University of Southern Indiana


The University of Southern Indiana University Core Curriculum requires completion of ENG 101, Rhetoric and Composition I, and ENG 201, Rhetoric and Composition II. These two courses are commonly referred to as the "first-year composition sequence" because students are encouraged to complete these fundamental classes early in their college careers, to help them develop as academic writers.

USI students may enter their first-year composition sequence at one of these three points (choose a course to view its description in the USI Academic Bulletin):

ENG 101 contributes three credits towards the six credits required for the Composition category of the University Core 39. For students who entered the university prior to fall 2014, ENG 101 contributes three of the nine credits required for the University Core Curriculum Goal A1 for Composition/Speech. ENG 100 course credits apply as electives toward graduation, but students must still complete ENG 101 to satisfy their UCC requirement.

GENS 098 is a non-credit course, meaning credit in the class will not apply to a degree.

Placement Criteria

For direct placement into English 101, students must meet two of the following three* criteria:

  1. High school rank percentile of 51% or higher, or high school GPA of 3.8 or higher on a 4.0 scale
  2. New SAT Reading Score of 25 or higher (previously 450); or ACT Reading score of 19 or higher
  3. New SAT Writing & Language score of 26 or higher (previously 450); or ACT English or Writing of 19 of higher

*An SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section (EBRW) score of 510 or higher is considered to meet both criteria numbers 2 and 3; this is to be utilized when the SAT Reading and Writing & Language scores are not accessible. 

Writing Placement

Students who do not meet these criteria compose a Writing Placement Essay. This essay is completed during a 45-minute period at USI and is scored by USI English instructors. Based on the placement essay score, students are enrolled in either ENG 101, ENG 100 or GENS 098. Each essay is scored by at least two instructors. If the two instructors agree, then the student may enroll in the appropriate course. If the first two instructors do not agree, then the essay is scored by a third reader, and the student is placed in the course on which two of the three instructors agree.

Placement via the Writing Placement Essay exam is final and cannot be appealed. The Writing Placement Essay cannot be retaken.

Placement into English 201

Enrollment in ENG 201 requires credit for ENG 101. Credit for ENG 101 may be obtained in one of three ways:

  • the student completes ENG 101 at USI or through USI's College Achievement Program (CAP) with a C or better
  • the student completes the high school Advanced Placement Course (AP) in Language and Literature or Language and Composition with a score of 3 or higher and pays the appropriate fee for credit to USI 
  • the student completes an ENG 101 equivalent course at or through another college or university 

Waiver of English 201 Requirement

Students may place out of ENG 101 and ENG 201 by completing the high school Advanced Placement Course (AP) in Language and Composition with a score of 4 or higher.

On rare occasions, a student may have completed a Writing Across the Curriculum or Writing in the Disciplines course or courses at another college or university. Such instances will be evaluated by the Director of Composition on a case-by-case basis and will require students to supply substantial evidence of the work required and completed for the course or courses in question. In these instances, if the ENG 201 requirement is waived, the ENG 101 requirement is waived as well.

Directed Self-Placement

Some students who meet the criteria for placement in ENG 101 may feel that they would be better served by either ENG 100 or GENS 098. In this case, you are encouraged to confer with your academic advisor, who can help you decide what course would be most appropriate.

In some instances, instructors of ENG 101, ENG 100 or GENS 098 may feel that a student has been improperly placed based on the in-class diagnostic writing essay all first-year composition instructors are encouraged to conduct during the first week of classes. If your instructor believes you would be better served by entering the first-year composition sequence at a different point, she or he may speak with you about placement options. It is then your choice to remain in your current course or to enroll in the course your instructor recommends.

Sometimes, students are reluctant to enroll in ENG 100 or GENS 098 because these courses do not contribute to the University Core 39's Composition requirement (for students entering prior to fall 2014, University Core Curriculum Goal A1 for Composition/Speech). Nevertheless, the most important factor in designing a program of study should be long-term academic success. Entering the first-year composition sequence at the appropriate point will help to ensure that you get off to the right start in developing those crucial skills of communication, critical thinking and creativity, which will benefit you well beyond the composition classroom.

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