Frequently Asked Questions

If you are in first or second year, keep checking to see if a spot becomes available in the section of your choice. If so, register! Individual instructors do not control the registration for their sections, so they cannot add your name to their class list. There are no wait lists for WRDS 150, but there is a lot of movement in the first few weeks of term. The course is offered in both terms, as well as in the summer, and a full list of courses and their topic areas may be found

If you are in third year or above, consider taking WRDS 350 Knowledge-making instead of WRDS 150.

While they all meet the writing and research requirement for completing the B.A. degree in the Faculty of Arts, WRDS 150 is a single term course, while CAP and Arts One are coordinated programs, which have standard timetables. In CAP and Arts One you take the majority of your courses with the same group of students and the subjects you study make up a pre-arranged theme, which changes year by year. WRDS 150, in contrast, is a single course in your overall program of study.

In WRDS 150, you learn how a variety of academic disciplines deal with a specific area of current research interest (e.g., humour, human rights, social media, transgender studies, homelessness), You read and analyze a selection of current scholarly articles on the research focus of your section. You produce several brief writing assignments, most of which are “scaffolded,” which means that they serve as steps towards accomplishing a larger project or course goal. For example, you may be asked to produce a literature review as a step towards writing a research paper on that same question.

Since WRDS 150 is designed to prepare you for university level scholarship, it should be taken fairly early in your time at UBC, ideally in your first or second year. You are required to complete it before you reach 54 credits. Students who wait to take WRDS 150 often express the wish that they had taken it sooner.

Students who transfer into UBC’s Faculty of Arts in second year or above are advised to take WRDS 350 Knowledge-making instead of WRDS 150.

If you fail WRDS 150, you may repeat the course once. If you pass the course but want to improve your grade (perhaps in order to gain access to a particular programme of study), you may also repeat it once.

If you...
… have Third or Fourth Year standing at UBC, take WRDS 350
… are transferring into UBC from other post-secondary institution, and have previously taken
a college-level writing, discourse studies, or research methods course,
take WRDS 350
… have not yet taken a college-level writing or research methods course, take WRDS 150
… are concerned about your proficiency in standard written English, take WRDS 150
… are in Second Year and would like an advanced writing elective, contact Arts Advising
… would like to earn transfer credit for a course you have taken elsewhere. contact Arts Advising

Check the UBC Course Schedule for the research area of each section before registering. Fuller descriptions of research areas and instructor backgrounds are also available on the ASRW website. Remember that this course is primarily aimed at introducing the research culture all around us at UBC. Any of the specific topics offered in sections of WRDS 150 can serve equally well as a context of discovery for the research and writing activities that constitute this culture.
The research focus of each section of WRDS 150 will be broad enough to allow students ample room to define their own particular term projects. There are always a variety of disciplinary dimensions to each research focus.

The instruction in WRDS 150 is grounded in recent advancements in discourse studies. It represents a significant departure from more traditional styles of writing instruction.
If you believe that a writing course you took at some other school satisfies the course objectives of WRDS 150, you may request that the writing requirement be waived. For further information, consult this site.Note that AP and IB English are not accepted as the equivalent of WRDS 150.

Yes, ASRW also offers WRDS 350: Interdisciplinary Studies in Arts.
Outside of ASRW, you might want to consider taking some of these courses:
ENGL 229: Topics in the Study of Language and/or Rhetoric
ENGL 304: Advanced Composition
ENGL 307a: Studies in Rhetoric
ENGL 309: Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine
ENGL 310: History and Theory of Rhetoric: Classical Rhetoric
ENGL 311: History and Theory of Rhetoric: The Later Theory
ENGL 312a: Discourse and Society
PHIL 425a: Philosophy of Language

Your best options are the reference librarians at Koerner Library, and elsewhere on campus. They are ready to serve as your guide through the existing literature on just about any topic you are investigating.

Grammar is not the focus of WRDS 150.

You can receive grammar help from UBC Extended Learning as well as the Peer Consultants at UBC’s Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication, which is located in the I.K. Barber Centre


While tutors can be helpful, sometimes they will misdirect WRDS 150 students, and they may even impede students’ learning in this course. For this reason, the use of tutors in this course is discouraged. If you do use a tutor on any WRDS 150 assignment, you are required to hand in any rough drafts of your written work and the tutor’s comments and suggestions along with the work you submit for the assignment.If you need more support in English as an additional language, please consult the Academic English Support Program, which offers a free tutoring service and various online resources.

WRDS 150 is offered in the summer. Check the UBC Course Schedule and the student testimonials on this website.

No. Both of these courses fulfil the UBC Writing Requirement; check with Arts Advising about which one you should take.

  • Limited seating in WRDS 150 sections means students might not be placed into a section until the first week of Term 2.
  • Priority of placement into a section will be based on the day and time they were transferred onto the WRDS 150 wait list.
  • Students should consult with their faculty advisors on whether to stay on the WRDS 150 wait list or take the course in future terms  (ie. 2019S & 2019W).

Yes! You can take either WRDS 150 or WRDS 350 to fulfill your Writing Requirement. For more information on the Writing Requirement, click here.