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Writing Flag: Information for Students

UT’s new Core Curriculum, which is now being implemented by the individual college and schools, requires all undergraduates to earn credit for “flagged” courses in six areas: Writing, Quantitative Reasoning, Global Cultures, Cultural Diversity, Ethics and Leadership, and Independent Inquiry. Upon full implementation of the core curriculum, students will be required to earn credit for at least three Writing Flag courses in order to graduate. (Check with your advisor to make sure you know how many flag requirements have been implemented for your degree program.)

The Writing Flag requirement helps students improve their

  • critical thinking skills
  • understanding of course content
  • ability to formulate ideas in writing
  • ability to write in the style of a particular discipline

Writing Flag courses do more than just improve your writing skills. In a recent survey of 23,000 college students, the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) found that “When courses provided extensive, intellectually challenging writing activities, students engaged in more deep learning activities such as analysis, synthesis, and integration of ideas from various sources, and they grappled more with course ideas both in and out of the classroom. These students also reported greater personal, social, practical, and academic learning and development” (NSSE press release, November 10, 2008).

Writing courses may be flagged simultaneously with any of the other flags, but there is a three-flag limit per course.

What is a Writing flag class like?

Writing Flag classes are diverse. They are taught in virtually every department at UT, at upper- and lower-division levels, and cover a wide variety of topics. All Writing Flag classes must meet the following, University-level requirements:

  • Students must write regularly—several times during the semester—and complete writing projects that are substantial.
  • Students must receive feedback from the instructor to help them improve their writing, and be given an opportunity to revise at least one assignment.
  • Students’ writing must make up at least one-third of the course grade.

Colleges and departments may have additional requirements for their Writing Flag courses, as well. However, each instructor will use writing in unique ways to enhance the class for students. You may write a short paper every week, for example, or you may have four or five projects that build into a single detailed report. You may be asked to write in class daily, or to post messages on a class Web forum. You may work collaboratively with other students on writing projects. All of these activities are designed to help you master course content and hone your writing skills.