Writing Requirement

Degree candidates admitted as freshmen must enroll during their first year of residence in a prescribed half-course in expository writing offered by the Expository Writing Program. A final grade of D– or better in Expository Writing 20 ordinarily fulfills the writing requirement; however, the Director of the Expository Writing Program may require particular students to do additional work during the following term in order to satisfy the requirement. Neither courses taken on a Pass/Fail basis nor Harvard Summer School courses in expository or creative writing may be used to fulfill the Harvard College writing requirement.

All transfer students are expected to satisfy the same writing requirement as students admitted as freshmen unless they have demonstrated superior writing ability in the English language before they arrive at Harvard. Fall term transfer students who seek exemption from the writing requirement must provide the Director of the Expository Writing Program with a substantial sample of their own written work in the summer before matriculation at Harvard; spring term transfer students must submit a writing sample by December 1 before matriculating at Harvard. Such a sample should include at least twenty double-spaced, typewritten pages. Papers submitted to and evaluated by a faculty member at the college the student attended before coming to Harvard constitute an appropriate sample. The Director will judge the papers and decide if an exemption should be granted. Transfer students seeking exemption should contact the Harvard College Writing Program at 617-495-2566 or expos@fas.harvard.edu for more information.

Any student who fails to complete the writing requirement during the first year of residence must enroll in an appropriate Expository Writing course during each subsequent term of residence until the requirement is met.