1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

FAQ

First Writing Requirement

  1. I think I already write pretty well, thank you. What are the goals of the first writing requirement? 
  2. Which course(s) should I take: 1505/1506, 1507/1508, or 1510?
  3. When should I take the FWR? 
  4. Are all the sections the same? 
  5. The section I want is full; can I get on a waiting list? 
  6. The section I want is full; can I enroll anyway? 
  7. I'm a transfer student, but I didn't exempt. What should I do? 
  8. I'm a varsity athlete. How will my travel schedule affect my work in this class? 
  9. I'm exempt from the first writing requirement, but I think I'd benefit from a course in academic argument; what are my options? 
  10. English is not my first language. Are there any resources for me? 

Second Writing Requirement

  1. What are the goals of the second writing requirement? 
  2. When should I fulfill the requirement? 
  3. May I complete the second writing requirement before I finish the first writing requirement?

First Writing Requirement

 
 
Some students come to Charlottesville having written award-winning fiction and poetry; others have contributed to their high school newspapers or regional magazines; still others have simply always done well on high school essay assignments. Although abilities vary, we assume you already have control of your writing style and mechanics. We also assume that you are able to clearly state your own opinions, and to clearly summarize the opinions of others.
 
Building on this base, the first writing requirement has two main goals: to give students practice in sustained written inquiry, and to help students become more articulate about their own knowledge of writing.  Most students arrive at UVa prepared to write essays that defend a thesis with three examples, but college courses demand more complex forms of writing.  First-year writing courses engage students in a semester-long inquiry that requires them to ask significant questions, delay coming to hasty conclusions, and contribute to an ongoing textual conversation about the subject at hand.  By the end of the semester, students should be able both to engage in and to represent critical thinking in their writing.
 
Additionally, first-year writing courses help UVa students develop an articulate knowledge of writing. That is, graduates should not only be able to produce prose appropriate to the occasion, but they should also be able to explain what happens on the page when writing succeeds.  Our courses devote considerable time to having students analyze and respond to each other's writing—an endeavor that proves very useful when they revise their own writing and when, as many of our graduates report, they evaluate or manage the writing of their colleagues.
 
 
ENWR 1505/1506 is a two-semester sequence that fulfills the first writing requirement.  Students in this stretch sequence will gain experience in sustained written inquiry.
 
The ENWR 1507/1508 sequence is offered for students whose first language is not English and who are still developing proficiency in American English. In their first semester, these students take ENWR 1507. Students who have successfully completed ENWR 1507 finish the first writing requirement by completing ENWR 1508, a course that borrows the curriculum of ENWR 1506 and adds an integrated ESL workshop.
 
Because of its pace and abbreviated curriculum, ENWR 1510 is most appropriate for students who have been successful writers in high school and who feel comfortably in control of their sentence style. 
 
Initial placement decisions are made on the basis of standardized test scores. Students who score 500-720 on the writing portion of the SAT II exam should meet the first writing requirement in ENWR 1510. Students who score 490 or below should take ENWR 1505 during their first semester at UVa, followed by ENWR 1506 in the second semester. Exemption is not granted based on ACT scores, but you should consider submitting an exemption portfolio if you took the ACT Plus Writing exam and earned a combined English/Writing subscore of 30 or better.
 
 
Students who are not exempt must complete the first writing requirement during their first year. Transfer students should complete the requirement during their first semester.
 
If you are required to complete the first writing requirement in ENWR 1507/1508, register for ENWR 1507 in the fall semester. Upon successfully completing that course, register for ENWR 1508 in the spring.
 
 
Because most FWR sections of ENWR are themed, students in different sections will explore about different topical content.
 
The sections also share other characteristics in common, with each assigning
 
At least 4000+ words of writing
At least three papers of at least 1000 words
Regular short writing assignments and exercises
Significant revision 
 
 
Registration is handled through SIS (UVa's on-line system), which allows students to see a regularly updated report of all available openings and to adjust their own course registration. You should register as soon as possible for an open section rather than wait in the hope that a space will become available in a currently full section. Once you are registered for a section, you may, of course, use SIS to watch for openings and to switch sections should an opening become available.
 
 
No.  First writing requirement courses require relatively low student/instructor ratios to succeed. You are welcome to help yourself to any open section via SIS. However, in order to protect the quality of education for all ENWR students, neither SIS, nor the instructor, nor the Writing Program will allow you to register in a section that is already full.
 
 
Transfer students who are not exempt from the first writing requirement typically complete the FWR during their first semester at UVa. If you feel that your ability with academic argument should exempt you from the first writing requirement, you may ask the Writing Program to verify your FWR placement by reviewing a portfolio of your best argument essay during the August portfolio reading. (See the placement page for details.)
 
 
Frequent travel can make it more challenging for you to successfully complete the first writing requirement. Based on past experience, we strongly recommend that athletes take ENWR in the off-season.
 
 
You could take ENWR 2520. A range of classes are offered under the ENWR 2520 banner, with offerings changing each semester. Past ENWR 2520 courses have included "Writing for the Web," "Technical Writing," "Writing about Baseball," "Corporate Identities," and "Writing about Music." 

You could also take ENWR 3800 (Academic and Professional Writing) or ENWR 3900 (Writing for the Public), although these courses typically serve students in their second year or beyond.

See the course offerings page for more information on these courses.
 
 
You might be required to complete the first writing requirement in the ENWR 1507/1508 sequence. If so, you will be contacted by Professor Claire Chantell of the Writing Program.
 

Second Writing Requirement

Please see Judy Updike, the CLAS registrar, for more information on the CLAS second writing requirement. 

 
The college's second writing requirement has two general goals: to ensure that students receive additional writing feedback beyond the first writing requirement, and to give students some familiarity with writing in their chosen field.
 
 
According to the College of Arts and Sciences, you are obliged to fulfill the second writing requirement by the end of your sixth semester.
 
 
Many students complete multiple courses that might be used to fulfill the second writing requirement. The Second Writing Requirement is administered by the College of Arts and Sciences rather than the Writing Program, and the two requirements operate independently. Nothing prevents you from taking a course that meets the second writing requirement as early in your UVa career as you wish; however, successfully completing the second writing requirement does not exempt you from the first writing requirement.