To successfully fulfill the university's writing requirement, each student must successfully complete Expository Writing (355:101) or its equivalent. To pass this course, students need to demonstrate a mastery of the literacy skills that reside at the core of higher education: critical reading and critical writing.  The Writing Program offers a number of developmental courses to prepare students to succeed in Expository Writing, and will place students in courses that best match their current skill levels.

 First-year Placement:

Incoming first-year students residing in New Jersey must take the Rutgers Placement Test: Level 1 English exam.  Incoming first-year students residing outside of New Jersey may be able to take the Rutgers Placement Test on-line or will be given a reading passage to respond to a directed question.     

The English portion of the Placement Test consists of three sections:

  1. A 35-minute multiple-choice Reading Comprehension exam which tests students’ ability to understand what they read.

  2. A 30-minute multiple-choice Sentence Sense section which evaluates students’ ability to construct grammatically correct sentences, to interpret vocabulary, and to understand how sentences function to express ideas.

  3. A 20-minute essay portion in which students write a response to one of two essay questions.

Placement is determined by combining students’ verbal SAT scores and Reading Comprehension and Sentence Sense scores. The written essays from the 20-minute section are used to assist in making decisions in borderline cases [i.e., students with scores that place them on the high end of Basic Composition (355:100) or the low end of Expository Writing (355:101)] and when there is the possibility of non-native English language.

Entering first-year students who have not taken the placement test should contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., the University Testing and Placement Coordinator, at 732-932-8445 or the Writing Program's main office at 732-932-7570 to find out when the next test is offered.

Placement Exemptions:

Students with Verbal SATs of 600 or higher are exempt from taking the English Placement Test and place automatically into Expository Writing (355:101).

Transfer Placement:

Each college evaluates transfer students’ transcripts to determine whether they should receive credit for required writing courses.  Transfer students who took writing courses at another college or university should contact the Transfer Dean at their college to find out if their credits have transferred, and to determine whether these credits will fulfill requirements or count as elective credit.

When the college is unable to determine whether a course taken at the student’s previous institution fulfills a writing requirement, they refer the student to the Writing Program to have the course evaluated.  In these cases, the Writing Program requires the syllabus from the course in question and all of the work completed in that course.  In these cases, a Transfer Placement Form must be completed and taken to the  Plangere Writing Center office.  Please find a PDF of this form under Attachments at the bottom of this page.

Transfer students who have completed the required writing courses at other institutions should consider enrolling in College Writing and Research (355:301), an elective course that accrues credit towards graduation. 

Transfer students who have NOT been given transfer credit for a writing course will need to take the transfer placement test, which consists of a passage to read and a directed question. Students have two hours to generate their responses.  Experienced readers in the Writing Program review the essays to determine placement.

To learn the dates and locations for the transfer placement tests, please contact the Transfer Dean of your college.

Placement Concerns:

In almost all cases, placement in a writing course is an accurate measure of students' abilities when matched with the expectations of teachers during the first month of class. Placements, however, do not guarantee that students meet the standards necessary to exit the course. Students who feel that their placements are not accurate measures of their current (and NOT potential) writing and reading abilities should attend the first meeting of the course for which they are registered. All sections of all writing courses begin with an in-class written essay on the first day of class. These in-class essays are administered in order to insure that all students have been correctly placed in the appropriate writing courses.

Students should do their best on this in-class essay and notify their teachers if they believe they have been placed at the wrong level. Teachers will review in-class essays and will determine, in consultation with one of the Assistant Directors of the Writing Program, whether or not the placement is correct. If it is determined that a student would be better served working at a different level in the Writing Program, the student will be contacted by one of the members of the Writing Program's support staff and will receive instructions on how to move into a higher (or lower) section. If it is determined that the original placement was correct, the student will remain in the assigned section of the course.

Because placement is determined by several scores on the SATs, students cannot retake any part of these tests.

Please see Registration for more information.

For other concerns, please contact the main Writing Program office.

Download this file (Transfer Credit Form.pdf)Transfer Credit Form[PDF of Transfer Credit Form]14 kB



The Program in American Language Studies (PALS) provides superior English language instruction to non-native English speakers for academic, professional, business, and social/acculturation purposes.





Rutgers University’s Writing Program Institute supports middle school and high school teachers and administrators through on-site professional development, outreach programs, and on campus workshops..


Contact Us

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Rutgers Writing Program
Murray Hall, Room 108
510 George Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901 

TEL (848) 932-7570
FAX (732) 932-3094
EMAIL This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.