First-Year Composition Overview


At Mason, students taking their first-year composition course have the opportunity to find a class that fits their needs and interests: 

  • In ENGH 100, a 4-hour credit course, multilingual students have the opportunity for language-enhanced composition instruction, opportunities for extra practice, and more individualized support while developing reading, writing, and research strategies for a range of rhetorical contexts.
  • ENGH 101 introduces students to the recursive, iterative nature of writing by developing reading, writing, and research strategies for a range of audiences, genres, and purposes. 
  • Community-engaged (CE) ENGH 101 fulfills all student learning outcomes of GMU's first-year composition courses while also requiring students to work with a community organization partner for 15-20 hours per semester. This course helps students connect with their local communities through literacy and writing practices.

All course offerings share the same learning outcomes and fulfill the basic writing requirement for the Mason Core. Part of the Mason Core and Mason Impact, ENGH 100/101 as the first course in Mason’s vertical writing curriculum provides student writers with the skills and mindsets needed to effectively respond to a range of academic and public writing situations through particular attention to rhetorical flexibility and inquiry-based research. Students learn to engage in a process of discovery and consider diverse perspectives before making a judgment, taking a stance, or proposing a solution. Students learn to analyze and respond to a range of rhetorical situations (writing in various genres for different audiences and purposes); develop strategies to critically read a range of non-fiction genres; engage in in-depth inquiry and writing processes; locate, evaluate, and synthesize source material to discover and answer complex questions; and reflect on what they are learning and how they are applying new knowledge, as well as on their research and writing processes.

ENGH 100/101 Learning Outcomes

1: Students are able to analyze and respond to a range of rhetorical situations with increased awareness of the purposes, audiences, and contexts of writing. They are able to identify appropriate rhetorical strategies and apply them in their own writing.

2: Students develop strategies for anticipating and using audience response as they engage in and reflect upon a recursive writing process that includes exploration, inquiry, and invention, as well as drafting, organizing, revising, peer-reviewing, and editing.

3: Students gain emerging college-level proficiency in critically reading and writing nonfiction genres to develop analysis, reflection, exposition, argumentation, and research skills.  

4: Students are able to use research strategies for topic exploration and refining research questions; locate, select, evaluate, synthesize, and document sources; and incorporate outside facts, perspectives, and ideas in their writing to complicate and extend their own ideas. They are able to employ appropriate technologies and resources to support their reading, thinking, researching, and writing.

5: Students develop knowledge of linguistic structures and writing conventions through critical reading and practice (writing and revision). They understand why writing conventions vary based on genre and audience and apply this knowledge by composing different types of texts. 

Updated May 2019

Requirements and Prerequisites

Students in ENGH 100/101 will produce at least 3500 words of formal graded prose and will engage in informal and reflective assignments, early drafts, and/or task-specific writing assignments (e.g. summaries or reading analyses). Students will be engaged in the writing and research process and regularly receive feedback and instruction. Students will also have the opportunity to revise at least one major project after receiving detailed instructor feedback prior to submitting for a grade.

The courses are offered in a variety of learning modalities, including face-to-face, hybrid, hybrid online, and both synchronous and asynchronous online. For a description of course modalities and to see how each type of modality appears on PatriotWeb, please visit our course modalities page.

In addition to these course offerings, the composition program partners with INTO Mason to offer writing instruction to our undergraduate and graduate international students participating in the Pathways program. The INTO  Mason ENGH 100 courses offer a co-taught approach for undergraduate international students working on developing and refining academic writing skills based on current composition and rhetoric and linguistics scholarship.