My FWIS experience was defined by an unparalleled sense of community. In addition to having a kind and accommodating professor, I had fourteen equally helpful and encouraging classmates whose commentaries challenged my assumptions and beliefs. FWIS was highly collaborative, and through our discussions, papers, and groups projects, I not only developed my critical writing and thinking skills, but also made close friends from many of the residential colleges. There’s something truly genius about combining fifteen strangers, all with different backgrounds, perspectives, and priorities, in an open and communicative environment, and this ultimately made FWIS such a valuable experience.
— Mia Polansky, Will Rice '17 (FWIS 178, Reading Pop Culture)

FWIS Registration and Enrollment

Upon matriculation, all first-year students and new transfers are separated into two groups:

  • Group I — Fall: must take a FWIS course in the fall semester of the matriculation year
  • Group II — Spring: must take a FWIS course in the spring semester of the matriculation year

Students who receive a Not Satisfactory (NS) on the Composition Exam must take FWIS 100 in the fall semester, and are automatically placed in Group II — Spring for their required FWIS course.

FWIS registration is a lottery system: students select and rank two FWIS courses that interest them. If a student’s FWIS preferences cannot be accommodated, s/he will be assigned automatically to a FWIS that has an open seat and does not create a schedule conflict. 

Students are allowed to switch sections during the first two weeks of classes via the hard copy Special Registration Form, submitted in person at the Office of the Registrar. The instructors' signatures are not required. The Registrar is unable to process the “drop/add” if a course conflict is introduced, or if the FWIS to be added is already fully enrolled (15 students).

FWIS courses cannot be dropped after week two of classes, and Pass/Fail is not permitted. Students wishing to drop after this period must petition the Dean of Undergraduates.

Registration deadlines and logistics are managed by the Office of the Registrar. Please visit their page for complete details.

Transfer Credit

The Program in Writing and Communication accepts transfer credit for a First-year Writing-Intensive Seminar (FWIS) according to the rules and procedures established in Rice University's General Announcements and as administered by the Office of the Registrar

To qualify for FWIS transfer credit, the equivalent course must be comparable in emphasis, methods, and types and number of assignments. The equivalent course must be content-based, yet emphasize written and oral communication. It is not necessary for the content of your course to match the content of an existing FWIS course. Students should have been expected to fulfill the following requirements:

  • Write four to five academic papers of various lengths and types.
  • Submit drafts and rewrite papers when assigned.
  • Read assigned texts that relate to required writing.
  • Deliver at least one formal oral presentation.

Choose the course that most closely fits the criteria above. To receive transfer credit, the course must have been taken at a 4-year accredited college or university before matriculation at Rice. Conforming to the guidelines for transfer credit across the campus, we will not accept credit from a community college. In addition, we will not accept AP credit to satisfy the requirement.

If your course qualifies, you will need to petition to the Program in Writing and Communication. Your petition must include the following:

  • A cover letter/email indicating why you wish to obtain transfer credit. This letter must include complete contact information (campus or local address, phone number, and email address).
  • A completed Transfer Credit Form from the Registrar’s office. Please leave the "Equivalent Rice Course" section blank - the PWC will complete this portion. Note that regardless of the credit hours you earned from your transfer course, you will receive 3.0 credit hours for the FWIS course (as all FWIS courses are 3.0 credit hours).
  • Copies of catalogue or webpage materials from the college or university showing the course number and course description. The copy must indicate the name of the university, date of the catalogue, and specific URL (if from a webpage).
  • Course syllabus.
  • Transcript showing credit. An unofficial transcript or PDF printed from your online transcript portal are both acceptable.
  • Two sample papers from the course.

Please note that all students are required to take the composition exam regardless of whether a petition for transfer credit is submitted.

Submit the petition with all items to Dr. David Messmer, Director of the FWIS Program, at dmessmer@rice.edu by the end of O-week. The Registrar’s Office suggests a student allow at least four weeks for approval for transfer credit after the date of submission. Incomplete petitions will not be processed.

All transfer students whose petitions are not approved will be assigned to enroll in their FWIS course during the spring semester of their first year. Transfer students do not enroll in FWIS during their first semester at Rice.