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Course Descriptions

For a list of required classes, see Writing Class Requirements in Program Information.

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Expository Writing Courses


EXPOS-UA 1
Writing the Essay

Credits: 4
Instructor: Staff
Syllabus: 2011

This is a required course in expository writing for CAS, Stern, Steinhardt, and Engineering students; it is the foundational writing course. It provides instruction and practice in critical reading, creative thinking, and clear writing. It provides additional instruction in analyzing and interpreting written texts, the use of written texts as evidence, the development of ideas, and the writing of both exploratory and argumentative essays. The course stresses exploration, inquiry, reflection, analysis, revision, and collaborative learning.

TISCH School of the Arts students take Writing the Essay: Art and the World (EXPOS UA-5), which focuses on developing the essay in the arts.

Special sections of Writing the Essay are reserved for the following students:

WTE: Science is specifically tailored for students who are interested in science or medicine. Course readings and assignments focus on current issues in the worlds of science and medicine. Students read and respond to essays by prominent scientists, doctors, and science writers, such as Stephen Jay Gould, Primo Levi, Evelyn Fox Keller, and Richard Selzer.

WTE: Goddard. As part of the Living & Learning options for residence halls, two floors of Goddard Hall are linked to special sections of Writing the Essay. Students
in-residence who are interested in creative writing or live performance, study and attend planned outings together. Writing the Essay assignments and discussions are shaped to invite students to incorporate these experiences into their class work.

WTE: CCC. Students combine Writing the Essay with Texts and Ideas, gaining a richer understanding of the ideas and authors in the CCC course through discussions and the development of essays. Students receive credit for both courses.

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EXPOS-UA 2
The Advanced College Essay: School of Engineering

Credits: 4
Instructor: Staff
Syllabus: 2013-2014

This is a required second-semester writing course for all Engineering students. The course builds on Writing the Essay and provides advanced instruction in analyzing and interpreting written texts from a variety of academic disciplines, using written texts as evidence, developing ideas, conducting academic research, and writing persuasive essays. It stresses analysis, inductive reasoning, reflection, revision, and collaborative learning.  The course is tailored for students in the School of Engineering so that readings and essay writing focus on issues that are pertinent to the sciences.

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EXPOS-UA 5
Writing the Essay: Art and the World

Credits: 4
Instructor: Staff

This required course for all students in the Tisch School of the Arts is designed to engage all Tisch School of the Arts freshmen in a broad interdisciplinary investigation across artistic media. It provides instruction and practice in critical reading, creative thinking, and essay writing. Students learn to analyze and interpret written texts, art objects, and performances; to use written, visual, and performance texts as evidence; and to develop ideas. The course stresses exploration, inquiry, reflection, analysis, revision, and collaborative learning. 

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ASPP-UT 2
The Advanced College Essay:
The World through Art

Credits: 4
Instructor: Staff
Prerequisite: EXPOS-UA 5 Writing the Essay: Art and the World
Syllabus: 2012

Students in the Tisch School of the Arts are required to take this course. The course follows Writing the Essay: Art and the World (EXPOS-UA 5) and provides advanced instruction in analyzing and interpreting written texts, art objects and performances; using written texts as evidence; developing ideas; and in writing persuasive essays. It stresses analysis, reflection, revision, and collaborative learning. The course is tailored for students in the Arts so that course readings and essay writing focus on issues that are pertinent to that discipline.

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ACE-UE 110
The Advanced College Essay:
Education and the Professions

Credits: 4
Instructor: Staff
Prerequisite: EXPOS-UA 1 Writing the Essay
Syllabus: Spring 2012

Students in the Steinhardt School of Education and the School of Nursing are required to take this course. The course builds on Writing the Essay (EXPOS-UA 1) and provides advanced instruction in analyzing and interpreting written texts from a variety of academic disciplines, using written texts as evidence, developing ideas, and writing persuasive essays. It stresses analysis, inductive reasoning, reflection, revision, and collaborative learning. The course is tailored for students in the Schools of Education and Nursing so that readings and essay writing focus on issues that are pertinent to those disciplines.

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EXPOS-UA 4
International Writing Workshop I

Credits: 4
Instructor: Staff
Prerequisite: EWP permission
Syllabus: Spring 2011

The first of two courses for students for whom English is a second language. The Map Requirement for NYU undergraduates is fulfilled with this course and International Writing Workshop II. Provides instruction in critical reading, textual analysis, exploration of experience, the development of ideas, and revision. Stresses the importance of inquiry and reflection in the use of texts and experience as evidence for essays. Reading and writing assignments lead to essays in which students analyze and raise questions about written texts and experience, and reflect upon text, experience, and idea in a collaborative learning environment. Discusses appropriate conventions in English grammar and style as part of instructor feedback.

