University Writing Program - Kendall College of Arts and Sciences

University Writing Program

The University Writing Program, which serves most students at The University of Tulsa, is part of and housed in the English Department. Designed to position writing as central within the university curriculum, the current program emphasizes rigorous courses that introduce students to the conventions of academic writing and then assists them in moving into writing-intensive courses taught by faculty members from a variety of departments and colleges.

The Tulsa Curriculum, TU’s liberal arts core for all majors, requires that each student complete at least six hours of writing course, though nine may be necessary for some students. The sequence of courses that students follow depends upon their placement at admission, which is determined in part by their guided self-placement questionnaire results (see Placement below), but it can be summarized in the following flow chart:

Students in the College of Arts & Sciences:
ENGL 1004 (if required) > ENGL 1033 (or FS 1963/1900) > FS 1973

Students in the Colleges of Business, Engineering & Natural Sciences or Health Sciences:
ENGL 1004 (if required) > ENGL 1033 (or FS 1963/1900) > ENGL 3003

Students who need developmental work in the fundamentals of writing (as evidenced by their test scores and performance on a diagnostic writing test) enroll in English 1004, “Introduction to  College Writing,” a course designed to provide review and practice in basic skills.  In addition, while all writing courses seek to address the needs of all multilingual writers, a few sections of English 1004 and English 1033, “Exposition and Argumentation,” are designated specifically for non-native speaking (NNS) students.

The majority of first-semester students enroll in English 1033, “Exposition and Argumentation,” a course in the process, conventions and production of academic writing. Students in this course learn to refine and develop arguments, while gaining knowledge of the fundamentals of library research and online resources.

FS 1963, “First Seminar I,” and its accompanying Writing Studio, FS 1900, is an alternative, equivalent option to ENGL 1033. In these sections, students study with faculty teaching concepts in their specific disciplines, and learning is assessed in writing. A required Writing Studio created for each section is taught by a Writing Fellow, who provides instruction on academic writing practices relevant to each assignment.

Following 1033 or FS 1963/1900, students in the College of Arts & Sciences enroll in a First Seminar taught by a faculty member from a diverse group of departments and designed to engage small groups of students in close study of a focused topic. A major aspect of the course is the completion of several writing assignments in which careful and thorough revision is required.

Students in the College of Business and the College of Engineering & Natural Sciences follow English 1033 or FS 1963/1900, two years later, with English 3003, “Writing for the Professions,” a course designed to assist students in developing skills in written and oral communication for business and engineering professions.

Implementation practices may vary according to degree programs in individual colleges, especially in the Colleges of Business and ENS. Students should consult advisors in their specific colleges. Generally, students transferring into the College of Arts & Sciences will be advised to enroll in FS 1973, while students in the Colleges of Business, ENS and Health Sciences will be advised to enroll in English 3003 when they have reached junior standing.

Students in the College of Business seeking either a BSBA or a BSIBL degree must earn a grade of C or above to pass English 1033 and English 3003. All other students may earn a grade of D or above to pass these courses.

  • Writing Course Descriptions

    Official Course Descriptions: Below are the official course descriptions found in the university undergraduate bulletin.

    ENGL 1004, “Introduction to College Writing”
    This course provides students with review and practice in the fundamentals of college writing, including organization, paragraph development, basic research skills, logic and mechanics. Class meets three hours per week; lab meets one hour per week. Some sections designated for non-native speakers of English.

    ENGL 1033, “Exposition and Argumentation”
    This course emphasizes the process, conventions and production of academic writing; refining and developing an argument; and library research and documentation of sources. Thorough and frequent revision is integral to the preparation of all written work. Some sections designated for non-native speakers of English. Prerequisite: English 1004 or satisfactory placement and diagnostic test scores; required for all students, regardless of college.

    FS 1963/1900, “First Seminar I” & “Writing Studio”
    First Seminar 1 provides an intimate atmosphere in which to study with a faculty member and underscores the enduring relationship between writing and learning by requiring several papers to be written during the semester. Students will engage in open inquiry and discourse both inside and outside the classroom through small group and large group interactions. All course sections will emphasize Written Communication, Diversity, and Ethical Reasoning; also, all course sections will include supplemental writing instruction in the form of a Writing Studio. Corequisite: FS 1900 Writing Studio.

