Writing Programs


As part of Union's new general education program, "Complex Questions: Global Challenges and Social Justice," faculty approved a new WAC-R or research-intensive WAC requirement.

All students entering Union in the Fall of 2022 or later must take at least five WAC courses, at least one of which must be designated WAC-R.

You can find a list of currently approved WAC-R courses here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a WAC-R course? The WAC-R is a writing-intensive course that introduces research methods, conventions, or practices from the perspective of the instructor’s home field or discipline. Students must complete at least one WAC-R course prior to the Senior Writing Experience (WS). WAC-R courses are approved by the Writing Board and designated as such by the registrar.

NOTE: WAC-R courses should be at the 100-, 200-, or 300-level, because they are intended to *introduce* students to course- or discipline-specific research methods, conventions, or practices. Ideally WAC-R courses will be at the 100- or 200-level.

What are the criteria for WAC-R course designation? WAC-R courses meet WAC course criteria and integrate research instruction in a way that is appropriate to the course context.

How do instructors apply for WAC-R status? Instructors may complete the WAC Designation form, found on this page.

Can students take more than one WAC-R course? Yes. All WAC-R course(s) will count toward the five WAC course requirement in the second "tier" of Union's Writing Across the Curriculum program. (For example, if a student takes two designated WAC-R courses, the student will need to take three more WAC courses to complete the five WAC course requirement.)

Do students need to complete the WAC-R requirement within their major? No, though many departments will have one or more WAC-R options for students in the major.

Do WAC-R courses have prerequisites? Some do, some do not. Check with the online course schedule or your WAC-R instructor's home department.

What if I need to know more? Contact Joe Johnson, Director of Writing Programs and Chair of the Writing Board.

A Few Examples

The following courses are forthcoming or have been recently approved as WAC-R:

  • MTH 199 Introduction to Logic and Set Theory: This course is designed to enable students to develop the ability to understand and communicate mathematical arguments. It acts as a bridge from the more computational approach used in calculus to proof-based mathematics, which is what students will see in the vast majority of 200-, 300-, and 400-level math courses. Math majors normally take the course in their first or second year (depending on where they start in our calculus sequence). Most math minors take the course in their sophomore year.
  • MER 262 Library Research, Data Analysis, and Scientific Writing in Mechanical Engineering: Project-based sophomore-level course for mechanical engineers that integrates three fundamental skill-sets required for effective mechanical engineering communication: library research, data analysis, and scientific writing. Course designed to build into junior and senior-level mechanical engineering research, thinking, and writing.
  • PSY 300 Research Methods in Psychology: Research methods course in which students write three research papers that conform to American Psychological Association (APA) style, and they use feedback from prior papers to guide them as they work on latter papers. Required of all PSY majors and all NS majors on the cognitive track.
  • ECO 300-level “Seminar” Courses: seminar courses in Economics require an empirical project (individually or in small groups), which students present orally to the class; emphasize both empirical and writing skills; require students to synthesize papers in the economics literature on their topic, including the use of EconLit, Google Scholar, or other literature searching tool.