Frequently Asked Questions

The Writing Seminars

Which courses and credits fulfill the writing requirement?

Only Writing Seminars offered by the Princeton Writing Program fulfill the writing requirement. Neither creative writing courses, Freshman Seminars, nor other courses, taken at Princeton or elsewhere, fulfill the requirement. Likewise, AP credit or other test credits may not be counted toward fulfillment of the writing requirement. No one is exempted from this requirement, because all writers, no matter how prepared or gifted, can benefit from additional practice and intensive feedback.

Do Writing Seminars fulfill distribution requirements?

The Writing Seminar fulfills the writing requirement, one of Princeton's general education requirements, but not distribution requirements. This is because Writing Seminars use the topic of the course as a vehicle for students to practice writing skills, not as the primary object of study. To keep the focus on writing, reading is limited in Writing Seminars and no attempt is made at comprehensive coverage of a subject area.

How many courses should students enroll in besides the Writing Seminar?

Students assigned to a Fall Writing Seminar should enroll in three other courses. AB students assigned to a Spring Writing Seminar are encouraged to take the Writing Seminar alongside three other courses, while BSE students take it alongside four. When planning their program of study, students should keep in mind that the Writing Seminar is a very challenging course.

Is there is an add/drop period for Writing Seminars?

Under ordinary circumstances, students may not drop the Writing Seminar at any time during the term. Students who believe that their circumstances are unusual enough that an exception to this policy should be made should speak with their residential college Dean or Director of Studies, as well as the Director of the Writing Program.

Can students take a Freshman Seminar in the same term in which they take a Writing Seminar?

Yes, absolutely. Although both Writing Seminars and Freshman Seminars are small and topic-based, and allow for personal interaction with the professor, Writing Seminars focus on the skills necessary for critical reading and writing, whereas Freshman Seminars focus on covering a subject area. As long as students' schedules permit, they should feel free to take a Freshman Seminar in the same term in which they're enrolled in a Writing Seminar.

What happens if students miss a class?

Because Writing Seminar instruction proceeds by sequential writing activities, consistent attendance is essential. Students who incur more than four absences in their Writing Seminar may not complete the course.


The Writing Seminar Enrollment Process

Will submitting my choices first increase my chances of getting one of my top choices?

No, the enrollment process is not first come, first served. Your chances of getting one of your top choices are the same, no matter when you submit your choices during the enrollment period.

What if I need to change my preferences after I’ve submitted them?

You may change your enrollment preferences any time during the enrollment period by visiting the Writing Program website, clicking on “Enroll in a Writing Seminar,” and entering your revised preferences. The new set will overwrite the old. No revised preference lists will be accepted once enrollment has closed.

What if I have trouble enrolling in a Writing Seminar?

Feel free to contact the Princeton Writing Program at

I want to make sure I'm not randomly assigned to a Writing Seminar. What do I do?

Submit your choices online during the enrollment period, and you will receive one of your 8 choices.

What happens if I forget to enroll in a Writing Seminar during the enrollment period?

You will be assigned to a Writing Seminar with open spaces, regardless of topic. But to help you remember, the Princeton Writing Program will send you reminder emails.

May I shop Writing Seminars?

No. Once you've been assigned to a Writing Seminar, the enrollment process is over.