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This Web site is designed to help you

succeed as a writer in courses

across the Marquette curriculum.


     As the pages here demonstrate, writing takes many different forms and is used in many different ways at a university. It can be a means of communicating facts, of discovering new meaning, or of arguing about ideas. Writing provided many pathways for learning. This Web site's purpose is to help you find your way and move smoothly along some of those pathways.

What’s Here, and Why

What’s Not Here (Important Disclaimers)

What Makes Writing So Important?

Getting Started

Is It Crunch Time?

About This Site

Faculty: See the national Writing Across the Curriculum

portals at George Mason University and Colorado State.

What’s Here, and Why

     Have you ever felt a little bit at sea as you contemplated a writing assignment in a new course? Join the crowd!

     It would be difficult to find anyone at a university—faculty or student—who at some point hasn’t experienced the sinking feeling that comes from trying to figure out how to join a conversation (written or oral) in which everybody else sounds like an expert. Indeed, that awkwardness is likely to come up whenever you decide to take a course in a field that’s new to you. The challenge increases with every new subject you take a course in, and sometimes you may be taking courses in three, four, or even five different disciplines at once—each with its own rules, preferred approaches, and specialized formats.

     Those challenges are the reason this Web site is here: to help you figure out how to join new academic conversations in very specific ways. It offers you direct help by linking the results of a faculty survey about writing with carefully reviewed electronic and paper resources. As you use the site, keep in mind these five major messages:    

  1. Marquette takes writing seriously.
  2. Your professors want you to write well.
  3. Writing well is the key to successful academic performance.
  4. Because writing serves different purposes in different disciplines, professors will expect you to address written assignments differently. You will notice these differences as soon as you start browsing in the Department-by-Department Reference Guide.
  5. Always check with your professors about preferred formatting and relevant evaluation criteria for each writing assignment.

     For some further thoughts about what makes writing so important in your success at college, and beyond, click here.

What’s Not Here, and Why Not

     These pages don’t present an all-purpose definition of writing at Marquette or a “one size fits all” formula for writing good papers. Most of the information comes from faculty who answered a survey. Because their responses showed that there is no one single method of writing excellent papers, we offer guidelines here to help you think fully and carefully about the assignments that you are given.

     The information offered on this site is intended as general advice. It can help you understand expectations about writing in a wide variety of disciplines. But it in no way constitutes a contract between the professor of any course and you, or between Marquette University and you.

     Always check the general guidelines on this Web site with your individual professors. The final word about any assignment necessarily comes from the instructor who assigned it.

     The faculty who worked on this project hope it will help prepare you to do the complicated thinking necessary for successful writing across the curriculum here at Marquette and, after graduation, throughout your professional career. If the material here helps you ask good questions of your professors so that you can write and revise your work thoughtfully, we feel confident that it will help you succeed both now and in the future.

Getting Started

     To locate the home departments for your current courses, go to the Department-by-Department Resource Guide. There you can read over information about typical assignments and general advice about successful writing in that discipline.

     Check out the other links in the lefthand panel as you need them—for guidance about citations or for using quotations and paraphrase or for finding a way to change some gender-specific terms. If you’re not a native speaker of English, the Tips for ESL Writers section may open new doors for you.

Is it Crunch Time?

Help is just a click or two away.

  • Make an appointment at the Writing Center, where peer tutors can help you plan, revise, or proofread. 
  • Download a PDF Checklist for Preparing Academic Papers: 16 questions you can ask yourself that will help you write papers you’ll be proud to turn in and proud to receive back from your professors.

© Helen Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences

Marquette University

1996, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2013

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Page Last Modified: October 14, 2019

  For suggestions and corrections, please email
Dr. Rebecca Nowacek, Associate Professor of English
Director of the Ott Memorial Writing Center, 240 Raynor Library (414.288.5542)
© 2005 Marquette University.
P.O. Box 1881 · Milwaukee, Wis. USA · 53201-1881