Department of English

Composition Program

For Students

Our program helps prepare you to write in other courses, in other academic fields, and in the professional, public, and personal contexts you will enter after college. It exists because effective communication-whether you want to head a corporation or start a revolution-is an essential skill. Much of the writing you will do in Composition courses is commonly known as academic discourse, but you also will explore multiple genres inside and outside of the university environment. You will conduct library research, use digital technologies, and work collaboratively with your classmates. You will address a variety of writing occasions, paying particular attention to aspects of the rhetorical situation (including audience, context, purpose, and medium). Although no single class or course sequence can fully prepare you for every communicative situation you will encounter, Composition courses will help you gain important skills to use when navigating all of them.

Most students at UNCW will take two Composition courses:  ENG 101 (College Writing and Reading I) and ENG 201 (College Writing and Reading II). The first course in this sequence focuses on the elements of the composing process and exposes students to a variety of forms, including narrative, rhetorical analysis, expository, and persuasive writing. The second course builds on the first, immersing students in researched and argumentative writing and developing students' information literacy skills. 

Each fall, students who struggle with writing may elect to enroll in a special supported section of ENG 101. The class is generally smaller than other sections and includes extra support for writing from tutors and interns. If you are interested in this section of ENG 101, please speak with your adviser or contact the composition coordinator directly. 

Additionally, some students with extraordinary scores on a placement exam will take only one Composition course, ENG 103 (College Writing and Reading [Advanced]).

Some helpful student resources are linked below. If you have any questions about the composition program, please contact the Writing Coordinator, Sarah Hallenbeck ( 

English Placement Information

Student Resources

For Instructors

The Composition Program is proud to include some of the best educators in our award-winning department. As articulated by UNCW's University Studies curriculum, our mission is to cultivate students' abilities to read critically and write effectively. Composition courses should encourage individuated, recursive writing processes that include researching, planning, drafting, revising, and participating in peer review. These aims should be reflected in course syllabi, materials, assignments, and classroom practice.

Instructor Resources