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Composing the Academic Essay

This course is expected to run but has not yet been scheduled.

Course Description

Based on Brown’s well-regarded Academic Essay course, in this class you will learn how to organize and craft a well-researched academic essay that explores a topic of your choice on an issue that matters to you. You will develop an idea, expand and support it with evidence, articulate it by means of a carefully-structured argument, and conclude it with implications for further investigation, all while using an engaged, intelligent voice. Topics typically focus on current issues of concern, and involve research across the disciplines.

This course will also familiarize students with essential research methods, including:

How to develop a well-focused research topic
How to identify the types of sources necessary to support a researched argument
How to access and navigate a library and its collections, physical and digital
How to evaluate online scholarly resources
How to use source materials to strengthen an argument

Over a three-week period, students will read and analyze exemplary academic writing, participate in group discussions, and share their work with their peers. They will learn to plan, draft, and revise their writing in response to group and instructor critique and from further research, and they will identify and assess arguments made in source materials, engaging with and expanding the critical conversation on their chosen topic. Students will not only learn how to be better writers, but also how to be better thinkers on the topic of their choice.

This course is the capstone of a three course series, which includes Putting Yourself Into Words (one week), Writing the Analytic Essay (two weeks) and Composing the Academic Essay (three weeks). Each course focuses on a distinct genre of writing typically contained in a first year college writing course: the personal essay, in which you introduce an original argument on literature, film, or art into a broader scholarly conversation; the analytic essay, in which you are provided the material or resources and asked to write in response to them; and the academic essay, in which you are tasked to develop a thesis, locate the resources, and make your case. Courses can be taken in any order.

Suggested prerequisite: a proven facility with the English language, including grammar, and some confidence as a writer.

You might also be interested in: Writing for College and Beyond (online course)