Your words matter.
The Sweetland Minor in Writing gives you the tools not merely to “write for the professor,” but to produce compelling, accessible writing for a wide range of audiences and purposes. In addition, you will receive the foundational writing and critical thinking skills necessary for today’s competitive job market.
If you are an undergraduate student who is interested in developing further as a writer, both in and beyond their major, and who wants to join a vibrant community of writers, we invite you to apply! Our Minors come from departments all over campus, with diverse backgrounds, interests, and talents that unite to create a truly dynamic, project-based program. In both an introductory and advanced course, students receive the support and skills to create the kinds of work they would like to see in the world. We encourage experimentation and value failure as part of success. Minors may also choose to participate in our student-run journal and attend public events created with them in mind, including a writer interview series co-sponsored by WCBN Radio and Literati.
My minor secured me a job before I even graduated. During my first phone interview, my boss said, "A minor in writing shows me that you not only excel at the skill, but that you enjoy it. A major is required, but a minor is a choice.
Continue scrolling or jump to:
Your vision--from beginning to end.
The Gateway and Capstone courses are the core of the Sweetland Minor in Writing program. Taught by Sweetland faculty members, these classes encourage you to explore new and exciting forms of writing across different genres and mediums. You’ll have a high level of autonomy in designing, planning, and executing writing projects that reflect your personal passions and interests. However, just because the Gateway and Capstone courses are tailored to your individual concerns doesn’t mean you’ll be expected to go it alone. The Sweetland Minor in Writing courses are highly collaborative and community-focused -- students participate in writing workshops with their peers, drawing on outside perspectives to guide and inform their work. Want to have something to show for your four years of college? The Gateway and Capstone courses give you the unique opportunity to compile an impressive portfolio of customized work to present to future employers, graduate schools, and publishing houses.
The Gateway course introduces you to the Sweetland Minor in Writing and gives you the opportunity to revisit and expand upon your previous writing. This class isn’t all retrospection, of course -- you’ll also have the opportunity to forge a new writerly identity, one you’ll substantiate with diverse work ranging from personal blog posts to original research projects. In the Gateway course, you will compile your writing in a web-based portfolio that will serve as a useful foundation for the more focused and in-depth writing projects you’ll undertake in the Capstone course.
The Capstone course is the culmination of the Sweetland Minor in Writing program -- a chance for you to use the skills and expertise acquired throughout the program to create an exciting web-based writing project centered on your individual interests and abilities. The project will not only showcase your increased genre fluency and understanding of new media platforms, but also powerfully represent your voice and vision. Tired of writing traditional papers? Past students have curated digital art exhibitions and designed proposals for equitable urban-planning initiatives -- the possibilities are endless, and experimentation is always encouraged!
What are the program requirements?
The Sweetland Minor in Writing requires at least 15 credits of courses. Students must complete the following courses, with an average minimum GPA of 3.3 for courses applied toward the academic minor:
1. WRITING 220: Introduction to the Minor in Writing: (3) - gateway course, which must be completed in the students’ first semester in the Minor
2. One of the following courses:
- ENGLISH 225: Academic Argumentation (4), or
- ENGLISH 229: Professional Writing (4), or
- ENGLISH 325: Art of the Essay (3), or
- LSWA 230: Writing & the Arts II (3), or
- WRITING 200: New Media Writing (3)
3. Two Upper-Level Writing Requirement courses, one of which may be shared with a major (3-4)
4. WRITING 420: Minor in Writing Capstone (3) - capstone course
Note: No course may be used to satisfy the requirements of more than one minor. In addition, only one minor requirement may be shared with a major requirement.
Eportfolios | Students completing the Minor in Writing are required to develop an electronic portfolio (eportfolio) of the writing they produce throughout their undergraduate career. The eportfolio provides students with the opportunity to reflect on their development as writers, demonstrate their proficiency in visual rhetoric, and showcase their writing abilities. Students have the opportunity to create an eportfolio in WRITING 220 and then another one in WRITING 420 that builds on the skills they've acquired.
