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Baccalaureate and Graduate Degree Information

Baccalaureate Degree Information

CSULB students walking on campus

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)

In order to obtain a degree or certificate from CSULB, all students must demonstrate upper-division competence in academic writing in English. For the purposes of fulfilling the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR), students are responsible for developing the skills necessary (which should include analysis and support with one or more of the following: synthesis, critique, inquiry, argument, and exemplification).

Undergraduate students fulfill the GWAR by one of the following:

  1. Passing the Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE);
  2. Passing another approved CSULB assessment of writing competence;
  3. Having already passed an assessment of writing competence GWAR at another CSU campus, prior to transfer to CSULB.
  4. Earning a CSULB-approved passing score on the writing portion of an approved standardized graduate admissions test, such as the Graduate Record Examination or the Graduate Management Aptitude Test. Assessments of writing competence from non-CSU campuses are evaluated by the GWAR Coordinator for their equivalence before they are accepted to fulfill the GWAR.

Students needing to fulfill the GWAR must take the WPE at least once. If unsuccessful, they may take it a second time or may attempt to fulfill the GWAR by another approved assessment of writing competence.
All continuing CSULB and transfer students who have not fulfilled the GWAR must register for and take the WPE by the end of the semester in which they earn 65 units. Upper-division transfer students who enter CSULB with 65 or more units must take the WPE within their first semester of residency at CSULB. (PS 04-06)

Students with degrees from non-CSU campuses must either provide proof of meeting the requirement with adequate scores on a CSULB-approved standardized graduate admissions test or attempt to satisfy the GWAR by the end of their first semester of matriculation at CSULB.

Students can register for the WPE at the Office of Testing and Evaluation Services, BH-216 (562) 985-4007, Students must pay a fee each time they take the test to cover the costs of test administration and scoring. The Testing Office offers three-hour workshops one to two weeks prior to each WPE date indicated in the Schedule of Classes; information about these workshops, the WPE workbook, and related services can be obtained from the Testing Office.

Students who need assistance to prepare for the WPE should contact WPE faculty advisors in the Learning Assistance Center, Horn Center Room 104, (562) 985-5350 to determine if tutoring, WPE Preparatory Classes, or a special course like ENGL 301A would be helpful. Students who fail any two approved assessments of writing competence must meet with a GWAR faculty advisor located in the Learning Assistance Center in the Horn Center, Room 104 (562) 985-5350. Such students are required to present evidence that they have followed the advisor’s recommendations regarding course work, tutoring, or other services connected to developing the requisite skills before they will be allowed to register for a third attempt.

The GWAR, Registration Holds, and Application to Graduate

If undergraduate students neglect to attempt the WPE by the time they earn 65 units, CSULB will place a hold on their privilege to register for classes. Students must sign up for and take the WPE to release these registration holds.

Students with compelling reasons can request deferrals at the Office of Testing and Evaluation Services. In certain circumstances, students, with help from their faculty or staff advisors, may submit an appeal or contract to release a registration hold temporarily. All students must attempt to fulfill the GWAR before filing a graduation application.