Writing Assignments

There are a total of four writing assignments, which vary in terms of their genre, length, and complexity. They include: a critical review; a science essay for the general public; a prospectus for the science essay; and a proposal. Together, these assignments are designed to give you experience with different genres of scientific and technical writing and a foundation for eventually mastering the specific kinds of writing associated with your field and future profession.

“Main” writing assignments (250 words = ~1 page):

  1. A critical review (≥1250 words, to be revised)
  2. A prospectus for a science essay (≥250 words; to be revised if requested by instructor)
  3. A researched science essay for the general public (≥2250 words, to be revised)
  4. A proposal (≥1250 words, option for revising)

There will also be some informal in-class writing and responses to the readings.


First versions must be handed in by the due date. Revisions are due one week from the day you receive comments on the first version. All assignments must be completed in order to receive a passing grade in the course.

Oral Presentations

There will be one formal oral presentation. In addition, you may also have the opportunity to help lead a class discussion of an essay or article.


MIT students were required to meet with the course instructor and/or the writing advisor, Louise Harrison Lepera, to discuss their work and progress in the class. Student were also strongly encouraged to meet with either the instructor or writing advisor to address questions or ideas about the writing assignments.


Writing with Sources (PDF)

Presenting Your Proposal: Guidelines for an Effective Presentation (PDF-1.4MB)

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2017
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments with Examples