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About ICaP

What is ICaP? (Introductory Composition at Purdue)

Students at Purdue have diverse academic interests and professional goals. And although not every student at Purdue is an English major or strives to become a career writer, the ability to communicate creatively and effectively is important to all of us for several reasons:

  • it provides us an outlet for sharing our ideas and an opportunity for making those ideas better;
  • it empowers us to understand different conventions, genres, groups, societies, and cultures; and
  • it allows us to have a voice in multiple academic, civic, and personal situations.

Specifically, Introductory Composition at Purdue (ICaP) is designed to help students:

  • Strengthen their abilities to create, interpret, and evaluate texts in all types of media;
  • develop knowledge by inspiring new ideas through writing;
  • communicate, evaluate, and organize their ideas;
  • articulate, develop and support a thesis through primary and secondary research;
  • become an effective writer who can respond credibly and accurately to a variety of composing situations.

Introductory composition courses include: ENGL 10600, First Year-Composition; ENGL 10600-DIST, Online First-Year Composition; ENGL 10600-INTL, First-Year Composition: International Sections; ENGL 10600-R, First-Year Composition: Learning Community; and ENGL 10800, Accelerated First-Year Composition: Engaging in Public Discourse.

Learning Outcomes

English 106 is the standard 4-credit hour composition course for students at Purdue. The course provides students with the opportunity to interpret and compose in both digital and print media across a variety of forms. Students engage in active learning, which includes class discussion, learning in small groups, problem solving, peer review, and digital interaction. English 106 is grounded in the idea that writing provides an outlet for sharing and developing ideas; facilitates understanding across different conventions, genres, groups, societies, and cultures; and allows for expression in multiple academic, civic, and non-academic situations. In short, writing is a way of learning that spans all fields and disciplines.

See our complete outcomes and student learning objectives.

Reasons to Take (and Enjoy) Your Composition Course

In your ICaP course, you can expect to compose in new ways, participate in the process of collaborative learning, and develop your writing abilities. Here are at least ten reasons that you should take (and enjoy) your course!

  1. You’ll have a small class size.
    You will have no more than 19 classmates in your composition class. You’ll get to know them (and their writing) quite well. Instant friends!
  2. Your instructor will know your name.
    With only 20 students in the class, your instructor will know your name. You will be something other than your PUID number, and your instructor will have office hours if you’d like to talk about your work outside of class.
  3. You’ll be prepared for future academic and professional projects.
    Whether you wrote a lot or a little in your previous courses, you’ll find that writing in upper level college courses and writing outside the university requires you to adapt to new rhetorical situations, compose in new genres, integrate multiple media, etc., ­­and these are just the things that ICaP courses emphasize.
  4. You’ll get to practice, practice, practice!
    Composing skills require practice, and there are always areas that can use improvement. Your composition course gives you the opportunity to practice and improve your skills with instruction.
  5. Your composition instructor is a pretty good resource.
    Need a letter of recommendation for Study Abroad? Can’t figure out how to organize your paper for history class? Need a job and don’t have a résumé? Need to know where the best ice cream in town is sold? Ask your instructor. If she can’t help you, she can direct you to someone who can.
  6. You’ll learn about composition in a whole new way.
    You’ll learn to produce and better engage with a variety of texts, such as ­­ online videos, comics, advertisements, games, articles, and websites. You’ll also learn how to analyze these texts in rhetorically sound ways and to think about how they operate in a larger social context.
  7. You’ll learn about the Libraries (notice that’s plural) at Purdue.
    You might take a field trip to visit them. You might learn about information retrieval, “The Stacks”, or archives. You will gain experience using the online resources Purdue Libraries provides for students.
  8. You’ll use and improve your technology skills.
    Not all compositions are written on 8 ½” x 11” paper. You might use your composing skills to create a web page, a podcast, a brochure, a short video, or a poster. You may learn to use software you’ve never tried before or learn to think more rhetorically about the technology skills you’ve mastered. 

