Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Course Description

If you are a junior, senior or graduate student in the sciences or engineering at MIT and if your English writing skills are advanced but not native, 21G.225/21G.226 is the right place for you. This workshop provides the opportunity to analyze, practice and receive feedback on many of the types of professional and academic documents that you will write in your engineering or science studies and careers. It also addresses many of the common sentence-level problems of advanced non-native writers of technical English.

Class members are occasionally the authors of the work under review and are also occasionally responsible for leading group discussions and for short oral explanations.

The course, then, is not a grammar class, nor is it a thesis editing service though we spend considerable time developing students' editorial skills. Constructive participation in the group analyses, discussions and speaking exercises that take place in class is crucial to the learning process and to the success of the workshop. As a result, regular attendance and timely completion of assignments are requirements of 21G.225/21G.226. If you expect to have difficulty in arriving on time, preparing for and attending almost every class, and completing assignments on time, you do not belong in the class.

Students in this workshop are encouraged to consult with tutors in the Writing and Communication Center for help with any writing tasks:

Listeners are generally not accepted in 21G.225/21G.226.

A Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Communication Intensive Course

Undergraduate HASS CI subjects require at least 20 pages of writing divided among 3-5 assignments. Of these 3-5 assignments, at least one must be revised and resubmitted. HASS CI subjects offer students substantial opportunity for oral expression, through presentations, student-led discussion, or class participation. In order to guarantee sufficient attention to student writing and substantial opportunity for oral expression, the maximum number of students per section in a HASS CI subject is 18, except in the case of a subject taught without sections (where the faculty member in charge is the only instructor). In that case, enrollments can rise to 25, if a writing fellow is attached to the subject.)

Grading Guidelines

Your grade will be based on the following factors:

activities PERCENTAGES
Punctuality, attendance, preparedness and participation 10%
Collected exercises (5 in total) 10%
In-class, open-book quizzes (5 in total) 10%
Memos (5 in total) 10%
Shorter formal papers (4 in total, 10% each) 40%
Final long paper 20%


Punctuality, Attendance, Preparedness and Participation

  • You are expected to come prepared, on time and to almost every class.
  • You are expected to take responsibility for any necessary tardiness or absences by notifying me in advance, and by consulting with a classmate to learn what was covered in the class that you missed.
  • You are expected to contribute constructively to class dynamics.

Collected Exercises

  • No late assignments will be accepted unless arranged in advance.

In-class, Open-book Quizzes

  • No make-up quizzes will be given unless arranged in advance.

Shorter Formal Papers

  • No late papers will be accepted unless arranged in advance.
  • All shorter papers will require revisions.

Final long paper

  • No revision is possible.

Grading Scale

A 94 and above
A– 90–93
B+ 86–89
B 83–85
B– 80–82
C+ 76–79
C 73–75
C– 70–72
D 60–69
F Below 60


Attendance and Participation

Ten percent of your grade is based on punctuality, attendance, familiarity with the required readings, and constructive contributions to class discussions. An attendance sheet will be circulated at the start of each class for students to sign. Please be familiar with the course schedule, read the indicated passages in the materials, prepare the tasks for in-class discussion that are provided in the Course Packet and come to each class prepared. Those who do not prepare, contribute to discussions, complete assignments on time and attend class regularly cannot receive an A for the course.


Short Assignments: Memos and Exercises

A variety of short assignments provide practice in strategy (designing the best approach for your readers and purposes), retrieving and summarizing key information, and building fluency and accuracy. Details about, and due dates for, the memo assignments are available in assignments.

Major Assignments: Formal Papers and Research Project

In addition to the short assignments described above, four short formal papers and a final research project of 12-15 pages are required. This final paper must be based on current research and studies; students may not submit documents written and evaluated in the past. Subjects and approaches are discussed as the term progresses. Please see assignments for more detailed instructions for these papers.


Please see MIT's policy on plagiarism in Adademic Integrity at MIT: A Handbook for Students.