W&C Course Facts

Words of Wisdom

Managing the anxiety of composition is an essential part of writing. One must master the process of shepherding the private into public. There are bound to be false starts, excursions that turn out to be dead ends.

— Thomas Beller

Approved W & C Courses

Not all courses are available as W /C every semester. To learn more, consult the Schedule of Classes or contact the department offering the course.

All TAMU students must pass two approved courses in their major that fulfill the graduation requirement for writing and oral communication. Since the TAMU 2007-08 Undergraduate Catalog #130, the university has required two (2) W courses in the major. As of 2008, students may opt to take one W and one C (communications) course or two (2) W courses in the major.

The W/C graduation requirement may not be met by any course listed as a University Core Curriculum communication requirement. However, it may be used to fill other requirements such as International and Cultural Diversity.

W/C courses are designed and administered within departments and approved for a period of four years by the W and C Course Advisory Committee and the Faculty Senate. The W and C Course Advisory Committee ensures the integrity of Texas A&M’s communications-in-the-disciplines program. The approval process is outlined on this site at Apply for W or C Course Designation. You will find a current list of approved W/C Courses on this site.

A department may request that a course outside the major count in a specific degree plan if that course is relevant to the student's discipline. Both the department offering the course and the department offering the major should agree that the course can be added. To make the request, submit the Request for Approval of W- and C- Courses Outside the Major Form to the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies.


W and C Course Goals

  • Texas A&M students will write and speak in public with proficiency upon graduation. Proficiency requires a solid knowledge of rhetorical precepts such as audience awareness and ability to suit the occasion or type of document being produced. A proficient communicator argues well, thinks critically, and solves problems. A proficient communication can analyze, evaluate, synthesize information from various sources, document and cite properly, and organize text logically. Skill with grammar, mechanics, format, and usage is required.

  • Texas A&M students will master the forms of writing and speaking most commonly associated with and essential to their major field of study. Proficient communications skills cannot be learned once, in the isolation of a single, First-Year English or speech course, but must be practiced over time, for many different audiences, in different situations, and in different genres. Because writing conventions and ways of communicating vary somewhat from discipline to discipline, novice communicators need the guidance of experienced writers in the disciplinary communities they aspire to join.

  • Texas A&M students will understand that proficient writing and speaking require practice and an investment of time and energy. Experienced writers produce multiple drafts, proofread and edit, and participate in reviews and critiques of their work. Good prose and fluent speaking requires the investment of time and effort.


Basic Requirements for a W Course

  • require writing related to the students’ major
  • provide instruction in writing and feedback that allows for the improvement of major assignments
  • base a percentage of the final course grade on writing quality (about 25% for a 4-credit course, 33% for a 3-credit course, and 70% for a one-credit course)
  • require a minimum of 2000 words
  • base less than 30% of the percentage of the grade based on writing quality on collaborative writing

Basic Requirements for a C Course

  • require writing and public speaking or other form of oral communication related to the students’ major
  • provide instruction in writing and speaking and feedback that allows for the improvement of major assignments
  • base a percentage of the final course grade on writing or speaking quality (about 25% for a 4-credit course, 33% for a 3-credit course, 50% for a two-credit course, and 70% for a one-credit course)
  • require a minimum of 1250 words of writing and 5 minutes of oral communication
  • base less than 30% of the percentage of the grade based on writing quality on collaborative writing

Frequently Asked Questions

What if a student passes a W or C course without passing the writing or speaking component?
W or C credit cannot be given. The syllabus should specify that a student will fail the course in this case. In some situations, the department (with the approval of the dean) may change that student's section number from a 900 to a 500 (using a drop/add form), so that the student can pass the course but does not fulfill the W or C graduation requirement. This action should only be taken if another W or C course is available for the student to take.

How can a student plan which courses to take to fulfill the W/C requirement?
W/C courses are offered by section to give departments scheduling flexibility. They are not listed in the catalog. Instead, they can be found online and in the Schedule of Classes in Howdy. A 900-section number identifies both W and C courses, as follows:

Section Numbers

Course Type




W Honors




C Honors

It is recommended that departments add a note to the Schedule of Classes designating which sections of the course are W or C. Example: ACCT 320 - ACCOUNTING COMMUNICATION ACCT 320 SECTS 901 & 902 FULFILL THE WRITING GRADUATION REQUIREMENT

How does my department request a W or C Course section?
Departments that wish to offer a W or C section must submit a form to the Office of the Registrar. This form, available from the Office of the Registrar web site, verifies that a course is currently approved as W or C. Return the completed form to the Office of the Registrar at 0100 TAMU.

Can a student substitute a non-W/C course with writing or oral communication for a designated W/C course?
No. A course must have a 900 section number and be in the student's major to count as the W or C course on that student's degree plan.

Can a student be waived from the W/C course requirement?
In some cases, it may be appropriate to request a waiver. Students may request a waiver from the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies through the University Adjustment System. The request form is available on the web site of the Office of the Registrar. Questions may be directed to Dr. Valerie Balester (v-balester@tamu.edu)

Can the W/C graduation requirement be met by a course transferred from another institution of higher learning?
Yes, with the approval of the dean of the student's college and the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies. Upon request, students will provide their dean with a course description, syllabus, and/or writing sample from the course being transferred.

Can the W/C graduation requirement be met through credit-by-examination?

How do double majors meet the W/C requirement?
Double majors must take two, not four, W/C courses. They should take both courses in at least one of their majors, rather than one in each. In other words, students have to satisfy the W/C course requirement in at least one of their two majors or in one of their two degrees.

Are there restrictions on the types of courses that can be designated W/C?
It is expected that any course designated as W or C will meet the basic requirements for writing or oral communication as agreed upon during certification, whether it is offered in summer, through distance education, or as pass/fail. Courses may offer between 1 and 5 credits.

How do I advise students worried about their communication skills?
W/C courses are designed so that the student gets instruction, feedback, and other support to develop written and spoken communication skills. Student will be given an opportunity to revise major assignments after receiving feedback from instructors or peers and benefit from other forms of instruction and practice. In addition, the University Writing Center  offers an array of online writing and speaking guides and one-to-one consultations with a College Reading and Learning Association certified consultant. Consultants work with individual students or with groups working collaboratively on a project. The focus is on the composing process, not on creating a perfect product; consultants work to help students master better composing habits and processes so their learning will transfer to new situations.

For more information . . .
Contact the member of the W and C Course Advisory Committee for your college. Or, contact the committee chair, Dr. Valerie Balester.

Faculty Senate Resolution 20.108 (FS.20.108), approved March 17, 2003, by the senate and signed April 1, 2003, by President Robert Gates, establishes the procedure for implementation and provides guidelines for W courses.

Information about the TAMU 2004-05 Undergraduate Catalog, #127, #130 and other catalogs

Office of the Registrar

Office of Undergraduate Studies

Also recommended for you:

Assessing W & C Courses
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