First-Year Writing: Where the Mission is You

SF Sidewalk

Welcome to the Writing Program at SF State! Our courses are designed to help first-year students become confident and capable writers who can succeed in the university and beyond. In our courses, students are encouraged to

  • Make their voices heard;
  • Write about topics that matter;
  • Use digital tools to investigate, discover, persuade;
  • Make a difference in the world.

We offer writing courses in a variety of formats -- online, hybrid, remote, and in person. No matter what the format, we provide meaningful learning, a sense of community, and ample academic support.

Student writing is showcased every year in our journal of undergraduate writing, Sutro Review. Faculty and student editors were able to publish the 4th volume during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Throughout the Covid19 crisis, we continue to offer a flexible, quality education to support students in achieving their goals.

Once the class went online my favorite part was the comments and discussions we had on the forums. I really appreciated the feedback people gave me and it opened my mind to other ideas I could use in my essay that I hadn’t previously thought about. I also enjoyed reading other classmate’s posts because most of the time it made me think more about their topic and it was great to see people write about subjects or opinions they have that they are truly interested in. This class wasn’t constricting in the writing assignments and it offered a lot of freedom to be creative with the assignment. Even though we are all far apart and sometimes not everyone shows up, I haven’t felt out of touch with anyone in the class and there is still a feeling of togetherness that is felt when we would collaborate over Zoom. Everyone truly cared about what they would talk about in class and after researching for my annotated bibliography, I think that’s all that's really needed in a time like this.

— Writing Program student during COVID-19


Our courses are small, so that students have opportunities to interact with faculty and peers, work on their own writing, and discover their purpose and pathway in the university. Faculty provide extensive mentoring and feedback in order to support students in achieving their goals.

English 114 and 104/05 (GE Area A2) courses are designed with students' success in mind. We know that the first year of college can bring many new opportunities, discoveries, and challenges. First-Year Writing courses embrace the challenges and help students maximize the opportunities SFSU provides.

English 216 (GE Area E) courses focus on preparing students for their majors, and for writing beyond college. In English 216, students use their writing skills to make a difference in their communities. Students create multimedia projects on topics that matter to them, gaining an understanding of the reading and writing strategies they will need for success in the university and beyond. They develop their rhetorical skills and identify academic/professional goals, learn about digital and information literacy, and discover how to create persuasive arguments using traditional and digital tools.

Students have the choice of taking two or three semesters to complete First-Year Writing, depending on their needs. Students may choose from courses for multilingual students; courses that involve community service learning; courses themed around disciplinary questions; courses conducted partially or wholly online; and courses aligned with the Metro College Success Program.

No matter which version you choose, all of our courses focus on you, your writing, and your success!

Students should complete the First-Year Writing Advising app in order to decide which courses best suit their needs.


"I learned it’s not just about writing. It’s about finding yourself, your voice, and your place in the world."

  • "I was not very passionate when I first began this course, but this course gave me valuable knowledge and feedback which helped me grow as a writer." 
  • "I have become much more comfortable in engaging in the classroom which has allowed me to value my thoughts and the thoughts and ideas of others as well." 
  • "The writing assignments stimulated different areas of study that got me a lot more interested in general education." 
  • "I loved the ideas for the essay…. papers like the Effectiveness of General Education, The Media's effect on the 2016 election, Hip Hop's Effect on Social Justice and Oppression, and A Philosophical Critique of Capitalism. [This class] helped me to decide on my major." 

"Even though we were all far apart, I haven’t felt out of touch with anyone in the class and there is still a feeling of togetherness when we would collaborate over Zoom."

  • "This course helped me develop concise strategies for rhetorical arguments. I was able to cross apply much of what I learned in other classes so for that I am incredibly thankful." 
  • "In my psychology class we are required to write three papers a semester and this class made writing those papers a lot easier. I received an A on all of the papers which is a huge improvement for me."
  • "This class is the first I have taken that has worked to strengthen not one but all of my college academic skills. However I have mostly seen my researching, independent learning, and connection to real world issues really advance within the past couple of months."
  • "I feel that my academic skills that I need for college and life have improved through the semester. I've become more confident." 
  • "This class will help me with] scoring high on the written proportion of the TEAS Exam, which I will need to enter nursing school." 
  • "My semester-long project not only helped me improve my researching skills, but allowed me to find a greater connection to a global issue that concerns my intended major."

"This class opened my eyes and taught me much more than just what is in a textbook or part of the curriculum."


ENG 104 + 05 Writing the First Year: Finding Your Voice Stretch I & II (Units: 3 + 3)

Prerequisite: First-Year Writing Advising module.

This course offers support and time for students who want to develop their writing and their voice. Eng 104-05 is a year-long course that introduces students to the academic and social life of SF State. Our small classes and dedicated teachers offer students the opportunity to practice college-level reading and writing while learning about campus life. Students keep the same instructor and classmates over the year. Courses emphasize intellectual inquiry and discovery, information literacy, feedback and mentorship, student voice and choice, and strategies for success in the university.

(ABC/NC grading, CR/NC allowed)

Note: Completion of ENG 104 and ENG 105 with a grade of C- or better will culminate in satisfying the Written English Composition requirement (GE Area A2).

ENG 114 Writing the First Year: Finding Your Voice (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: First-Year Writing Advising module.

Our accelerated First-Year Writing course introduces students to the academic and social life of SF State. Over one semester, students practice college-level reading and writing and learn about campus life. Courses are small, offering opportunities for collaboration and mentoring. They emphasize intellectual inquiry and discovery, information literacy, student voice and choice, and strategies for success in the university. (Plus-minus ABC/NC, CR/NC allowed)

ENG 216 Writing the First Year: Making a Difference (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: GE Area A2*.

English 216 is the culminating experience of our First-Year Writing sequence. This course offers a unique opportunity to explore, analyze, and write about topics drawn from students' personal and professional interests. Students choose the topic, the readings, and the design of their final projects. Teachers serve as coaches and mentors as students practice digital and rhetorical strategies to persuade a variety of audiences and to make a difference in students' communities.(Plus-minus ABC/NC, CR/NC allowed).

For more about English 216, click here.