FAQ: Composition (C) Requirement

What are the requirements for a course to get the Composition designation?

Composition courses must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Composition courses require at least 20 pages of formal expository writing, which must count for at least 50 percent of the course grade.
  • The course must include a longer paper of at least 7 pages or at least two papers of at least 5 pages.
  • One paper of at least 5 pages must undergo a substantial revision process based on instructor feedback (not just peer feedback).

Are there any restrictions on the size of the course?

Composition courses should be limited to 25 students per class when taught without teaching assistants. Larger courses may be designated as Composition courses so long as they divide into regularly scheduled discussion sections in which composition and/or oral communication is emphasized. In such courses teaching assistants assigned to lead multiple discussion sections should be responsible for no more than 50 students in all.

Can the writing assignments in Composition courses be completed in a language other than English?


Can creative writing assignments be used to fulfill the Composition requirement?

No. The Composition requirement mandates expository writing. Assignments in poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction cannot count towards the work required for the Composition.

Can blog posts or discussion board posts count towards the pages required for the Composition requirement?

No. The course may include these forms of writing, but they cannot count towards the work required for the Composition General Education requirement. 

Can exams count towards the pages required for the Composition requirement?

Sometimes. The UUCC allows take-home exams to count for a portion of the pages, but not for the entire 20 pages of required writing.

Can revision be optional in a Composition course?

No. All students must revise at least one paper of at least 5 pages in the course.

What is the difference between a Composition (C) course and a Writing (W) course?

Writing (W) is a Harpur College Writing requirement, not a General Education requirement. According to the Harpur College section of the University Bulletin, Writing (W) courses provide considerable experience in and feedback on writing as a tool of college-level teaching and learning. Written assignments in Writing (W) courses constitute 30 to 100 percent of the basis for the grade in the course and typically consist of a minimum of 10 pages of writing.