First-Year Writing: Bridges Common Learning Experience

6 credits in First-Year Writing

The First-year Writing requirement ensures that University undergraduates have intensive training in written communication. The two composition courses focus not only on surface correctness (absence of errors) but also on critical thinking and reading, analysis of written and visual texts, evaluation of sources of information, recognition of the difference between literary and nonliterary texts, and uses of technology to construct and analyze messages. In the First-year Writing sequence, students acquire the basic skills required not only to write well for their college classes but also to apply those skills in their professions and in their roles as responsible citizens.

Learning Outcomes

In First-year Writing, Duquesne students build on their prior writing knowledge from high school and build toward writing in their majors, careers, and civic lives by engaging in the following rhetorical activities. Upon completion of the courses students will be able to:
1. Engage with rhetorical awareness and critical thinking;
2. Engage with processes and conventions;
3. Engage in reading and ethical research at the college level;
4. While writing about literature, build on their knowledge about reading and writing developed in 101.


Attendance policies are up to the instructor; however, students may NOT miss 6 TR or 9 MWF classes (20%)-excused or unexcused-and pass the class.

Writing Assignments:

Written work is the primary focus for this class; writing assignments will be many and varied. Please feel free to ask questions if you do not understand a particular writing assignment. For your own protection, you must keep all work that you produce for this class-including drafts and in-class notes-until the end of the term.


The bulk of the writing required in this course will be in the form of four formal, academic essays. Specific essay topics and requirements will be presented in class.


At the end of the term, you will be required to turn in a portfolio of your work that will consist of your final paper, a revised version of an earlier, graded paper, and a short reflective essay in which you argue for the grade you deserve in the class.

Academic Honesty:

Please see the Statement on Academic Integrity. If you have any questions about this policy or any part of it, please see your instructor. If you are unsure about your own proper use of outside sources, please consult with your instructor prior to handing in the assignment. You may also want to consult the Duquesne University Academic Integrity Policy found in your Student Handbook. All violations of the Academic Integrity Policy, intentional or inadvertent, will be recorded with the Director of Judicial Affairs, and intentional violations-ranging from unattributed cut-and-pasted sections in your paper to bought essays-will result in heavy sanctions ranging from failure on the paper to expulsion from the university.


Disabilities can be visible and invisible, and the FYW program is dedicated to creating an inclusive learning environment for students of all learning styles and abilities. If you have a disability, or think you may have a disability that requires accommodations, please contact your instructor during the first week of class. Disabilities must be documented by the Office of Disability Services (x6657) to receive classroom accommodations.


If you are involved in a university athletic program and will miss class because of it, you must bring an official list of the classes you will be missing from the athletic department in the first week of class. Moreover, ALL work is to be submitted prior to the excused absence. You are responsible for any announcements and/or class notes that you miss.

Writing Center:

Writing is a complex process, and the University Writing Center's consultants understand that it can be challenging at any stage. The Writing Center is here to help! The Center offers writing instruction and support for undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff. The Center's staff of trained graduate and undergraduate writing consultants provides one-on-one assistance for writers working on academic papers, professional applications, web sites, presentations, and other projects. The Center works with writing from all disciplines throughout your writing processes, from outlines and notes to drafts and revisions. You do not need to have a completed paper to come. All you need is a writing task and a willingness to engage in active conversation about your work. The Writing Center is not an editing or proofreading service. Consultants do not correct or complete your writing for you. They offer a teaching service. It is more effective if you learn from your mistakes, and the Center's consultants want to help you become more capable and confident in your writing. You can see the Center's hours and make an appointment for a 25- or 50-minute session in 216 College Hall or Gumberg Library at

For more information, please contact the Interim Director of First-Year Writing, Matt Ussia

BRDG 101

Writing and Analysis

3 credits

An introduction to the conventions of academic writing; BRDG 101 introduces students to the demands of academic reading and writing. Students learn about critical reading, research, rhetorical awareness, and the demands of various genres of academic writing. Through reading nonfiction prose students engage in critical thinking and analysis. Students will write between 16 to 25 pages of writing (or equivalent multi-media project) with careful attention to the process of invention, drafting, and feedback. Students will also learn how to incorporate other voices into their own writing in order to join the scholarly and professional conversations of their majors and prospective careers.

BRDG 102

Writing and Literature

3 credits

BRDG 102 takes the lessons of thesis-driven, well-supported academic writing and critical reading taught in BRDG 101 and applies them to the analysis of literature. All BRDG 102 classes engage in close, contextual, and critical reading of literary texts. Through the practice of writing like a literary scholar, students will be prepared to write within their own academic and professional disciplines, by reflecting on the demands of genre and audience. Students will also enhance their social and ethical reasoning through exploring the multiple disciplinary lenses a primary text can be analyzed.

HONR 101

Honors Writing and Analysis

3 credits

The Honors Program (HONR) is a university-wide honors program that accepts students based on their high school records, test scores, and recommendations. For these students, the HONR Core curriculum replaces the University Core; HONR students from the College of Liberal Arts still follow the College Core. HONR 101 combines the approaches of Writing and Analysis as well as Writing and Literature to provide an intensely focused course where students use literature as a tool to read and write critically within a scholarly conversation, in preparation for the demands of their majors and prospective careers.