UMass Boston

Testing Services

Self-Guided Writing Placement

Welcome to the Guided Writing Placement! This process will help you determine which writing courses you should take in your first year at UMass Boston. UMass Boston offers a variety of pathways to meeting the general education requirements for writing courses, including sections that offer extra support. Take the Guided Writing Placement here. Below are courses that this placement program will assist you with selecting:

First-Year Seminar Requirement
All students who enter UMass Boston with fewer than 30 credits are required to take a First-Year Seminar course. These four-credit seminars focus on critical thinking, writing, and reading. This guided self-placement process will help you decide which path to completion of the first-year seminar requirement is the best “fit” for you.

Composition Requirement
All UMass Boston students are required to take two semesters of composition: English 101 (Composition I) and English 102 (Composition II). A small number of students earn credit for composition courses before they enroll at UMass Boston via exam scores or transfer credits, but the vast majority of first-year students take both English 101 and English 102 at UMass Boston. This guided self-placement process will help you know what steps to take if you have already earned credit for English 101.

Courses for English Language Learners
UMass Boston’s ESL Program offers a range of courses that are led by instructors who have expertise in teaching multilingual students. This guided self-placement process will help you decide if a course taught by a multilingual writing expert would be the best choice for you.

Guided Self-Placement Steps

  1. Complete this Guided Writing Placement before attending orientation. This placement program involves a set of questions about your experiences with language, writing, and standardized testing, followed by a brief reading and writing activity. Please answer all questions carefully and honestly, so that you will receive the best guidance on your course placements. You should expect this process to take about 60 minutes to complete.
  2. Discuss your placement recommendations with your academic advisor. During the registration portion of new student orientation, you and your academic advisor should discuss the results of this program to select and register for appropriate writing courses. If you have not yet completed the guided writing placement when you meet with your advisor, they will not be able to assist you with registering for all courses. Please complete the placement after your advising session and before registering for your FYS course based on the recommendation you will receive. You may register for ENGL 101 during your session.
  3. Register for courses. Using the results of this placement program as a guide, you and your advisor will work together to register for the appropriate courses in your first year.
  4. If you have questions about this placement process, please contact the Testing Center at