Primary Writing Requirement

The primary writing requirement (PWR) at Rochester is the first step in drawing students into our community of researchers and writers. We aim to help you become an effective academic communicator.

All University of Rochester students are expected to satisfy the PWR. We recommend that you satisfy the PWR by the end of your first year of study at Rochester. That way, you will be prepared for the upper-level writing requirement in your major(s).

Fulfilling the PWR

There are three ways to fulfill the University’s PWR:

Note: Meliora Seminars only satisfy the PWR for those students who have successfully petitioned to use a course other than WRTG 105 for the PWR.

Take one of the following first-year writing courses

Most entering students fulfill the PWR by earning a “C” or higher in:

  • WRTG 105
  • WRTG 105E, an extended version of WRTG 105, which includes an additional recitation period, for those students who want more support to meet the demands of college-level writing
  • WRTG 105A and WRTG 105B, which distribute the work of WRTG 105 across two semesters (at two credits each), allowing students more time to develop as academic research writers
  • WRTG 103 and WRTG 104, a sequence for students admitted into the English for Academic Purposes Program (EAPP)

All sections of WRTG 105, WRTG 105E, and WRTG 105A&B aim to help you become an effective academic writer. Sections are taught by instructors from across the disciplines and offer diverse topics for students to pursue well-established or new interests.

See WRTG course offerings.

WRTG Extension

The WRTG Extension is a weekly workshop and tutorial offered through the Writing and Speaking Center for all WRTG 104, WRTG 105E, and WRTG 105B students who have worked diligently but have received a grade of C+ or lower. These students can continue to work on their writing for the semester following their 104/105E/105B course, after which they are assigned a final grade that accounts both for their final grade from their 104/105E/105B  instructor and their work in the following semester’s Extension.

During the Extension,  students participate in a weekly workshop/tutorial that offers intensive work on writing in small group and individual settings. In weekly sessions, students continue to revise writing from their WRTG courses. Students may also choose to work on forms of academic writing relevant to their spring coursework – forms which may include summary, critical response, the argumentative essay, the lab report, and others. Guided by their instructor and by Writing Center consultants, students plan, draft and revise their writing, critique each other's work, assess their own writing, and participate in small group sessions on writing issues that the group faces. The semester's work will culminate in a final portfolio that features polished essays and an overall self-reflection.

The Extension is designed for WRTG 104, WRTG 105E, and WRTG 105B students but, if space is available, may be made available to WRTG 105 students who have worked diligently and completed the course but have received a grade of C- or lower.

Grading: Students do not receive an independent grade for the Extension because it is not a credit-bearing course, but rather a continuation of WRTG 104, WRTG 105B, or WRTG 105/E that allows students who have worked diligently to continue improving their writing skills for a second semester, with the ultimate goal of satisfying the Primary Writing Requirement and/or improving their WRTG Grade.

Permission of program required.

Not sure which course is right for you?

Take the Writing Self-Placement Survey.* Complete parts one and two of the survey. If you are an international student or are still unsure what course is right for you, you should continue on to part three. After completing part three, you will have an opportunity to speak with a writing placement advisor.

Log in to Blackboard. On the right-hand side of the screen, find your class year link under "My Organizations.” Click that link, then under the left side panel click on "Writing Self-Placement Survey" to take the survey.

*Note: Students entering through the Early Connection Opportunity (ECO) program or EAPP do not need to take the Writing Self-Placement Survey. ECO students work with ECO summer writing instructors and the Office of Minority Student Affairs (OMSA) counselors to select their writing course, while EAPP students are enrolled in their courses through EAPP itself.

Repeating the First-Year Writing Course

If you pass WRTG 105, WRTG 105E, or the WRTG 105A/B sequence, but earn a grade lower than the minimum “C” required for the PWR, you may choose to take the course a second time for four additional credit hours.

Both grades are counted in your GPA as long as you submit the appropriate form to the College Center for Advising Services (CCAS) by the end of the fourth week of the semester. Alternatively, you may apply the standard repeat policy.