The Core Curriculum - University Writing

University Writing, with its focus on academic reading and writing, complements the other courses in the Core Curriculum by introducing students to the current intellectual life of the University. In their other courses, students learn to think critically and write independently about great works of the past. In University Writing, students develop these abilities by engaging a range of contemporary or near-contemporary texts from a variety of disciplines. Because several of the readings and assignments encourage students to enter into ongoing debates about the meaning of a liberal arts education and the function of a university, the course also helps students new to Columbia.

All first-year students must complete University Writing during the first year. Credit from Advanced Placement exams in English does not exempt students from this writing requirement.

What is required?



This course must be taken in the first year. Half of the first-year class will take it in the fall, the other half in the spring.

Can I test out?


Any questions regarding this requirement may be addressed to the Undergraduate Writing Program.

Undergraduate Writing Program
310 Philosophy Hall

James H. and Christine Turk Berick Center for Student Advising


403 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: (212) 854-6378

Fax: (212) 854-2458

9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

An Advisor of the Day is available by phone or in person Monday–Friday 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.