standards for good writing. Writing a good research paper in history is different from writing a good financial report. UHM offers W courses in many departments so that you can become aware of these differences. In each W course, you will learn that field's standards of good writing.


What do I gain by taking W courses?

The W course will:

  • provide you with opportunities to improve your writing;
  • help you learn subjects better by writing about them;
  • give you opportunities to discuss your writing with your instructor;
  • help you meet a UHM graduation requirement.

What can I expect in my W course?

W courses use writing as a means of learning course content. Your professor may ask you to write in new ways. For example, you may write during class as a way to generate ideas or to help you think through a complex issue. Your professor may ask you to write a draft and then meet with you to discuss how you can improve your writing and your ideas. Whatever the case may be, the goal will be to improve your writing, learning, and thinking skills.

Your professor will explain the amount and types of writing you will do and how the assignments will be evaluated. The professor will also guide you through the writing assignments (W classes are limited to 20 students so the professor can help you improve as a writer).

Where can I get help with my writing?

We recommend that you first talk to your W instructor. Then, if you want outside help contact:

  • Online resources

  • Writing Workshop–The English department offers half-hour consultations. Call 956-7619 to set up an appointment (spring and fall semesters only).
  • Learning Assistance Center (LAC)–offers workshops on a variety of topics, including how to write research papers. Call 956-7927 for dates and times.
  • KŌKUA Program–helps students with any disability-related academic needs. Call 956-7511 or stop by their office in Student Services Center Room 013.

Do I have to take English 100 or ELI 100 before taking W courses?

We encourage you to complete English 100 (ELI 100, ENG 101, ENG 100A) before taking W courses. However, you may take a W class before you take your first-year writing course (ENG 100, ELI 100, etc.).

Please e-mail us if you have a question which is not answered by the information on this page: mwp@hawaii.edu.

[wi-student-handout.html]

HANDOUT FOR STUDENTS IN YOUR WRITING-INTENSIVE CLASS

W Focus instructors are sent tri-fold handouts for their students at the beginning of the each semester (except Summer).

Please email mwp@hawaii.edu if you need more handouts for your W course.