Spring on the York College campus

Foundations Communication

Every York College student must successfully complete two Foundations Communication requirements: Rhetorical Communication and Advanced Communication. York College’s Foundations Communication (FCO) courses introduce students to rhetoric--the art of effective communication and persuasion--and give students practice using writing, visual design, and speaking to accomplish their goals with a wide range of audiences.


Succeeding as a Professional. Employers consistently put communication skills at the top of their wish-list for new hires. In a 2015 survey, 91% of employers agreed that being able to “think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important [to a candidate’s career success] than his or her undergraduate major” (American Association of Colleges and Universities). A 2016 survey of employers ranked communication skills as one of four “essential” competencies for college graduates (National Association of Colleges and Employers).

Contributing to Your Community. Knowing how to use writing, speaking, and visual design empowers you to make effective and ethical interventions in issues that matter to you.


Foundation Communications image


  • Step One: Rhetorical Communication

    Step One: Rhetorical Communication

    FCO105: Rhetorical Communication provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary for successful, goal-driven written, oral, and visual communication in academic and professional contexts.  All subjects and professional fields require effective (i.e., rhetorical) communication directed at well-defined audiences to explain information and to offer a compelling rationale, and this course illustrates the process-oriented approach needed to achieve rhetorical objectives. Rhetorical Communication also introduces students to the knowledge-producing and critical thinking potential of language, the impact of technology on language and information, and the nature of communication as ethical action. 

    The course is typically taken in a student’s second semester at the college and is intended to prepare them to meet the demands of writing in their college classes and prepare them to be effective communicators beyond the classroom.

    Prerequisite: Cumulative high school GPA of 3.20 or higher or concurrent enrollment in FCO103.

    3 credit hours

    Satisfies Foundations - Communication for “Generation Next” with a grade of 2.0 or better


    FCO103: Rhetorical Communication Studio is taken in the same semester as FCO105. The course meets for only one hour each week and focuses on guided instruction that complements and supports students’ work in FCO105. 

    In weekly workshops, students share their work, giving and receiving feedback on projects for FCO105.  The course addresses the following elements of the writing and communication process: interpreting assignment prompts, invention strategies, use of sources, organization, style, audience considerations, delivery, revision, and more. 

    This course is offered pass/fail only. To receive credit, students must meet FCO103 requirements and also must pass the FCO105 class in which they are concurrently enrolled with a 2.0 or better.

    Placement: Students with a cumulative high school GPA of below 3.20 are required to take FCO103 at the same time as they are enrolled in FCO105.

    Required Corequisite: FCO105

    1 credit hour

  • Step Two: Advanced Communication

    Step Two: Advanced Communication

    During their second year, students take one of our Advanced Communication courses, which reinforce the communication and research skills students develop in FCO105 and help students deepen and transfer those skills to specific professional or academic contexts. Because our Advanced Communication courses focus on discipline-specific communication, we offer several options: FCO210: Communication in Professional Cultures, FCO215: Scientific and Technical Communication, and FCO225: Interdisciplinary Communication. Check your catalog and talk with your advisor to see if your major requires a specific Advanced Communication course.

    All Advanced Communication courses build on the rhetorical concepts students learn in FCO105, but ask students to think about and practice responding to the types of rhetorical situations they will face in their future careers or education. In Advanced Communication courses, students consider why what is considered “good” or “effective” communication changes from one situation to another and explore the norms for writing, speaking, and visual design within their professional communities. Advanced Communication courses are designed to be taken during a student’s second year in college.

    FCO210: Communication in Professional Cultures begins preparing students for the demands of communicating in professional settings (including business or government offices). Students practice communicating specialized knowledge to and persuading a wide range of audiences (including customers/clients, colleagues, supervisors, and the public). Many students taking FCO210 are majoring in Hospitality Management, Business, Economics, or Intelligence Analysis.

    Prerequisite: FCO105 with a grade of 2.0 or better
    3 credit hours
    Satisfies Foundations - Advanced Communication for “Generation Next” with a grade of 2.0 or better

    FCO215: Scientific and Technical Communication begins preparing students for the unique demands of communicating in medical, technical, and scientific contexts (such as hospitals, tech firms, or research labs). Students practice conducting user research/usability studies and communicating specialized knowledge to non-expert audiences. Students also practice making arguments that are persuasive in STEM contexts. Many students taking FCO215 are majoring in Nursing, Computer Science, Nuclear Medicine, Radiography, and Mathematics.

    Prerequisite: FCO105 with a grade of 2.0 or better
    3 credit hours
    Satisfies Foundations - Advanced Communication for “Generation Next” with a grade of 2.0 or better

    FCO225: Interdisciplinary Communication focuses on academic, research-informed communication. FCO225 gives students insight into the ways different expert communities produce knowledge. Rather than teaching “generic” library research, faculty guide students in considering subjects using a range of sources, media, and genres appropriate to different disciplinary communities. FCO225 introduces students to a variety of research methods (quantitative, qualitative, and archival) and gives them practice posing research questions, identifying and analyzing sources, and presenting information, analysis, and conclusions to academic and public audiences. Many students taking this class are majoring in History, Philosophy, and Professional Writing.

