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Information on this website is posted for historical reference only. Please visit the Office of the Registrar for current requirements.

Institute for Writing and Rhetoric

Director: Christiane K. Donahue

Executive Director, Writing and Rhetoric Courses: Karen M. Gocsik

Director of Student Writing Support: Stephanie D. Boone

Assistant Director for Program Development: Sara B. Chaney

Associate Professor C. Donahue; Senior Lecturers S. D. Boone, J. A. Compton, M. E. Heck, B. Kreiger, D. J. Moody, T. S. Osborne; Lecturers S. B. Chaney, R. R. Crocker, J. Donaghy, J. L. Kalish, A. Kremer, G. A. Lenhart, K. McCarthy, W. A. Piper, E. B. Rockmore; Visiting Professor W. W. Nichols; Visiting Associate Professor N. J. Crumbine; Visiting Assistant Professor J. A. Mackin; Adjunct Associate Professor K. M. Gocsik; Adjunct Assistant Professors J. L. Carroll, C. P. Thum.

The Institute for Writing and Rhetoric courses include the first-year writing courses Writing 2-3, Writing 5, and the First-Year Seminars; courses in Speech; and advanced courses in writing. The Institute for Writing and Rhetoric also includes peer-tutorial programs that support students in their writing, research, and new media activities.

All students must successfully complete either Writing 2-3 or Writing 5 (unless they are exempted from Writing 5) and a First-Year Seminar during their first year.

Individual section descriptions for Writing 5 and First-Year Seminar can be found on the College website.


First-Year Seminars offer every first-year student the opportunity to participate in a course structured around independent research, small group discussion, and intensive writing. By vote of the Faculty and Trustees, successful completion of one seminar has long been a requirement for the A. B. degree. First-Year Seminars are administered by the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric.

The function of the First-Year Seminar program is threefold. First, by means of a uniform writing requirement, it emphasizes the importance of written expression in all disciplines. Second, it provides an attractive and exciting supplement to the usual introductory survey course in many disciplines. In the seminar chosen a student may explore, both alone and with a small group, a topic of special interest to the individual student, to classmates, and to the instructor. Third, in its emphasis on independent study, the program enables each first-year student to have an early experience of the kind of scholarship that fuels Dartmouth’s upper-level courses.

A First-Year Seminar may serve in satisfaction of specific General Education requirements, provided that the individual seminar has been approved for this purpose, and for the specific year and term, by the Committee on Instruction. Students are not eligible to participate in Off-Campus Programs until they have satisfied the First-Year Seminar requirement.

Entering students who have been exempted from Writing 5 must elect their First-Year Seminar in the fall term. A limited number of first-year students may satisfy the First-Year Seminar requirement by substituting both Humanities 1 and 2 for a regular seminar. All seminars are listed and described on the College website at

These seminars are open only to first-year students. First-year students are permitted to enroll in a second seminar within the limit of sixteen per group after all students who have not yet met the requirement have had a chance to elect one.