Which Composition Class Should I Take?

Expanded Composition Video

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  • English 99E (ACT 16 and below)

English 99E, the Expanded Composition Studio, is a one-hour, non-credit-bearing companion course to the first semester of Expanded Composition I (ENG 100E – see description below).  Students who scored a 16 or below on the English portion of the ACT are required to co-enroll in both ENG 100E and ENG 99E.  In the Expanded Composition Studio, students will work on their writing projects for Expanded Composition in a small cohort group of peers with an instructor who will provide individualized feedback and guidance.  Because creating a writing community is an important goal of the Expanded Composition program, the 99E Studio offers students a multi-layered and more intimate writing community in their first semester.  


  • English 100E (ACT 19 and below)

English 100E is Expanded Composition I.  It covers the same material as ENG 101, but does so over the course of two semesters, and in most cases with the same teacher, same students, and even the same classroom.  English 100E provides students with additional time, attention, and resources to help them succeed in their college classes.  While Expanded Composition is required for any student scoring a 19 or below on the English portion of the ACT, it is recommended for anyone who wants to take a little more time with his/her first college composition class.  Our research shows that students who complete ENG 100E outperform their peers in both English 101 and English 102 the following semester.  Because it is a year-long course, it carries six credits, three elective credits for the first semester, and three credits for ENG 101 the second semester (which fulfills the GEC requirement for English 101.)


  • English 101 (ACT 20 and above)

English 101 is Composition I, and 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.  The course will show how writing is a form of social interaction and will teach students how to identify their audience and write effectively for different audiences.  English 101 is a three-credit class and part of the GEC requirement.


  • English 101H (enrollment restricted to Honors College students)

English 101H is an honors section of Composition I, and enrollment in this class is handled through the Honors College.


  • English 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.


  • 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).

  • Challenge Exam

If you want to challenge your placement in ENG 100E, you may sign up for our Challenge Essay Exam. Please note that students who score a 16 or below on the English portion of the ACT cannot, by state mandate, place out of ENG 100E and ENG 99E.


  • 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.

  • CLEP Credit

For information on CLEP, please email composition@usm.edu.