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California State University, Long Beach
2012-2013 CSULB University Catalog

Graduate Degree Information

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)

As a requirement for advancement to candidacy, all graduate students must demonstrate upper-division competency in academic writing in English. Students must either submit evidence of having fulfilled this requirement elsewhere or attempt to fulfill it no later than the end of their first semester of matriculation at CSULB. All graduate students must fulfill the GWAR by one of the following:

  • 1. Receiving a score of 11 or higher on the Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE);
  • 2. Enrolling in a GWAR course and submitting a portfolio for assessment after attempting the WPE once.
  • 3. Passing another approved assessment of writing competence.
  • 4. Having fulfilled the GWAR as part of their baccalaureate degree(s) while matriculated at CSULB or at another CSU campus.
  • 5. Earning a CSULB-approved passing score on the writing portion of an approved standardized writing assessment, such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

Information about GWAR courses and alternative GWAR assessments is available at

Effective Fall 2010, graduate students in their first semester of residency who are taking the WPE for the first time will be required to satisfy the GWAR within two semesters of enrollment following their first WPE attempt. To ensure that the GWAR is satisfied within the specified time, students in this group must comply with the following requirements determined by their WPE score:

  • 1. Students receiving scores of 11 or higher have satisfied the GWAR and may proceed with completion of other degree requirements.
  • 2. Students receiving scores of 9 or 10 must enroll in a GWAR course and submit a portfolio at the end of the course. Students are expected to fulfill the GWAR within two semesters of enrollment following their first WPE attempt. Students are not generally permitted to attempt the WPE more than one time but in rare cases may be given permission for a second attempt by a GWAR advisor. Students who have questions about their next step or need help selecting an appropriate GWAR course should schedule an appointment with a GWAR advisor in the University Center for Undergraduate Advising, Horn Center, 103.
  • 3. Students receiving scores of 8 or lower must complete English 301A in the following semester of enrollment, must complete a GWAR course in the subsequent semester of enrollment, and must satisfy the GWAR within two semester of enrollment following their initial WPE attempt.

Graduate students must satisfy the GWAR before they will be advanced to candidacy. (Advancement to candidacy requires satisfying the GWAR and satisfactorily completing six or more semester units in residence while earning a 3.0 GPA or greater.) Graduate students must also visit their graduate faculty advisors in their first semester to determine if additional departmental or program writing requirements apply to their advancement to candidacy.

Students who attempted the WPE once prior to Fall 2010 may attempt the WPE a second time or may enroll in a GWAR course and submit a portfolio for assessment. Students are not permitted to take the WPE more than two times.

Students with degrees from non-CSU campuses must either provide evidence of fulfilling a comparable non-CSU writing assessment or fulfill the CSULB GWAR. 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. The form for requesting approval of a non-CSU writing assessment is available at

Students can register for the WPE at Testing, Evaluation & Assessment, BH-216 (562)985-4007 or online Students must pay a fee each time they take the test to cover the costs of test administration and scoring. Testing, Evaluation & Assessment offers three-hour workshops one to two weeks prior to each WPE date. Information about these workshops, the WPE workbook, and related services is available at BH-216 or at

The GWAR, Registration Holds, and Application to Graduate

If graduate students neglect to attempt the WPE in their first semester of residency, CSULB will place a hold on their privilege to register for classes. Students must register for and take the WPE to release these registration holds.

Students with compelling reasons can request deferrals at Testing, Evaluation & Assessment. In certain circumstances, students, with help from their faculty or staff advisors, may submit an appeal or contract to release a registration hold temporarily.

If students fail to comply with requirements to enroll in a GWAR course or to meet with an advisor, CSULB will place a hold on their privilege to register for classes. Students must meet with a GWAR advisor to release these registration holds.

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Graduate Degree Information

Graduate Admissions Information

Graduate Policies and Regulations