How to Register for a FWIS Course

Policies and Procedures


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

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

Students who are placed into FWIS 100 based on their FWIS Writing Asessment results 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 students' FWIS preferences cannot be accommodated, they will be assigned automatically to a FWIS that has an open seat and does not create a schedule conflict.

Students are allowed to switch FWIS sections during the first two weeks of classes via the hard copy Special Registration Form, submitted in person at the Office of the Registrar. As long as the selected course is not full, the instructors' signatures are not required. However, the registrar is unable to process the drop/add request if a course conflict is introduced or if the FWIS to be added is already full (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.


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.

To receive transfer credit, the course must have been taken at a four-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 you have taken a course that fits the above criteria, you will need to petition the Program in Writing and Communication (PWC) for transfer credit. 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 (all FWIS courses are 3.0 credit hours).
  • Copies of catalog or web page 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 catalog and specific URL (if from a web page).
  • 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 FWIS Writing Assessment regardless of whether a petition for transfer credit is submitted.

Submit the petition with all items to the FWIS Transfer Credit Box by the Friday 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.

If you have additional questions, please conctact Dr. David Messmer, Director of the FWIS Program, at


Get In Touch

Contact Rice's Program in Writing and
Communication (PWC) or the Center for
Academic & Professional Communication (CAPC).