Core Writing Placement

All students are required to take a writing placement to participate in academic advising and to register for classes.  Montana State University utilizes an online Qualtrics assessment to evaluate the writing skills of incoming students. 

Online Writing Placement Survey

If a student has been placed in a Core writing course through ACT/SAT scores or an AP/IB classes and exams, the student does not need to participate in the Online Writing Placement Survey.  MSU has received the ACT/SAT scores or AP/IB class information and that information has been logged into DegreeWorks.

If the student does not have a placement, the placement survey must be taken. This is a brief survey, usually taken before summer orientation to assess the best writing course (WRIT 080, WRIT 101/001, or WRIT 101) for student success at MSU. When the student completes all portions of the survey, the score and writing level is posted to DegreeWorks.



Writing Placement at Montana State University







Level 100

  • ACT English Language: 0 – 15
  • ACT Combined English/Writing: 0 – 15
  • ACT Writing Subject: 3 – 4
  • ACT Writing Sub-score: 3 – 4
  • ACT English: 0 – 15
  • SAT Writing/Language: 10 – 18
  • Qualtrics Survey: 0 – 37 points                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

WRIT 080 – Building Basic Writing Skills

  • Building Basic Writing Skills introduces students to critical reading practices by focusing on textual analysis of non-fiction works and to writing for academic purposes by focusing on the development of the paragraph. The course also provides, in the context of writing, a review and reinforcement of principles of English grammar and punctuation associated with successful college-level writing. The goal of this course is to develop confidence and the ability to write clear and effective paragraphs and to read college-level texts. Course does not earn college-level credit.
  • Four (4) Credits; Lecture
  • Offered through Gallatin College MSU

Level 200

  • ACT English Language: 16 – 17
  • ACT Combined English/Writing: 16 – 17
  • ACT Writing Subject: 5 – 6
  • ACT Writing Sub-score: 5 – 6
  • ACT English: 16 – 21
  • SAT Writing/Language: 19 – 24
  • Qualtrics Survey: 38 – 73 points                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

WRIT 001 / WRIT 101W – Co-Req Support for WRIT 101W

  • (F, Sp) The College Writing Co-req course (WRIT 001) supports college writing students on all core literacy skills needed to be successful college level reading and composition students. Students must complete WRIT 101 with at least a C- to pass this course. The course introduces students to critical reading practices on assigned College Writing non-fiction texts, fosters students’ critical thinking based on textual analysis, and engages students in composition processes: pre-writing, drafting, revision, and editing. Composing in-class paragraphs gives students practice with the writing process and engages students with the WRIT 101W course material. Course does not earn college-level credit.
  • Five (5) Credits; Lecture
  • Four (4) days per week (three credits large class; two credits small group)
  • Register for both WRIT 001 and corresponding WRIT 101 section
  • Offered through Gallatin College MSU


Level 300

  • ACT English Language: 18+
  • ACT Combined English/Writing: 18+
  • ACT Writing Subject: 7 – 10
  • ACT Writing Sub-score: 7 – 10
  • ACT English: 22 – 27
  • SAT Writing/Language: 25 – 37
  • Qualtrics Survey: 74 – 111 points


WRIT 101W – College Writing I

  • Studies the nature and practice of reading and writing as human interaction, with particular attention to elements of writing process and craft, to present new conceptions of writing as students enter the university writing environment.
  • Three (3) Credits; Recitation

Level 400

  • ACT Writing Subject: 11+
  • ACT Writing Sub-score: 11+
  • ACT English: 28+
  • SAT Reading/Writing: 750+
  • SAT Writing/Language: 38+
  • SAT Essay Total: 22+
  • SAT Essay Writing: 7+
  • AP English Lang/Comp: 4
  • IB English A: Lang & Lit HL: 3
  • HS GPA 3.9 or higher
Exempt from Writing Core Course