University Core Curriculum



6 credits in English Composition

The English composition requirement ensures that University undergraduates have intensive training in written communication in two small classes. The two composition courses focus not only on surface correctness (absence of errors) but also on critical thinking and reading, analysis of written and visual texts, evaluation of sources of information, recognition of the difference between literary and nonliterary texts, and uses of technology to construct and analyze messages. In the English composition courses the students acquire the basic skills required not only to write well for their college classes but also to apply those skills in their professions and in their roles as responsible citizens.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the English composition course sequence, students are able to

1. Identify the strategies of argument used in written rhetoric;

2. Recognize and analyze works of poetry, fiction, and drama;

3. Produce thesis-driven, coherently-organized, evidence-based, respectful, persuasive, academic writing, appropriate not only for their later college assignments but also for their post-graduate life;

4. Write with a focus on process rather than only on the product, and recognize the purpose of drafting both for their writing and for their critical thinking;

5. Write with a good command of grammatically correct standard English, and understand what resources to consult with questions about grammar, mechanics, or style;

6. Use sources responsibly and ethically, document sources correctly, and understand how to use professionally-sanctioned citation and documentation systems;

7. Assess what they have learned;

8. Apply communication skills taught in 101 to other University courses.




Attendance policies are up to the instructor; however, students may NOT miss 6 TR or 9 MWF classes (20%)—excused or unexcused—and pass the class.

Writing Assignments:

Written work is the primary focus for this class; writing assignments will be many and varied. Please feel free to ask questions if you do not understand a particular writing assignment. For your own protection, you must keep all work that you produce for this class—including drafts and in-class notes—until the end of the term.

In-class writing assignments will be unannounced and will be graded as a part of your participation grade.

Essays: The bulk of the writing required in this course will be in the form of four formal, academic essays. Specific essay topics and requirements will be presented in class.

Portfolio: At the end of the term, you will be required to turn in a portfolio of your work that will consist of your final paper, a revised version of an earlier, graded paper, and a short reflective essay in which you argue for the grade you deserve in the class.

Academic Honesty:

Please see the Statement on Academic Integrity.  If you have any questions about this policy or any part of it, please see your instructor. If you are unsure about your own proper use of outside sources, please consult with your instructor prior to handing in the assignment. You may also want to consult the Duquesne University Academic Integrity Policy found in your Student Handbook. All violations of the Academic Integrity Policy, intentional or inadvertent, will be recorded with the Director of Judicial Affairs, and intentional violations—ranging from unattributed cut-and-pasted sections in your paper to bought essays—will result in heavy sanctions ranging from failure on the paper to expulsion from the university.


Disabilities can be visible and invisible, and the FYW program is dedicated to creating an inclusive learning environment for students of all learning styles and abilities. If you have a disability, or think you may have a disability that requires accommodations, please contact your instructor during the first week of class. Disabilities must be documented by the Office of Disability Services (x6657) to receive classroom accommodations.


If you are involved in a university athletic program and will miss class because of it, you must bring an official list of the classes you will be missing from the athletic department in the first week of class. Moreover, ALL work is to be submitted prior to the excused absence. You are responsible for any announcements and/or class notes that you miss.

 Writing Center:

Writing is a complex process, and the University Writing Center's consultants understand that it can be challenging at any stage. The Writing Center is here to help! The Center offers writing instruction and support for undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff. The Center's staff of trained graduate and undergraduate writing consultants provides one-on-one assistance for writers working on academic papers, professional applications, web sites, presentations, and other projects. The Center works with writing from all disciplines throughout your writing processes, from outlines and notes to drafts and revisions. You do not need to have a completed paper to come. All you need is a writing task and a willingness to engage in active conversation about your work. The Writing Center is not an editing or proofreading service. Consultants do not correct or complete your writing for you. They offer a teaching service. It is more effective if you learn from your mistakes, and the Center's consultants want to help you become more capable and confident in your writing. You can see the Center's hours and make an appointment for a 25- or 50-minute session in 216 College Hall or Gumberg Library at


For more information, please contact the Director of First-Year Writing.

