Competency Requirements

Success in college and the ability to function as an educated citizen require not only the ability to master areas of substantive knowledge, but also a series of fundamental skills that underlie and make possible the acquisition of knowledge. Since competencies or skills are preconditions for higher education, basic competencies should be demonstrated early in one's academic career. Multiple methods of demonstrating competency are available, including satisfactory completion of designated courses or earning appropriate scores on designated examinations.

Competency Requirements, with the exception of the Writing-Intensive Course in the Major (WI), should be met early in a baccalaureate degree program. Students who fail to meet the specified deadline will be allowed two additional semesters (or equivalent) in which to satisfy the competency requirement. During this time, they must be actively involved in taking the appropriate course or otherwise preparing themselves to demonstrate competence. After the two-semester limit, students who have not satisfied the requirement may be barred from enrolling in courses other than those which satisfy the competency requirement until the requirement has been completed.

The following general principles apply to all competency requirements:

  1. Students who satisfy any Competency Requirement by passing a prescribed Wayne State University placement, qualifying, screening, competency or proficiency examination shall be excused from equivalent course work but shall receive NO course credit.
  2. Course credit granted for satisfactory completion of an Advanced Placement, CLEP, International Baccalaureate, or Departmental Examination will satisfy the appropriate Competency or Group Requirement; credit so earned will be applicable to a baccalaureate degree.
  3. Courses used to satisfy Competency Requirements shall not generally be used to satisfy Group Requirements.

Written Communication (BC, IC, WI)

Writing ability is a cornerstone of academic studies and is often considered the touchstone of a university education. Skill and effectiveness in writing serve the individual throughout life — in career, in community, and in social and leisure activities. The ability to write well must be developed so that specialized audiences within professional fields as well as general audiences can be addressed effectively. While writing proficiency may be honed and refined in composition courses, writing is a skill that serves many purposes; one that requires constant renewal. The requirement in Written Communication is structured not only to provide training in how to write well, but also to insure that writing skills continue to be exercised and enhanced throughout the undergraduate years. The progression of the Written Communication requirements reflects the important notion of 'writing across the curriculum.' This requirement contains the following three components:

Basic Composition (BC) Requirement

All students must demonstrate competence in basic English composition prior to completing thirty credits. Basic composition competence shall be determined by satisfactory completion of a designated course, or its course equivalent or earning credit for basic composition through a national standardized test.

All students must demonstrate competence in basic composition by:

  1. Completing successfully an approved course in basic composition with a grade of C or better: ENG 1020, ENG 1050; (Schools and colleges may also have specific requirements, such that careful course selection can lead to meeting both General Education and college requirements. Please consult the College/School listing for specific requirements); OR
  2. Earning credit for basic composition through Advanced Placement CLEP or International Baccalaureate; OR
  3. Transferring credit received for successful completion of a comparable course completed with a grade of C or better at another college or university.

Intermediate Composition (IC) Requirement

All students must complete satisfactorily a designated intermediate, or more advanced, course in which the teaching of English composition and rhetoric is a major component prior to completing seventy-five credits. Satisfactory completion requires a grade of C or better. Courses currently approved for intermediate composition are:

AFS 2390(IC) Introduction to African-American Literature: Literature and Writing3
ENG 2100(IC) Introduction to Poetry: Literature and Writing3
ENG 2110(IC) Introduction to Drama: Literature and Writing3
ENG 2120(IC) Introduction to Fiction: Literature and Writing3
ENG 2210(IC) Great English Novels: Literature and Writing3
ENG 2310(IC) Major American Books: Literature and Writing3
ENG 2390(IC) Introduction to African-American Literature: Literature and Writing3
ENG 2420(IC) Literature and the Professions: Literature and Writing3
ENG 2560(IC) Children's Literature: Literature and Writing3
ENG 2570(IC) Literature By and About Women: Literature and Writing3
ENG 3010(IC) Intermediate Writing3
ENG 3020(IC) Writing and Community3
ENG 3050(IC) Technical Communication I: Reports3

Schools and colleges may also have specific requirements, such that careful course selection can lead to meeting both General Education and college requirements. Please consult the College/School listing for specific requirements.

Writing-Intensive Course in the Major (WI) Requirement

Prior to graduation, all students must demonstrate that they have developed the ability to communicate effectively with specialized or professional audiences by completing successfully the writing requirements, or courses which incorporate major writing assignments, specified by the departments or professional schools in which they are seeking a degree. Completion of the IC requirement (see above) is prerequisite to all WI courses. Satisfactory course completion requires a grade of C or better. Schools and colleges may also have specific requirements, such that careful course selection can lead to meeting both General Education and college requirements. Please consult the College/School listing for specific requirements. A list of WI courses is available in the Table of General Education Courses.

Oral Communication (OC) Requirement 

Educated persons should be comfortable in situations which require them to make oral presentations, be able to convince others of a point of view, or make appropriate remarks in an informal setting. Along with an ability to write cogently, communicating orally is mentioned most frequently by employers and others who evaluate the preparedness of college students as a fundamental skill to be able to compete in contemporary society. Consequently, oral communication is a crucial skill needed for success in virtually every field of endeavor.

All students must demonstrate competency in the fundamentals of oral communication prior to completing sixty credits. Oral communication competency shall be demonstrated by:

  1. Completing successfully an approved course in oral communication: COM 1010; ENG 3060 (Schools and colleges may also have specific requirements, such that careful course selection can lead to meeting both General Education and college requirements. Please consult the College/School listing for specific requirements.); OR
  2. Passing the Oral Communication Competency Examination; OR
  3. Transferring credit received for successful completion of a comparable course taken at another college or university.

Critical and Analytic Thinking (CT) Requirement

The ability to reason critically and to analyze information is essential to the acquisition of knowledge in any discipline and may therefore appropriately be regarded as a fundamental skill, one to be acquired by students as early as possible in their education. Critical and analytic thinking includes: formulating and identifying deductively- and inductively-warranted conclusions from available evidence; recognizing the structure of arguments (premises, conclusions, and implicit assumptions); assessing the consistency, inconsistency, logical implications, and equivalence among statements; and recognizing explanatory relations among statements. Competency in critical thinking must be demonstrated by all students prior to completion of the first seventy-five credits earned toward a bachelor degree. Competency shall be demonstrated by:

  1. Completing successfully an approved course in critical thinking: BA 1010; COM 2110; PHI 1050 (Schools and colleges may also have specific requirements, such that careful course selection can lead to meeting both General Education and college requirements. Please consult the College/School listing for specific requirements.); OR
  2. Passing the Critical Thinking Competency Examination; OR
  3. Transferring credit received for successful completion of a comparable course taken at another college or university.