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Writing Workshop

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Located in 174 Rockefeller Hall, the Writing Workshop is the Knight Institute's home for writing support and services. Our team of writing specialists provides diverse types of writing support for students and faculty, including writing assessment, coursework, and tutoring.

FWS Writing Consultation

Because Cornell’s writing seminars may expect a greater range of writing abilities than most students have exposure to in high school, the Writing Workshop provides an opportunity for students to discover how well current writing skills fit into what Cornell expects.

During the FWS Writing Consultation, students write short trial essays and meet with writing instructors for advice on which First-Year Writing Seminars are most appropriate for their learning styles and previous experience with academic writing. Students can participate in three ways: they can attend special sessions during New Student Orientation; submit an essay electronically by visiting the program Blackboard site (search for and enroll in “FWS Writing Consultation”); or submit an early essay assigned during the first weeks of their FWS. The Writing Workshop Director will help students transfer to other courses or arrange for tutoring support.

Students who struggled in their high school English classes should definitely take part in the FWS Writing Consultation. Students whose test scores are in the following ranges should also participate in  the FWS Writing Consultation:  SAT Writing below 8, ACT Writing below 8, SAT Critical Reading/Writing below 630, ACT English below 25, TOFEL below 105.

Alternate Route FWS | WRIT 1340 & 1370/80

The Writing Workshop offers two alternative route First-Year Writing Seminars: WRIT 1340: “Introduction to Writing in the University,” (Pre-Freshman Summer Program only)  and WRIT 1370 (Fall) and WRIT 1380 (Spring): "Elements of Academic Writing." These courses are designed for students who did not have formal writing instruction in high school, are unfamiliar with academic writing, have serious difficulty with writing assignments, or feel a general lack of confidence about their writing. Some sections of these First-Year Writing Seminars are designed for international students and multilingual writers and include special instruction on developing fluency in academic English and navigating new cultures of writing. Graded "S/U" only. Students receiving a grade of "S" are granted credit toward their college writing requirements (except for ILR students.).

COURSE DESCRIPTION for WRIT 1340: Introduction to Writing in the University

This writing seminar is designed for students who need more focused attention to master the expectations of academic writing. Coursework emphasizes the analytic and argumentative writing and critical reading essential for university­ level work. With small classes and weekly student/teacher conferences, each section is shaped to respond to the needs of students in that particular class.

COURSE DESCRIPTION for WRIT 1370/80: Elements of Academic Writing

The Writing 1370/80 classroom is a dynamic workspace where students assemble the scholarly tools necessary to explore complex, interdisciplinary questions. Because Writing 1370/80 is designed as a workshop, students develop the analytic and argumentative skills fundamental to interdisciplinary reading, research, and writing by collaborating with peers to pose questions, examine ideas, and share drafts. With small class sizes and two 50-minute class sessions and a student/teacher conference each week, Writing 1370/80 is an alternative route FWS that provides an individualized setting for students to learn flexible and sustainable strategies for studying the essential elements of academic writing and for producing clear, precise academic prose that can address a variety of audiences and meet diverse rhetorical aims. "S/U" grades only.


  • Metaphor in Art, Science and Culture (Zukovic) Metaphor is the essence of human creativity—a form of thought, desire and the language of the unconscious mind. How does metaphor operate in literature, pop culture, politics, and the thought of theoretical scientists such as Einstein and Richard Feynman? Can we improve our capacity to think metaphorically? 
  • Food for Thought (Carrick) How does the food on your table tell a story about you, your family, your community, your nation? How do we make food choices, and how are these choices complicated by the cultural, socio-economic, and political forces that both create and combat widespread international hunger and food insecurity? 
  • Public Writing and Rhetoric (Navickas) What does it mean to engage in civic issues in 2016? In an election year, what counts as effective civic writing and speaking in politics? How is civic engagement shaped by identity, those who have access to civic-spaces, and technology? And, what is the relationship between civic writing and change? 
  • Writing Back to the News (King-O'Brien) Students will ensconce themselves in debates raging within the contemporary news media—such as politics, conflicts within higher education, gender equality, international crises, American popular culture—and will write about contemporary controversies to different audiences in a variety of mediums, such as argumentative essays, investigative pieces, and blog posts. 
  • Connecting Cultures (Evans) What is culture? How does culture set standards for our behavior?  How do we negotiate the intersections between cultures?  How do the processes of culture determine the politics of assimilation, the power of language, and the spaces we inhabit?  Particularly in writing, how does culture help us determine strategies appropriate for convincing a variety of distinct audiences and purposes? 
  • Environmental Problems and Solutions (Sands) Human activities have ever-more serious impacts on our local regions and the planet. How can we think and write about improving public understanding of climate change, water scarcity, environmental health and agriculture and wildlife sustainability? For multilingual writers and international students.

Graduate Writers

The Writing Workshop offers two courses (WRIT 7102: “Graduate Writing Workshop” and WRIT 7103: “Work in Progress”) to support graduate and professional students interested in refining writing skills as they develop and sustain long writing projects and prepare for disciplinary and professional writing expectations. Graduate and professional students, post-docs, and faculty can also work with writing tutors at the Graduate Writing Service. International graduate students can also seek coursework and tutorial support from the English Language Support Office.


The Writing Workshop provides multiple opportunities for students to work one-on-one with writing specialists. Depending upon level and need and depth of commitment, students can apply to the KNIGHT WRITERS Mentor Program to work with peer writing mentors or Faculty Writing Consultants in weekly tutorials or enroll in WRIT 1390: “Special Topics in Writing,” a three-credit course for students who may need ongoing support to build writing skills or to develop ongoing writing projects. Students can also work with undergraduate and graduate writing tutors by visiting the Knight Institute Writing Centers.