PWR 1 is a 4 unit course taken by students in their first year that fulfills Stanford's WRIT-1 requirement. It engages students in the serious practice of academic analysis, college level research, and argument.

The PWR 1 classroom is an active, dynamic place, in which students work to solve rhetorical challenges in their own writing and the writing of their peers. Because PWR 1 is a project-based course (rather than a reading- or discussion-based course), students use class time to advance the research and writing projects they've designed.

PWR 1 assignments are designed to teach students how to gather, evaluate, analyze, and integrate a range of sources (both primary and secondary) into their own writing. These assignment descriptions provide the basis for all PWR 1 syllabi.

Assignment Sequence

The assignment sequence is as follows:

  • Rhetorical AnalysisIn this assignment, students use rhetorical principles to analyze how a particular text makes an argument.  It is designed to introduce students to basic rhetorical concepts, types of appeals and situations. (1500-1800 words) 
  • Texts in ConversationThe Texts in Conversation assignment sets the stage for the Research-Based Argument, helping students develop a focus for their research project and to move toward crafting their own source-based argument. It asks students to put texts in dialogue with each other, incorporating different perspectives on key issues. Students examine how different writers define and frame these issues, and scrutinize where the writers connect and where they conflict. (1800-2400 words)
  • Research-Based ArgumenTThis assignment asks students to produce a well-supported, focused argument drawing on library and web-based research. Many students also undertake primary research. (3600-4500 words)

Additional Writing

In addition to the three major writing assignments, students may be asked to do a significant amount of informal writing, including blogs, journals, online discussions, outlines, parts of drafts, and reflective memos.

Total Writing Required

Overall, the total amount of polished, final-draft writing each student should expect to complete per quarter is between 7,500 words (25 pages at 300 words per page) and 9,000 words (30 pages at 300 words per page). Each major writing assignment includes a draft and revision stage.

See Award-winning BOOTHe PRIZE essays from PWR1 classes