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Academics

The Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program

Information About the Program

The Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program (WSAP), in concert with faculty across the college, builds a strong community of undergraduate and graduate writers, speakers, and researchers. Effective communication—including critical thinking, problem solving, organization of ideas, and clarity and power of expression—is of enormous importance both in academic and professional settings.

Writing, speaking, and argument enable us to discover, develop, test, and share our ideas. Through communication, we see the truth, utility, or beauty of what we know, and make our knowledge have an impact on the world at large. The Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program leads the effort to familiarize students with key principles and strategies for becoming successful communicators across different modes and contexts and fosters a culture of open, honest, and critical communication.

The Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program is home to the primary writing requirement, the English for Academic Purposes Program (formerly the ESOL Program), a range of undergraduate writing courses related to writing, speaking, and tutoring, and the Writing and Speaking Center, where students can find tutoring services.

WSAP offers one minor that introduce students to the different disciplinary practices around writing, speaking, and argument. The minor also provides a flexible writing curriculum to complement students’ academic and professional interests. To begin to explore the breadth of writing studies, the program offers clusters that focus on language, digital and multimodal composition, writing theory and practice, and community engagement.

Primary Writing Requirement and Placement

The primary writing requirement (PWR) is the first step in drawing students into our community of researchers and writers. We aim to help you become an effective academic communicator.

All students at the University of Rochester, whether incoming first-year students or transfers, must satisfy the primary writing requirement. The majority of students fulfill the requirement by earning a “C” or better in WRT 105: Reasoning and Writing in the College, or WRT 105E or WRT 105A and B, versions of 105 chosen by students who need more support to meet the demands of college-level writing.

Students who believe that they are already proficient college writers may petition to substitute a University of Rochester writing-intensive course for WRT 105. The substitute course may not also be used to fulfill the upper-level writing requirement.

Transfer students who have completed a WRT 105 equivalent at another institution and received a “B” or better may petition to use this course to satisfy the primary writing requirement.

Students admitted to the College through the English for Academic Purposes Program fulfill the requirement by earning a grade of “C” or higher in WRT 103: EAPP Critical Reading, Reasoning, and Writing, and WRT 104: EAPP Research, Reading, and Writing.

Courses

WSAP offers a wide variety of courses that focus on improving student's skills in writing and speaking including WRT 277: Communicating Your Professional Identity and WRT 253: Cognition and Writing. See the WSAP undergraduate courses page for a complete list.