Are there prerequisites?
Students must have satisfied the First-Year Writing Requirement with a final grade of C or higher. Engineering students must have completed Engineering 100 with a grade of C or higher. Transfer students can complete the FYWR with a transfer course approved by Sweetland.
What are the learning goals of the Minor in Writing?
Students who complete the Sweetland Minor in Writing will demonstrate the ability to:
- Produce complex, consequential and well-supported arguments and in both academic and non-academic contexts.
- Explore different strategies for organizing and revising writing of varying lengths and genres.Identify and implement rhetorical choices that meet the demands of specific genres, audiences, and rhetorical situations.
- Compose in a variety of modes, including a range of digital media such as blogs, interactive maps, online magazines, etc.
- Learn the language to describe writing processes, rhetorical choices, genre expectations, and disciplinary discourse to discuss writing-in-progress and writing development over time.
- Collaborate with other writers to improve writing-in-progress.
What kind of classes will I be taking?
Students in the Sweetland Minor in Writing take two specific three-credit classes, both of which feature a largely student-led curriculum: the Gateway course, which introduces you to the Minor and expands your thinking about writing, and the Capstone course, in which you complete a self-designed, semester-long project, informed by your specific skills and interests. Both courses are open only to students in the Sweetland Minor in Writing program, allowing for close collaboration within the cohort and the opportunity to receive ample feedback from your peers.
To complete the remaining nine (9) credits of the minor, you can choose from a wide range of courses across many departments: one must be selected from a pre-approved list of writing-specific courses, but the others can be chosen from any department or program as long as they satisfy the Upper Level Writing Requirement (ULWR). For these two ULWR courses, we encourage you to take at least one from a department outside of your concentration. In this way, you gain experience writing in a variety of disciplines while ultimately choosing the path that most aligns with your own interests and professional goals.
What do you mean by “student-led curriculum?”
How much freedom will I have?
The Sweetland Minor in Writing program encourages and serves the unique interests of its students. This means that you not only have the freedom to handpick many of the courses that you take, but can also craft your own projects within those courses according to your personal passions. While other minors may claim to be similarly flexible, few offer students the level of autonomy enjoyed by those in the Minor in Writing. Here at Sweetland, we aim to give you the resources and support network you need to pursue your dream projects, whatever they may be. Faculty members provide guidance at every step of the way, ensuring that you finish the program with a body of work that best represents your creative and intellectual vision.
I love how individualized the minor is. Whether your interests are in fiction, journalism, digital storytelling, or something else, the minor provides the latitude and support necessary to grow.
Is this minor just a collection of classes?
Or is it more than that?
The Sweetland Minor in Writing isn’t just an additional line on your diploma—it’s a vibrant and supportive community of creative individuals. From the moment you enter the Minor, you connect with others who care deeply about improving their writing skills and understand the important role that peer feedback plays in that process. Both of the required Sweetland classes —the Gateway and Capstone courses—are comprised solely of Sweetland Minor in Writing students, allowing you all to network, build relationships, and learn from one another in an academically-rigorous setting.
The Sweetland Minor in Writing curriculum is collaborative and community-based—many writing classes, both within Sweetland and in other departments, are based around student-led workshops and collaborative discussion between peers. The Sweetland Center for Writing also holds community events where you and your peers can meet and interact with one another, further developing a strong network of writers to take with you into your post-graduate careers and personal lives.
Developing my writing within a small, reliable, and encouraging community was the best part of the program for me. That type of environment was really important for me to start thinking about my writing outside of the realm of school.
Who will read my work?
What sorts of pieces will I be writing?
Unlike other classes in which the professor may be the only person to read your final paper, the Gateway and Capstone courses emphasize using writing to join larger communities and conversations. The minor in writing provides the platform and necessary instruction for students to produce work for audiences beyond the classroom, perhaps for the general public, publication, or prospective employers. Minor in writing students create work that is not only of great professional and personal value, but that translates their interests, majors, and skills to a wider audience.