    Prerequisite: FCO105 with a grade of 2.0 or better
    3 credit hours
    Satisfies Foundations - Advanced Communication for “Generation Next” with a grade of 2.0 or better

  • What You’ll Learn

    What You’ll Learn

    Students who successfully complete York College’s Foundations Communication program:

    1. Produce and present rhetorically effective oral, visual, and written content for a variety of defined academic, professional, and public audiences. 
    2. Practice communication as a recursive process and develop effective strategies for researching, collaborating, drafting, revising, and editing. 
    3. Use reading, writing, and communication to participate in and contribute to academic, professional, and public conversations. 
    4. Effectively and ethically locate, use, acknowledge, and synthesize appropriate, credible content/evidence from sources to support and enrich their communication-related work. 
    5. Use discipline-specific written, oral, and visual genres and conventions to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences.
    6. Use research, writing, and communication processes to advance, integrate, and/or apply disciplinary knowledge.
  • FCO103 & FCO105 Placement

    FCO103 & FCO105 Placement

    The number one predictor of students' grades during the first year of college is their cumulative high school GPA (this is true for your college grades overall and in individual classes, including first-year writing and speaking courses). York College's FCO program uses students' cumulative high school GPAs to identify students who would benefit from additional support (FCO103, a one-credit workshop course) to succeed in FCO105: Rhetorical Communication. It's important that you provide YCP with your final, official high school transcript to make sure you're able to register for the right courses during your first year.

    Cumulative High School GPA & FCO103/FCO105 Placement

    Cumulative High School GPA


    3.20 or higher

    FCO105 only


    below 3.20

    FCO103 & FCO105


    FCO103 Placement

    FCO103: Rhetorical Communication Studio is a one-credit studio that supports students in FCO105: Rhetorical Communication. Students with a cumulative high school GPA below 3.20 are required to take FCO103 at the same time as they are enrolled in FCO105.

    Students who are required to take FCO103 must first register for FCO103 before they can register for FCO105.


    FCO105 Placement

    Students with a cumulative high school GPA of 3.20 are not required to enroll in FCO103. 


    To request a waiver for FCO103:

    FCO103 is a one-credit studio designed to support students while they take FCO105: Rhetorical Communication. Students who take the course report feeling more confident in their academic writing and speaking. Since the course is meant to support you as an academic writer and speaker, the application for a waiver will ask for information from you and your advisor to make sure that the waiver is the best option for your education.

    Only students who transferred to YCP with at least 45 college credits can apply for a waiver of the FCO103 co-requisite. 

    Application Process (Students complete these steps):

    1. Meet with your advisor to discuss the course and your interest in obtaining a waiver for FCO103. 
    2. If you transferred to York College with at least 45 college credits, you’ll be required to provide two academic writing samples.
    3. Complete the online application form and upload all required documentation.

    Application Review Process:

    1. Dr. Emily Cope, director of the FCO program, will review your application, writing samples, and transcript. Dr. Cope may contact your Academic Advisor to discuss your application.
    2. Dr. Cope’s determination will be sent to the Director of General Education, and you and your advisor will be notified of the decision.
    3. If the co-requisite is waived, then you and your advisor will be sent a copy of the notification sent to the Registrar’s Office.

  • Transfer Credits and Equivalencies

    Transfer Credits and Equivalencies

    Transfer credits and equivalencies:
    The following information pertains to students who wish to transfer or use certain test scores or other equivalencies to satisfy the FCO105 requirement:

    Transferring credits from another school:
    York College of Pennsylvania has transfer agreements in place with several colleges and universities. Please check with our Admissions Office and your current school to see if there is an agreement in place. Please go the Transfer Student Courses page to see more information.  

    York College of Pennsylvania may accept an introductory writing course with a passing grade equivalent to a 2.0 or a Grade of “C” to satisfy the FCO105 requirement.

    To satisfy this requirement from a school that does not have a formal agreement with York College of PA, please submit your transcripts to the college and have your current school’s writing program email a syllabi for the course you believe should count for FCO105 credit to Dr. Emily Cope at ecope1@ycp.edu.

    International Baccalaureate (I.B.) English A: Language and Literature Higher Level
    Starting in Fall 2018, York College of Pennsylvania will accept English A: Language and Literature Higher Level score of 6 or better to satisfy the FCO105: Rhetorical Communication requirement.

    Advanced Placement (A.P.):
    Starting in Fall 2018, York College of Pennsylvania will accept an A.P. Language/Composition score of 4 or above to satisfy the FCO105: Rhetorical Communication requirement.

York College main campus in the fall

Resources for Writing and Speaking

  • The Writing Center supports learning at York College by offering free, individual consultations (face-to-face or online) for students working on written, oral, or visual communication projects.
  • The Library supports student researchers at YCP. Students may want to check out the discipline-specific research guides and take advantage of their individualized research assistance.
  • The Career Development Center coaches York College students in the written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills it takes to land a great job and build a successful career.
Contact Us

Dr. Emily Cope
Assistant Director of General Education for Foundations and Advanced Communication