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Composition Program

We believe that writing and composition are central to a liberal arts education.

A woman writes in a notebook


We also believe, in keeping with the Council of Writing Program Administrators (CWPA), that “the process of learning to write in any medium is complex: it is both individual and social and demands continued practice and informed guidance." Principles that shape our curriculum and pedagogy include the following:

  • Writing is a knowledge-making endeavor
  • Writing is deeply informed by critical reading of texts, images, experience, and culture
  • Writing serves the interests of both the writer and reader(s)
  • Writing is produced using conventions that vary depending on the context

These principles are the basis of the learning outcomes for each of TCU’s four required writing courses (two at the lower division, two at the upper division), considered Essential Competencies in the core curriculum. Every section of ENGL 10803, ENGL 10803T, ENGL 20803, and ENGL 20803T is designed to achieve the designated outcomes for WCO 1 or WCO 2.

The learning outcomes of our first- and second-year writing courses also align with the CWPA Outcomes Statement for first-year composition.

Program Description

All students at TCU are required to complete a semester-long writing workshop in their first year (WCO 1, ENGL 10803) and in their second year (WCO 2, ENGL 20803) as well as two writing emphasis courses (WEM) at the upper division. ENGL 10803 and ENGL 20803 are administered by the English Department’s composition program. WEM courses are offered across the university, often in a student’s major, under the purview of the University Writing Committee.


This course satisfies Written Communication 1 (WCO) requirement in the TCU Core Curriculum. Prerequisite to all advanced writing courses at TCU. Writing workshop where students compose multiple pieces in a range of genres using appropriate rhetorical conventions, learn strategies for reading texts and visuals critically, and incorporate suitable sources. Students will engage in processes for invention, drafting, critiquing, revising, and editing of prose. Note: themed sections on a range of topics may be offered and will be designated with a descriptive course title.


ENGL 10803 Writing as Inquiry Common Syllabus
Most ENGL 10803 courses use one of the TCU composition program common syllabi, either the Connections Syllabus or the Genre Syllabus. The current common syllabus is the Connections Syllabus, and focuses on four types of inquiry: narrative, text-based, ethnographic, and reflective. Graduate instructors use the current common syllabus in their first semester of teaching but may modify it in subsequent semesters. Other instructors are welcome to develop their own versions of ENGL 10803, so long as they ensure that students meet the learning outcomes for the course.

The Common Syllabus and teaching materials are available on the Composition Program TCU Online Site. For more information, contact Charlotte Hogg, director of composition.

This course satisfies the Written Communication 2 (WCO 2) requirement in the TCU Core Curriculum. Prerequisite: English 10803 or equivalent and sophomore standing (24 hours). Writing workshop that builds on ENGL 10803 by focusing on the analysis and production of arguments in a variety of media (i.e.: print, visual, oral, digital). Students will work individually and collaboratively to read, research, and compose effective arguments on issues of local and national importance. Note: themed sections on a range of topics may be offered and will be designated with a descriptive course title.


 Learning Outcomes


ENGL 20803 Writing as Argument Template
As there is no common syllabus for ENGL 20803, instructors design their own versions of the course, keeping in mind the WCO 2 learning outcomes. The Composition Program has created a template that may be used as the basis of an instructor's ENGL 20803 course. The template includes four assignments (rhetorical analysis, defining a problem, proposing a solution/intervention, and personal argument) as well as rhetorical concepts that are relevant to each project.

For other approaches to ENGL 20803, including complete syllabi and assignment descriptions, see the Composition Program TCU Online site or contact Charlotte Hogg, director of composition.


Themed WCO Courses


How Is a Themed WCO Course Different from a non-Themed Course?

  • Themed courses focus on a particular subject or topic throughout the semester
  • Themed courses include readings, content, and supplementary material pertaining directed to the chosen topic
  • Themed courses tailor the common syllabus assignments to address the course theme and WCO learning objectives
  • Themed courses include content that would engage students already interested in that topic, but also introduce the topic to students who are unfamiliar with the theme

For more information, please contact Charlotte Hogg, Director of Composition, or Nataly Dickson, the Assistant Director of Composition for 2023-2024.