2018-2019 Catalog

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement

California State University Executive Order 665 states that "campuses shall require demonstration of writing proficiency prior to the award of a graduate degree. The level of proficiency shall be no less than the level required for GWAR certification at the baccalaureate level." The requirement must be fulfilled within the first 9 units of coursework. Students who have not met this requirement may not begin their culminating activity (thesis or comprehensive exam).
The GWAR may be met through one of the following options:
  1. Graduation Writing Examination (GWE). The Graduation Writing Examination, a voluntary test for which a $35 fee is charged, is available to students five times per academic year, in September, November, February, April, and June or July. Students must earn a score of 8 or higher to satisfy the GWAR. Students may take the test a second time if necessary. The test may be taken only two times. After two attempts at the test, students must then take a certifying course. Information on test dates and registration procedures is available in each semester's Class Schedule, in the Testing Center, North Library 5705, (310) 243-3909, testing@csudh.edu, or at the Testing website http://www4.csudh.edu/testing-center/.
    1. Provisions are made for students majoring in distance learning programs and other off-campus programs. Although students majoring in these programs can take the GWE on-campus, most students have the option of taking it via a proctor at a location of their choosing. There are three off-campus administrations per academic year, in the fall, spring, and summer. Students exercising this option must register directly with their Program Advisors, who will then provide them with any necessary information and materials.
    2. A provision is made for students who are not native speakers of English. The GWE registration form asks students to indicate whether or not they are native speakers of English. Students who declare themselves non-native speakers may elect to write their essay in two hours instead of one, though this choice must be made at the time of registration. The essays are scored along with those of native speakers with respect to overall considerations of focus, critical understanding, content, organization, and grammar.
    3. Provisions are made for students who are disabled. Arrangements are made on an individual basis by the Student disAbility Resource Center, Welch Hall 180, (310) 243-3660, in conjunction with the Testing Center. Students must contact the Student disAbility Resource Center at least 10 working days prior to the GWE test date and after registering for the GWE. Students should contact the Testing Center for details: (310) 243-3909, or <testing@csudh.edu>.
    4. Provisions are made for students who, for religious or other compelling reasons, cannot be tested on Saturdays, the usual day of the test. If students can demonstrate a legitimate reason (e.g., religious belief or travel associated with CSUDH intercollegiate sports programs) for inability to take the GWE on Saturday, an alternative day will be found. They should contact the Testing Center, (310) 243-3909, or <testing@csudh.edu>.
  2. Certifying Courses
    1. Advanced Composition Course offered by the English Department. The English Department regularly offers an advanced composition course (ENG 350, 3 units, A-C/NC). A Composition Cooperative exam (a timed writing test similar to the GWE) is administered at the end of the course and counts for 25% of the grade. Students must earn a grade of B or higher to satisfy the GWAR.
    2. Upper Division Writing Adjunct offered by the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies. The Writing Adjunct (IDS 397, 2 units, and IDS 398, 2 units, CR/NC), provides individualized instruction in composition that is adjunctive to writing for other courses. Students must complete both IDS 397 and IDS 398. A Composition Cooperative exam (a timed writing test similar to the GWE) is administered at the end of IDS 398 and counts for 50% of the grade. Students must obtain written acknowledgement from the instructor that performance in the coursework was commensurate with a grade of B or higher to satisfy the GWAR.
  3. An earned degree from one of the CSU campuses (other than CSUDH) with the GWAR having been satisfied in 1984 or later at the previous CSU campus. Students must complete a Petition for Fulfillment of GWAR at the Testing Center, attaching a copy of an official transcript.
  4. A grade of B or higher in an accepted upper division composition course from another university. Students who have taken the equivalent of the CSUDH Advanced Composition course, ENG 350, may request a review of its equivalency. Students must complete a Petition for Fulfillment of GWAR at the Testing Center, attaching a copy of an official transcript and the catalog description of the pertinent coursework Lower division writing courses (e.g. Freshman English), literature courses and specialized courses in business, technical, report, or creative writing, among other courses, are not acceptable. Only the GWAR Coordinator is authorized to decide whether coursework done elsewhere satisfies the CSUDH writing requirement. Students must complete a Petition for Fulfillment of GWAR at the Testing Center, attaching a copy of an official transcript and the catalog description of the pertinent coursework.
  5. For graduate students in English Literature, satisfactory performance on the Graduate Exercise administered by the English Department.
  6. A score of 4.0 or higher on the Analytical Writing Analysis of the GMAT. Students must complete a Petition for Fulfillment of GWAR at the Testing Center, attaching a copy of the certifying test score.
  7. A score of 4.0 or higher on the Analytical Writing section of the GRE. Students must complete a Petition for Fulfillment of GWAR at the Testing Center, attaching a copy of the certifying test score.


Note: Candidates enrolled to receive Teaching Credentials and not seeking a master's degree are not required to satisfy the GWAR at this time.
Departments and programs may, at their discretion, establish additional writing requirements for their graduate students. Some programs require the satisfaction of GWAR as a condition of admission. For further information, students should consult their program advisor or the Office of Graduate Studies.