Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
The Writing Program
Director: John Holland
Associate Professors (Teaching): Norah E. Ashe, Ph.D.; Diana Y. Blaine, Ph.D.; Stephanie L. Bower, Ph.D.; James O. Brecher, Ph.D.; Jerome J. Edwards, MPW; Kevin Egan, Ph.D.; William S. Feuer, Ph.D.; Phyllis J. Franzek, Ph.D.; Nathalie Joseph, Ph.D.; Stephen John Mack, Ph.D.; Matthew J. Manson, Ph.D.; Mark Christopher Marino, Ph.D.; Geoffrey Cole Middlebrook, Ph.D.; John R. Murray, Ed.D.; Erika Rachel Nanes, Ph.D.; Sandra Marie Ross, M.A.; Scott A. Smith, Ph.D.; Robert Rex Waller Jr., MPW
Assistant Professors (Teaching): LauraAnne Adler, Ph.D.; Andrew M. De Silva, MPW; Jay T. Fisher, MPW; Indra Narayan Mukhopadhyay, Ph.D.; Eric Rawson, Ph.D.; David Tomkins, Ph.D.; William Y. Wyatt, MPW
Lecturers: Michael T. Bunn, Ph.D.; Jessica Wells Cantiello, Ph.D.; Jeffrey A. Chisum, Ph.D.; James J. Condon VII, Ph.D.; William T. Gorski, Ph.D.; Farida Habeeb, Ph.D.; Steve Gary Posner, MPW; Shefali Rajamannar, Ph.D.; Deborah M. Sims, Ph.D.; Ellen Wayland-Smith, Ph.D.
The goal of Writing Program courses is to develop the critical thinking, reading and writing skills that are necessary for success in all college work. Small classes and tutorials in the Writing Center enable students to receive frequent responses to their writing and highly individualized composition instruction. Students must complete WRIT 140 (or its equivalent) and an advanced writing course, WRIT 340, to meet the university’s writing requirement. In all of its courses, the Writing Program employs a rhetorically based process approach to writing instruction.
WRIT 140 Writing and Critical Reasoning is offered in affiliation with courses from the “Social Issues” category of the General Education program. WRIT 140 focuses on the rhetorical principles and techniques necessary for successful college-level writing. Special attention is paid to critical thinking and reading, sentence-level fluency, research techniques, and the elements of academic argument and reasoning. In lieu of WRIT 140, certain students from the Schools of Architecture, engineering and music majors are permitted to take WRIT 130 Analytical Writing, a non-affiliated course with similar curricular objectives. Neither WRIT 130 nor WRIT 140 will satisfy this requirement if taken on a Pass/No Pass basis.
Advanced Writing Requirement
All students at USC, except those who satisfy their general education requirements through the Thematic Option Program, must complete WRIT 340 Advanced Writing, an upper-division course designed to help students write on topics related to their disciplinary or professional interests. Students usually enroll in WRIT 340 in the junior year, and may not take the course earlier than their sophomore year. Different schools within the university offer sections of this course. Students should consult their major departments to determine which version of WRIT 340 best complements their program of study. WRIT 340 will not satisfy the university’s writing requirement if taken on a Pass/No Pass basis.
All classes that meet the university’s advanced writing requirement teach students to write clear, grammatical, well-structured prose; to discover and convey complex ideas critically; and to appreciate the nuances of effective argumentation. The principal aim of the requirement is to develop a student’s capacity to formulate thoughtful and compelling writing for specific academic, professional and public audiences.
Preparatory Course Work
Some students are better served by taking a preparatory course before they enroll in WRIT 140. Entering freshmen who score below a specified level on the verbal portion of the SAT take the University Writing Examination. Based on the results of this examination, certain students enroll in WRIT 120 Introduction to College Writing or WRIT 121 Introduction to College Writing in a Second Language during their first semester at USC.
International students take the University Writing Examination after having completed any course work required by the American Language Institute.
Students may complete the lower-division requirement by completing an equivalent second-semester composition course that is taken for a letter grade option (not Pass/No Pass) at another institution prior to enrolling at USC or after high school graduation. Equivalent transfer credit is determined by the university’s articulation officer. The advanced writing requirement must be completed at USC.
Students should complete the lower-division writing course requirement by the end of their first year at USC and must complete it before they enroll in their sixty-fifth unit. Transfer students who have not completed the lower-division requirement prior to entering USC should enroll in WRIT 140 during their first semester at USC, and must enroll in WRIT 140 no later than their nineteenth unit (second semester) at USC.
Courses of Instruction
The terms indicated are expected but are not guaranteed. For the courses offered during any given term, consult the Schedule of Classes.
WRIT 095x Writing Tutorial (1, FaSpSm) Individualized instruction in writing to support instruction in WRIT 130 or WRIT 140. Graded CR/NC. Not available for degree credit. Concurrent enrollment: WRIT 130 or WRIT 140.
WRIT 120 Introduction to College Writing (4, FaSpSm) Intensive instruction and practice in the writing process. Focuses upon the formal conventions and conceptual expectations of college writing, with emphasis upon the grammatical, stylistic, and rhetorical techniques required in successful writing. Graded CR/NC. Limited to and required of students who score below specified level on the USC Writing Examination.
WRIT 121 Introduction to College Writing in a Second Language (4, FaSp) Intensive instruction and practice in the writing process for non-native speakers of English. Focuses on the formal and conceptual conventions of college writing, with emphasis upon the grammatical, stylistic, and rhetorical techniques required in successful writing. Graded CR/NC. Limited to and required of students who score below specified level on the USC Writing Examination.
WRIT 130 Analytical Writing (4, Sp) Focuses on analytical and argumentative writing skills requisite to academic and professional writing. Emphasizes logical analysis of texts and other data, effective use of evidence, ethical argumentation, and stylistic and grammatical fluency. Enrollment limited to specified groups of students. Students must achieve a satisfactory score on the verbal portion of the SAT, the USC Writing Examination, or credit for WRIT 120 or WRIT 121 before enrolling in WRIT 130.
WRIT 140 Writing and Critical Reasoning (4, FaSpSm) Focuses on analytical and argumentative writing skills requisite to academic and professional writing. Emphasizes logical analysis of texts and other data, effective use of evidence, ethical argumentation, and stylistic and grammatical fluency. Requires concurrent enrollment with an affiliated general education course in the social issues category. Students must achieve a satisfactory score on the verbal portion of the SAT, the USC Writing Examination, or credit in WRIT 120 or WRIT 121 before enrolling in WRIT 140.
WRIT 150 Writing and Critical Reasoning–Thematic Approaches (4, FaSpSm) Academic writing, emphasizing analysis and argumentation, rhetorical judgment, critical reasoning, creative insight, the careful use of evidence, ethical perspectives, logical organization, stylistic and grammatical fluency. (Duplicates credit in WRIT 130 and WRIT 140).
WRIT 340 Advanced Writing (3–4, FaSpSm) Instruction in writing for various audiences on topics related to a student’s professional or disciplinary interests, with some emphasis on issues of broad public concern. Prerequisite: WRIT 130 or WRIT 140.
WRIT 440 Writing in Practical Contexts (4, FaSpSm) Advanced training in analytical and argumentative writing for particular purposes, in professional and practical contexts. Prerequisite: CORE 112 or WRIT 340.
WRIT 501ab Theory and Practice in Teaching Expository Writing (1-1, Fa) Pedagogical application of rhetorical and linguistic theory to teaching university-level expository writing. Accompanies supervised teaching. Limited to assistant lecturers and teaching assistants. Graded CR/NC.