Writing Requirements

This document outlines York College’s writing requirements.

Reading, critical thinking, and writing are essential in all college studies and in professional life. These skills cannot be learned in one or two courses; they must be developed — over time and in a variety of contexts. The faculty of York College is committed to helping each student grow in critical reading, thinking, and writing competence throughout his or her entire college career. This commitment is reflected in courses that are taught not in isolation, but as part of a spiral curriculum in which later courses build on earlier courses: skills taught at one level are consciously and explicitly reinforced and extended in subsequent work.

General Writing Requirements 

York College students are required to complete (pass) English 125, three Writing Intensive (WI) courses, and Writing 301, 302, or 303.

English 125: Introduction to College Writing

Foundational writing course: basic research, reading, and writing for college students.

Writing 300-level

These are junior level courses, where you will research and write a paper on a topic related to your major. You may choose Writing 301, 302, or 303 depending on what your major is.

Writing Intensive (WI)

Completing two WI courses at the 100 or 200 level and one WI course in your major at the 300 or 400 level is a graduation requirement at York College

Students are strongly encouraged to complete lower-level WI courses by the end of their Sophomore year and as soon as they complete English 125.

All WI courses use writing as a tool for thinking and learning; all require revision as a way of improving critical thinking. You should expect to complete 10-12 pages of formal writing. The list of WI courses varies from semester to semester and is published in each semester’s Schedule of Classes. Completion of WI courses is noted on your transcript.

Click here for current WI course offerings or talk to your faculty advisor.

Foundational Writing Courses

All students take two required writing courses, one at the freshman level (English 125) and one at the junior level (Writing 301, 302, or 303).

Freshman Writing Requirement

English 125: Introduction to College Writing (4 hours; 4 credits)

Research, reading, and writing for college students.

Placement:  By entrance scores on the SAT or Regents or the CUNY/ACT reading/writing examinations.

Students should take English 125 as soon as possible in the freshman year. This course was created to lay the foundation in reading, critical thinking, and writing on which students can build in the subject-area courses. In the theme-based curriculum of English 125, students are introduced to a variety of readings and research resources and write short formal papers drawing on these sources. In addition to clarity and coherence of ideas, accurate attribution of sources is emphasized, as well as editing for correctness and professional presentation of work.

English 125 is administered by the English Department. Students with questions about the course should speak with someone in the English Department (2A16).

Upper-Division Writing Requirement

Writing 301: Research and Writing for the Major (4 hours; 3 credits)

For students majoring in humanities and the social sciences.

Writing 302: Research and Writing for the Sciences, Mathematics, and Technology (4 hours; 3 credits)

For students majoring in natural science, mathematics (not Computer Studies), medical technology, and environmental health science.

Writing 303: Research and Writing for Professional Programs (4 hours; 3 credits)

For students majoring in business and professional programs.

A Writing-300 course is required of every student who has entered or has been readmitted to the College in Fall 1996 or later. (Students who have not been in attendance for three or more semesters most follow the Bulletin in effect at the time of readmission.) Transfer students who have otherwise fulfilled York’s General Education requirements are subject to this upper-division writing requirement. Only students with a previous baccalaureate degree are exempt from this requirement.

Prerequisites for all Writing-300 courses:  Junior status, English 125, and word-processing competence.

Students are expected to take the course related to their own major during the junior year. Students with a specialization in Education take the Writing-300 course that is appropriate to their academic major.

Writing-300 courses are designed to lay the foundation for research and writing required within the major, for graduate studies, and in students’ professional careers. The courses guide students in the acquisition of research skills that enable them to formulate a research question and to locate, evaluate, and document relevant sources, and of writing skills necessary to organize that information into a clearly written and appropriately documented paper. Students explore and evaluate library and online resources and write a research proposal, an annotated bibliography, and an individual research paper that explores a controversy related to their major discipline.

Writing-300 courses are administered by the Writing Program (2C01) Coordinator, Cynthia Haller. Students with special requests or needs should complete the Special Permission Form available at the Writing Program’s website. Students with questions about the courses or program should contact Professor Cynthia Haller.

Writing Across the Curriculum

York’s Writing Across the Curriculum plan, passed by the College Senate in May 2001, provides for ongoing attention to reading, critical thinking, and writing by making all General Education courses writing enhanced courses and designating a number of writing intensive courses in the disciplines.

Writing Enhanced Courses

Students need take no special action to fulfill this requirement, except by fulfilling the General Education requirements, since all General Education courses are now, in one way or another, writing enhanced. Instructions of these courses are supported by their departments and the WAC Program in developing reading, critical thinking, and writing exercises appropriate to their own subjects and ways of teaching.

Writing Intensive Courses

Writing intensive courses are subject-area courses that build on the foundational writing courses (English 125 and, as appropriate, Writing 301, 302, or 303) to practice and extend skills in reading, critical thinking, and writing by incorporating guided formal writing assignments. Advisors and students must now plan schedules that include appropriate WI courses, along with courses that fulfill other College-wide and major requirements.

The list of WI courses varies from semester to semester and is published in each semester’s Schedule of Classes. Completed WI courses are listed on each student’s transcript, and Cardinal Check makes it easy for advisors and students to track progress towards completion of the WI graduation requirement.

Students with questions about the WI courses or requirements should consult their academic adviser. Faculty members who want to learn more about the WI courses and WI requirement, or wish to offer a WI course themselves, should address their questions to Professor Jonathan Hall, Coordinator for Writing Across the Curriculum.

Writing Center 

As part of the Writing Across the Curriculum Program, York has established a full-service Writing Center, located in Room 1C18. Tutoring is available to students at any level on a scheduled or drop-in basis. Additionally, the Center offers special workshops on finding and documenting research sources, creating paragraph coherence, and improving sentence structure.

Students are encouraged to visit the Center while they are working on papers, not just when they have received feedback that says they need specific help. All writers can profit from talking through an assignment or response to work in progress.

Faculty members who want to learn more about the Writing Center and it services should contact its faculty Director, Professor Doug DiToro of the Department of English. 

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