Nobody at Stanford can escape writing—not even CS majors.
Stanford undergraduates are required to take part within the Program in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR), designed to show college students tutorial studying and writing expertise. Many college students fulfill this system necessities by taking PWR 1 of their freshman 12 months and PWR 2 of their sophomore 12 months. Whereas each lessons function a central writing part, PWR 2 additionally incorporates oral displays.
Stanford isn’t the one college with writing-focused normal schooling necessities. Its Ivy League friends Harvard and Yale additionally require that college students take particular writing programs early of their undergraduate careers.
PWR college director Adam Banks wrote in an electronic mail to The Day by day that Stanford “has at all times had a writing requirement for undergraduates.” In line with Banks, this system was known as “Freshman English” within the Nineteen Eighties and early Nineties, then “Writing and Important Pondering” within the Nineties via the early 2000s and in 2001, the College Senate permitted the present program identify and necessities.
The aim of PWR is to “introduce Stanford undergraduates to analytical and research-based writing within the college within the first 12 months and the oral presentation of analysis in lots of modalities within the second 12 months,” Banks wrote. PWR depends on a “student-centered educational technique,” full participation and sophistication actions to have interaction college students, in line with Banks, with programs meant to enhance college students’ rhetorical communication.
Anthony Qin ’25 mentioned he loved working along with his PWR professor. “I believe the very best factor I acquired out of PWR is certainly the academics themselves,” Qin mentioned. “They’ve at all times stayed after class, and I acquired to speak to them and prepare conferences with them.”
Joelle Warden ’26 mentioned that PWR could also be troublesome for some college students because of the various workload amongst completely different PWR lessons.
“Throughout the board, [PWR] will be troublesome, however once more, it’s non-standardized,” she mentioned.
Warden mentioned that whereas PWR was simpler for her as a result of she has a powerful background in writing, the category nonetheless helped her develop her expertise in writing stronger theses and extra detailed analysis questions.
Shuvia Jha ’24 mentioned that PWR will be enjoyable for college students who take pleasure in writing, however that college students who don’t take pleasure in writing would possibly disagree.
“I can see why individuals wouldn’t prefer it,” Jha mentioned, including that whereas there are “some ways to meet a writing-type requirement,” PWR takes a extra structured method.
“A few of my pals [who] had been much more STEM-y didn’t prefer it as a result of it was a number of work and if you happen to’re not into that kind of labor, you’re simply not going to take pleasure in it,” Jha mentioned.
Although college students could have a variety of opinions about this system, PWR is meant to assist college students develop as writers. Banks wrote that this system encourages instructors to check-in which college students in the course of the quarter to obtain suggestions in regards to the class construction and actions.
“It doesn’t matter what main a pupil chooses, writing is a vital means college students study,” Banks wrote, “And it doesn’t matter what careers a pupil decides to comply with, the flexibility to jot down and communicate persuasively, thoughtfully, strategically and ethically makes an enormous distinction in somebody having the ability to thrive of their chosen career.”