ENGL 3090:

Academic Writing for English majors


short syllabus:


My info


Email: christaa@uvu.edu

Telephone: 801.863.6286

Section info

Semester: Fall 2012

Time: TR 11:30-12:45

Classroom: LA 029


ENGL 3090, Advanced Writing for English Majors, is a required course for English Majors (not including English Education Majors). To be taken, ideally, in a student’s junior year, the course provides students with a foundation in writing skills they will need to produce successful papers in their upper-division English courses and in ENGL 3090 itself. According to the course catalog, ENGL 3090 “emphasizes analysis, rhetorical theories of writing, development, style, oral presentations, and primary and secondary research techniques. [It] prepares students to extend their abilities with researched writing in other upper-division courses and teaches students advanced scholarly attitudes toward researched writing.”


Course Goals


Course Objectives


As indicated in the course catalog, the course generally is to emphasize “scholarly research and writing in fields related to English Studies.” Specifically, this course will meet the following objectives:

  1. To read a literary or non-literary text carefully, being attentive to its explicit and implicit meanings, and quote and paraphrase it accurately, clearly, and succinctly.

  2. To construct sound critical arguments grounded in textual evidence.

  3. To effectively find, evaluate, and use secondary sources.

  4. To analyze texts with pertinent critical or theoretical concepts and methods (with the understanding that the course should not become an introduction to literary theories).

  5. To write critical papers or essays using current MLA citation style scrupulously (including the punctuation of in-text citations and block quotations, parenthetical citation, and works cited entries for a variety of sources).  

  6. To learn to contribute to disciplinary conversations in English Studies by engaging with literary, and non-literary texts and critical, scholarly or theoretical materials in complex, sophisticated ways; to integrate and synthesize information from outside sources into students’ own writing; to enter in a dialogue with sources by asking strong, thoughtful questions that emerge from close readings and a careful study of multiple perspectives on a given issue.

  7. To orally present an informed and engaging explanation or interpretation of a literary or non-literary work, problem, or issue before a group of one’s academic peers, based upon independent research.

  8. To meticulously practice and employ habits of formatting, editing, proofreading, and revision. 

Course Structure


The course structure noted below has been approved by the Department of English and constitutes standardized course content.

UNIT I: THE TEXT ITSELF: In this unit students will begin to develop the ability to work through a process of close reading, summarizing, quoting, paraphrasing, and analyzing a text. The class reads and discusses the central text; students will write a short interpretive essay (3-5 pages) using MLA conventions, and they may write journals or other reflective writing about the primary text.

UNIT II: THE SCHOLARLY CONTEXT: In this unit, students begin to view the central text as the subject of a critical conversation that students are invited to join. Through preliminary library research, the class identifies one or two scholarly articles or book chapters about the primary text; close reading and in-depth class discussion encourages students to learn to pay attention to a scholarly text’s rhetorical, argumentative, and analytical moves; students learn to research the piece to understand who the author and audience are and the context in which the scholarly piece was written. Students write a 3-5 page review that summarizes and reviews the argument of the article as it relates to their own interests and interpretations of the primary text. This review of literature employs correct MLA documentation. At the end of this unit, and through individual conferences with the instructor, each student identifies a research question that will inform that student’s subsequent work in UNIT III.

UNIT III: ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY, FINAL RESEARCH PAPER, AND ORAL PRESENTATION: In this unit, students perform library research on their individualized research question; students map the territory of the conversation about their research question, focusing on scholarship about the primary class text as well as scholarship about the particular issue they have chosen. For example, a student interested in issues of gender in Kafka’s novel will identify and read about 6 essays about Kafka and gender, and 6 additional essays about gender and culture more generally. Students prepare an annotated bibliography of 10-15 sources that becomes the basis for a final research paper and an oral presentation to be delivered to their peers.