Syllabus BIO 389Z Writing in Biology

Communication and Reasoning Competencies: Written Discourse


Students who are concurrently registered in, or have previously taken, any 300- or 400-level biology course that yields credit toward the major, may with permission of the instructor of that course, enroll in A Bio 389Z and fulfill a writing intensive version of the companion course. One additional meeting per week in which writing techniques and experiences are stressed is required. Written work that will be used for credit in A Bio 389Z must be in addition to any writings required for the companion course. Prerequisite(s) or co-requisite(s): a companion biology course at the 300 or 400 level. S/U graded.

Learning Objectives:

  • Research a topic, develop an argument and organize supporting details
  • Produce a coherent written text
  • Revise and improve that text.
Course Criteria:
  • Write a total of 20+ double-spaced pages in a form acceptable in the biological literature (reports, essays, research papers, etc.)
  • Revise the text to improve the writing
  • Respond to feedback both on content and on style. Feedback may come from a range of sources--from the instructor to peer reviewers
  • Meet weekly with the supervising instructor and seek additional help, when necessary, from the Writing Center (Hu140)

GenED Requirement:

Receiving a grade of S (equivalent to a C or better) in this course fulfills the upper level General Education requirement in Communication and Reasoning Competency: Written Discourse, which requires "a Writing Intensive course at or above the 300 level, normally completed within the student’s major. These courses use writing as an important tool in the discipline studied and are not designed primarily to teach the technical aspects of writing. The emphasis is on using writing as a means of sharpening critical thinking in and understanding of the subject."