First-Year Writing Course Descriptions and Sample Syllabi

 Following are the course descriptions and links to the sample syllabi of all first-year writing courses.


ENGL 101/107

ENGL 102/108



English (ENGL) 101A - 4 credit hours


English 101A examines and explores the multiple definitions and functions of literacy. Students reflect on experience, close read a variety of texts, and make critical choices while writing narrative, analysis, and documented essays. While the course follows an assignment sequence parallel to standard 101 sections, it asks students to think critically about forms and purposes of several genres of writing. It is paired with a one credit discussion section. The course emphasizes revision and craft in the context of composing first-year assignments in analysis, incorporating documentation, and reflection on writing processes.

Please Note: After successfully passing ENGL 101A students then go on to take ENGL 102 the following semester. ENGL 101A displays as ENGL 101 on student transcripts.


View a sample syllabus for ENGL 101A


English 101 (ENGL101) and English 107 (ENGL107) - 3 credit hours:

This course emphasizes close reading and written analysis of a wide range of texts, which can include literary works such as short stories, poems, novels, and plays; nonfiction prose, historical documents, film, speeches, and web sites, and visual images such as photographs and advertisements. Through both formal and informal writing assignments, students practice a variety of methods for reading and analyzing these texts. They consider how both personal experience and other contexts shape a reader’s understanding of a text, and they examine how language reflects the values and structures of the culture within which it is produced. Students learn how to select and use research to effectively support a sustained critical analysis that takes into account contextual influences.

The writing process is a major emphasis in this course. Students practice various strategies for generating and focusing ideas and for drafting, revising, and editing papers. They examine their individual writing practices, identify techniques that both help and hinder their writing, and reflect on the results of the choices they make. Peer response is an integral part of this emphasis on process and is intended to provide students with information about the effects of their authorial decisions on readers. Substantive revision following peer and/or instructor response is required for all of the major assignments.

In the formal assignments of the course, students either employ an analytical method for reading closely or they combine close reading with contextual analysis grounded in research. In the final unit, students revise earlier work and reflect on specific, practical applications of the learning that has taken place throughout the semester.

English 107 is designed for international students and taught by instructors with a background in second-language teaching.

These courses are also offered during Summer Session I and II.

View a sample syllabus for ENGL 101/107


English 102 (ENGL102) and English 108 (ENGL 108) - 3 credit hours:

This course builds on the close-reading and research strategies introduced in English 101 but focuses more on researching, analyzing, and developing arguments. A central goal of English 102 is to help students understand that texts are effective and successful not by accident but by design. Toward this end, they study the rhetorical situations and strategies of texts. They use what they learn about rhetoric to conduct an inquiry into a controversial issue that interests them, analyzing the positions and appeals of those who take a stand on that issue. They develop effective research strategies that help them  locate, evaluate, and integrate sources into their analyses and arguments to give their texts substance and credibility. In crafting their own arguments, they learn to draft and revise with a specific purpose, target audience, and context in mind, often incorporating visual and spatial features appropriate to their rhetorical situation. Finally, students  reflect on the relationship between rhetoric, argument, and revision. They learn not only to revise more effectively but also to articulate the rhetorical principles underlying their choices.

English 108 is designed for international students and taught by instructors with a background in second-language teaching.

These courses are also offered during Summer Session I and II.


English 109H (ENGL 109H) - 3 credit hours:


IMPORTANT NOTE ON COURSE OFFERINGS: ENGL109H is a ONE-SEMESTER course which can be taken Fall OR Spring. Not all students are pre-scheduled for 109H during orientation. A good time to search for seat availability is the first two weeks of classes. Students who are unable to get a Fall seat will have 109H Spring Priority Registration and should plan to register for something other than English if a full-time schedule is required for Fall.

This course is designed to prepare you to integrate critical reading, thinking, and writing tasks in one semester. You will engage in a wide range of intellectual, aesthetic, and rhetorical inquiries. Readings include a series of interdisciplinary texts that are thematically relevant, culturally diverse, and representative of a wide variety of voices speaking for different purposes to different audiences. Art forms other than literature are incorporated into the course in which principles of rhetoric (the study and practice of how texts produce their effects) and poetics (theories of reading, criticizing, and interpreting texts) merge. You will work independently and collaboratively to prepare written and oral texts that are shared with your class. A research component is also required.

If you receive an A, B, or C in English 109H, you will have completed your first-year composition requirement. If you receive a D in English 109H, you will be required to 1) re-take the course for a higher grade, OR 2) take English 102 in order to fulfill the requirement.


  • Medical, Veterinary, and Law schools, usually require two semesters of composition. ENGL 306 (Advanced Composition) can be taken to fulfill this requirement, but speak to your college/major advisor for further information.
    • If your are unsure of the requirements for the medical, veterinary, or law school you might apply to, you can still take ENGL101 and ENGL102, but you must contact our office for a placement change to do so.
  • Placement into English 109H is determined independently from admission into the honors college. You may be eligible to take English 109H even if you are not a member of the honors college, and being a member of the honors college does not automatically qualify you to take English 109H.

View a sample syllabus for ENGL 109H



Contact the Writing Program with any questions you might have about your English Placement:

The Writing Program
Department of English
The University of Arizona
Modern Languages, Room 445
Tucson, AZ 85721-0067
(520) 621-1836 (phone)



College of Social and Behavioral Sciences