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The Writing Requirement and Writing Courses

Q: Why is there a writing requirement?

We assume everyone comes to college knowing how to write. However, there are different expectations for university-level writing than there are for high school. UO’s required writing courses develop your critical thinking skills, an understanding of ethical argumentation, an awareness of audience, and an ability to clearly express your ideas in writing. These skills are fundamental across the disciplines and will serve you well throughout your college and professional careers.

Q: What are the differences between WR 121, WR 122 & WR 123? Why are two classes required?

WR 121 is an introduction to careful reading, discussion, and developing questions and arguments in response to an audience. WR 122 focuses on deepening the reading, reasoning, and writing skills introduced in WR 121, while WR 123 focuses on integrating research into argumentative writing. Click here for full course descriptions.

While the first ten-week term (WR 121) focuses on developing fundamental skills, the second class gives you the chance to respond to more complex topics with greater sophistication (in WR 122) and research-supported ideas (in WR 123).

 Q: What courses do you offer for specific student populations and how do I enroll in them?

There are dedicated sections of WR 121 for English Language Learners (ELL students), for students with low test scores (SAT/ACT verbal scores are 470/18 or below), and for underrepresented populations at the University. Click here for more information on these sections.

Q: What is this “enthymeme” I keep hearing about?

The enthymeme is a “reasoned” thesis and is similar to the kind of thesis statements with which you’re likely already familiar. It is formed by a single claim supported by a single reason (the single best reason to support the claim, rather than multiple reasons). You’ll hear more about it in class!

Q: How can I place out of the writing requirement?

You can take waiver exams to place out of WR 121,or WR 122/123. The exams are administered by UO’s Testing Center during the first week of Fall, Winter, and Spring terms. You can only take the waiver exams once for each course. You cannot take the waiver exam for WR 121 and for WR122/123 in the same term. More information about the exam can be found here.

Q: I’m a transfer student. I took a writing class at my last school but it wasn’t transferred correctly. What can I do about this?

You can petition to have your transfer credits or previous courses in composition fulfill part of the writing requirement. The petition form and further information can be found here.

 Q: I was in the Honors College but dropped out. Do I still need to take writing?

It depends on what courses you completed (and what grades you received in them) while in the Honors College. Speak with your academic advisor.


Q: What is the last day to register for a writing class? Why can’t I register for the class before Wednesday of Week 2?

The Composition Program has an earlier registration deadline than the rest of the UO. The last day to register for a writing class is Friday of Week 1. There is no way to register for a writing course after this date because, with the highly work-intensive pace of the ten-week term, missing a tenth of the class (one full week) creates real barriers to your success.

Q: I’m on Duckweb. Every time I try to register for a section, it says “Instructor approval needed.” Why?

You are probably trying to register into a section reserved for a specific student population. Check the course title or click on the course’s CRN number and review the “Course Data” for information about eligibility.

Q: The writing class I want is full but the instructor said I could still be in the class. How can I get authorized?

Even with instructor permission, we cannot over-enroll writing classes.

Q: I had a low-SAT score but I can’t register for the low-SAT section of WR 121. I am an international student but I can’t register for the sections of WR 121 for English Language Learners. How can I get authorization?

It is possible these sections have already filled. Speak to your academic advisor about the possibility of enrolling in a standard section of WR 121 and/or of enrolling in the Center for Teaching Writing’s WR 121 Tutorial (more information here).

Department Policies

Q: What are the prerequisites for WR 121? For WR 122/WR 123?

The prerequisite for WR 121 is a satisfactory SAT or ACT verbal score. Information about test scores and placement for WR 121 can be found here. International students who have been placed into AEIS writing courses are advised to complete these courses in their entirety before enrolling in WR 121.

The prerequisite for WR 122/WR 123 is successful completion of WR 121.

Q: Can I take WR pass/fail?

 Yes, but talk to your advisor to make sure doing so would not affect your major.

Q: Can I take WR 121 & WR 122/123 in the same term?

No, because WR 122 and WR 123 build on the skills and concepts learned in WR 121 (and successful completion of WR 121 is therefore a prerequisite of WR 122/123).

Resources for Students

Q: What is Writing 195? How do I register for it?

WR 195 is a one-credit tutorial course that can be taken alongside WR 121, WR 122, or WR 123. Enrollment in the course gives you access to individualized one-on-one tutoring sessions for your composition course work. You register for WR 195 on DuckWeb, where it is listed along with the other writing courses. You must also be signed up for WR 121, WR 122, or WR 123 in order to register. Note: during Fall Term, WR 195 occasionally receives such high enrollment that it space can only be guaranteed for students in WR 121, with students in WR 122 and WR 123 enrolled on a case-by-case basis. Click here for more information.

Q: What should I do if I think I have a physical or learning disability that may interfere with my experience of a writing course?

Notify your instructor (if you are already registered for a writing course) and be in touch with the Accessible Education Center so you can receive accommodations for this and all of your classes.

 Q: I need additional help with my writing. What resources are available?

The Center for Teaching Writing (CTW) offers tutoring specifically for UO’s composition classes. Even if you do not enroll in WR 195 (link to above), you may work with CTW tutors. Visit the CTW website to create an account and schedule tutoring appointments online.

The Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) writing tutors will work with students on any aspect of the writing process, from brainstorming to revision. TLC writing tutoring sessions take place on the 4th floor of Knight Library in the TLC Sky Studio. Drop-in and pre-scheduled appointments are available throughout the day, Monday to Friday. For more information, visit or call 541-346-3226.