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  FAQs about the Foundations-Written Communication (FW) Requirement


What is the Foundations-Written Communication (FW) requirement?

The Foundations-Written Communication (FW) requirement is one of three Foundations requirements that all undergraduates complete in their first year at UHM. It is designed to introduce students to academic writing at the college level and help them get familiar with on-campus and electronic resources. In FW courses, students will learn to find and analyze relevant sources and incorporate them into their own writing. The courses also show the value of developing a process for writing (how to generate ideas efficiently and use drafts, feedback, and revision to develop those ideas into a polished final paper) and applying that approach to future writing assignments. Your FW course, combined with Writing Intensive courses, will help you develop effective written communication skills that will benefit you throughout your career.


Who has to take an FW course?

All undergraduates at UH Manoa are required to take an FW course, unless they already have AP or transfer credit for ENG 100, ENG 200, or ELI 100.


What kind of AP credit fulfills the FW requirement?

An AP score of 4 or 5 on either of the two AP English exams (Language and Literature OR Language and Composition) will earn students 3 credits for UHM’s ENG 100 (an FW course). Students may also fulfill the FW requirement if they transfer a course that is considered equivalent to UHM’s ENG 100 or ELI 100.


What kind of transfer credit fulfills the FW requirement?

Any course that transfers as equivalent to UHM’s ENG 100 or ELI 100 will fulfill the FW requirement. ENG 200 transfer credit can also be used to substitute for the FW requirement. Check the  UHM Admissions & Records transfer credit website to get an idea of how your courses from another institution will transfer to Manoa. Your official transfer credit evaluation will be conducted by UHM's Office of Admissions.


How do I know which FW course to take?

Native speakers of English who come to UHM without FW credit are placed into ENG 190 if they receive 25 or more transfer credits for their non-UH Mänoa courses. All other native English speakers are placed into ENG 100.


Non-native speakers of English are placed based on ELI exemption criteria (if exempt), or by taking the ELI’s writing placement test. (Go to the ELI website and click on “Information for Students,” then on “Do I Need to Take ELI Classes?” for ELI exemption criteria.)


How can I confirm what my FW placement is?

Native speakers who are incoming freshmen (students with fewer than 30 credits) should take ENG 100 to fulfill their FW requirement. No approval or placement is needed.

Native speakers who transfer to Manoa with 30+ credits will be given ENG 190 "placement" in STAR/MyUH. They can find this placement by doing the following:

-Log in to MyUH.
-Click on STAR Degree Check/View Transcript (log in if needed).
-Click on the Transcripts tab. Then view your campus transcripts by semester (not by department).
-Look under “General Tests” for your "Manoa English FW Placement" score.
-If you have 30+ transfer credits, you should have an English FW Placement "score" of 190, which should allow you to register for any open section of ENG 190. If you meet the criteria and do not have this test score, contact the Manoa Writing Program/General Education Office (808-956-6660, mwp@hawaii.edu).

Non-native speakers should consult the ELI for their placement (which might require a placement exam).


What if I want to take a different FW course from the one I was placed into?

You must take the FW course into which you are placed. Exceptions are considered only for non-native speakers who demonstrate that their writing is more native-like in nature.


What if I feel that I am already able to write proficiently and don't need to take an FW course?

Students have the option to submit a collection of writing to earn possible exemption from and credit for ENG 100. (Note that exemption/credit is only given to about half of the students who submit.) Collection invitations are sent to incoming students whose standardized test scores suggest significant academic skills. Other students may contact the Manoa Writing Program in their first semester at Manoa if they are interested in submitting a collection. Click here for details.

When should I take my FW course?

You must complete your FW course by the end of your first year at UHM (or before you have completed 30 credits).


What if I can’t take the course in my first year at UHM?

Students assigned to ENG 100 who do not take the course by the end of their first year at UHM (i.e., before completing 30 credits) can complete the requirement by doing one of the following:

a.   Taking an FW course offered through UHM’s Summer Session

b.   Taking an FW course offered by one of the UH community colleges (IMPORTANT: A placement test may be required. Contact the CC to see if this is the case.)

c.   Taking a course at another institution that will transfer to UHM as an FW equivalent


Students assigned to ENG 190 may have a hold put on their registration if they do not complete the course by the end of their first year at UHM.



What if I take ENG 100 in my first year at UHM but I don't pass?

Students who take ENG 100 in their first year and get a D-, F, or W should contact the Manoa Writing Program/General Education Office (808-956-6660, mwp@hawaii.edu) for permission to take the course as sophomores. Otherwise, they will have to take the course over the summer, in the evening, or at another institution. (See above.)


Why can’t I take ENG 100 at UHM after my first year?

Since Fall 2009, ENG 100 has been a course designed specifically as an introduction to college-level writing with a first-year experience focus. Consequently, it is open to freshmen only in the Fall and Spring semesters.


But can I take ENG 100 over the Summer?

Yes, you can. Because of the nature of Summer Session courses, it is not possible to offer students the same first-year experience focus that Fall and Spring sections of ENG 100 will have. Summer sections of ENG 100, therefore, will be open to all students.

There are so many sections! How do I choose one?

Although ENG 100 sections all meet the same criteria with respect to writing, the focus of each section is different and reflects the strengths and academic interests of the person who is teaching the course. Some sections also have an experienced UHM student, a "mentor" who works closely with the instructor to provide each student a richer first-year experience. Visit the English Department website to see a short description of each of the 40+ ENG 100 sections, and to find out which sections have a mentor.


What is ENG 190?

ENG 190, “Composition I for Transfer Students,” is a new FW course that is being offered for the first time in Fall 2009. Transfer students will be placed in this course if they enter UHM with 30 or more transfer credits but without FW or ENG 200 credit.


Can I take ENG 190 if I’m not a transfer student?

No. The course is open only to those students who come to UHM with 30 or more transfer credits. Continuing students with 30 or more completed credits must take their FW course elsewhere.


I still have more questions. Who can I talk to?

Contact the Manoa Writing Program/General Education Office at (808) 956-6660 or mwp@hawaii.edu.