english composition strategies


Also see the Undergraduate Advising Center's Tips for Getting Into Closed/Restricted Courses.


eligible courses

Courses fulfilling the UW English composition requirement include

Notes:

AP and IB credit does not satisfy the UW's English Composition requirement, even if you are a transfer student and your prior school allowed you to count AP or IB as composition.

Exemptions: the English Department does not offer any placement testing or other processes by which students can be exempted from the requirement. Students who want to ask that the English Composition requirement be waived must petition the University: this is a UW requirement, not an English Department requirement. Work with your academic adviser in your own major to prepare and submit a graduation petition. (Approval for these petitions is exceptionally rare.)

These courses are not sequential: in other words, ENGL 131 is not a more advanced course than ENGL 111, and ENGL 199 is not more advanced than ENGL 131. While ENGL 297, 298, and 299 are called "Intermediate Writing," there is no pre-requisite — students do not need to take a 100-level writing course before enrolling in a 200-level writing link. Any student who enrolls in a lecture course is eligible to take its link, as space permits. Exceptions are ENGL 281 and ENGL 381: while there are no formal prerequisites for these courses, some writing background is assumed.

Students need to complete just one of these courses (5 credits) to satisfy the UW's English Composition requirement. The UW's second writing requirement, for Additional Writing ("W") (10 credits) can be filled with "W" writing-intensive courses offered across the entire UW curriculum. You do NOT need to take more than one course in English composition -- "W" courses are offered by other departments, from Anthropology to Zoology, and may be available in your intended major. To locate "W" courses, use the Time Schedule's General Education Search page.

Transfer courses are initially evaluated by the UW Admissions Office when you are accepted as a new transfer student. Admissions may assign a course you took elsewhere an equivalent UW course number, or may designate it as ENGL 1XX, 2XX, etc. They may or may not assign the "C" for English composition to your transfer course. If you transferred from a Washington State Community College, transfer courses have already been evaluated and equvalencies have been established. If you transferred from a four-year school, or an out-of-state school, and you feel that a course you took elsewhere should be designated as English composition ("C"), please contact English Advising. We will ask you to bring us a copy of your original transfer transcript and a syllabus or detailed course description so that we can evaluate your course and determine whether or not it can fulfill the UW's English composition requirement.

ENGL 111, 121, 131: students may take no more than one course from this group. If you have already earned credit for one of these three courses with a grade of at least 2.0 (either at the UW or in your transfer record), the registration system will not allow you to sign up for a second one from this group.


strategies for new students:

Freshmen Interest Groups (FIGs)

If you are a new freshman, consider signing up for a Freshman Interest Group (FIG) that contains an approved English composition course during the fall of your freshman year. Most sections of English composition in autumn quarter are associated with the FIG program. FIGS are offered in autumn quarter only.

Transfer Interest Groups (TrIGs)

If you are a new transfer student, consider signing up for a Transfer Interest Group (TrIG) that contains an approved English composition course during your first quarter at the UW. TrIGS are offered in autumn quarter only.

Summer Quarter and Early Fall Start

If you are a new freshman or transfer student for autumn quarter, you are eligible to sign up for Summer Quarter classes and, if you are a new freshman, you can also take classes during Early Fall Start. Finding space in an open class in these terms tends not to be a problem, even when you are registering late as a new/incoming student.

Interdisciplinary Writing Program courses

IWP Writing Links: consider taking one of the Interdisciplinary Writing Program (IWP) writing links. ENGL 197, 198, 199, 297, 298, 299 are approved English composition courses, but they are not "free standing" classes: they are paired with other courses across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences and must be taken concurrently with those courses (10 cr). These writing courses are designed to help students improve their writing skills while further exploring ideas and materials assigned in the lecture courses. Assignments in a writing link always draw on materials from the accompanying lecture course, and often include drafts of papers submitted in the lecture course. ENGL 197, 198, and 199 are linked with lecture courses at the 100-level. ENGL 297, 298, and 299 are linked with courses at the 200-level and above. Lecture courses which offer writing links vary by quarter. While ENGL 297, 298, and 299 are called "Intermediate Writing," there is no pre-requisite — students do not need to take a 100-level writing course before enrolling in a 200-level writing link. Any student who enrolls in a lecture course is eligible to take its link, as space permits. Consult the Time Schedule to find out which lecture courses are linked to various ENGL writing links.