UCOR 101

Thinking & Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits

An introduction to the expectations and practices of academic writing; UCOR 101 introduces students to the principles of rhetoric. Students learn how to identify audiences and create arguments that rely on logic, a credible voice, and that take into consideration an audience's values. Through reading nonfiction prose students engage in critical thinking and analysis and write between three and six papers (totaling between 16-25 pages of final-draft writing) with careful attention to the process of invention, drafting, and feedback. Students will also learn how to incorporate other voices into their own writing and how to properly document their use of those outside sources.

Required texts:
Quick Access Compact by Lynn Q. Troyka and Doug Hesse
Everything's an Argument by Andrea Lunsford and John Ruszkiewicz/Everything's an Argument with Readings by Andrea Lunsford, John Ruszkiewicz, and Keith Walters

UCOR 102

Imaginative Literature & Critical Thinking

3 credits

UCOR 102, "Imaginative Literature and Critical Writing," takes the lessons of thesis-driven, well-supported academic writing taught in UCOR 101 "Thinking and Writing Across the Curriculum" and applies them to the analysis of literature. All UCOR 102 classes achieve the same goals and are, in that sense, identical in terms of the type of work that students will be doing.
However, many the sections deal with a certain theme or subject matter and are listed according to this theme, or "cluster." Listed below are the descriptions of the clusters, along with the section number. Consult your schedule on Banner for the most updates times and places for each section.

This schedule is subject to change; you are not guaranteed to end up in a cluster just because you signed up for it. The English department and the Director of First-Year Writing may find it necessary to shuffle instructors and sections around until classes begin in the Spring. You may not end up in the class you want; if there is room during the first week, you may be able to end up in your desired section, but this is not certain.

Cluster descriptions for Spring 2017 include:

'Reel Reading': Literature and Film
In this course, students will read literary texts, see filmed adaptations of those texts, and complete writing assignments based on both the films and the literature.

Section 87

Literature, Class, and Culture
The "Literature, Class, and Culture" cluster will examine literature that focuses on themes of work, the family, the individual in relationship to the community, social class, and protest.

Section 9
Section 20
Section 33

Gods and Monsters
This cluster deals with "frontiers" in literature-the places where we move a step beyond reality and into the terrifying unknown. By looking at the supernatural, the freakish, the grotesque, the readings question what it means to be human, thereby forcing students to learn about issues that often go unexamined in society, and by extension, themselves.

Section 1
Section 6
Section 8
Section 23

Fantasy and Reality
This cluster also investigates border territories between the "fantastic" and the "real," with a primary focus on myths, fairy tales, and fantasy works. By understanding strategies authors use in constructing these stories, students are able to develop their own understandings and critiques of these issues in their writing and during class meetings.

Section 10
Section 17
Section 18

Gender and Literature
How is sex different from gender? What does it mean to be male or female? How are gender stereotypes created? How does society affect masculine and feminine roles? Do male authors write differently than female authors? Do men and women read differently? These are just some of the questions this class will examine as we study images of men and women in literature (fiction, short story, drama, poetry) and film.

Section 4


IHP 104

Honors Seminar

3 credits

The IHP is a university-wide honors program that accepts students based on their high school records, test scores, and recommendations. For these students, the IHP Core curriculum replaces the University Core; IHP students from the College of Liberal Arts still follow the College Core.

First-Year Writing Contest

Each semester, students in UCOR & IHP classes have an opportunity to enter the First-Year Writing Contest.  One or two students from each class will be chosen by their instructor for exemplifying excellence in writing, and invited to submit their best essay from the semester to enter the contest.

The submissions will be reviewed by the First-Year Writing Committee, and three winners will be chosen each semester (fall and spring). Each of the winners will receive a cash prize and publication in First Class: A Journal of First-Year Composition.

Check out the current version of First Class with last year's winners, as well as our archive of previous years below!

First Class: 2015-2016

First Class: 2014-2015

First Class: 2013-2014