Primary Writing Requirement

Entering students must establish competence in writing clear argumentative essays at the college level through the primary writing requirement. Typically, students fulfill the primary writing requirement by completing WRT 105/105E: Reasoning and Writing in the College with a grade of “C” or better. See the Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program’s (WSAP) primary writing requirement page for a complete list of ways to fulfill this requirement.

Students accepted into the dual degree program between the Eastman School of Music and the College satisfy this requirement by completing either WRT 105/105E or WRT 105A&B. See the WSAP’s course page for descriptions of each course.  

Students admitted to the College through the English for Academic Purposes Program (EAPP) fulfill the requirement by earning a grade of “C” or better in WRT 103: EAPP Critical Reading, Reasoning, and Writing, and WRT 104: EAPP Research, Reading, and Writing.

To be prepared for the upper-level writing requirement in the major, students are expected to satisfy the primary writing requirement by the end of the first year of study. Transfer students are expected to complete the primary writing requirement by the end of their first semester. 

Adding/Changing WSAP Courses

WSAP does not approve students adding a WRT 105/105E course after the first two weeks of the semester unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Students who want to change their registration from WRT 105 or WRT 105E to WRT 105A can do so with the permission of the WSAP director up until the end of the eighth week of the semester. Such requests will be processed as registration corrections, allowing students to drop WRT 105/E and add WRT 105A.


Students who believe they are already proficient college writers can petition to satisfy the primary writing requirement by taking a University of Rochester course other than WRT 105 by submitting an online substitution petition.

A student whose petition is accepted can satisfy the writing requirement by achieving a “B” or above in a course with a significant writing component, which usually includes several short papers throughout the semester, a substantial final paper, and revision based on instructor feedback. The course must be approved by WSAP. Students should request and receive approval before taking the course.

WRT 105, 105E or WRT 105A&B cannot be used in a cluster. A course approved as a substitute for WRT 105 or WRT 105E may be used in a cluster if listed as an approved course in that cluster or approved by the department to be included as an exception within an existing cluster. These same considerations would also apply to interdepartmental clusters approved by the Committee for Individualized Interdepartmental Programs.

A course substituting for WRT 105, WRT 105E or WRT 105A&B may be used to fulfill requirements for a major or minor providing the course is approved as an acceptable substitute by both the Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program and the sponsoring department. Any course accepted as a substitute for WRT 105, WRT 105E, or WRT 105A&B may not be used to satisfy the Upper Level Writing Requirement for any major.

Students can petition only once, are expected to do so during the first semester of matriculation, and cannot do so after already attempting to complete WRT 105, WRT 105E, or WRT 105A&B.

Failure to Complete

Students who have not completed the primary writing requirement or demonstrated how they plan to complete the requirement to WSAP by the fall semester of their sophomore year will have a registration hold placed on their student account. This hold will prevent them from registering for the spring semester.

Transfer Course Policy

Transfer students who wish to use a writing course they have completed elsewhere to satisfy Rochester’s primary writing requirement need to complete and submit an online transfer petition to WSAP.

Repeat Course Policy for WRT 105 and 105E, 105A&B

The “repeated course” policy of the faculty stipulates that the second grade earned (which may or may not be higher than the first) is calculated into the grade point average and the first grade (and credit, if any) is removed from the calculation of the grade point average.

Students who passed WRT 105/105E or WRT 105A&B the first time but need to repeat it to earn a grade of C or better can request to keep the credit from the first course and earn an additional four credits when they repeat the course. The grades from both courses are included in the grade point average. Students who want this option must go to the College Center for Advising Services to fill out a special form by the drop/add deadline of the semester in which they repeat the course.

See the repeating courses page for more information.