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University Writing Requirement

Written work is an important part of the curriculum because writing offers students the opportunity to think deeply and searchingly about their subjects and because skill in written expression is crucial to the welfare of both individuals and society. Montclair State's policy regarding written work includes the following requirements and provisions:

1. The document “Standards for Formal Written Work,” which is published in this catalog, outlines in a general way Montclair State’s expectations concerning the content, organization, and format of written assignments. These provisions may be supplemented by departmental writing policy statements or by those of individual instructors.

2. As part of the General Education Requirement, each student must satisfy the communication requirement in writing, usually by taking College Writing I: Intellectual Prose and College Writing II: Writing and Literary Study.

3. Writing is an important part of course requirements throughout the institution (minimum: 2,000 words per course). This work may take such forms as essay examinations, research papers, laboratory reports, critical essays, and so forth.

4. All students must satisfy a graduation requirement in writing. Each department must evaluate the writing ability of its majors by means of a required course with substantial writing assignments (4000-6000 words of formal prose), opportunities for revision, instruction for writing in the discipline, and instructor feedback on rough and final drafts of student writing. This course should be taken in the junior year. Students with serious writing problems will be identified early in the semester, referred to the Writing Center and/or provided with individual tutoring by the instructor. Instructors will not pass students who do not demonstrate university level writing competence and students may not graduate until they have passed the course. Students should consult their academic advisor or major department chairperson regarding this course and other aspects of the department’s writing policy. See list.

5. The Writing Center (Dickson Hall, Room 285, 973-655-7442) is available to all MSU students who are committed to developing themselves as writers. Whether students are encouraged to attend the Writing Center by an instructor, or choose it on their own, students will be provided with a tutor for weekly meetings. Writing Center tutors' abilities to give concrete, encouraging, and regular feedback will enable writers to improve their capacity to develop and express complex ideas meaningfully and clearly. There is no charge for this service.