Writing Program Policies

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit for First-Year Writing courses is processed by the Admissions Office. Please note that transfer credit for writing courses does not necessarily exempt transfer students from required writing courses at Northeastern University. Current transfer rules and equivalencies may be found in the transfer credit database.

Students requesting transfer credit for writing courses not already in the database, or re-evaluations of courses that are, should consult with their advisor. Advisors should be in contact with the Writing Program Director, Professor Mya Poe, with transfer equivalency review requests for courses in the Writing Program. Review requests for other English courses should be directed to the Head Advisor in the English Department.

All Northeastern University students must also complete an Advanced Writing in the Disciplines course with a grade of C or higher in order to graduate. No transfer credit is accepted for AWD courses.

First-Year Writing Placement

Placement in First-Year Writing courses is conducted via “guided self-placement” for all students except those enrolled in General Studies or Honors sections. Students conduct an initial self-assessment and, in consultation with their advisors, place themselves into one of our four first-year writing courses. They also write an essay and bring it to the first meeting of their writing course. Instructors read the essays and, along with the Writing Program administrators, make placement recommendations. Students and their advisors are apprised of these recommendations and the Writing Program assists students who wish to make a course change. For a full description, visit our Guided Self-Placement description.

Academic Honesty

Northeastern University is committed to the principles of intellectual honesty and integrity and to respecting intellectual property. All members of the Northeastern community are expected to maintain complete honesty in all academic work, presenting only that which is their own work on tests and assignments. In required writing classes, this definition of plagiarism applies not only to borrowing whole documents (other students’ projects, internet articles, published articles) but also to borrowing parts of another’s work without proper acknowledgment and proper paraphrasing or quotation. In these courses, students will receive instruction on using sources properly as well as feedback from instructors and peers. They will also be directed to important resources on avoiding plagiarism.

However, students bear the responsibility for writing, revising, editing, and proofreading their own work. Writing instructors who determine that plagiarism has been committed are obligated to respond. In cases of student error, instructors may provide additional instruction, require the student to repeat the assignment, and warn the student about the consequences of further infractions. If instructors determine that an incidence of plagiarism is intentional, they consult a Writing Program administrator. Based upon the severity of the infraction, the student may a) fail the assignment, b) fail the course, c) be reported to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, or d) any combination of these. Students may be failed regardless of whether the matter has been sent to OSCCR and regardless of that office’s finding.

For more information, see the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution’s Academic Integrity Policy.


Writing Program policy requires regular attendance at class meetings. Students are allowed three unexcused absences in classes that meet for three days a week; they are allowed two unexcused absences in classes that meet for two days. During the summer sessions, students are allowed two unexcused absences. Significant and/or frequent tardiness may be counted as unexcused absences at the instructor’s discretion.

Students also have the right to a limited number of excused absences due to a religious observance, illness, death in the family, required participation in athletic events, or other serious and unavoidable life circumstances. Students are responsible for notifying instructors when they must miss class for any reason. Instructors are responsible for determining whether a student will be excused from the class. Instructors are reminded that University Health and Counseling Services will not issue documentation of students’ illnesses or injuries.

Because writing classes are conducted workshop-style and focus on revision, a student who misses too many class meetings or falls too far behind in making up work, even with a legitimate excuse, is not earning credit for the same course as the rest of the class. In that case, the instructor may suggest, but not require, that the student to withdraw from rather than fail the course.


A student must receive a grade of C or better in order to pass all required writing courses in the Department of English (C is required for Graduation). Any student earning a C- or lower will need to repeat the course in order to fulfill the writing requirement. The instructor makes the final decision with respect to any grade between A-C. Any portfolio receiving lower than a C must be reviewed and signed off on by a committee of 3-6 Writing Program instructors.


All students in First-Year Writing classes must use their neu e-mail addresses in order to receive e-mail from their instructors and to access Blackboard sites for their writing courses.

Classroom Etiquette

Students are expected to behave with respect in the classroom, both to each other and to the instructor. Inappropriate language or tone of voice, interruptions, dominating class discussion, and other behaviors that might impede the creation of a safe and comfortable learning environment will not be tolerated.

Instructors will use their discretion on permitting the use of laptops and other electronics, but these devices should always be used in support of classroom activities and never for personal reasons during class. Students’ failure to follow this rule may result in their being marked absent for the class.