First-Year Writing Course Options and Topics
The Writing & Communication Program has a preparatory course for multilingual students (76100) and core courses for all students to fulfill their first-year writing requirement at Carnegie Mellon (76101+). To learn about the preparatory course for multilingual students, 76100 / Reading and Writing in an Academic Context, click here.
To complete the First-Year Writing requirement, students must choose one of two pathways to register for a semester’s worth of core courses.. Each pathway has its own series of course options.
- Students who choose Pathway 1 will take two half-semester mini courses from the following three options: 76-106: Writing About Literature, Art, and Culture; 76-107: Writing About Data; and 76-108: Writing About Public Problems. For a detailed listing of the Pathway 1 course topics, schedules, and descriptions for the current or upcoming semester, click here. This information has been updated for the Fall 2023 semester, but please continue to check back in case there are changes to the course times or topics.
- Students who choose Pathway 2 will take a single, full-semester course, typically76-101: Interpretation and Argument.For a detailed listing of the Pathway 2 course topics, schedules, and descriptions for the current or upcoming semester, click here. This information has been updated for the Summer 23 semester, but please continue to check back in case there are changes to the course times or topics.
For students who demonstrate advanced writing skills as a first-year student, the Writing & Communication Program in English also offers a full-semester course, 76-102: Advanced First-Year Writing, Students seeking to enroll in this advanced course must participate in an application process during the summer. This year's process is now open. Please click here for the link to the application.
After completing an Informed Placement Process, some first-year students whose first or primary language is not English may enroll in 76-100, Reading and Writing in an Academic Context. Students should complete 76-100 before choosing one of the two Pathways to fulfill their First-Year Writing requirement. For a detailed listing of the Fall 2023 course schedule for 76-100, click here. For more information about the First-Year Writing course placement process, please click here.
Pathway 1 - Two Mini Courses
Choose two of three available half-semester mini course options:
76-106 — Writing About Literature, Art, and Culture
76-107 — Writing About Data
76-108 — Writing About Public Problems
Why Choose Pathway 1?
- Research-based curriculum
- Fresh start in the middle of the semester
- Opportunity to focus upon strategies for particular types of communication situations and target genres
- Exposure to more than one kind of writing (arts & humanities, technical, professional)
- Strategies for adapting to different communication situations
- Some students report a more dynamic structure and pace with a break at mid-semester
Pathway 2 - One Full-Semester Course
76-101 — Interpretation and Argument
76-102 — Advanced First-Year Writing (by application only)
Why Choose Pathway 2?
- Research-based curriculum
- Sustained focus throughout the semester
- Opportunity to read deeply about a controversial issue or topic
- Strategies for reading, forming research questions, and writing research proposals/articles
- Some students report a flexible, "marathon" pace throughout the course, albeit with no breaks
- For 76-102: Immersive experience into a faculty member's particular research area