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University Writing Skills Requirement (UWSR)

In addition to the lower-division General Education requirements in writing, the California State University system requires all students to demonstrate writing competency at the university level in order to receive a baccalaureate, master's or doctoral degree. This requirement was implemented system-wide in 1977. You must satisfy the University Writing Skills Requirement (UWSR) in order to receive a degree from CSUEB unless you are exempt by one of the following criteria:

  1. If you have previously satisfied the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement at CSUEB or at another CSU campus, CSUEB will accept official certification of completion if the entire requirement, as specified by that CSU campus, was satisfied and you were a matriculated student at the time.
  2. If you have graduated from any one of the CSU campuses; unless it is noted on your transcript that your USWR was not satisfied.
  3. If you received an essay score of 4.5 or higher on the GMAT or GRE or an essay score of 53 or higher on the CBEST.

Undergraduate students are required to begin steps to satisfy the University Writing Skills Requirement after completing 60 semester units (90 quarter units). Students who do not enroll in an appropriate course or register to take the Writing Skills Test in their first semester after completing 60 units will have a registration hold placed.  The hold will be lifted as the student progresses towards completion of this requirement. Note: Undergraduate students cannot satisfy this requirement before completing 60  semester units (90 Quarter units). For undergraduate students, completion of GE Area A2 and ENGL 200  (ENGL 1002) or another approved second composition course, which are graduation degree requirements, is also required before attempting to satisfy the UWSR.

To satisfy the requirement at CSUEB, you may do one of the following:

  • Option One: Register for and pass the Writing Skills Test (WST). See WST (Option One) below.
  • Option Two: Enroll in and pass a first-tier writing course ENGL 300 or 301 (ENGL 3000 or 3001) and possibly a second-tier course, as well. See Course (Option Two) below.

WST (Option One): The Writing Skills Test consists of an analytic essay that requires you to demonstrate that you can think and write critically. You must pass the WST and satisfy the UWSR with a score of Clear Competence (8) to meet the requirement. If you fail the WST, you have only one opportunity to take it again. If you fail it again, your highest score of the two will determine your placement in courses. If your score is Limited Competence (6), you will be required to take the course option (see below). If your score is Developing Competence (7), you need only take a second-tier course to satisfy the UWSR (see below).

Course (Option Two):  ENGL 300 and 301 (ENGL 3000 and 3001) are the first-tier courses, designed to help students meet the University Writing Skills Requirement. Students who have taken the Writing Skills Test (WST) and have received Limited Competence (6) must take either ENGL 300 or 301 and perhaps a second-tier course as well. If you choose to meet this requirement through class work, you do not have to take the WST, although you may take it at any time after achieving junior status, for a total of two attempts, even when enrolled in a writing skills course. Generally speaking, ENGL 300 is intended for native speakers of English, while ENGL 301 is intended for non-native speakers. Based on end-of-course portfolio evaluation scores, at the end of the first-tier course you will be advised as to your next step, which will involve one of the following: you may be found to have met the UWSR requirement altogether; you may be directed to enroll in a second-tier course; or, you may be directed to repeat the first tier course.

Generally, two second-tier writing courses are regularly offered: ENGL 302 and MKTG 305 . Students who passed the quarter-based equivalents to these courses (ENGL 3003 and MKTG 3495) prior to fall 2000 may not have met the UWSR. For more information on these courses, contact the individual department.  Courses approved for second-tier writing are listed in the current University Catalog.  Students who pass a second-tier writing course with a C- or better (or “CR” if taken as CR/NC) have satisfied the UWSR. 

For more specific information regarding the completion of this requirement, please refer to the "University Writing Skills Requirement" sections of the current University Catalog

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