The First Writing Requirement

Fulfilling the First Writing Requirement 

There are five paths to completing the FWR:

  • By successfully completing the two-semester Writing and Critical Inquiry Stretch I & II, ENWR 1505/1506. Take this sequence if you scored 560 or below on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section of the SAT or a 21 or below on the ACT English test. Students in this path should register for fall ENWR 1505, to be followed by spring ENWR 1506.
  • By successfully completing the two-semester ESL sequence, Writing and Critical Inquiry Stretch I & II for Multi-Lingual Writers, ENWR 1507/1508.  Note that this path is for students who are still developing their skills in English as a second language.  Students required to fulfill the first writing requirement in the ESL path will be identified by the Admissions Office, the Summer Transition Program, The Center for American English Language and Culture, or the Academic and Professional Writing Program. Students in this path should register for fall ENWR 1507, followed by spring ENWR 1508.  Students who are not required to take this sequence but who wish to be considered if spaces are available should contact Claire Chantell for more information. Students in this path should register for fall ENWR 1507, followed by spring ENWR 1508.
  • By successfully completing Writing and Critical Inquiry, ENWR 1510 or ENWR 1559. Students in this path (i.e. those scoring between 570 and 730 on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing portion of the SAT or between 22 and 35 on the English portion of the ACT) should register for ENWR 1510 for fall if the first letter of their last name is A through K. Students should also register for fall ENWR 1510 if they play on a varsity team that travels primarily in the spring OR if they are transfer students OR if they are repeating the course. Otherwise, students with last names beginning with L-Z should register for spring ENWR 1510.
  • By successfully completing a First Writing Requirement Advanced course (ENWR 2510, 2000-level ENLT, or 2000-level ENCW) and submitting an FWR-Plus form to the Writing Program office. This option is available only to students scoring a 740 or above on the SAT's Evidence-Based Reading and Writing test or a 36 on the ACT English test. Link to FWR-Plus Form.
  • By enrolling in the Echols Scholars program.
  • Note: Beginning in the Fall of 2017, the College will no longer grant exemptions from the First Writing Requirement to entering first-year students (except Echols Scholars.)
  • Note: Beginning in the Fall of 2017, AP Scores will no longer factor in placement decisions.
  • Note: Courses taken to fulfill the First Writing Requirement cannot also satisfy either the Second Writing Requirement or the Artistic, Interpretive, and Philosophical Inquiry (AIP) requirement in the new curriculum.

Applying for Advanced ENWR Placement via Portfolio Review

If you did not earn advanced ENWR placement but you have reason to think that you should have, you may submit a portfolio of your strongest academic arguments for review. To do so, please send a short letter requesting a portfolio placement review and indicating what placement you consider appropriate to your ability level (i.e., ENWR 1505/1506, 1507/1508, 1510, or 2510). The letter should indicate your test scores, briefly describe your experience with writing academic arguments, and provide an e-mail address at which you can be contacted. For record keeping purposes, please also include your UVa e-mail address.

Along with this letter, include copies of three of your strongest academic essays. (Note: rather than simply presenting a narrative or factual summary, each of these essays should present a focused claim, evaluate counter-claims and relevant contrary evidence, and develop a well-supported argument.)

Email your portfolio as an attachment, with the subject "Portfolio Review," to Keith Driver ( by August 1st 2019. Please note: we use an automated filtering system for these emails; portfolios without the correct subject heading (i.e. "Portfolio Review") will not be captured by the filter and thus will not be reviewed by the committee. Please be sure to use the proper subject heading in your email.

You will be notified of the results of the portfolio review by e-mail as soon as possible after the reading. Note: Portfolios for Fall 2019 placement need to be received by August 1st, as the review committee will not meet again until October. Portfolios for spring 2020 placement may be submitted either for August 1st or by September 28th for October review. Results from the August reading will be e-mailed no later than August 5th.

You are a good candidate for portfolio review if any of the following is true of you:

  • 1. You are a transfer student with a history of success in written inquiry at another college or university.
  • 2. You have success with written inquiry in dual-enrollment courses (nominal college-level courses taken during high school).
  • 3. You scored 730 on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing SAT exam.
  • 4. You took the SAT before March 2016 and scored a 740 on the essay portion.
  • 5. You scored a 4 or better on the AP English literature subject test.
  • 6. You scored a 4 or better on the AP English language subject test.
  • 7. You scored a 6 or 7 on the IB English A1 HL exam.
  • 8. You scored a 35 on the ACT English Exam.

Note that students who have completed the FWR may not take FWR classes. If you have completed the FWR requirement, please do not register for ENWR 1505/1506, 1507/1508, or 1510.

A note for transfer students: The goals and outcomes of first-year writing courses at other universities vary widely. Therefore, although transfer course credit may be granted, exemption from UVA’s first writing requirement is *not* automatically given to students who have completed a writing or composition course elsewhere. Relevant classes taken before you matriculate at UVa are evaluated for transfer credit and possible FWR exemption by the Arts & Sciences registrar's office and by the transfer dean, Elizabeth Ozment.

Transfer students whose test scores do not exempt them from UVA's first writing requirement may submit a portfolio to the writing program for review. Please note that the deadline for review of fall 2019 placement portfolios is August 1st. If you miss that deadline, portfolios will be read for spring 2020 placement in October 2019.

Please see the FWR placement FAQ for answers to common questions. If you have additional questions regarding first writing requirement placement, please e-mail Keith Driver.

The Second Writing Requirement

Please see Judy Updike, the CLAS registrar, for more information on the CLAS second writing requirement. 

What are the goals of the second writing requirement?

The college's second writing requirement has two general goals: to ensure that students receive additional writing feedback beyond the first writing requirement, and to give students some familiarity with writing in their chosen field.

When should I fulfill the requirement?

According to the College of Arts and Sciences, you are obliged to fulfill the second writing requirement by the end of your sixth semester.

May I complete the second writing requirement before I finish the first writing requirement? Does doing so exempt me from the first writing requirement?

Many students complete multiple courses that might be used to fulfill the second writing requirement. The Second Writing Requirement is administered by the College of Arts and Sciences rather than the Writing Program, and the two requirements operate independently. Nothing prevents you from taking a course that meets the second writing requirement as early in your UVa career as you wish; however, successfully completing the second writing requirement does not exempt you from the first writing requirement.