Writing in the Faculty of Arts & Science

The ability to think critically and to write well-organized, clear, grammatical prose is important to your work in Arts and Science courses. It will also improve your chances if you apply to graduate or professional schools and will give you an advantage in the workplace. To help you develop your writing skills, Arts and Science provides a range of instructional resources.

For courses in creative writing, see entries under “English” (ENG), “Innis College” (WRR), and “Victoria College” (CRE) in this Calendar.


Departments and programs integrate writing instruction into many of their courses, and some offer courses that concentrate on communication in their disciplines. Check the course listings by department.

Your course instructors and teaching assistants will provide guidelines for written assignments. They will often offer instruction in class and give you the opportunity to ask questions before assignments are due. You may ask them to discuss work that has been graded and returned to you.

In addition, the university offers several courses in writing effective essays:

  • ENG100H1 (Effective Writing) is listed under “English” in this Calendar
  • WRR103H1 (Introduction to Academic Essay Writing) is listed under “Innis College
  • WRR203H1 (Advanced Essay Writing) is listed under “Innis College”
  • JWE206H1 (Writing English Essays) is listed under “English” and “Innis College”

Innis College’s Minor Program in Writing and Rhetoric offers an array of courses that explore the worlds of oral, written, and online discourse. Rhetoric courses focus on how persuasion circulates in society, while writing courses teach students how to employ rhetoric and to write well in the modes, genres, and styles appropriate to particular disciplinary, institutional, and creative contexts. Visit course listings under Innis College in this Calendar.

Victoria College offers a minor program called Creative Expression and Society. It has two components: (1) workshop-style courses allowing students to develop skills in creative expression and communication, and (2) courses encouraging students to analyze the relationship between creative arts and society. Visit course listings under Victoria College in this Calendar.

Trinity College offers the course TRN478H1 (Science Writing for Non-Scientific Audiences). It focuses on a diversity of non-scientific audiences and writing styles.

The University of Toronto at Mississauga (UTM) offers a major and minor program in Professional Writing and Communication. The University of Toronto at Scarborough (UTSC) offers a major and minor program in Creative Writing. Consult with your college registrar about taking courses at either campus, and see the UTM and UTSC calendars for more detail about courses offerings. 

English Language Learning Opportunities

The English Language Learning (ELL) Program offers undergraduates in Arts and Science a variety of ways to develop both oral and written communication. Intensive non-credit mini-courses are offered during fall and winter reading weeks and during the summer. During the fall and winter terms, programming includes free drop-in workshops using a variety of interesting activities to improve speaking, and also an online component for improving academic reading and writing.

Writing Centres

The writing centres at undergraduate colleges will help you develop the writing and critical thinking skills you need throughout your university studies. They offer, free of charge, both group and individual instruction.

Group instruction is offered through both in-course instruction and a series of workshops called Writing Plus. These intensive group workshops help prepare you to meet the expectations of university writing. They cover all stages of writing university papers, from understanding the assignment to revising the final draft. They also provide targeted advice for handling your reading load and the challenges of studying for tests and exams. Special sessions focus on writing admissions statements for graduate and professional programs. Dates and locations are listed online in the Writing Plus section of www.writing.utoronto.ca.

In individual consultations, trained writing instructors help you improve your ability to plan, write, and revise, focusing on course writing assignments of your choice. Instructors are familiar with writing conventions in the whole range of Arts and Science courses; many have specialized training in teaching students whose first language is not English. You are entitled to use the writing centre of the college where you are registered. Most colleges also allow students from other colleges to book appointments for writing assignments in a college program course. All the college writing centres use an online booking system that requires your UTORid for login. More information is available in the Writing Centres section of www.writing.utoronto.ca. Here is a list of Arts and Science writing centres:

  • French Department Writing Labs: ask your professor or inquire at 416-926-2302
  • Innis College Writing Centre, Rooms 315 and 322
  • New College Writing Centre, Wilson Hall, Rooms 2045 and 2047
  • Philosophy Department Essay Clinic, Jackman Humanities Building, Room 422.
  • St. Michael’s College Writing Centre, Kelly Library, Learning Commons
  • Trinity College Writing Centre, Academic Resource Centre, 6 Hoskins Avenue, basement
  • University College Writing Centre, UC sUCcess Commons, Room 259
  • Victoria College Writing Centre, rooms listed on appointment schedule
  • Woodsworth College Academic Writing Centre, Room 214

Writing Resources

Campus libraries stock many reference guides for academic writing, some of them online. You will find both general handbooks on style and referencing, and guides on writing in specific disciplines. You can also consult the Advice section of the website Writing at the University of Toronto at www.writing.utoronto.ca. It contains short files addressing common issues in academic writing along with links to other useful online and print resources.