Directed Self-Placement (DSP)


The first-year composition experience can be fulfilled by completing one of the following options below, which are chosen by students in a directed self-placement (DSP) step-by-step process (see explanation below). The philosophy behind the DSP placement model is to provide students with agency and choice, knowing that with the right guidance and information on the program and course options, most students will make good placement choices (Royer & Gilles, 1998; 2003). Students know best their own reading and writing capabilities and experiences, and will feel more confident going into whatever course option they choose (Reynolds, 2003). This placement model has also shown in research to improve classroom cultures in which students feel forced or placed there by high-stakes tests or test scores. Students in similar DSP programs have shown high levels of satisfaction with their course choices and development along course outcomes (Inoue, 2009; 2012; Royer & Gilles, 2003). The bottom line is that our DSP process is designed to give students guidance and control over their educational journey and help them accomplish the writing goals we understand they need for success in the future in school and beyond (Asao Inoue “UW Tacoma DSP”).

Transfer Students

Students who transfer with credits from another college or university who still need to meet UW Bothell’s "C" requirement will have to take one of the options listed below. It's a good idea for such transfer students to review the information on this page and go through a step-by-step DSP process. This will help them figure out what writing course(s) will best help them succeed.  

The Process

This is a 20-minute process to help you decide on an appropriate composition course placement. In this process, you will complete the following easy steps:  

  • Review the course options and the successful student profiles for each course option
  • Read a few examples of typical student writing from each option 
  • Complete a 5-minute writing prompt
  • Make a course selection

This process will produce a course placement only; ultimately, you, as a student, make the final decision. 


Placement Options


Option 1
(Single Quarter)

Option 2
(Stretch - Two Quarter)


BWRIT 134 (1st quarter)
BWRIT 133 (2nd quarter)

One-quarter option: BWRIT 134. Students who feel they can meet proficient levels in all the learning goals (see above) of the program within 10 weeks can choose this option.

Stretch option: BWRIT 132 and BWRIT 133. Students who feel they need two 10-week quarters to meet proficient levels in all the goals of the program may choose this option. BWRIT 132 is a C/NC course, so that students are not prematurely graded on their writing before they have been given all the time they have requested.