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Core Curriculum

The English department offers first year writing courses and sophomore level core curriculum English courses.  Over 4,000 students pass through the freshman and sophomore course sequence each semester. The Director of Lower Division and the Department advisors can help students with core curriculum related concerns, transfer equivalencies, English placement exams, and University of Houston academic policies.

First Year Writing

The English Department offers first-year writing courses that fulfill the university's Core Communications requirements. These courses include:

English 1303: First Year Writing I

  • A detailed study of the principles of rhetoric as applied in reading and writing expository essays.

English 1304: First Year Writing II

  • A detailed study of the principles of rhetoric as applied to analyzing and writing argumentative and persuasive essays; principles and methods of research, culminating in writing a substantial research paper.

English 1370: Freshman Composition II – Honors

  • Principles of rhetoric as applied to writing persuasive essays; principles and methods of research.

English 1303 Prerequisite

By earning a score of 240 on the TASP Writing Test or its equivalent, students satisfy the prerequisite for enrolling in English 1303. If the student does not meet the prerequisite for enrollment in English 1303, the student should enroll in English 1300: Basic Writing.

Advanced Placement Credit

Students may fulfill requirements for English 1303 and 1304 through Advanced Placement credit.

By earning at least one of the following scores, the student earns 3 hours credit for English 1303.

  • Advanced Placement: English (Language/Composition): 3
  • SAT II Writing Test: 620 (Effective only for students who have taken the exam prior to January 2005)

By earning at least one of the following scores, the student earns 3 hours credit for English 1304.

  • Advanced Placement: English (Language/Composition): 4
  • SAT II Writing Test 660 (Effective only for students who have taken the exam prior to January 2005)


Each year, awards are given acknowledging outstanding work in first-year writing courses. These include:

  • First Year Writing Award, ENGL 1303
  • First Year Writing Award, ENGL 1304

2000-Level Literature Courses

The English Department’s 2000-level courses prepare students to connect literature and writing to larger genres, cultures, and disciplines. Students engage in dialogue with texts, writers, and readers from diverse cultures, locations, and historical moments. The texts range from fiction to poetry, drama, nonfiction, and everyday writing, each of which can sustain and transform cultures. Exploring how language shapes ideas such as our perspectives on technology, our expectations for personal attachments, and our ability to change our communities or societies, students weave texts into the fabric of daily life and enhance their understanding of globally relevant issues that define humanity now and will continue to do so in the future. In addition, students enhance their employability by practicing valuable skills such as writing, research, close reading, critical analysis and interpretation, and evidence-based argumentation--skills applicable to fields such as business, hospitality, education, and law.

Courses are open to students in all majors who have completed English 1304 or the equivalent. Most 2000-level English courses fulfill Texas Core Curriculum requirements in Language, Philosophy, and Culture. A few courses fulfill Core Curriculum requirements in Creative Arts. These courses include:

English 2305: Introduction to Fiction

English 2306: Introduction to Poetry

English 2307: Introduction to Drama

English 2315: Literature and Film

  • Representations of literary works and themes as they have appeared in films

English 2315: Literature and Culture

  • Literature and its relations to various aspects of culture.

English 2360: Honors Western World Literature I

  • Classical through the Renaissance. Emphasis on composition.

Writing and Research Resources

Writing Center

Students are encouraged to use the University of Houston Writing Center, located in the Classroom and Business Building. Visit the Writing Center website  for information on scheduling appointments and online writing services. The Writing Center also provides a number of multimedia resources.

UH Library

The University of Houston Library provides helpful information on writing and research to help students complete assignments for English 1303 and English 1304.

Contact Information

Nathan Shepley, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director of Lower Division Studies

Tamara Fish, Ph.D.
Lower Division Administrator