Seminar Information

What is the WCI seminar?

The Writing and Critical Inquiry (WCI) seminar plays a key role in UAlbany’s commitment to supporting students’ academic, personal and professional success. 

The three-credit WCI seminar: 

  • Helps students transition to college-level coursework 

  • Teaches students how to think critically and communicate effectively 

  • Reflects the importance of writing as a vehicle for inquiry, learning and expression 

  • Cultivates a social, collaborative community among new students  

WCI seminars are limited to 19 students, allowing you to receive individualized attention from their instructors and make meaningful connections with their peers. 


A student focused on a lecture sits at a desk in a classroom, with other students seated around him.


Why is the seminar required?

The WCI seminar (UUNI 110 or TUNI 110) is a General Education requirement for all undergraduate students.

You must pass this course with a C or better to earn your degree. Students who do not earn a grade of a C or higher in the WCI seminar must retake it. 

In some cases, college courses taken by transfer students may be substituted for WCI. Speak to your academic advisor about your options.

For more information on undergraduate academic policies and requirements, please visit the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Note: AENG 110 and AENG 110Z will also satisfy the General Education requirement for writing and critical inquiry. 


What should I expect as a WCI student?

We encourage you to enroll in a WCI seminar within your first two semesters at UAlbany, because it will prepare you for the University’s academic rigors and expectations. 

During the seminar, you’ll explore a rich diversity of perspectives, think critically about complex questions and focus on analysis and argument — skills you’ll need in both the UAlbany classroom and life beyond campus. 

Writing Assignments

All WCI seminars include three major writing assignments: 

  • Writing to explore your own experience of a problem, idea, concept, question or issue 

  • Writing to analyze a text, idea, experience, event or phenomenon for an academic audience 

  • Writing to participate in a conversation about a relevant question or problem 

Expect to write and revise several drafts of each assignment as you learn about your subject and your own writing style. 

The format, length and subject for these assignments will vary based on the seminar theme and instructor.

Reading Assignments

The course involves a variety of required readings, such as peer-reviewed scholarly articles, essays, fiction, online postings, reports and multimedia texts.  

Reading assignments — which are tailored to the seminar theme and vary by instructor — give students the opportunity to analyze a diverse set of writers and rhetorical choices.

Research Assignments

You'll engage in academic research by finding, analyzing, evaluating, integrating and citing appropriate source materials using various tools, such as scholarly databases. 

Class Discussions

You will also participate in various small- and large-group discussions throughout the semester. Oral communication requirements and assignments (such as presentations) vary by seminar theme and instructor. 

Group Project

This collaborative project will encourage you to critically reflect on your experience in the seminar as writers, readers, thinkers and researchers. 

The project — which includes a written component and an oral presentation — focuses on what you have learned about writing and critical inquiry, as well as how your learning might apply to your future intellectual work.  

Specific assignment details will vary based on seminar theme and instructor.

Which is the right WCI seminar for me?

Although all WCI seminars are built around the same basic requirements and foundational lessons, each class section varies — offering multiple options to reflect our students’ diverse academic interests and goals. Any WCI seminar will fulfill the graduation requirement

  • Themes: WCI instructors design class sections around a specific topic, or “theme,” that reflects their own areas of expertise. Examples of previous themes include humans and nature, American consumerism, zombies, and the legal system. 

  • Cohorts: We also offer UUNI 110 class sections for specific cohorts of students, such as international students, students in Living-Learning Communities (L-LCs), students on a pre-law pathway or students who didn’t take the course during their first two semesters at UAlbany. 

  • Honors: Honors College students can take the honors version, TUNI 110, to fulfill the same requirement. Note: TUNI 110 is only offered during the spring semester. 

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