About the Program

The Program in Expository Writing began with the millennium, in the academic year 2000-2001, bringing to Johns Hopkins a new approach to the teaching and learning of writing.  The mission of the Program is to encourage excellence in writing, across disciplines, through the teaching of Expository Writing, through the work of the Writing Center, and through its support of the writing-intensive requirement. 

Overview of Courses

Offering an approach unique to Johns Hopkins University, "Expos" teaches students the elements of academic argument shared by all the disciplines.  Students frame their arguments making use of what William Evans calls "The Paradigm of Academic Argument."  Within this conceptual framework, students learn to summarize and analyze data, to evaluate sources, and to develop their thinking with evidence as they reason clearly and logically toward their own conclusions.  Students trace the potential impact of their conclusions—their implications, consequences, or applications—and practice suggesting directions for future research or scholarship.  All courses in Expository Writing help fulfill the university's writing, or "W," requirement.

Introduction to Expository Writing (060.100).  Introduction to "Expos" is designed to introduce less experienced writers to the elements of academic argument.  Students learn to recognize the paradigm of academic argument as they learn to read and summarize academic essays, and then they apply the paradigm in academic essays of their own. Classes are small, no more than 10 students, and are organized around three major writing assignments.  Each course guides students' practice through pre-writing, drafting, and revising, and includes discussions, workshops, and tutorials with the instructor.  In addition to its central focus on the elements of academic argument, each "Intro" course teaches students to avoid plagiarism and document sources correctly.  "Intro" courses do not specialize in a particular topic or theme and are available to freshmen only. 

Expository Writing (060.113/114).  "Expos" is designed to introduce more confident student writers to the elements of academic argument.  Students learn to apply the paradigm of academic argument in academic essays of their own.  Classes are capped at 15 students and organized around four major writing assignments.  Each course guides students’ practice through pre-writing, drafting, and revising, and includes discussions, workshops, and tutorials with the instructor.  In addition to its central focus on the elements of academic argument, each "Expos" course teaches students to document sources correctly and provides its own topic or theme to engage students' writing and thinking.  Please see the individual course descriptions listed under "Courses" to decide which sections of "Expos" will most interest you.  "Expos" courses are available to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors and to seniors by special permission.

Advanced Expository Writing (060.215).  Advanced "Expos" is designed to amplify confident writers' abilities with the elements of academic argument.  Students revisit the elements and apply the paradigm in academic essays of their own.  Classes are capped at 12 students and organized around three challenging writing assignments.  Each course guides students' practice through pre-writing, drafting, and revising, and includes discussions, workshops, and tutorials with the instructor.  "Advanced" courses do not specialize in a particular topic or theme and are available in the spring semester only.  Recommended for students who plan to enter graduate or professional schools.  

Expository Writing: The Narrative Essay (060.139).  Telling stories is one of the first and most important ways that human beings aim to make sense of the world and their experience of it. The narrative art informs fiction and nonfiction alike, is central to the writing of history, anthropology, crime reports and laboratory reports, sports stories and political documentaries. What happened? The answer may be speculative, imagined, factual, or all of these, but it will almost certainly be narrative. This course focuses on the narrative essay, a nonfiction prose form that answers the question of "what happened" in a variety of contexts and aims to make sense not only of what happened but how and why. We will begin by summarizing narrative essays, will move to analyzing them, and in the second half of the course you will write two narrative essays of your own, the first based on a choice of topics and sources, the second of your own design. Authors may include James Baldwin, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Chang Rae Lee, Danielle Ofri, George Orwell, Richard Selzer, John Updike, and Abraham Verghese. You will learn the power of a narrative to inform and persuade as you test that power in your own writing.  "The Narrative Essay" is designed for students who already have esperience with expository writing but is open to freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. 

Please see the course listings for individual course descriptions.