FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I take English 105, 205, or 305? How are the courses different? Will 105 be too basic for me, or 305 too advanced?

English 105, 205, and 305 are all designed to help individual writers gain more control over the writing process and improve largely at their own pace. All of these core WP courses emphasize analysis, argument, and style.

English 105, Expository Writing, is a good course for any writer who wants to polish his or her basic skills and practice writing in a supportive, less pressure-packed environment. It is particularly appropriate for freshman and sophomores who, although they may be good writers, have had little experience with college writing or complicated resources, like those in the University Library.

English 205, Intermediate Composition, is a cornerstone course in the Writing Program. Appropriate for students in any major or year, this popular course is generally taken by students who have had some experience with writing and with college courses. Like English 105, English 205 is a workshop in which students share drafts of works in progress. Some English 205s have a special focus or theme.

English 305, Advanced Composition, is, as its name suggests, a course for juniors or seniors with previous writing experience at the university level. However, it is not designed primarily for English or Writing majors; upperclassmen from every major and school are welcome and likely to find this course collegial and beneficial, particularly if they will be writing an honors thesis or considering graduate or professional study.

Can I take a writing course more than once?

Yes, students can take each writing course twice for credit, as long as they take it with a different instructor (and can therefore demonstrate that the course content is different). This flexibility in University requirements ensures that students who desire ample help with their writing will be able to receive it.

How do I know if I've completed my writing requirement?

Students can check their electronic degree audit information on the Registrar's Office website at the beginning of sophomore year to confirm that they have completed the WCAS writing requirement during freshman year. Any student who has questions about the writing requirement can call or write:

Transfer students can also check with a WCAS College Adviser.

What should I take if I'm interested in creative writing, such as fiction or poetry?

The Writing Program offers a variety of courses in expository writing and other kinds of non-fiction writing. These courses are designed to reach students who want help with writing basics as well as emerging writers who recognize the value of producing writing in a workshop setting. Some writing courses have a special focus, which is more "creative," such as autobiography or creative non-fiction.

However, students interested in fiction and poetry should contact the English Department. They should particularly investigate that department's Major in Writing.

Where can I get help on my papers?

Northwestern's Writing Place is a peer tutoring center located in the Core Library area of the main University Library. The Writing Place offers a variety of writing consulting services for undergraduate and graduate students. Appointments can be made online.

How can I get help on writing proposals, statements for graduate school, etc.?

In addition to going to The Writing Place for help students can check the Resources page on this site or the resources on NuWrite, a site that provides resources for students and faculty about (a) core skills in writing, (b) writing in specific disciplines, and (c) teaching writing in a variety of courses.