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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 inclusive, just, and critical communication.

WSAP 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 offer a minor that introduce students to a wide range of perspectives and practices around writing, speaking, and argument. They also provide a flexible writing studies 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 the Arts, Sciences & Engineering (AS&E) community of researchers and writers. We aim to help you become an effective academic communicator.

All undergraduates in AS&E, 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 WRTG 105: Reasoning and Writing in the College, or WRTG 105E or WRTG 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 WRTG 105. The substitute course may not also be used to fulfill the upper-level writing requirement.

Transfer students who have completed a WRTG 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 WRTG 103: EAPP Critical Reading, Reasoning, and Writing, and WRTG 104: EAPP Research, Reading, and Writing.


WSAP courses provide a varied and rich understanding of discourse practices in the context of writing studies theory and research. See the WSAP undergraduate courses page for a complete list.