Placement and Enrollment Policies

The First-year Writing Requirement

All first-year students are required to fulfill Dartmouth's first-year writing requirement. Through the first-year writing courses, the College offers entering students a valuable opportunity to develop the thinking, research, writing, and presentation abilities that characterize intellectual work in the academy and in educated public discourse.

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Writing 5 or Writing 2-3?

Writing 5 focuses on the writing process, emphasizing careful analysis, thoughtful questions, and strategies for effective argument. Writing 2-3 is a two-term, two-credit course that provides more intensive guidance through the reading, writing, and research processes, including individual support from teaching assistants and a culminating research project.

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Writing Placement Process

During the summer, some entering students are invited to complete the online Writing Placement Process. This web-based process has been designed to allow students who might benefit from a two-term writing course to have their writing evaluated and to receive a recommendation about whether to take Writing 2-3 or Writing 5.

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Registration for Writing 5 or Writing 2-3

Students taking Writing 2-3 are pre-registered for Writing 2 before they arrive on campus in fall. Students taking Writing 5 are assigned to take the course either in the fall or winter; this assignment cannot be changed. Information about when a student is scheduled to take Writing 5 appears on the student's placement record in the information that is visible to the student and the student's advisor just before first-year students register for fall term. Students register for Writing 5 during the normal course election process when they choose their other courses for a term.

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Registration for First-Year Seminars

First-year Seminars offer every first-year student an opportunity to participate in a course structured around intensive writing, independent research, small group discussion, and reading across the disciplines. A First-year Seminar is taken in the term immediately following completion of Writing 5 or Writing 2-3.

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Writing 5 or First-year Seminar Switch Information

Advice for students who want to switch between Winter 2017 Writing 5 courses or between Winter 2017 First-year Seminar courses during the course adjustment and add-drop periods.

Switching writing courses after Friday, January 6 in Winter 2017 term is strongly discouraged.

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Humanities 1-2

Humanities 1 and 2: Dialogues with the Classics is an interdisciplinary, two-term, two-credit course sequence for first-year students offered only in fall and winter terms.  Completion of both terms of Humanities 1-2 is another way to satisfy the first-year writing requirement usually fulfilled by taking Writing 5 and a First-year Seminar. For details, see

Transfer Credit

Transfer students may request approval of transfer credit for Writing 5, upper-level Writing courses, or Speech courses based on courses taken at other colleges or universities before matriculation at Dartmouth. The deadline for all requests for credit is the end of the first term of study.

Where Can I Find Out My Writing Placement?

During orientation week just before the start of fall term, when incoming students get access to DegreeWorks, information about your writing placement and which term you are assigned to take Writing 5 (if relevant) will appear in the Prematriculation Credits and Exemptions section of DegreeWorks.

Information on interpreting the information in this section of DegreeWorks can be found on the Registrar's website at: