Contact & Location


Department of English

Physical Address:
Brink Hall 200
(208) 885-6156 phone
(208) 885-5944 fax

Mailing Address:
English Department
c/o University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1102
Moscow, Idaho

Challenging English 102

It occasionally happens that a student will have written papers similar to what is required in English 102. If you have written several college-level essays that use multiple sources to develop an argument, it may be possible to challenge English 102. In order for a challenge to be successful, you must have several papers that use outside several sources and that follow the conventions for scholarly writing of a recognized professional body (MLA or the APA).

Although we can make an exception for new or transferring students during the first four weeks of the semester, normally you should not be enrolled in English 102 at the time you challenge the course.  You cannot use papers you have written or are writing for English 102 as a basis to challenge your enrollment in this class.

The procedure for challenging English 102 is as follows:

  1. Contact the Director of Writing, Dr. Diane Kelly-Riley ( or 885-5704), who oversees this process.  Assemble a writing portfolio, which consists of the following:
    • A short letter addressed to the Writing Placement Committee that explains the reasons your previous writing experiences qualify you take the Challenge Exam for equivalent credit to English 102.  Particularly, you should address the reasons you think your writing abilities exceed the need for the instruction provided in English 102.
    • Three or four essays that use outside sources and are equivalent to the quality of writing required in English 102. None of these essays can have been written for an English 102 class. We prefer you submit papers that have already been graded by another instructor, rather than clean copies. See the list of requirements for English 102 to get an idea of the sort of essays that are required here. These essays should demonstrate the ability to:
      • Develop a thesis.
      • Support that thesis with clear arguments based on details.
      • Organize ideas.
      • Analyze and synthesize extended arguments.
      • Effectively integrate and correctly cite sources.
      • Use Standard English.
  2. The English department’s Writing Placement Committee will evaluate the work in the folder to determine if the work demonstrates competency to qualify you to take the second portion of the Challenge Exam.
  3. If the writing portfolio qualifies you to take the Challenge Exam, you must then go to the Registrar’s Office to get a Petition for Advanced Credit (Challenge) Exam. Bring this petition back to Dr. Diane Kelly-Riley. She will sign it and get the signature of the department chair. You will then need to take this petition to your own college office and get the approval of your dean (or his or her designee). You then go to the cashier’s window at Business and Accounting Services, and pay a $35 fee. They will stamp the petition, which you then return to the Registrar’s Office.
  4. You then write an essay in a controlled setting. If the Writing Placement Committee judges this essay to have attained the necessary level of proficiency (see the criteria above), you will receive credit for English 102.

If you are successful, you must then pay for your credits; currently the charge is $25 per credit, so the total for this three-credit course is $75. The entire process will cost $110 if you are successful. The grade will appear on your transcript as a P (it has no effect on your GPA).

Typically, students who succeed in challenging English 102 are sophomores, juniors or seniors who have written long papers for other college courses.