Writing & Communication Program
Writing & Communication at Carnegie Mellon offers unique, cutting-edge course options designed to help students develop and apply foundational writing knowledge across diverse academic and professional contexts.
All Carnegie Mellon undergraduates take First-Year Writing—any Advanced Placement exemptions are not accepted. However, First-Year Writing empowers students to choose among multiple paths in their fulfillment of the requirement.
Students may decide to take two out of three half-semester mini courses, each focused on specific kinds of writing and organizational strategies. Alternatively, students might decide to take one of several immersive full-semester courses built around specific themes and research areas. No matter the path, students learn to adapt to new writing situations and connect their learning to future communication tasks—both in later coursework at CMU and beyond.
To learn more about our mini and full-semester course offerings, please visit the Course Options and Topics page.
Some students whose first or primary language is not English may be required to take a placement exam and/or complete a prerequisite course during their first semester. To learn more about the placement process, please visit the Course Placement page.
Spotlight: Jungwan Yoon
Professor Jungwan Yoon Teaches Writing in Context
Jungwan Yoon brings an interdisciplinary perspective to the Department of English. In her academic research, Yoon focuses on second language (L2) education and analyzes the linguistic features of academic texts such as proposals and research articles. She studies the linguistic and rhetorical choices writers make in academic discourse and applies this research to her students in the classroom. Yoon considers language “a meaning-making resource and social practice,” not a “fixed set of rules.” Yoon teaches her students to analyze genre and linguistic features in context. “By guiding students to pay more attention to the connection between form and function, I try to help them develop more sophisticated genre knowledge and make an informed decision in the way they write,” she says. Yoon also shapes the Writing and Communication curriculum, encouraging professors to teach writing in context.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Which option is easiest, two mini courses or one full-semester course?
What are the advantages of taking two mini courses instead of a full-semester course?
What are the advantages of taking a full-semester course instead of two mini courses?
I'm an international student. How do I know if I need to take the placement test or the prerequisite First-Year Writing course?
The First-Year Writing course I wanted is full. Will I get in off of the waitlist?
I'm not sure I understand how to enroll in the minis. Are there any guidelines?
Yes! There are a few things First-Year Writing students should keep in mind, to ensure they understand proper enrollment and their schedules:
- The minis are designed to be taken consecutively within a single semester. If students register for the Fall semester, they will take a "mini 1" and a "mini 2." If registering for the Spring semester, they will take a "mini 3" and a "mini 4." The available course sections will include these numbers. For example, if registering for the Fall semester, one valid option would be sign up for 76-106 A1 and 76-107 B2. If registering for the Spring, one valid option would be 76-106 A3 and 76-107 A4. Students cannot sign up for two sections ending in the same number (e.g., 76-108 A1 and 76-107 A1).
- First-Year Writing Students should make sure to sign up for two out of the three separate courses: 76-106, 76-107, and 76-108. Do not sign up for two sections of the same course (e.g., 76-106 A1 and 76-106 B2).