Courses and Placement

Courses and Placement

Courses and Placement

Rowan students are required to complete two composition courses to fulfill their general education requirements as part of the Rowan Core Program: the first is either College Composition I (COMP 01111) or Intensive College Composition I (COMP 01105), and the second is College Composition II (COMP 01112). Our program also offers a developmental writing course for students who need foundational support to succeed as writers, Foundations for College Writing (COMP 01103).  We place students into appropriate courses based on one of two methods:

  1. Directed Self-Placement, a method that empowers students to reflect on their own writing, past experiences with writing in an academic setting, and personal preferences for support, then learn more about our courses to decide which one they feel is the best fit for them.
  2. We still will accept SAT or ACT scores (see below). We recognize these standardized tests are flawed measures of ability, but because many students have these scores already, we will honor them to help expedite the placement process. Note: We cannot use SAT or ACT scores for students who applied to Rowan under the test-optional admissions program.

The goal of placement is to ensure that students are appropriately prepared for the expectations of our courses and that they receive the support they need to be successful in their academic careers.


This method allows students to make an informed decision about the course they believe best aligns with their current skills and needs. Through a multi-step process, students create a writing sample, answer a questionnaire about their past writing experiences in academic settings, read about our courses and the profiles of students that benefit from each, and finally, complete a form to select their first composition course. While this process takes some time, it treats students as individuals, each with their own writing background, and it captures our local writing program’s expectations and practices. This process was designed by our faculty, who best know our program and the factors that lead to success in each course. In this way, the process creates a partnership in placement between Rowan students and writing faculty, a dynamic that a multiple-choice exam or timed essay designed for national use can never replicate. Ultimately, this method recognizes that students know themselves better than a computer-graded exam and gives them a choice in their placement. 

Directed self-placement is run through a Canvas course. Students who wish to use this method can self-enroll once they have a Canvas account. The process takes approximately 1.5-2 hours to complete, but there is no time limit. Full directions can be accessed through this link.


The scores below lead to automatic placement in a course; students who use these do not need to go through the directed self-placement process, though they are welcome to do so if they feel their SAT or ACT scores don’t match their ability.

SAT: Evidence-based Reading and Writing Score

College Composition I: 510 or above

Intensive College Composition I: 440 - 500

Foundations for College Writing: 430 or below

ACT: ELA Score*

College Composition I: 20 or above

Intensive College Composition I: 16, 17, 18, 19 

Foundations for College Writing: 15 or below

*The ELA score is derived from the English, Reading, and Writing sections.

These scores reflect past students’ outcomes based on historical scores and performance in our courses. 

Transfer Students

Transfer students with 30 credits or more are exempted by University policy from basic skills requirements. However, a transfer student with 30 or more credits who doesn’t have credit for College Composition I will need to either share their SAT or ACT scores with the First-Year Writing Program or use the Directed Self-Placement process so that we can determine which version of Composition I will better serve the student.  Students could be placed into Intensive College Composition I or College Composition I, both of which fulfill the first of two General Education/Rowan Core writing course requirements.

Advanced Placement

Students with a score of 3 or higher on the Advanced Placement English Language and Composition exam can receive credit for College Composition I (COMP 01111) and move directly into College Composition II (COMP 01112). AP exam results must be submitted to the Registrar’s office.


COMP 01103 Foundations for College Writing (Developmental)

Foundations for College Writing introduces students to college-level writing and to composing practices that emphasize multi-stage writing through multiple modes of composition and reflection. It provides an intensive focus in grammar and mechanics within the context of students' writing, and it guides students to produce focused and coherent writing. Students successful in this course move to Intensive College Composition I (COMP 01105).

COMP 01105 Intensive College Composition I

Intensive College Composition I is a four-credit course that provides students additional time and support to develop the same writing competency required of College Composition I. It is an equivalent of College Composition I and fulfills the first of the two-course general education requirement. Students successful in this course move on to College Composition II (COMP 01112).

Each semester, we designate some sections of Intensive College Composition I as Studio Courses. These sections meet one regular class meeting per week in small-group tutoring sessions with a designated Writing Center tutor.

COMP 01111 College Composition I

College Composition I introduces students to a variety of writing forms and emphasizes writing as a recursive process of exploring, researching, drafting and revising. Students produce purposeful, literate, well-developed, and informed writing that requires critical reading, thinking, and writing activities. The course also emphasizes responsible evaluation and use of information. This course fulfills the first of the two-course general education requirements, and students who are successful in this course move on to College Composition II (COMP 01112).

COMP 01112 College Composition II (CCII) (Prerequisite: Comp 01105 or Comp 01111)

College Composition II builds on the concepts and approaches in College Composition I or Intensive College Composition I (prerequisites for CCII). It emphasizes argumentation and information literacy. The course introduces students to argumentative strategies, asks them to identify and analyze forms of argumentation, and requires them to write a variety of well-researched and ethically responsible arguments. Students work to become independent researchers who can find relevant information from a variety of sources (both academic and non-academic, traditional text and digital) and evaluate and present that information to an academic audience. This course fulfills the second of the two-course general education requirement.

*AP Credit: Students who score a 3 or higher on the AP English Language & Composition exam receive credit for COMP 01111 and meet the prerequisite for College Composition II (COMP 01112).