First Year Student Placement in English Composition (for Fall 2020 and later)

The Composition Program uses Directed Self-Placement (DSP) for placing students in their first-year composition classes. The DSP process uses a survey to guide students in choosing a writing course that best matches the academic writing for which they are ready. In the DSP process, students assume agency in the decision of which writing course path to take: the English 4C and 5C (cohort) sequence OR the English 4 and 5 (standard) course sequence.  Non-native English-speaking international and exchange students will also be directed to place themselves in a supplemental .25 writing course (SMS 23) for the fall, followed by SMS 24 in the spring semester.

To access the Direct Self-Placement (DSP) please click here. you will need your Saint Mary's username (same as your email address), and your password to login.

Students seeking accommodations under the American Disabilities Act should contact Student Disability Services (, 925-631-4358) to make appropriate arrangements for taking the survey. 

Completion of either the English 4C and 5C sequence OR the English 4 and 5 sequence is required for graduation and is typically completed during the first year of college, starting in the fall.

If you have concerns about your placement or questions please contact the Director of Composition, at