First-Year Writing Courses

Here you will find the course descriptions, prerequisites, and textbooks used in our 1010 and 1020 courses. 

NOTE: TN eCampus (formerly RODP) classes (.R01, .R50, .R25, etc.) classes are not administered by the Department of English. Speak with your advisor before signing up for these classes to make sure they fit into your degree program.

English 1010

The goal of English 1010 is to help each student develop into a more thoughtful reader and more effective writer, one who understands how writers make meaning through language.

Learning Outcomes
The work assigned in ENGL 1010 is designed to develop in first-year college writers a deeper understanding of the complexities of writing through instruction and guided practice in the skills, processes, and strategies necessary for effective, successful writing.
Students should develop and demonstrate the abilities to do the following:
A) Identify how an author's purpose, audience, genre, and context determine effective writing.
B) Discover, develop, and explain ideas through writing processes that include generating, planning, revising, editing, and proofreading multiple drafts of a text.
C) Compose an effectively organized essay that focuses on a clear purpose and that develops major points that support its main idea(s) in reasonable and effective ways.
D) Adopt appropriate voice, tone, and level of formality.
E) Critique their own and others' writing.
F) Control features such as sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and appropriate documentation (MLA).


  • Wardle, Elizabeth and Doug Downs. Writing about Writing: A College Reader. Fourth Edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2019. ISBN: 9781319195861 

All students enrolled in English 1010 must have met one of the follow prerequisites:

  • ACT English score of at least 18 or an SAT verbal score of at least 450;
  • A satisfactory score on a placement test administered by the University of Memphis Testing Center;
  • A score of at least 490 on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section of the SAT. 

Note: Students who score between 401-489 on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section of the SAT will be placed into a combo (DSPW) section of ENGL 1010. 

Further, this course must be completed with a grade of "C minus" or better before students can continue to English 1020.

Students may be exempted from English 1010 under the following conditions:

  • acceptable transfer credit of an equivalent college course;
  • a score of 3 or higher on either the Advanced Placement Language and Composition examination or the Advanced Placement Literature and Composition examination;
  • an ACT English subscore of 29 or above;
  • a score deemed a "Pass" on the CLEP College Composition Modular examination.

English 1020

The goal of English 1020 is to reinforce and further develop the academic writing and reading practices—inquiry, critical analysis, synthesis, argumentation, research, and documentation—that students encounter in English 1010.

Students investigate the ways argument functions in society, with particular emphasis placed on the functions of argument in academic writing. Students analyze others' arguments and compose arguments of their own, culminating in a substantial researched argument.

Learning Outcomes
By the conclusion of ENGL 1020, students should do the following:

  • Demonstrate rhetorical knowledge by writing effectively for different contexts, audiences, genres, and purposes.
  • Illustrate an awareness of composing processes, particularly when it comes to invention, drafting, revision, and delivery.
  • Demonstrate an ability to conduct research-based inquiries by posing research questions, conducting academic research, evaluating secondary sources, integrating sources to support claims, and citing sources appropriately.
  • Indicate an ability to thoughtfully use digital writing technologies when appropriate to the rhetorical situation.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of conventions by producing organized, stylistically appropriate, and carefully proofread writing.

All students enrolled in English 1020 must have completed ENGL 1010 with a minimum grade of "C minus", or equivalent.


  • Fredlund, Katherine (ed.), Writing Memphis. Third Edition. Hayden-McNeil. ISBN: 978-1-5339-2428-5


Students may be exempted from English 1020 under the following conditions:

  • acceptable transfer credit of an equivalent college course
  • a score deemed a "Pass" on the CLEP College Composition Modular examination.