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Policies of the Expository Writing Program

The following information indicates the official minimum requirements for students enrolled in all writing courses taught through the Expository Writing Program. Individual teachers may have more stringent requirements for the sections they teach.

Course goals and parameters

Students will learn to write a variety of essays, with increasingly complex requirements, as they move across the semester and into the next course. The writing courses provide a foundation for work in the university by teaching students to construct essays and arguments that reflect an ability to read critically, question evidence, make relevant connections, develop ideas, and present their own ideas in coherent, compelling essays. In our writing courses, students create essays through a progression of reading, writing, and thinking exercises that lead them to develop their own ideas and their own essays. Progressions give students practice in the skills necessary for writing the particular kind of essay they're being asked to write. Although the activities in a given progression generate writing toward an essay draft, drafting does not mean cutting and pasting these exercises. Instead, the work of drafting an essay involves the thoughtful reworking of these pieces into one coherent text.

Classroom Decorum

The classroom should be a place where the free exchange of ideas can occur in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Teachers and students are encouraged to bring serious breaches of decorum to the attention of the Directors (998-8860). This includes problems such as non-performance of class obligations, disruptive or disrespectful behavior, and prejudice on the basis of gender, race or sexual orientation. According to the University policy on student conduct, "Behavior which...disrupts the educational activities...of the University, is subject to review and possible penalty." All complaints are kept confidential.


Students will write three essays. They must always submit drafts of their major papers, not just the final version. Final versions are graded. All students should receive a mid-term grade, indicating how they are progressing in the course. There should be an opportunity for students to revise one of these essays after the grade has been given; however, it is always the student's responsibility to provide substantive revision. It is the teacher's responsibility to guide revisions, but not specifically to direct them. All students should receive information about how grades are determined. Ninety percent of the grade should be based on the final essays. Students must keep all writing done in the course, including drafts, final papers, and informal writing (e.g. journal entries, in-class writing, homework assignments). This writing should be kept together as a portfolio of work (organized in a file folder or three-ring binder). Students must submit the portfolio to their teachers upon request. All final versions of major papers must be typed or printed from a computer. These papers should be double-spaced, with 1" margins. Students are responsible for collecting their portfolios after course grades have been determined. Portfolios are discarded in the middle of the following semester.


During the semester students are expected to have at least two conferences with their writing teacher to obtain feedback on a draft. Twenty minutes is the minimum time allowed for conferences.

Attendance and Preparedness

Because much of the learning in writing courses occurs through active discussion and in-class writing rather than through lectures, it is essential that students attend class, come prepared, and participate. Students with absences or habitual lateness will have their grades lowered, even though they may have completed their required assignments. Students should explain the reason for an absence at the time it occurs. Documented medical conditions and the observance of religious holidays are legitimate excuses for absences; however, students are still responsible for what has been missed. Students should understand that absence for whatever reason will have some bearing on the ability to fulfill the requirements for the final essay. Students with four absences of any kind may fail the course.

How to contact us

Directors will be happy to respond to student inquiries, questions, and concerns. You can schedule appointments at 411 Lafayette, 4th Floor, telephone 212 998-8860, or email ewp@nyu.edu for an appointment.

New York University
Expository Writing Program

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Statement on Academic Integrity

Students are expected-often required-to build their work on that of other people, just as professional researchers and writers do. Giving credit to someone whose work has helped you is expected; in fact, not to give such credit is a crime. Plagiarism is the severest form of academic fraud. Plagiarism is theft. More specifically, plagiarism is presenting as your own:

  • a phrase, sentence, or passage from another writer's work without using quotation marks;
  • a paraphrased passage from another writer's work;
  • facts, ideas, or written text gathered or downloaded from the Internet;
  • another student's work with your name on it;
  • a purchased paper or "research" from a term paper mill.

Other forms of academic fraud include:

  • "collaborating" between two or more students who then submit the same paper under their individual names.
  • submitting the same paper for two or more courses without the knowledge and the expressed permission of all teachers involved.
  • giving permission to another student to use your work for a class.

Term paper mills (web sites and businesses set up to sell papers to students) often claim they are merely offering "information" or "research" to students and that this service is acceptable and allowed throughout the university. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY UNTRUE. If you buy and submit "research," drafts, summaries, abstracts, or final versions of a paper, you are committing plagiarism and are subject to stringent disciplinary action. Since plagiarism is a matter of fact and not intention, it is crucial that you acknowledge every source accurately and completely. If you quote anything from a source, use quotation marks and take down the page number of the quotation to use in your footnote.

Consult The Modern Language Association (MLA) Style Guide for accepted forms of documentation, and the course handbook for information on using electronic sources. When in doubt about whether your acknowledgment is proper and adequate, consult your teacher. Show the teacher your sources and a draft of the paper in which you are using them. The obligation to demonstrate that work is your own rests with you, the student. You are responsible for providing sources, copies of your work, or verification of the date work was completed.

The academic community takes plagiarism very seriously. Teachers in our writing courses must report to the Director of the Expository Writing Program any instance of academic dishonesty in student writing, whether it occurs in an exercise, draft, or final essay. Students will be asked to explain the circumstances of work called into question. When plagiarism is confirmed, whether accidental or deliberate, students must be reported to the Dean of their School, and penalties will follow. This can result in failure of the essay, failure in the course, a hearing with the Dean, and/or expulsion from the university. This has happened to students at New York University.

For more information on avoiding plagiarism and proper use of internet citation, we recommend visiting these websites:

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