Example:


strategies for continuing students:

ENGL 111, 121, 131

Freshmen and Sophomores: take the course in the autumn or winter quarter, either alone or as part of a Freshman Interest Group (FIG) or a Transfer Interest Group (TrIG) if you're a new freshman or transfer student. These courses are restricted to freshman and sophomores during Period 1 registration in autumn and winter, but are open to everyone in spring.

Juniors and Seniors: take the course in spring. These courses are restricted to freshmen and sophomores only during Period 1 registration in autumn and winter.

Consider summer quarter. There is excellent course availability in the summer quarter, and continuing UW students usually have no problem gaining access to these courses.

If the course is part of a Freshman Interest Group (FIG) or Transfer Interest Group (TrIG) and you are not taking that FIG or TrIG, check the First Year Programs "Extra Seats" website. Sometimes, when FIGs and TrIGs do not fill up, First Year Programs will release available spots to non FIG or non TrIG students upon request.

If the course is full, there is only one thing you can do: keep watching enrollment to see if someone else drops the class, opening up a spot for you. Otherwise, there are no waiting lists, no overloads, no add codes -- no exceptions.

 

Consider Interdisciplinary Writing Program courses

IWP Writing Links: consider taking one of the Interdisciplinary Writing Program (IWP) writing links. ENGL 197, 198, 199, 297, 298, 299 are approved English composition courses, but they are not "free standing" classes: they are paired with other courses across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences and must be taken concurrently with those courses (10 cr). These writing courses are designed to help students improve their writing skills while further exploring ideas and materials assigned in the lecture courses. Assignments in a writing link always draw on materials from the accompanying lecture course, and often include drafts of papers submitted in the lecture course. ENGL 197, 198, and 199 are linked with lecture courses at the 100-level. ENGL 297, 298, and 299 are linked with courses at the 200-level and above. Lecture courses which offer writing links vary by quarter. While ENGL 297, 298, and 299 are called "Intermediate Writing," there is no pre-requisite — students do not need to take a 100-level writing course before enrolling in a 200-level writing link. Any student who enrolls in a lecture course is eligible to take its link, as space permits. Consult the Time Schedule to find out which lecture courses are linked to various ENGL writing links.

Example:

Consider a more advanced course if you have a strong writing background

If you have a strong background in writing, either through high school preparation or through other college writing experiences, consider taking ENGL 281 (Intermediate Expository Writing) or ENGL 381 (Advanced Expository Writing). There are no prerequisites for these courses; however, some college writing background is assumed in ENGL 281, and substantial background is assumed for ENGL 381.

Consider summer quarter

Summer quarter is a great time to take classes. There is excellent access for everyone - crowded or full classes are usually not a problem in the summer.


desperate?

Overloads

While ENGL 111, 121, and 131 have a strict no-overloads policy (no exceptions), you may be able to obtain instructor permission to overload into one of the other eligible classes (C LIT 240, ENGL 197, 198, 199, 297, 298, 299, 281, 381). It is unusual for instructors to overload writing classes, as overloads tend to compromise the learning experience for everyone, but it is not unheard of. You are welcome to attend class on the first day and ask the instructor about the possibility. Meanwhile, keep watching enrollment through MyUW - someone else may drop, opening up a spot for you.

Other options are available, but they have drawbacks....

If you were not able to plan well and have become desperate (for example, you must take an English composition course now to be eligible for a particular major, or you are graduating this quarter, and none of the suggestions above will work for you), then there are two options; however, they come at an additional cost and require additional planning:

  1. Take ENGL 281 through UW Online Learning. Online classes are not the optimal way to build skills in academic writing, but this course is available and does satisfy the UW's English Composition requirement. Online classes are not, however, covered by regular UW tuition because they are part of UW Professional and Continuing Education, which features self-sustaining programs (those not supported by state or public funds). The cost is around $1,880 per 5-credit class on top of whatever you pay in regular UW tuition. Online courses require more diligence and self-motivation than regular campus classes do, and they tend to have a lower completion rate.
  2. Take an equivalent course at a local community college. All Washington State Community Colleges have courses that transfer to the UW as either direct equivalents (e.g., ENGL 131) or as eligible composition credit (e.g., ENGL 1XX-"C"). To find out which courses transfer, consult the UW Transfer Equivalency Guide. It's also a good idea to double-check with an English Adviser before signing up for a course elsewhere.

If you need to take classes at the UW while, at the same time, taking English composition elsewhere, it is sometimes possible to work with the Financial Aid Office to draw up a consortium agreement. This allows you to count classes from both schools toward full time enrollment and to disburse your financial aid award for tuition to both schools. Check with the Financial Aid Office if you are considering this.


to home page
top of page
top