First-Year Composition Self-Placement Guide

Your academic advisor may have specific suggestions on which class you should take for your program. However, the following guidelines may help you in determining the appropriate composition placement for you.

English 10600 vs. English 10800

You should consider enrolling in English 10600, First-Year Composition, (4 credits) if:

  • You think you would benefit from having frequent individual conferences in which you discuss your writing projects with your writing instructor;
  • You welcome the chance to develop your writing and research skills in a computer lab classroom;
  • Establishing a solid academic foundation for college work is important to you.

You should consider enrolling in English 10600-DIST, Online First-Year Composition, (4 credits) if:

  • You have strong time management skills;;
  • You are confident in your writing skills;
  • You are prepared to spend several hours per week watching video content, reading, researching, writing, revising, and engaging in collaborative activities online;
  • You have the appropriate computing software and hardware;
  • Please visit the English 10600 course page or more information and a sample syllabus.

You should enroll in English 10800, Accelerated First Year Composition (3 credits) if:

  • You usually understand a teacher’s instructions the first time and rarely need for them to be repeated or explained;
  • You have fluent control of discourse conventions such as sentence structure, punctuation, spelling, and mechanics;
  • You will seek out help on your own—such as visiting the Writing Lab or attending your instructor’s office hours—when you need it;
  • You usually try to exceed your instructor’s expectations;
  • You are interested in engaging in public writing and community service (if so, register for the English 10800-S sections)
  • You enjoy the challenge of an accelerated course;
  • You believe you are well-prepared for college work.

Either English 10600 or 10800 will fulfill both the Written Communication and the Information Literacy requirements on the University Common Core (UCC).

English 10600 vs. English 10600-INTL: Self-Placement Guide for International Students

Most international students enroll in English 10600-INTL for International Students. However, the following guidelines may help you in determining the appropriate composition placement for you.

You are eligible to enroll in English 10600-INTL## (for International Students) if:

  • Your TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) total score is equal to or higher than 101 (internet-based test) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is equal to or higher than 8.0 AND your TOEFL writing subscore is 26 or below (internet-based test) or IELTS writing subscore is 6.5 or below
  • You have completed the PLaCE program (ENGL 11000 and ENGL 11100)
  • English has not been the medium of instruction for most of your education prior to enrolling at Purdue;
  •  You can read difficult passages in English, but you are likely to need extra time and will have difficulty with a heavy reading load.

You would enroll in English 10600-### if:

  • Your TOEFL total score is 101 or above (internet-based test) or IELTS total score is 8.0 or above
  •  You have completed the PLaCE program (ENGL 11000 and ENGL 11100)
  • English has been the medium of instruction for most of your education prior to enrolling at Purdue
  •  Your speaking/listening skills in English are strong enough that you will most likely be able to understand your instructor’s and classmates’ classroom conversation
  •  You will be able to handle a heavy (many pages) reading load
  •  You are familiar with the informal written and spoken English often used in class by instructors and students at Purdue University

Students without TOEFL or IELTS scores should request ENGL 11000 on their course selection. If you feel you have compelling evidence to show you have the proficiency to be exempt from this requirement, you may contact PLaCE ( and request an English Proficiency Interview (EPI). Evidence of such proficiency would include a significant amount of time in the US school system.

For more information about any of the English courses for non-native speakers, please contact Harris Bras, Coordinator of ESL Composition by e-mail (

As always, talk with your academic advisor about placement into your composition course.

Composition Credit Policies

There is no test­-out for First­-Year Composition. If you took the English Language and Composition Advanced Placement (AP) Exam and received a score of 4 or 5, you may already have credit for English 10600. Please see your academic advisor right away. If you took the English Literature and Composition AP Exam, you do not get credit for English 10600.

Honors: Composition courses may not be taken for honors credit. Honors courses are taught only by faculty members, and composition courses are largely taught by graduate instructors who are not members of the faculty.

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