Expository Writing Requirement

Degree candidates admitted as first-year students must enroll during their first year of residence in a prescribed course in expository writing offered by the Harvard College Writing Program. A final grade of D– or better in Expository Writing 20 ordinarily fulfills the writing requirement; however, the Director of the Harvard College Writing Program may require particular students to do additional work during the following term in order to satisfy the requirement. Courses taken on a Pass/Fail basis may not be used to fulfill the Harvard College writing requirement. Harvard Summer School courses in expository writing or creative writing may not be used to fulfill the Harvard College writing requirement. Harvard Summer School courses in expository writing may not be used for degree credit.

All transfer students are expected to satisfy the same writing requirement as students admitted as first-year students unless they have demonstrated superior writing ability in the English language before they arrive at Harvard. Transfer students who seek exemption from the writing requirement must provide the Director of the Harvard College Writing Program with a substantial sample of their own written work in the summer before matriculation 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 evaluate 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.