The Writing Seminar is required of every Princeton undergraduate and is taken in the Fall or Spring of the freshman year.
Centered first and foremost on writing, and taught by scholars with special training in the teaching of writing, the Writing Seminars are dedicated to helping students build a solid foundation for their work at Princeton. The seminars are small, with no more than 12 students, and meet for 80-minute sessions twice per week.
Every Writing Seminar focuses on intellectual inquiry and critical writing. Students learn to pose interesting questions, structure complex ideas, and make original claims that engage with a variety of sources and contribute to ongoing scholarly debates. In the course of completing a series of major essay assignments, each student receives intensive instruction in academic writing, submits drafts for review, and attends one-on-one conferences with their professor. Students also learn to navigate the University library using advanced research tools. To provide students with compelling material to write about, every Writing Seminar is based on an intellectually stimulating topic, from scientific breakthroughs and historical events to influential artistic traditions and urgent social issues. The Outcomes Statement for the Writing Seminar (.pdf) describes the knowledge, skills, and strategies that faculty in the Princeton Writing Program expect student writers to acquire by the end of the Writing Seminar.