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EXPOS-UA 9
International Writing Workshop II

Credits: 4
Instructor: Staff
Prerequisite: EXPOS-UA 4 International Writing Workshop I
Syllabus: Spring 2011

The second of two courses for students for whom English is a second language. The Map requirement for NYU undergraduates is fulfilled with this course and International Writing Workshop 1. Provides advanced instruction in analyzing and interpreting written texts from a variety of academic disciplines, the use of written texts as evidence, the development of ideas, and the writing of argumentative essays through a process of inquiry and reflection. Stresses analysis, revision, inquiry, and collaborative learning. Discusses appropriate conventions in English grammar and style as part of instructor feedback.

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EXPOS-UA 13
Writing Tutorial

Credits: 4
Instructor: Staff
Prequisite: EWP permission.
Syllabus: 2012

Offers intensive individual and group work in the practice of expository writing for those students whose competency examination reveals the need for additional, foundational writing instruction. The course aims to better prepare admitted transfer students for the rigorous work they will have to complete in either Writing the Essay or an International Writing Workshop. The course concentrates on foundational work (grammar, syntax, paragraph development) leading to the creation of compelling essays (idea conception and development, effective use of evidence, understanding basic forms, and the art of persuasion).

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EXPOS-UA 15
A Spectrum of Essays

Credits: 4
Instructor: Stephen Donatelli
Prequisite: Portfolio review

“Guises of the Self: History, Literature, Practice" 

Our work picks up from last year’s course by respecting the highly charged and mobile central topic of subjectivity, variously known as the “I,” the self, the persona (performed or feigned), and the identity we think we’re making or somehow possess already. Paradoxically enough, a concern for the self is hardly solipsistic: the historical span of this concept is impressive; the self has served as a medium through which readers and writers have been able to live deeply as historical agents and spiritual beings. As a pathway to knowledge, regard for the self has flourished since antiquity; it is understood as a cornerstone of citizenship.  In this seminar we will acquaint ourselves with some landmark texts in the history of the mutable “I”, observing many artful variations made by several key writers in the tradition of reflective autobiography. We will learn how to read these predecessors by moving with their rhythms, or—in cases of cinematic treatments of the self—by tracking how film images create projected selves even as they transform the self-concept of their viewers.  Readings and visual materials are fun, various and mixed.  They provide a selective foundation for what might be called the tradition of the first person. They serve as occasions for imitation, reflection, and improvisation.  We’ll also be relying on them as touchstones for our own writing practice.  While readings and films about the self often operate through closeness and disclosure, they can also withstand heavy-duty analysis, thereby supporting our balanced objective of working reflectively and working interpretively.  Our two major writing projects will therefore tilt about equally toward something beyond the self’s mere self (what the poet Paul Valéry once called “some self miraculously superior to Myself”), and a critical research essay mobilizing all of the artful and scholarly capabilities of which you stand possessed.

Some of our readings already occupy the fringes of our minds, thanks to the diligent passivity of our cultural subconscious: Augustine’s Confessions, along with the first book of Proust’s multi-volume oeuvre, Swann’s Way; Nella Larsen’s striking masterpiece from the Harlem Renaissance period, Passing; literary innovations by modern masters such as Luigi Pirandello, J.L. Borges, Natalia Ginzburg, and John Barth; and thoughtful analyses of performed and counterfeited selves by Judith Butler and R.D. Laing.  Beguiling cinematic visions of erased, unreal, elusive, split and plural selves come to us thanks to Bernardo Bertolucci, Ingmar Bergman, Luis Buñuel, and Woody Allen, and in Stan Brakhage’s arresting motion picture imitations of inner, psychic life.

Students interested in taking this limited-enrollment class should submit 15 hard-copy pagesno more—of what they judge to be their best piece of finished writing. Bring your copy—well-identified with your name and contact information—to the Writing Program mailbox of Stephen Donatelli, before or by 5 p.m. Friday, November 8, 2013. (Mailboxes are in the reception room, 411 Lafayette Street, 4th Floor.) Notice of selection into the seminar will be given within 8 days.

 

EXPOS-UA 15
A Spectrum of Essays: Questions of Travel

Credits: 4
Instructor: Jenni Quilter, EWP
Prequisite: Portfolio review

This advanced writing course is only available to students who are about to study abroad for their Junior or Senior Fall 2013 semester, and who are returning to New York for the Spring 2014 semester. Class admission requires a portfolio review by the instructor, Jenni Quilter.

