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Writing classes allow students to learn foundational knowledge about the writing process, practice writing skills in a range of genres, and extend content knowledge into academic and professional domains. Here is a list of writing courses that UCSB offers to support graduate students in numerous contexts, broken down into three areas. Students interested in working as a TA for the Writing Program should consult Area I. Students interested in conversations about writing and the study of how writing functions should consult Area II. Students interested in learning and practicing writing skills for professionalization (both academic and industry) should consult Area III.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. Additionally, graduate students are permitted (pending enrollment availability and instructor consent) to take undergraduate upper division (i.e., courses numbered 100–199) writing classes through both the Writing Program (WRIT) and the Writing and Literature Program in the College of Creative Studies (W&L CS). These undergraduate classes offer creative, professional, and technical writing courses that are not taught at the graduate level.

Area I: Pedagogy writing courses

Writing 501. Academic Writing: Theory and Practice (4 units, P/NP or Grade)

Preparatory orientation and concurrent training for newly appointed Writing Program teaching assistants. Topics include theories of composition pedagogy, academic literacies, principles of instructional design and curriculum development, effective classroom practices, and assessment of student writing. Students must have submitted an application for Writing Program TA appointment to enroll in this course. This course is only intended for those pursuing TAships in the Writing Program.

Area II: Theory/Rhetoric of writing courses

Writing 254. Environmental Rhetoric (4 units)

In this course, students will explore the connections between rhetoric, writing, advocacy, and environmental issues, and the shifts in how these relationships have been understood and practiced historically and in contemporary contexts. Students will practice the critical analysis of environmental discourse, both through the analysis of secondary sources and case studies, and through their own research project to be undertaken during the quarter. Through the analysis of historic and contemporary cases and issues, students will consider how language is used by different stakeholders and audiences in the production and circulation of written, visual, and digital communication related to environmental issues in the public sphere. 

The general learning objectives for the course are as follows:

  1. To expand skills in critical thinking, critical reading, and written argument, with specific attention to how these skills may be applied in the pursuit of knowledge work related to environmental issues.

  2. To expand critical and rhetorical awareness of how environmental writing and communication function in various contexts and genres, and for different audiences, both academic and professional.

  3. To gain additional familiarity with current environmental issues and subsequently explore the rhetorical, sociocultural, and political challenges that environmental issues create.

  4. To gain basic fluency in the genres and stylistic conventions of environmental discourse across audiences and stakeholders.

Writing 255. Digital Rhetorics (4 units)

Under development.

Writing 502A,B,C Proseminar in Writing Studies (Fall quarter-2 units; Winter-1 unit; Spring 1-unit;  P/NP only)

A three-course sequence that serves as an introduction to the history, theory, methods, and issues of the discipline of Writing Studies. The sequence is required for the PhD Emphasis in Writing Studies, although students do not have to declare the emphasis to register for the course. In addition, the courses in the sequence may be taken out of order.

Area III: Professionalization writing courses

Writing 251. Academic Research Writing (4 units, P/NP only)

Writing 251 focuses on revising an already written document (e.g., a seminar paper, a conference paper, a poster presentation, a thesis, a dissertation chapter, etc.) into a piece that can be submitted for publication. Each week, participants will learn about and practice a new writing technique, such as how to write effective introductions and how to manage information flow. In addition, each week, participants will provide feedback on 1-2 papers written by classmates. One week is devoted to CVs and other job application materials. This course is most suitable for students in the humanities, education, and social sciences. It is also suitable for STEM students who are working on materials targeting a broad public or interdisciplinary audiences. 

Writing 253. Introduction to Technical Communication (4 units; optional grade or P/NP)

Writing 253 is a thorough introduction to the history, theory, and practice of technical communication. Technical communication focuses on written and multimedia texts that explain specialized topics to readers and often instruct readers on how to do things (for example, instruction manuals or videos, computer and engineering documentation, policy regulations, reports, information about medical procedures and medications, hobbies and crafts, environmental procedures, military processes, and so on). This course allows participants to practice specific techniques (such as the "plain language" guidelines), as well as to become familiar with a discipline that is valued in both academic and nonacademic contexts. Participants will produce final documents suitable for a professional portfolio.

