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About FWIS Courses

These courses fulfill Rice’s Writing and Communication Requirement, which all students must complete in order to earn a bachelor’s degree from the university. They are capped at 15 students to support group discussion and foster relationships between students and faculty, and also ensures that students receive substantive feedback from instructors on their writing, speaking, and visual communication skills.

Writing and communication play a significant role in assignments and grading in FWIS courses, though assignments may not be a traditional essay or presentation. Some assignments might ask students to reflect on field trips to local museums, conduct interviews with members of the Rice and Houston community, or even critically examine the experience of strolling through campus.

Course Schedule

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Course Instructors

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FWIS 100

Explore FWIS 100 course options.

Composition Exam

Read about the composition exam and its scoring. 

  • Student Spotlight

    More than even my improvement in writing and speaking from the class, the best thing I gained from Dr. Richardson’s FWIS was how to think critically. For example, I still find myself using the skills of close reading for movies and music videos, something that I never did before Dr. Richardson showed me how.
    Daniel Koh
    FWIS 189, Post-Apocalyptic Literature and Film
  • Student Spotlight

    I totally loved my FWIS experience in Time Travel Narratives with Prof. Laura Richardson! We not only had so many insightful discussions/writings about how time traveling reflects on the human's imagination and contemporary world, but also had a lot of fun. Prof. Richardson took us to watch movies, hang out for meals, and even played piano for us outside of class. All classmates from my FWIS became good friends and we all liked the experience very much!
    Hongyu Mao
    FWIS 121, Time Travel Narratives
  • Student Spotlight

    As a computer science major, writing doesn't come easy to me; I was more worried about FWIS than my STEM courses. My FWIS, Post-apocalyptic Literature and Film, helped me become a little less afraid of writing through an enjoyable and fun exploration of my favorite genre.
    Harrison Brown
    FWIS 189, Post-Apocalyptic Literature and Film
  • Student Spotlight

    I have always associated reading for pleasure and reading for class as two mutually exclusive ideas. However, my FWIS introduced to me the idea that active reading can also be fun and enjoyable; I've learned to incorporate an analytical mind to anything I come across, not just mandatory readings for a class.
    Laura Goon
    FWIS 121, Time Travel Narratives
  • Student Spotlight

    My Freshman Writing Seminar experience made it possible for me to confidently transition into college-level reading and writing. Although I was initially intimidated upon arriving at Rice to encounter academic texts and writing assignments that were far more complex than anything I had been assigned in high school, my professor broke all of our research and writing tasks down into manageable steps. Overall, my FWIS not only let me study a unique topic, it let me gain skills I have used ever since in all my other classes at Rice.
    Carly Frieders
    FWIS 192, The Roaring Twenties
  • Student Spotlight

    I took The Roaring Twenties with Laura Richardson and absolutely loved the experience. The class emphasized process and critical thinking, so I got to learn about classic works of literature but approach them in my own unique way. I even got to do interpretive dance as part of my final project! Laura's enthusiasm and creativity helped me to see how century-old novels and films can still help us have insight into our lives today.
    Rae Holcomb
    FWIS 192, The Roaring Twenties
  • Student Spotlight

    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
    FWIS 188, Water and Society
  • Student Spotlight

    You can always improve your writing’ is a phrase I’ve heard fairly often from my parents, teachers, and even employers. It’s always possible to communicate more clearly, and that will often set you apart from those around you. My FWIS course at Rice offered the opportunity to improve not only my writing skills but also my writing efficiency. Although I am a terrible procrastinator when it comes to starting a writing assignment (as you’ll find most people are), my FWIS professor encouraged us to get over the initial hurdle by pursuing topics of interest. This idea has even spread to different areas of my life, and I encourage you to follow it as well: even the most difficult tasks can be enjoyable if you’re interested in the topic.
    Chris Sabbagh
    FWIS 100, The Birth of Gods and the Origins of Justice
  • Student Spotlight

    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
    FWIS 178, Reading Pop Culture
  • Student Spotlight

    Through FWIS, I’ve enjoyed teaching my favorite French films and novels, many of which raise controversial questions that lead to spirited discussions and papers in which students feel they have a stake. Because the classes are capped at 15 students, all of whom are in their first year, they quickly form into tight communities. I get to know each student’s strengths and weaknesses and work with each individually on writing and presenting. I keep up with many of my former students, and it is rewarding to hear that years later they are still making connections between texts and films from class and their life experiences.
    Melissa Bailar
    Associate Director, Humanities Research Center