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First-Year Writing Program

The Department of English at California State University, Fresno welcomes you, and we look forward to working with you in our First-Year Writing Program.

About the Program

You have an important decision to make about the writing class you will take to meet the university's General Education first-year writing requirement. Unlike many universities that place students into a course without their input, in the Fresno State writing program we use a Directed Self-Placement approach, or DSP.

We want you to choose the first-year writing class that best meets your needs. Here are your six options:

Option 1: Exempt from GE Area A-2

This is for students who scored 3 or higher on the AP exam or have the equivalent course at another institution of higher education.

Option 2: The Accelerated Option

English 10: Accelerated Academic Literacy

(1 semester, 1 course, 3 units)

Option 3: The Accelerated Option, with Support

English 10: Accelerated Academic Literacy


English 1L: Writing Center Tutorial

(1 semester, 2 courses, 4 units)

Option 4: The Stretch Option

English 5A and 5B: Academic Literacy I and II

(2 semesters, 2 courses, 6 units)

Option 5: The Stretch Option, with Support

English 5A and 5B: Academic Literacy I and II


English 1L: Writing Center Tutorial during one semester

(2 semesters, 3 courses, 7 units)

Option 6: The Stretch Option, with More Support 

English 5A and 5B: Academic Literacy I and II


English 1L: Writing Center Tutorial during both semesters

(2 semesters, 4 courses, 8 units)

How to Choose Your Option

To determine which option best matches your current level of reading and writing proficiency, we ask that you first take the Directed Self-Placement Self-Inventory survey.

If the survey alone does not help you determine which class best meets your individual reading and writing needs, we suggest you consult some of our additional web pages to find out more about the different options, including our Directed Self-Placement FAQ, which addresses frequently asked questions about multiple measures, AP exams, and other relevant information for choosing a first-year writing course.

Remember that English 10 and English 5A/B are required classes that meet the General Education lower-division writing requirement. If you have not met that requirement, you need a first-year writing class.

Here again are your six options, at a glance:

six options writing

Additional Resource

The Fresno State Learning Resource Center provides tutoring in a number of disciplines, including ESL tutoring for students. You can access a tutor through scheduled appointments or through drop-in. The Learning Resource Center is located in the Collection Level of the Henry Madden Library and can be contacted at 559.278.3052.