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English 101 Exemptions

You may receive an exemption from English 101 in three ways: by AP Language and Composition test score, through a course equivalency, or by portfolio.

Before you submit any materials, please contact Scott Eklund in the Academic Writing Office at 301-405-3771 or seklund@umd.edu.

By Test Score

Under the recently passed General Education Requirements, in effect for students entering the University of Maryland on or after July 1, 2012, students who have earned a score of  4 or a 5 on the Advanced Placement (AP) Language and Composition Exam may be exempted from Academic Writing (English 101).

There is no provision for exempting from the course with SAT or ACT scores. Students with an IB diploma who scored 5, 6 or 7 on the Level A Language and Literature test AND earned an A or B on the extended essay (written in English) may contact the Academic Writing Office about the possibility of submitting a portfolio for consideration of an exemption to English 101 (see below Exempting 101 by Portfolio Review).

Exempting 101 by Portfolio Review

You may submit a portfolio for consideration, if you:

  • Are trying to transfer to or have been officially admitted to the University of Maryland.
  • Have received credit for a first-year composition course at a university or college or community college outside the University of Maryland System, but the course was determined not to be equivalent to English 101 at the University of Maryland.
  • Have completed I.B. coursework in high school; scored a 5,6, or 7 on the Level A Language and Literature test; and received an A or a B on the extended essay. If a student has I.B. work only (no university, college, or community college transfer coursework from outside the University of Maryland system), and has met the criteria to be eligible to submit a portfolio for consideration, the portfolio will consist of the cover letter argument and the I.B. extended essay. No other high school work may be submitted.
  • Have written papers that meet the criteria for English 101 papers.
  • Have submitted official transcripts of all relevant transfer coursework to the University of Maryland; the transcripts must have been processed and made available electronically to the academic coordinators who will be assessing exemption portfolios.    
  • Have contacted the Academic Writing Office ahead of time to inform the administrative coordinator of your intent to submit an English 101 exemption portfolio (301-405-3771). 

Portfolio

What is a portfolio?

A portfolio is much more than a set of writings you have done for credit at your previous institution or institutions.  It is an argument in support of the claim that you have demonstrated mastery of the skills taught in the University of Maryland's English 101 course.

A portfolio consists of a cover letter claiming that you merit an exemption from English 101 and supporting material, which may include papers, syllabi, and assignment sheets from coursework at your previous institution or institutions. We will review papers you wrote for courses other than English. You can only submit papers from schools you attended before attending the University of Maryland and from schools that are considered outside the University of Maryland system. No high school papers, other than I.B. work under certain conditions, are allowed to be submitted.

Although our web page contains a link to the standard syllabus for English 101 (Academic Writing) at the University of Maryland, the goal of your portfolio submission should not be to prove that the composition courses you completed elsewhere are equivalent to English 101. Instead, your purpose is to prove that you have mastered scholarly research skills, MLA or APA citation skills, and argumentation skills (claims, evidence, analysis, etc.).

What should I include in my portfolio?

  • A cover letter that defends the position that you deserve an exemption to the University of Maryland's English 101/Academic Writing requirement based upon an analysis of your writing samples. Your thesis should be that, in the breadth of the coursework you transferred from outside the University of Maryland system, you have already mastered the most important skills in the University of Maryland's Academic Writing course: scholarly research skills, MLA or APA citation skills, and argumentation skills.The letter should contain supporting evidence from the writing samples you have chosen to demonstrate sufficient mastery of each skill.
  • A syllabus from your previous first-year composition course and, if available, assignment sheets. The curriculum should include rhetorical skills and revision.
  • Papers that demonstrate a significant level of research (for example, we require 20 bibliographic items, most from scholarly publications, on our own final paper).  We do not require that your papers cite 20 sources, only that they show a significant level of research skill in engaging your evidence. Also, your papers should cite all sources accurately and honorably.
  • Papers that show a clear focus on rhetoric, argumentation, and critical thinking.  Your work should also demonstrate an attention to issues of audience, counterargument, and exigence.

 

Where should I submit my portfolio?

You are welcome to email your portfolio submission directly to Administrative Coordinator Scott Eklund at seklund@umd.edu.

How long does a review take?

Please note that while we will make every effort to complete all reviews as quickly as possible, because of the volume of portfolios we receive it usually takes 3 weeks for our office to render a decision.

When we reach a final decision, you will be notified via email. If you have any questions while you are assembling your portfolio, please contact the administrative coordinator at 301-405-3771.

Exempting 101 by Course Equivalency

If you transferred college-level coursework in composition or writing from outside the University of Maryland, you may be able to pursue an exemption to English 101 by seeking a course equivalency, an MHEC Waiver, or a portfolio review. For information about course equivalencies, MHEC Waivers, and/or portfolio reviews, please contact the administrative coordinator in the Academic Writing Office (301-405-3771) or email us at academic-writing@umd.edu.

How Do I Know if a Course Is Equivalent to 101?

The Transfer Credit Center can provide you with information about course equivalencies and information about admission to the University of Maryland.  For questions about transfer credit, you may contact an advisor by phone at 301-314-8413 or 301-314-8256.  For questions about transfer admission, you may call 301-314-8385.

If your course has not been reviewed, you may submit course materials (including a full schedule of readings or syllabus) to help us to determine how to classify your course.  The Transfer Credit Center will provide you with information on how to proceed.

You may be surprised that the first-year composition course you took does not transfer to the University of Maryland or transfers as L1, which indicates a lower-level elective credit.  Several factors determine whether a course is equivalent.

To be equivalent, a course must demonstrate:

  • A significant level of research (we require 20 bibliographic items, most from scholarly publications, on our own position paper assignment). A minimum of two 8-12 page, scholarly-research-driven formal writing assignments are required for a course to be even considered for meeting the University of Maryland's Fundamental Studies in Academic Writing requirement. There are four formal writing assignments, totaling a minimum of twenty-five pages, that are driven by scholarly research in English 101 at UMD.
  • A clear focus on rhetoric, argumentation, and critical thinking.
  • An attention to issues of audience, counterargument, and exigence.
  • Extensive practice in revision.