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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

The Texas Success Initiative (TSI), established by the Texas State Legislature, requires that students meet certain college readiness standards for writing. Unless they are exempt, students must take the TSI Writing Assessment before enrolling in ENGL 1303. Minimum passing scores on the Writing Assessment are: multiple choice 340 with an essay score of 4; or a placement score of less than 340, an ABE Diagnostic level of at least 4, and an essay score of at least 5. Those students whose TSI scores do not meet these requirements should enroll in appropriate developmental courses designed to help prepare them for college level work.

As of 2013, the State of Texas has mandated that only the TSI assessment is allowed as a prerequisite for ENGL 1303.

Information about the Texas Success Initiative, including a discussion of state-allowed TSI Exemptions and Waivers, can be found here.

Information about the TSI Writing Assessment test, including registration instructions, can be found here.


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. Except for English 2307 and English 2318, our 2000-level English courses fulfill Texas Core Curriculum requirements in Language, Philosophy, and Culture. ENGL 2307 and ENGL 2318 fulfill Core Curriculum requirements in Creative Arts. Our 2000-level English courses include:


English 2305: Introduction to Fiction

English 2306: Introduction to Poetry

  • Selection works of poetry emphasizing composition.

English 2307: Introduction to Drama

English 2315: Literature and Film

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

English 2316: Literature and Culture

English 2318: Creation and Performance of Literature

  • Creation and performance of literature, such as prose fiction, poetry, and drama; may include recitations.

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

Dr. Chatwara Duran
Associate Professor and Director of Lower Division Studies

Melanie Salome, Ph.D.
Lower Division Administrator