First-Year Writing Program

The writing faculty at Southern Miss want to be sure that students are taking courses that allow them to be successful in their first-year and throughout their academic careers. We believe these courses will help students to build community with their peers and instructors and will prepare them to meet their academic goals. We also recognize that ACT placement is not optimal, and we have done our best to ensure that students have an opportunity to both understand their class options and to appeal their placement.


Composition Courses and Descriptions

  • ENG 100E (ACT 19 and below): This is a three-hour writing course designed for students who need more time to engage with the expectations of the writing curriculum and to prepare to successfully transition to ENG 101. This course is required for students who score a 19 or below in the English index of the ACT. The course is offered online for students in fully-online degree programs.
  • Get a jump start on English 100E! ENG 100E is now available in a three-week intersession (August 5-22, 2019)  before the fall semester begins. Students who pass this course will be able to take a traditional ENG 101 during the regular fall semester. The class will meet M-F 11:00-1:45. Learn more about intersession classes at
  • ENG 101 (ACT 20 and above): English 101 is Composition I, and it is a required course for all Southern Miss students.  This course aims to introduce students to the strategies, tools, and resources they'll need to become successful writers and communicators in a range of academic, professional, and public settings.  
  • ENG 102 (prerequisite:  English 101) 

    English 102 is a three-credit, required course for all Southern Miss students. Composition II is designed to help students develop their communication skills, research their ideas, and write effectively. Designed to build upon the strategies for successful writing students learned in English 101, English 102 focuses on persuasive and researched writing. ENG 102 is part of the GEC core requirements.



    The deadline for registering for the exam is Friday, January 4th, 2019.

  • International Students Students who score below a 24 on the TOEFL writing exam or below a 6.5 on the ITELS writing exam are automatically placed into ENG 100E, but they have the option of appealing placement via the challenge exam.
  • Adult Status Admission Adult admits who do not have ACT or SAT scores are automatically placed in ENG 100E, but they may appeal placement via the challenge exam or a professional appeal process. The professional appeal process requires the student to write an email to the director of composition explaining why the student believes he or she is prepared for USM’s traditional ENG 101 class and must refer to the course descriptions on the department website as part of these explanations. In addition, the student must submit a writing sample as evidence of writing competency (please note that the writing sample does not need to be academic in nature; it can be any document that illustrates comfort with and proficiency in writing).
  • AP Credit A score of 3 will place students out of ENG 101, and a score of 4 or 5 will place them out of both ENG 101 and 102.
All students seeking to CLEP out of ENG 101 are required to take the CLEP College Composition Modular with the essay provided by CLEP and scored by the college.  The Department of English will accept these submissions from Admissions, review them, and provide a timely response regarding whether or not the  student should receive credit for ENG 101.
To contact Admissions, please call 601-266-5000 or email

Again, if you or students have any questions about course placement, please let us know by emailing We are happy to help!