Writing 140 is the initial course in the composition sequence at the University of Southern California. Writing 140 is intended to provide a foundation of general writing competence in support of undergraduate studies. In their junior year, students complete the composition sequence by taking Writing 340, an upper-division course that focuses more specifically upon the writing practices of a particular disciplinary or professional area.
While Writing 140 concentrates on the development of writing abilities, it is taught in close conjunction with the lecture and discussion sessions of an affiliated Social Issues General Education course and with the theme of the Social Issues USC College Debates. Although the Writing 140 course and the Social Issues section affiliated with it have different goals, requirements, and grading criteria, the two courses are intended to be mutually reinforcing. The content knowledge offered through the Social Issues course will provide a realistic and immediate context in which to understand and practice academic discourse; in return, the writing and critical reasoning skills developed through Writing 140 enhances comprehension of the Social Issues content by affording numerous opportunities to work closely with concepts, theories, and information from that course. By linking the objectives of a composition section with the topical content of a Social Issues course, Writing 140 is designed to provide students with a rich and challenging intellectual experience during their first year at the university.