Selecting a First-year Writing Course (DSP)

First Year Writing (FYW) plays an essential role in students' transition from secondary to post-secondary education. What distinguishes FYW from other Writing Intensive courses is that students learn about the social and intellectual aspects of writing in the university, and develop critical reading, writing, research and reflection practices required for academic success.

What is DSP? Video Introduction

For a captioned video introduction to the Directed Self Placement Process, click HERE

Your Choices

 The faculty of the UWP strongly support the idea of student agency. That is, we believe that you, the students, should make decisions about the coursework that best suits your writing goals. This will also help to prepare you for the many decisions you will face as you navigate the academy, the workplace, and the world. Instead of a writing placement exam evaluated by a panel of professors, The UWP has adopted Directed Self Placement (DSP).  If you are beginning your first year here at RIT, you have a choice to make about where you would like to begin in the RIT writing sequence. There are two places to start.

All incoming first year students will be placed in a section of First Year Writing (150)You can, however, choose to enroll in a "stretch" program, where you begin one semester in UWRT 100 (which counts for 3 Gen Ed elective credits), and then stretch to UWRT 150 in the next semester, thus completing your FYW requirement. Both 100 and 150 emphasize academic literacy – reading, writing, critical thinking, theory and analysis. Both are rich in resources designed to assist you as you begin your academic writing career. Each choice leads to filling the FYW requirement.  UWRT 100 begins with a focus on you as a writer as a starting point, and exists in order to help you to ease into and to succeed later, in 150, which focuses more on writing and participating in academic conversations. If you feel like you need a bit more preparation for 150, then the 100 stretch is an option (NOTE: students who take UWRT 100 still need to take 150 in order to fill the requirement)

Unsure? take the writing self-assessment survey below to see where you are right now in terms of writing or contact the UWP at for a consultation.


Name What You Know: A Writing Self-assessment

This survey contains a series of questions that ask you to reflect on your past and present reading, writing, and academic literacy knowledge and practices to assess where you are right now as a writer. This look back will help you to start thinking about whether UWRT 150, UWRT 100, or perhaps other resources are the right fit for you.  Take the survey HERE

To take on your phone, scan QR for survey



UWRT 100 Sample Assignment

You will have three types of writing experiences in UWRT 100: Critical Analysis, Critical Synthesis, and Research.

For a DETAILED sample assignment for UWRT 100, click HERE

UWRT 100 Sample Syllabus

For an overview of a sample 100 course, click HERE

For a sample 100 course syllabus, click HERE

UWRT-100 Reading Sample

These two reading samples show you the type of readings you may be asked to do in a UWRT 100 class:

UWRT 150

To view assignments, readings, syllabus, click on the orange links:

UWRT 150 Syllabus

For a sample 150 syllabus go HERE

UWRT 150 Assignments

To see a detailed sample Research assignment, click HERE

UWRT 150 Readings 

Here are some samples of the types of readings you can expect to have in UWRT 150:



Options and Questions

If you are unable to schedule UWRT 100 this semester, there are options available to you to help you to succeed in UWRT 150.  You may:

  • Schedule weekly appointments in the Writing Center
  • Request a consultation with the writing program director at for a one on one meeting to address your writing questions

If you have any other, more general questions about writing at RIT, please contact the University Writing Program team at