First-year Writing-Intensive Seminar

FWIS courses are more than just your typical writing class. My FWIS focused on all the water issues that our society has to deal with and how they will affect our planet’s future. I learned just as much about writing as I did about issues that our world is dealing with. FWIS courses aren’t just about writing essays like a typical writing course. Rather they focus on content and often achieve this by giving the students lots of fun, educational activities to participate in. In my FWIS, we watched movies, taste tested various brands of bottled water, and got to present about new energy sources for our world. Get ready to enjoy your FWIS and your freshman year!
— Alex Cerda, Brown '17 (FWIS 188, Water & Society)

First-year Writing-Intensive Seminar (FWIS) courses are 3 credit-hour seminars on a variety of interesting topics such as Greek myth, graphic novels, and global health, all of which fulfill the University’s Writing and Communication Requirement (see below).

These small classes, which are capped at 15 students, are designed to support group discussion and to foster relationships between students and faculty. The small class size also ensures that students receive substantive feedback from faculty on their writing, speaking, and visual communication.

Writing and communication pedagogy plays a significant role in assignments and grading in FWIS courses, though the nature of those assignments often go well beyond the limits of a traditional college essay or presentation.  Assignments might ask students to reflect on field trips to local museums, to conduct interviews with members of the Rice and Houston community, or even to critically examine the experience of strolling through campus.

These courses fulfill Rice’s Writing and Communication Requirement, which all students must complete in order to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree from the university. To satisfy the requirement, undergraduates must complete:

  • The Composition Exam with the score of "Satisfactory” or FWIS 100; and,
  • One First-year Writing-Intensive Seminar (FWIS)

By taking a FWIS course, students will:

  • Enhance their understanding of the central place of writing and communication in the learning process and in academic life.
  • Learn strategies for analyzing, synthesizing, and responding to college-level readings.
  • Improve their ability to communicate correctly and effectively in writing and in speech, taking into account audience and purpose.
  • Become comfortable with writing as a process and learn strategies — for instance, prewriting, outlining, and revision — for working through that process.
  • Learn appropriate use of the work of others, and, where necessary, specific practices of citation.
  • Learn to articulate oral arguments and to respond productively to arguments of others in formal presentations and in class discussion.