University Writing Skills Requirement (UWSR)

All CSU graduates are required to demonstrate competency in writing skills for graduation. To prepare for the University Writing Skills Requirement (UWSR) graduation writing proficiency requirement, you should complete two courses in freshman English composition (ENGL 1001-1002 or their equivalents). ENGL 1001 and 1002 must be completed within the first 90 quarter units. Unless exempt by admission test scores, you must take the EPT before you first enroll so that you can complete any needed remediation as soon as possible.

You should also complete ENGL 1002 before earning 90 quarter units, but if you cannot, do so immediately thereafter. As soon as you have completed 90 quarter units, you will be required to satisfy the UWSR either by taking the Writing Skills Test (WST), offered by Assessment and Testing, or by enrolling in the writing courses that will satisfy the requirement. You should not attempt the WST or equivalent courses before completing 90 units or the graduation writing competency requirement will not be met by passing it. If you think your writing is competent, you should take the WST. For details about the test, contact the Office of Assessment and Testing either by visiting the office at WA 438 or by calling at (510) 885-3661.

The WST consists of an analytic essay that requires you to demonstrate your ability to think critically and analyze a short text. You must pass the WST and satisfy the UWSR with an essay score of 8 or above. If you fail the WST, you have one opportunity to take it again. If you fail it the second time, your highest score of the two will determine your placement in courses. If your score is 6 or below, you will take both first- and second-tier courses (see description below). If your score is 7, you will take only a second-tier course to satisfy the UWSR. If you choose the option of the exam but do not show for the exam, you will be blocked from registration in the following term until you re-register.

If you choose to enroll in courses rather than take the WST, you must complete two levels:

A first-tier course (choose ONE):

  • ENGL 3000 Writing for Proficiency
  • ENGL 3001 Advanced Writing for Non-Natives (designed to benefit ESL students)

An approved second-tier writing course, normally in the college of your major, which addresses rhetorical approaches and strategies and is taken in the quarter after passing ENGL 3000 or 3001. The approved courses for Fall 2013 are:

  • ENGL 3003 Discursive Writing
  • MKTG 3495 Business Communication
  • SCI 3010 Writing in Sciences

If you choose the option of coursework, or are placed into a first-tier course after failing the exam, your writing will be judged by portfolio assessment at the end of the first-tier course. Portfolio evaluators (not your instructor) will place you into one of the following categories:

  • NC: Need to take the first-tier course again;
  • CR I: Need to take a second-tier course;
  • CR II: Satisfied the writing skills requirement

To satisfy the UWSR with coursework, you must pass the second-tier writing class with a grade of "C-" or better or a first-tier course in the CR II category. If you fail the second-tier course, you must repeat it or take a different second-tier course to satisfy the UWSR.

You may be enrolled in a first-tier course and also take the WST offered that quarter. If you pass the WST, you will be permitted to drop the first-tier course or petition to withdraw from the course.

If you have taken the first-tier course three times consecutively and have not passed and have a letter of good faith effort from your most recent first-tier instructor, you may appeal to the Associate Vice President of Academic Programs and Graduate Studies for a waiver of the UWSR. If a waiver is granted, your permanent record will note that you were allowed to graduate without having satisfied the UWSR. If you do not satisfy the requirement and do not have a waiver approved, you will not be allowed to graduate. Contact the General Education Office for information on waivers either in person at SA 1500 or by phone at (510) 885-2941.

If you fail the WST with an essay score of 6 or 7, and receive a grade of "D+" or "D" in a second-tier writing course (taken Fall 2000 or later), you may appeal to the Associate Vice President of Academic Programs and Graduate Studies for a waiver of the UWSR. If a waiver is granted, your permanent record will note that you were allowed to graduate without having satisfied the UWSR. If you do not satisfy the requirement and do not have a waiver approved, you will not be allowed to graduate. Contact the General Education Office for information on waivers either in person at SA 1500 or by phone at (510) 885-2941.

If you have a verified disability and would like to request accommodations to assist you in satisfying this requirement, contact the Student Disability Resource Center in Library Complex 2400 or by calling(Tel/TTY) (510) 885-3868.

  • Print This Page
  • Bookmark and Share