First-Year Writing

The First-Year Writing (FYW) courses offered by the English department are English 1301 (for international students), English 1302: Thinking & Writing, and English 1310: Writing & Academic Inquiry Seminars. Ideally, you should fulfill your writing requirement during your first or second semester at Baylor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to take an English Placement Exam?

You will not need to take the English Placement Exam before registering for a writing course at Baylor. Instead, you will need to complete the Directed Self-Placement (DSP) Survey to help you choose the writing course that is right for you.


What is Directed Self-Placement?

Directed Self-Placement (DSP) is a placement method designed to help you make an informed decision about which writing course you should take. The course options offered by the English department are ENG 1301 (for international students), ENG 1302, or ENG 1310.


Why should I choose English 1301: English as a Second Language: Communication Skills?

English 1301 is designed to help international students at Baylor develop their writing practices within a small learning community. This course will help you improve various aspects of your writing, including topic development, organization, grammar, and word choice. ENG 1301 does not satisfy course credits towards a degree program, but it will provide a crucial foundation for your success at Baylor.

Why should I choose English 1302: Thinking & Writing?

English 1302 emphasizes the habits of mind and writing knowledge that are essential in college-level writing. In ENG 1302, you will learn flexible writing processes, develop rhetorical knowledge, and gain understanding of writing conventions used in various academic genres. You will learn to read and analyze nonfiction texts and complete multiple writing projects that develop your confidence and preparedness for writing in a variety of contexts. You will need to take an additional writing course after ENG 1302 to satisfy the requirements of your degree plan.

Why should I choose English 1310: Writing & Academic Inquiry Seminars?

In English 1310, we ask compelling questions, learn how to analyze and evaluate nonfiction texts, and write our own credible, research-based arguments with clarity and conviction. ENG 1310 slows down the process of academic research and writing so that you can take the time to understand how and why effective arguments work.

Each section of English 1310 investigates a theme, like Happiness & Human Flourishing or Music, and uses the theme as a springboard for exploring questions that genuinely interest you.

  • Are people happier when they take risks or play it safe?
  • In what ways do faith-based programs help children in foster care?
  • How do country musicians like The Highwomen challenge traditional stereotypes about women?

After settling on a good question, you will dive into the research and learn how to discern who you can trust and what makes a fair argument. Once you understand how academic argument works, you are invited to compose your own. You will present the results of your semester-long inquiry in two ways: a position essay, and a presentation that incorporates multimodal (i.e., visual, aural, textual) elements of persuasion.

Some of the themes we offer include Happiness & Human Flourishing, Music, Foodways, Technology & Innovation, and Faith & Religion. ENG 1310 is a course designed by writing faculty and taught by English instructors trained in theories of rhetoric and composition.

What is the Roy Cornelius Award?

The Roy Cornelius Award is presented each semester to a student in ENG 1310 as a way to celebrate excellent writing. Students' essays are nominated by their ENG 1310 instructors each semester. Award winners will be honored at the English department's end-of-year recognition ceremony.

Where can I go for more help with my writing?

We encourage you to reach out to your instructor if you need additional assistance, but the University Writing Center is an invaluable resource. You can make an appointment with a consultant here.