Writing Samples and Descriptive Table of Contents

The portfolio consists of four writing samples and a Descriptive Table of Contents.

The first two writing samples must have been written for courses in your academic major that you took  at George Mason University.

Select writing samples that demonstrate mastery of the English 302 learning outcomes. A complete list of the learning outcomes is available on the ENGH 302 page of the Composition website HERE.

Do not choose final exam responses or annotated bibliographies for any of your writing samples, and do not submit work from a graduate course.

Do not submit any writing composed for a workplace.

WRITING SAMPLE 1—English 302 is a Students as Scholars and Mason Impact course. A CORE learning outcome for both of these initiatives is inquiry-based, or question-driven research.

WRITING SAMPLE 1 should be a project you wrote for a course in your major that derives from a research question you developed about an issue in your field. This text should illustrate your ability to identify and synthesize multiple perspectives in responding to that research question. 

LENGTH: At least eight (8) pages long, but not more than 20 pages.

CITATION STYLE: The citation style should reflect the one used in your field of study.

WRITING SAMPLE  2—English 302 also teaches students to analyze rhetorical situations (audience, purpose, and context) in order to meet the expectations of readers. WRITING SAMPLE 2 should demonstrate your ability to write to a specific audience and in a specific context (genre) relevant to your academic discipline.

The audience should not be your professor or your peers.

LENGTH: Between four (4) and 12 pages long. Note that longer is not necessarily better.

CITATION STYLE: If you refer to sources, cite them accurately.

WRITING SAMPLE  3 and WRITING SAMPLE 4—These texts can come from any course you took as an undergraduate, but you should be prepared to explain how these writing samples demonstrate your mastery of other learning outcomes for English 302.

LENGTH: Between four (4) and 12 pages long. Note that longer is not necessarily better.

CITATION STYLE: If you refer to sources, cite them accurately.


The Descriptive Table of Contents is an important part of the portfolio. You not only describe the assignments your writing samples represent, you also analyze how your samples demonstrate mastery of the specific learning outcomes for ENGH 302. The samples you select should exhibit sufficient evidence that you have mastered the majority of those outcomes.


For each text in your portfolio, you must provide a written analysis that includes the following:

  • identify the course by name and number
  • briefly describe the focus of the course
  • briefly describe the assignment
  • explain how the text demonstrates mastery of specific learning outcomes for English 302. Please quote the relevant ENGH 302 learning outcomes as you describe how each sample addresses a specific audience; meets a specific purpose for that audience; shows how it fits into a specific context; and how it responds, investigates, or contributes to an issue of concern in your discipline, etc.