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University Writing Requirements

The University of Massachusetts Amherst recognizes the key role that writing plays in students’ success both at the university and in their careers.  Therefore, the Writing Program provides course work for all undergraduates both at the first year and junior year levels to foster writing skills for academic, professional, and civic purposes.

First Year Writing

All undergraduates must complete College Writing, Englwrit 112, (or receive an exemption or waiver) as part of their bachelor’s degree program.  Students may also be required to take Basic Writing, Englwrit 111, based on their performance on the Writing Placement Exam.

Students are expected to complete College Writing during their first year at UMass. To enroll in the course, they must first take the Writing Placement Exam, which is offered online. New students should take the Writing Placement Exam before coming to New Students Orientation.

Junior Year Writing

UMass Amherst was one of the first universities in the nation to require an advanced, discipline-specific writing course of all undergraduates.  Each student studies the writing particular to his or her area of study in classes such as “Writing in Chemistry” or “Sport Management Communication,” gaining fluency in the writing he or she will use in further study and in the workplace.  Today, Junior Year Writing serves nearly 4,500 students per year in more than 75 different majors. The program was named by U. S. News & World Report (2003) one of 25 "Programs that Really Work" in writing in the disciplines.

Students must complete College Writing before they can register for a Junior Year Writing course.

For additional information about the University's writing requirements, contact Anne Bello, Placement Officer and Deputy Director of the Writing Program.

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