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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.” [1|  A 2016 survey of employers ranked communication skills as one of four “essential” competencies for college graduates. [2] 

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.


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Foundation Communications Overview

  • 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: SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score above 500, SAT Reading score above 25,  ACT Critical Reading score above 20, or concurrent enrollment in WRT103.

    3 credit hours

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

    WRT103: Writing Studio is taken in the semester as FCO105. The course meets for only one hour a week and focuses on guided instruction that complements and supports the student’s work in FCO105.

    Participants will develop strategies for effective academic writing.  In instructor-facilitated peer workshops, students will share their writing, giving and receiving feedback on works in process for FCO105 Rhetorical Communication. The course will address the following elements of the writing process:  interpreting assignment prompts, invention strategies, use of sources, organization, style, audience considerations, delivery of written work, revision, and more.  WRT103 students must pass with a grade of 2.0 or higher.

    A writing studio is a small group of students (seven or eight) that meets for 50 minutes, once per week, with an instructor. The purpose is to give and receive feedback on your projects for your other courses.  In other words, most of your work will consist of sharing your assignments—drafts, plans, and strategies—with this small group. Therefore, the studio is not an “extra writing class.” It is a 1-credit supplement to help you succeed in college.

    Placement: Students with an SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing at or below 500, SAT Reading Score at or below 25, or ACT Critical Reading at or below 20 are required to take WRT103 as a co-requisite (at the same time) as they are enrolled in FCO105.

    Required Corequisite: FCO 105 

    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. Demonstrate an understanding of and ability to effectively produce and present oral, visual, and written content to a defined audience.
    2. Understand and practice communication as a process in which researching, drafting, and editing stages may need to be completed repeatedly.
    3. Demonstrate an understanding of rhetorical (i.e., purposeful) nature and knowledge-producing potential of language as mediated by technology.
    4. Demonstrate an ability to read and communicate actively, critically, and ethically.
    5. Demonstrate a course-level-appropriate ability to locate, use, acknowledge, and synthesize appropriate, credible content/evidence from sources to support and enrich your communication-related work.
    6. Demonstrate competency in the grammatical and stylistic conventions associated with academic, professional, and public settings and understand how to manipulate such conventions effectively.
    7. Demonstrate competency in the use of discipline-specific communication tools and practice the types of writing, speaking, and visual content associated with your major.
  • Placement and Equivalences

    Placement and Equivalences: FCO105/WRT103 Placement

    Academic Year 18-19

    FCO105/WRT103 Placement:

    SAT/ACT Score


    SAT Evidenced-Based Reading Writing > 500


    ACT Critical Reading Score > 20



    SAT Evidenced-Based Reading Writing < 500

    WRT103 & FCO105

    ACT Critical Reading Score < 20

    WRT103 & FCO105

    WRT103 (AY18-19):
    Students with an SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing at or below 500 or ACT Critical Reading at or below 20 are required to take WRT103 at the same time as they are enrolled in FCO105.

    The course is a 1-credit writing studio and counts towards graduation requirements. It is designed to offer students guided learning as the complete assignments for FCO105.

    Students must first enroll in WRT103 before they can enroll in FCO105.

    FCO105 (AY18-19):
    Students may enroll in FCO105 if they meet the following criteria: SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score above 500, ACT Critical Reading score above 20, or concurrent enrollment in WRT103.

    College Level Examination Program (CLEP):
    York College of Pennsylvania accepts the College Composition (w/2 essays) CLEP test with a score of 50 or better to satisfy the FCO105 Rhetorical Communication requirement.

    To waive WRT103:
    WRT103 is a one-credit studio course designed and required to be taken along with FCO105. Students are placed into this course based on either their SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Score, ACT Reading Score. Students who take the course report feeling more confident in their academic writing. Since the course is meant to support you as an academic writer, 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 in the following three categories can apply for a waiver of the WRT103 co-requisite:

    1. Students with a documented learning disability that would affect their SAT/ACT score. Documentation from Student Accessibility Services required.
    2. A student who has transferred to YCP with at least 45 college credits.
    3. Students who have successfully completed WRT100. 

    Application Process (Students complete these steps):

    1. Download and review the application and then meet with your advisor to discuss the course and your interest in obtaining a waiver for WRT103.
    2. If your advisor believes that a WRT103 waiver is appropriate, they must complete the Advisor Section of the application.
    3. Students should complete the Student Section and submit all required materials to the Communications and Writing Department, Room 100.

    Application Review Process:

    1. Dr. Emily Cope will review your application and materials.
    2. Dr. Emily Cope will contact your Academic Advisor to discuss your application.
    3. The determination of Dr. Emily Cope will be sent to the General Education Director, and you and your advisor will be notified of the decision.
    4. 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. Gabriel Cutrufello at .

    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.

    College Level Examination Program (CLEP):
    York College of Pennsylvania accepts the College Composition (w/2 essays) CLEP test with a score of 50 or better 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
Humanities Center, Room 153

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