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Intensive Writing Requirement FAQs

What is the pedagogical purpose of the Intensive Writing Requirement?
All students in the College of Arts and Sciences must complete one designated CASE Intensive Writing (CASE IW) course. The purpose of the CASE IW requirement is to provide students with practice in writing, preferably with a focus on the kinds of response, analysis, and evaluation appropriate to their major field of study.  The College expects students in CASE IW courses to receive substantive feedback provided by an instructor well-acquainted with the standards of competent and appropriate writing in that discipline. Departments have considerable latitude in defining what sorts of writing experiences are most appropriate for their majors; consequently, the sorts of CASE IW courses offered by different departments will vary.

What are the standard guidelines and requirements for CASE IW credit?
To qualify for CASE IW credit, a course must require that students write at least 5,000 words (roughly 20 typed pages), not counting revisions and excluding essay examinations and informal writing, such as journal entries, blog posts or brief response statements.  Students should receive periodic evaluations of their writing, and they should be required to redraft one or more papers in light of the instructor's critique. Ordinarily, students will write a series of papers over the course of a semester, not one long term paper.  A single long paper (such as, for example, an honors thesis) may be acceptable, however, only if it is drafted in sections that are reviewed during the semester and if the entire paper is revised at least once before the course ends.   The instructor is expected to provide formal and periodic feedback via margin notes on papers, or through private conferences on aspects of the actual writing presentation, organization, style, etc., as well as addressing the substantive arguments of the papers.  A full version of these guidelines is available at:

What is the grading structure for Intensive Writing courses?
The College Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE) has voted to discontinue split grading in CASE IW courses.   Beginning in the Summer of 2012, students will receive one grade for an Intensive Writing course.  A student who earns a passing letter grade for the course will automatically receive Intensive Writing credit.  Writing instruction must be at the core of the CASE IW courses’ syllabi, and the quality of students’ written essays should be the primary means of evaluation in the CASE IW classroom.

Note: Previous practice assigned students in Intensive Writing two grades: a regular grade of A-F and then a notation of “S” or “N” for the CASE IW component.  After a sustained study of grading practices and pedagogical literature, CUE concluded that the practice of split-grading sends an ambiguous message to instructors and students about the centrality of writing to a student’s success in a CASE IW designated course. 

What sorts of classes carry CASE IW credit and who teaches them?
Intensive writing must be taught at the 200-level or above by a qualified instructor. In most cases the instructor will be a regular member of the faculty; under unusual circumstances the instructor may be an advanced graduate student working under the close supervision of a regular faculty member. Regular faculty members are encouraged to use the resources of the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) Writing Program, and graduate student instructors must attend an orientation and training session conducted by that program.

How big are CASE IW courses and sections?
Classes designated for automatic CASE IW credit must be limited to no more than 25 students. In other classes, a small number of seats may be set aside for students who will fulfill a CASE IW component in conjunction with the regularly assigned work in the course. That is, with prior approval of the College, faculty may allow up to 25 students in a larger class to fulfill their CASE IW requirement by completing additional assignments that will bring the general written requirements of the course up to the standards for CASE IW classes.

How can students find a list of all the CASE IW courses currently being offered?
For any given semester, the online Schedule of Classes contains a list of Special Courses, including CASE IW.

Should students take CASE IW courses in their own majors?
Yes, when possible.  Not all departments offer CASE IW courses and some majors cannot offer a sufficient number of seats.  For this reason, it is acceptable for students to earn CASE IW credit in any CASE IW designated course. Ideally, students taking CASE IW courses in their majors will learn the modes of writing appropriate to their discipline.   

When should students take CASE IW courses and what are the prerequisites?
Students must satisfy the Foundations English Composition Requirement before enrolling in CASE IW courses.  CASE IW courses are meant to further refine and develop writing skills that will have applications across the curriculum generally in a student’s chosen major. Taking a CASE IW course as a sophomore or junior will undoubtedly benefit most students, although many capstone courses such as honors seminars and senior theses now carry CASE IW credit.

When is it appropriate for a student to file a Proposal to Satisfy Intensive Writing by Special Arrangement?
It is appropriate only in exceptional cases, and only with departmental and College approval prior to enrollment.  Students in the College may meet the CASE IW requirement in conjunction with individualized readings courses, supervised research, internships, or honors theses, as long as the total amount of writing, the structure of the writing assignments, and the commentary provided by the faculty member all meet the guidelines for CASE IW credit. Students may pick up a Proposal to Satisfy Intensive Writing by Special Arrangement form in Owen Hall, or they may print it off the web PDF. The proposal must be filled out and signed by the course instructor, and endorsed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies of the student's major department. Intensive writing credit will not be awarded for written work in courses not listed as CASE IW unless arrangements are completed and approved by the College by the end of the second week of instruction for regular semester length classes, by the end of the first week of a particular eight week session, and by the end of the first week of classes taught in a particular summer session.

Can students petition to earn CASE IW credit for a course they have already taken in the College?
No. Credit will not be awarded retroactively for IUB courses that were not classified as CASE IW when the student completed the course.

Can students earn CASE IW credit for non-College of Arts and Sciences coursework?
No. CASE IW is a CASE requirement and it will not be awarded for courses taken in another school (eg. BUS, EDUC, HPER, SPEA, JOUR, etc.).

Can a student earn CASE IW credit by special arrangement for a course taken at another IU campus?
Yes.  Students can ask the College to review non-CASE IW courses taught at other IU campuses to determine if they can carry this credit, but only after the course has been completed.  The director of undergraduate studies in the student's major must first review and approve such a request.  As evidence that a student has successfully completed writing exercises comparable to those employed in the department's own CASE IW courses, the request must be accompanied by a copy of the course syllabus and all the written papers with instructor’s comments. To make such a determination, we ask that directors of undergraduate studies review all papers that were prepared for the course in question, noting the sort of writing that was required, and the nature of commentary offered by the course instructor.  Without this information, requests for using transfer work to meet the CASE IW requirement will be denied. Students may pick up a Proposal to Satisfy Intensive Writing with a Course Taken at Another IU Campus in Owen Hall, or they may print it off the web PDF. If evaluated as CASE IW by the student's major department, then the College will review the materials and notify the student of approval or denial.

Can a student earn CASE IW credit for a course taken at another university?
Only in extraordinary circumstances will the College of Arts and Sciences consider a petition to grant CASE IW credit for coursework completed at another university.  In such situations students must demonstrate that they have made every effort to complete the requirement on the Bloomington campus.  Students in this situation should meet with their academic advisor to discuss alternatives and procedures.

Where is a list of courses that have been approved for CASE IW credit?
Students and advisors should consult the Special Courses at to see which currently scheduled courses will carry CASE IW credit.

How can I develop a new CASE IW class and what do I need to do to get it approved?
Instructors who want to offer CASE IW courses should submit requests to the director of undergraduate studies in their department.  The director will verify that the proposed writing exercises meet the requirements of the departmental plan, and ask the College to review the proposal for conformity to general CASE IW guidelines.  A signed copy of the form, as well as supporting materials, must accompany the request.

The request form PDF with a more detailed outline for approval procedures is available.  If you have any questions about procedure after reading the information below, please contact June Hacker at jhacker at  Course and curricular materials can be sent to her attention at Owen Hall. 

Each time a department plans to offer a section that will carry CASE IW credit, the department's scheduling officer must notify the Registrar (by using the Registrar's Report Code "BLCASE IW") that it is offered for CASE IW credit.