Writing Program


The Bobbie and Stanton Cook Family Writing Program is an independent Weinberg College unit that seeks to help all Northwestern undergraduates learn to write clearly and persuasively. A core faculty of experienced writing instructors teach the program’s main sequence of introductory, intermediate, and advanced expository writing courses. These are listed as:

Course Title
ENGLISH 105-0Expository Writing
ENGLISH 105-6First-Year Seminar
Writing in Special Contexts
and Writing in Special Contexts
ENGLISH 205-0Intermediate Composition
ENGLISH 282-0Writing and Speaking in Business
ENGLISH 304-0Practical Rhetoric
ENGLISH 305-0Advanced Composition

Writing courses are limited to 15 students, allowing instructors to comment extensively on students’ writing and to meet regularly with students in individual conferences. Courses at every level emphasize revision, with the goal of strengthening each student’s ability to think clearly, analyze carefully, argue convincingly, and communicate effectively.

The Cook Family Writing Program also operates the Writing Place, a center that provides free composition tutoring and consulting for all Northwestern students. The Writing Place, located in University Library, is open most mornings, afternoons, and evenings during the academic year. Students may make appointments, use the schedule of drop-in hours, or interact with Writing Place tutors through the campus computer network.

In addition, the program helps to oversee writing requirements—and thus provides writing advising—for undergraduates in Weinberg College, the McCormick School, and the Bienen School. Members of the program faculty teach specialized courses and workshops, as needed. The program has collaborated extensively with other University programs and departments, developing new ways to integrate writing instruction with instruction in other disciplines. For example, faculty from the program and the McCormick School team-teach Design Thinking and Communication (a combination of ENGLISH 106-1 Writing in Special Contexts and DSGN 106-1 Design Thinking and Communication) for first-year engineering students. In this, as in all its courses and special offerings, the program concentrates on helping students develop skill, confidence, and insight as writers.

Students interested in a writing major should see the English Major in Writing in the English section.