    First Seminar 1973, “Writing Intensive Seminar”
    Designed by individual faculty members and coordinated by the Writing Program director, the seminars are discipline-centered courses that stress writing as the primary way in which students demonstrate their learning of the material. Students enrolled in the course are expected to produce 20-25 pages of revised writing during the course of the semester in a variety of written assignments. Prerequisite: English 1033, advanced placement credit or equivalent; required for students in Arts and Sciences.

    English 3003, “Writing for the Professions
    This course adapts principles of effective writing to situations encountered in business, natural sciences, health sciences and engineering professions. Letters, resumes and a full investigative report in the student’s discipline are required. Prerequisites: Junior standing and English 1033; required for students in the College of Business, the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences and the College of Health Sciences, depending on program.

  • Course Placement

    Welcome to the TU Undergraduate Writing Program! We are so pleased you’re here and are looking forward to getting to know you.

    Our array of first-year writing course options not only support student transitions from secondary to post-secondary education at TU but also (1) help students get to know our University as a whole and (2) prepare for Block, elective, and major course writing assignments.

    The guided self-placement process we are using will empower you to make an informed decision about which of our first-year writing options are most productive and sensible for you. We know that what is most productive and sensible doesn’t always feel like the fastest way forward–but in the long run, students who jump into classes they are under-prepared for often end up struggling in or even failing those courses, and that’s a set-back we want to avoid. Therefore, our questionnaire will ask you about specific skills you possess and which you are still working on, not just which English/writing courses you took before and what grade you earned.

    The questionnaire has 2 parts: first, you’ll provide

      • your full name and TU ID number (7 digits, on back of ID card, admission letter, or Self-Service)
      • the name of your last English/writing course, the institution where you completed the course, and your grade in that course
      • your English language proficiency
      • your college writing proficiency

    Second, after receiving a recommendation for course placement, you’ll accept or reject that recommendation; if you reject the recommendation, you will be prompted to explain why.

    Please complete this questionnaire at least 2 weeks before enrolling. The results from both steps will be sent to your advisors and to the Writing Program Director, Dr. Sara Beam ( If the questionnaire is not completed by enrollment, the default placement will be ENGL 1004: Introduction to College Writing.


  • Transfer of Credits

    In general, the transcripts of students who transfer from accredited institutions are evaluated by the Office of the Registrar according to the following guidelines:

    Students who transfer three hours of basic or developmental writing from an accredited institution and earn a grade of C or above will receive a credit for English 1004.

    Students who transfer six hours of freshman composition (excluding basic or developmental writing) or the second course (of three hours credit) of a two-course freshman composition sequence from an accredited institution and earn a grade of C or above will receive credit for English 1033.

    According to the University Bulletin, transfer students who do not meet the above guidelines but who may have extensive writing experience or other extenuating circumstances may take a proficiency exam designed and administered by a faculty member, namely, the Writing Program director. The student must first register and pay a fee at the Office of Registration and Records.

  • Writing Center

    All students at the university are invited to use the Writing Center located in McFarlin Library (918-631-3131). Staffed by teaching assistants in English, the center offers consultations in individual or group sessions to help students develop and improve writing skills. The University Writing Program serves as a center for writing-across-the-curriculum activities at the university. The staff of the Writing Program is available to consult with faculty members in all departments about integrating manageable and effective writing assignments in their courses.

  • Writing Program Awards and Contests

    Writing program awards and freshman essay contest

    Nominations are due April 1 each year.

    The Department of English Language and Literature is committed to excellence in instruction and composition, and therefore gives awards to outstanding writing program teaching assistants and outstanding freshman student writers for their work. Instructors and consultants may be nominated by their students and/or colleagues.

    Outstanding Instructor Award

    Teaching assistants who are instructors for ENGL 1004, 1033 or 3003, or FS 1963 are eligible for the Outstanding Instructor Award if they have taught one of these courses in the fall or spring of this academic year and have not previously won the award. See the nomination form in the Student Guide to the Writing Program at The University of Tulsa or use the online nomination form.

    Outstanding Consultant Award

    Teaching assistants who in the Writing Center in the fall or spring of this academic year are eligible for the Outstanding Consultant Award if they have not previously won it. See the nomination form in the Student Guide to the Writing Program at The University of Tulsa or use the online nomination form.

    Freshman Essay Award

    Proud of your ENGL 1004 or 1033 essays, or your FS 1963 essays? Submit one for a chance at winning! First prize: $50. To enter, email a copy of your essay to