First Year Writing Program Information

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First-Year Writing is the core curriculum of the university: all Engineering, Business, and Arts & Sciences students take the two-semester English 1 and English 2 sequence (students who enter with advanced placement credit for English 1 take English 11 instead of English 2). The Lehigh curriculum recognizes that mastery of language is the most fundamental skill you can have.

Significant training in writing is a long-standing Lehigh tradition, and a distinctive mark of a Lehigh degree. First-Year English focuses on writing that makes a thoughtful claim and supports that claim with examples, evidence, reasons, and even a rhetorical flourish or two. Our primary goal is to teach you skills of interpretation, analysis, and argument. The essence of the program is guided practice in writing and extensive feedback on your writing. You will probably write in some way for every homework assignment; you will have four or five major writing projects of about 1250 words each; you will revise your writing frequently; and you will develop and test your writing through periodic interaction with classmates and with faculty. The common denominator in all the courses is reading, reflecting, discussing, drafting, collaborating, revising, and editing.

Requirement for Students entering in Fall 2019

College of Business and Economics (CBE):

All F-Y students in CBE must take English 1 to fulfill the F-Y Writing Requirement.

Those students who demonstrate proficiency in writing by taking an achievement test (see below) will get credit for English 1 (3 credits).  They will be eligible to take English 11.  Those students who do not demonstrate proficiency as measured by achievement tests will take English 1 to fulfill their writing requirement.

College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science (RCEAS):

All F-Y students in CAS and RCEAS must take two courses in F-Y Writing: one of these course requirements can be fulfilled by demonstrating proficiency on the basis of achievement test scores. 

Those students who demonstrate proficiency (see below) will get credit for English 1 (3 credits) and will have fulfilled the first of the two required F-Y Writing courses.  Those students will take English 11 to fulfill the second course requirement.

Those students who do not demonstrate proficiency on the basis of achievement test scores will take the sequence English 1 and English 2 to fulfill the two-course writing requirement.

Achievement Test Scores:

To receive credit for English 1 (3 credits), students must achieve one of the following:

  • a score of 4 or higher on either of the English AP exams,
  • a score of 6 or higher on all three parts of the optional SAT essay exam,
  • a score of 10 or higher on the ACT Optional Writing Test,
  • a score of 5 or higher on the IB test.

 Exceptions and special cases:

  • Students in the Eckardt Scholar Program are exempt from all CAS requirements, including FY Writing.
  • Students in the IDEAS program fulfill the writing requirement by taking writing-intensive seminars in their program.
  • Multi-lingual students are assessed for proficiency by the International Center for Academic and Professional English.  Those who are deemed sufficiently proficient are placed in English 1 and 2; others are advised to take English 3 and 5.

Requirement for students entering in Fall 2018

Sequence

All Lehigh students from Engineering, Business, and Arts and Sciences must complete the two-semester English 1 and English 2 requirement, unless they receive advanced standing. Students who place out of English 1 complete the sequence by taking English 11.

Advanced Placement and Transfer Credit

For those students who took the SAT before March, 2016, the following criteria will be used to decide on placement. 

If you earn a score of 4 on either of the English AP exams or a score of 700 – 749 on the SAT test in Writing, you will receive three credits for ENGL 001. You will complete the six-hour University English requirement by taking an English course suggested by the department, typically ENGL 011.

If you earn a score of 5 on either of the English AP exams or a score of 750 or higher on the SAT test in Writing, you will receive six credits for ENGL 001 and 002. You will, thereby, have completed the University English requirement.

If you earn a score of 5 on the IBE test, you will receive three credits for ENGL 001.  You will complete the six-hour University English requirement by taking an English course suggested by the department, typically ENGL 011.

For those students who took the SAT in March 2016 or later, the following criteria will be used to decide on placement.

If you earn a score of 4 on either of the English AP exams or a score of 730-769 on the SAT Evidence Based Reading and Writing test or a score of 32-33 on the ACT Optional Writing Test, you will receive three credits for ENGL 001. You will complete the six-hour University English requirement by taking an English course suggested by the department, typically ENGL 011.

If you earn a score of 5 on either of the English AP exams or a score of 770 or higher in the SAT Evidence Based Reading and Writing test or a score of 34 or higher on the ACT Optional Writing Test, you will receive six credits for ENGL 001 and 002. You will, thereby, have completed the University English requirement.

If you earn a score of 5 on the IBE test, you will receive three credits for ENGL 001.  You will complete the six-hour University English requirement by taking an English course suggested by the department, typically ENGL 011.

High School AP courses do not count for advanced placement or transfer credit. College courses, even if offered at your high school, may be considered for transfer credit.

ESL

If you are an international student, you may complete the requirement by taking English as a Second Language: English 3 and English 5. International students should consult the ESL web page at https://global.lehigh.edu/esl.

Other Writing Courses

We offer upper-level writing courses on topics such as “Fiction Writing About Adolescence” and “Introduction to Writing Fiction: Myth, Magic & Mystery” (English 144); “Murder Ink: Reading & Writing Mysteries” (English 391); and "The Environmental Imagination: Writing and the Importance of Natural Places" and “Writing Work” (English 201) for any student in the university who wants advanced practice in writing.