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Waivers and Transfer Credit for Professional Writing Courses

How do I get transfer credit for a professional writing course?

If you have taken a 300-level course in technical or professional writing at another university, you may be eligible to receive transfer credit for one of the professional writing courses. You will need to submit a course syllabus, several samples of the writing that you produced for that course, and the name of your advisor to the Director of Professional Writing.

If we determine that the course is equivalent, we will send a message to your advisor to that effect.

How do I waive this requirement?

Since the course is required by the department in which the student is majoring, not by the Department of English, it is up to the student's major department to grant or not grant a waiver of the requirement. However, since the advisors within those departments may lack the expertise to evaluate the merits of each case, the Director of Professional Writing is available for consultation with the departments.

If you think you have sufficient workplace experience to justify a waiver, first talk with your advisor. If your advisor is willing to consider a waiver and would like our assistance in evaluating your case, you will need to provide the Director of Professional Writing with several samples of your writing and write a brief justification for the waiver. We may also request a letter from your supervisor to the effect that your writing on the job has been professional and effective.

Policy on credit by exam

The Professional Writing Committee has determined that credit by examination should not be offered for ENG 331, 332, or 333 (April 1994). This decision is justified under university policy that says departments may decline to offer credit by exam in courses "which are demonstrably unsuited" for such means of student assessment (1995 Handbook for Advising and Teaching).

Our reasons are the following:

ENG 331, 332, and 333 are writing courses, in which student achievement is not measured by examinations but by continuous and progressive performance on a series of specifically designed writing assignments. Course policies specify that "at least 70% of a student's grade will be based on writing performance; the rest may be determined by attendance, participation, quizzes and tests, exercises and homework, and rhetorical analysis."

As professional courses, these writing courses emphasize the production of documents under professional conditions, not writing that can be done in the classroom or under exam conditions. Course policies specify that "no more than 15% of a student's graded work should be written in class" and that "students will prepare all major assignments on a computerized word processing system."

Additional course policies require activities that are impossible to reproduce under exam conditions: peer review, collaborative writing, and oral presentations.

In sum, we believe that no examination can fairly and adequately represent the activities of these courses and the student learning and performance that they involve. For students who have extensive experience in workplace writing and are (to the satisfaction of their own departments) capable writers, we believe that exemption from the requirement by the requiring department is a more appropriate measure than challenging the course itself by exam.