What is the story of your education?

Our undergraduate degree is a myth of origins for ourselves as thinkers, which for the rest of our lives, we can subtly embroider and improve upon. Our classes are meant to add up something, to exist as parts of a whole—and what that “whole” is will be different for every student.

Ten years from now, if you were asked to explain what intellectual narrative you crafted for yourself through your course selection choices, through the ideas with which you engaged, through the places you visited, what account would you be able to offer?

This class is an opportunity to embark on this kind of reflection, to craft a new sense of coherency for your degree. It proceeds on the assumption that the best time to do this kind of work is during the second-half of your degree, when you have already absorbed some ideas and are immersing yourself in others, when you can record the details of your lived experience in order to directly reflect on it.

These detailed acts of reflection can only come about through the process of writing, through a rigorous process of reading, drafting, and editing. Accordingly, this advanced writing class is particularly well suited for students who are fascinated by acts of intellectual synthesis, in how one idea might “speak” to another. It is also aimed at students who are writers and interested in long and short-form non-fiction. Finally, the class is also aimed at high-achieving students who are interested in applying for scholarships that require rigorous and thoughtful application essays.

As a focus for this work, you will use your experience in a study abroad program. NYU has become increasingly identified by its commitment to global education, and the question of how our semesters away inform and influence the ideas we absorb in our other classes back “on the Square” is becoming increasingly pressing, as are issues of global citizenship and educational practice. Accordingly, the course will be available to students who are studying abroad Fall 2013 and returning to New York for Spring 2014. In the Fall, while you are all are studying away at various locations, you will (every fortnight) upload onto NYU Classes a brief description of an experience you’ve had. In this way, you’ll be able to read each other’s work. These short pieces of writing will be vignettes; that is, evocative accounts of a moment in time, personal and creative. On your return to New York in the Spring, we will meet twice a week for class; one weekly class will be lecture-based, the other workshop-based. It’s in the spring that the work of analysis and reflection will begin, when we will transform memoir into essay.

Through a series of writing exercises, drafts and readings, you will produce two essays: one short-form essay (particularly well-suited for scholarships) and one long-form essay (honors-level, suited for publication). A course anthology of work will be published.

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EXPOS-UA 16
Advanced Essay Writing for Science

Credits: 4
Instructor: Matthew McClelland, Language Lecturer, EWP
Prerequisite: Writing the Essay; Portfolio review and permission of the Instructor
Syllabus: Fall 2011

This advanced writing course offers offers science and pre-health students the opportunity to design and conduct intensive individual research, write honors-level essays for the public and for the academy, and deliver a professional presentation. The course will rely upon the work of professional scientists and writers, and students will be encouraged to attend several public events about science and writing. Students will be encouraged to present their own research at the Undergraduate Research Conference and to submit completed essays for publication in Mercer Street.

NOTE: To arrange for a portfolio review and an access code, please contact Matthew McClelland at msm8@nyu.edu.

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EXPOS-UA 17
Writing in Community

Credits: 4
Instructor: Laura Weinert-Kendt, Language Lecturer, EWP
Prerequisite: Writing the Essay and permission of the Instructor
Syllabus: Spring 2011

Writing in Community is a course for students who are passionate about writing and community service and would like to explore the dynamic relationship between these two pursuits. As a team, we will head off campus each week to mentor under-served high school students in essay writing. Back on campus, we will have weekly meetings to help us enhance our writing and mentoring skills as we develop our own ideas into essays. We will study writers, artists, and filmmakers whose service and/or community engagement has become a basis for work that documents and reflects on pressing social concerns.

Students require an access code to register for the course. Interested students should contact Laura Weinert-Kendt at law320@nyu.edu.

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EXPOS-UA 18
Writing and Speaking in the Disciplines

Credits: 4
Instructor: Victoria Olsen
Prerequisite: Writing the Essay.
Syllabus: Spring 2013

Introduces students to professional discourse in a range of disciplines, depending on enrollment. Students will practice observing, analyzing, and assessing the broad structures and elements of professional work in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences. They will then pursue their own research projects through oral presentations and written assignments. Those intending to participate in the Undergraduate Research Conference in April are especially encouraged to apply as this course will support that research, writing, and presentation.

NOTE: department permission is required so please contact Victoria Olsen for an enrollment code: victoria.olsen@nyu.edu.

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Course Evaluations

At the end of each term, students are asked to complete an in-class course evaluation. To see the course evaluation form, download this form:

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