Writing 259. Science Communication (3 hours; 4 units) 

Science Communication provides a foundation in science communication practices that explain, persuade, describe, and entertain to graduate students in both STEM (scientific, engineering, technological and mathematical) and non-STEM disciplines. Coursework is customized to the individual research and dissertation needs of students and focuses on composition, public speaking, graphics designs and numeric representations for creating effective written works, talks, podcasts, blogs, videos, press releases, policy briefs, posters, and reports about scientific topics. Students learn how to craft scientific stories that are accurate, realistic and compelling. This course is open to all graduate students from any field and any stage of their writing careers.

GRAD/WRIT 280AA: Introduction to Graduate Writing Expectations (3 hours; 4 units; Grade or P/NP). This course is offered annually in Fall quarter.

This course is designed for graduate students who would like to develop their writing skills and want the opportunity to practice drafting and revising a variety of advanced writing assignments common to the graduate experience. Students will first study the rhetorical features associated with various advanced graduate writing genres before producing discipline-specific versions of these texts. This course will devote time to unpacking three of the most common graduate writing contexts: the literature review, the grant proposal, and responses to calls for publication/conference proposals. This course is open to all graduate students from any field and any stage of their writing careers.

GRAD/WRIT 281AA: Introduction to Article Writing (3 hours; 4 units; Grade or P/NP). This course is offered annually in Fall quarter.

GRAD/WRIT 281AA provides a space for graduate students interested in writing articles to learn the underlying rhetorical features associated with good article writing and then to compose their own articles. Students will first study the rhetorical features associated with articles, by discipline, in order to learn the conventions pertinent to article writing in students’ chosen fields. Then, students will produce a discipline- and journal-specific draft of an article. Week by week, students will write a new section (e.g., the introduction section) so that by the end of the course, a completed draft will be in hand. Thus, no matter what your expertise is in, you will be equipped to figure out the conventions for the publication you seek. Open to all majors but all enrollees must be sufficiently far into their academic careers with the necessary research/data in hand for writing an article.

GRAD/WRIT 282AA: Dissertation/thesis Writing Communities (3 hours; 4 units; Grade or P/NP). This course is offered annually in Spring quarter.

This course provides students with a recurring time to devote to their dissertation/thesis. Every week, students will have between 1–2 hours to write. This time may be used for writing, revision, research, or any goal that contributes to writing development. In addition to writing time, each class will be accompanied by a writing lesson targeted to improve student writing or assist students in the writing process. Throughout the quarter, students will also submit their writing for feedback from the course instructor. Additionally, students will have several opportunities for peer-review, research consultations, and other specialty sessions to improve their writing. Please note that this course will not teach students how to write a thesis/dissertation but will assist in enabling students to develop stronger general writing practices in addition to providing a space/time to write. Open to all majors but all enrollees must have at least one chapter of their dissertation/thesis drafted by the start of the course.

GRAD/WRIT 283AA: Preparing for the Academic Job Market (3 hours; 4 units; Grade or P/NP). This course is offered annually in Spring quarter.

Most students attend graduate school intending to pursue academia. Yet, for all the emphasis placed on training students to become brilliant scholars, little is devoted to preparing students to obtain these jobs. GRAD/WRIT 283 addresses these shortcomings. Over the next ten weeks, students will be readied to enter the academic job market in their fields. This will be achieved through learning soft skills required for applying (e.g., knowing the difference between assistant and an advanced assistant professor positions), studying the five essential documents asked for submission (e.g., a teaching statement), and learning how to succeed in landing a job once you make it to (and past) the interview round (e.g., how to give a job talk). Throughout this process, students will engage these goals by also producing discipline-specific job documents that will be peer reviewed and be given instructor feedback. This course is open to all majors but preference will be given to students who will go on the job market in the upcoming cycle.