University Learning Center

Handouts for Writing in the Disciplines

Every academic discipline has its own writing requirements. While all formal academic writing shares some common attributes, there are often some differences in style and format. For example, all disciplines want audience appropriate, grammatically correct formal writing. However, some disciplines may want footnotes and others a references page, some may want a title page and abstract while others may simply want the paper to start on page one, and some may want you to refer to your sources in the past-tense while others want you to refer to them in the present-tense.

The following handouts are designed to give you some basic insight into some of these differences while providing references to sources that can help you write your paper according to the standards of the discipline you are writing for. These handouts are in no way comprehensive, but merely introductory. And, they are not your most important source: when it comes to ensuring you are meeting all the requirements of style and format, your most important source is your instructor. You should confirm all writing expectations with the instructor of your class before turning in your final draft.

In the meantime, these handouts and a meeting with a writing tutor can help you get a good start on your paper.

Another resource with great information about writing in the disciplines is on the Minnesota State University website.