Critical Writing Seminars

Writing Credit for Transfer Students

The University of Pennsylvania has a unique, discipline-based writing curriculum that emphasizes knowledge and practice of critical writing as a specific rhetorical mode shared across disciplines and certain professions. Fundamental to this mode is an acute understanding of and engagement with audience and thus a substantial amount of collaborative work, including peer review. Twice each semester, students submit a portfolio that outside readers evaluate for demonstrated knowledge and quality of writing. Given the rigor of our assessment process, which is contingent upon accomplishing a series of increasingly demanding tasks, we infrequently grant transfer WRIT credit.

To be considered for transfer WRIT credit, students must:

  • Have transferred into Penn as a junior.
  • Apply within their first academic year at Penn.

    • No requests will be considered from students who have completed two or more semesters of Penn coursework. We strongly encourage you to apply in the first semester so that if you do not receive transfer WRIT credit you can plan accordingly.

  • Have earned a "B" or better in a seminar comparable to those taught at Penn.
  • Demonstrate proficiency on a timed diagnostic test.

What are comparable courses?

Critical Writing seminars at Penn require at least 40-50 pages of discipline-based writing, emphasize rhetoric, domain knowledge, peer-review, audience, synthesis, research-writing, usage and mechanics. All seminars are discipline-based and include extensive research and writing about a full-length scholarly text as well as shorter readings and other texts on the course topic.

How do I apply for transfer WRIT credit?

Students must submit an application via The College's XCAT system. The XCat submission should include:

  • Course syllabus.
  • Student work from the class including graded final papers, if available.
  • Unofficial transcript or attestation of earned grade at/above B (may be an upload "note").
  • A Penn email address, if available.

Once the submission has been completed the student must notify the Critical Writing Program by email at Students will then be required to complete a diagnostic essay and will be provided with the instructions for doing so.

Students are advised to submit their work no later than September 18 for a decision prior to advance registration in the spring, or February 1 for a decision prior to advance registration in the fall.