Do you feel strongly about something and want to share your passion? If so, you’ve come to the right place. The Minor in Writing builds skills in expository and argumentative writing, which can be quite creative (think narrative nonfiction essays or an educational podcasts), but also includes traditional media like academic research papers, journalism, historical records, and the like. While the Minor in Writing allows for some traditional creative writing, it moves beyond it by exposing students to a wider variety of writing styles. Furthermore, the Minor in Writing provides students with the unique opportunity to incorporate their writing into an original multimodal project, utilizing intriguing digital formats to present their work in a compelling way.
Learning about the intersection between writing and the online world made me much more prepared for the challenges of professional writing.
What kind of students are a good match for the Minor in Writing?
Students who are a good match for the Minor in Writing:
- Hold an expansive view of what constitutes writing that includes multimodal pieces
- See writing as a social enterprise that has real effects in the world - in academia, in business, and in society writ large
- See writing as an interaction between people
- Understand writing as a process that necessarily involves revision, constructive critique from others, or changing course
- Be excited to take risks in their coursework and experiment with new things
- Value working in community with others for the benefit of all involved
Requirements for application
Students must have completed their First-Year Writing Requirement with a grade of C or higher. Engineering students must have completed Engineering 100 with a grade of C or higher. Transfer students can complete the FYWR with a transfer course approved by Sweetland.
Materials for application
- Writing sample from any college course
- Letter of interest
- Unofficial U-M transcript (available through Wolverine Access)
How to apply
Complete the online application for Fall 2024 Cohort below before noon, Monday, March 18, 2024.
Interested in receiving updates about applying?
If you are interested in applying to the Minor in Writing in the future, you can sign up for our email list and we'll send you a reminders as the application deadline approaches, as well as details about any upcoming information sessions.
How do I make my application as strong as possible?
Since the Sweetland Minor in Writing curriculum is largely student-led, each cohort should be made up of driven and committed students who can work diligently at a self-guided pace. The best candidates are excited to engage with and learn from their classmates, as peer feedback is an important component of the Minor in Writing program and the writing process in general. Selective admission helps us make sure that each student in the Minor in Writing program is not only committed to their personal development as a writer, but also cares about the growth and success of their peers.
The best applications showcase:
- The writer’s authentic voice.
- A piece that the writer is proud of! Passion for the piece may shine more brightly than a piece that is grammatically and stylistically “correct” but that the writer is not invested in.
- A clear and explicit relationship between the writing sample and the goals of the program.
Admission process and criteria
- Submit all materials by the application deadline.
- The admission process is competitive and space is limited. Because space is limited students must complete the minor gateway course, Writing 220: Introduction to the Minor in Writing, in their first semester Minor.
- Application materials are reviewed by a committee of Sweetland faculty, who make admissions recommendations based upon the quality of the writing sample, the reasons given for applying to the minor, and student’s overall academic performance.
- Students are notified of the decision via email prior to the beginning of registration.
Minor in Writing Advising
To help you achieve your goals for the Minor and assure your progress through the portfolio archiving process, you should plan to meet at least once each semester with an advisor to discuss your academic plan, assess your progress, and get answers to any questions you may have. Graduating Minors must meet with their advisors in the semester before graduation to complete their Minor Release form. Advisors are also available to review your work in Gateway and Capstone courses.
Julie Babcock (firstname.lastname@example.org)
T Hetzel (email@example.com)
Shelley Manis (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Raymond McDaniel (email@example.com)
Setting up an advising appointment
When logging in to our reservation system, choose Minor in Writing (MIW ONLY) under Choose a Schedule if you are scheduling an advising appointment or working on Gateway or Capstone coursework. When it's time for your appointment, log in to our online schedule where you made your appointment. Click on your appointment box to begin the appointment.
For writing support with your other U-M classes, please select the Current Term option under Choose a Schedule.