In order to obtain a degree or certificate from CSULB, all students must demonstrate upper-division competence in academic writing in English by satisfying the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). Undergraduate students must attempt to fulfill the GWAR before filing a request to graduate, and graduate students must satisfy the GWAR before advancement to candidacy. To satisfy the GWAR at CSULB, students are required to first complete a writing placement test (GPE) and then follow the appropriate GWAR pathway based on the score they receive on that test.
Beginning in Fall 2016, the GWAR Placement Exam (GPE) replaces the Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE). All students, regardless of their enrollment dates, who have not taken the placement test prior to Fall 2016, will be required to take the GPE. WPE scores attained by students who took the test prior to fall 2016 will continue to be used for placement purposes, and students who completed the WPE are not required to complete the GPE. Students are permitted to take the GPE only once. Students' can view their GPE scores by logging in to the MyCSULB homepage, and then opening the Test Score Summary link. For information about the writing placement test go to the Testing website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Continuing students are required to attempt the writing placement test when they have earned between 30 and 50 units. Transfer students are urged to attempt the placement test in the summer prior to their enrollment at CSULB but are required to take the GPE in their first semester of enrollment. Undergraduate students must attempt to fulfill the GWAR before filing a request to graduate.
Students who enroll or reenroll at CSULB in Fall 2016 or in a subsequent semester fulfill the GWAR by one of the following pathways, based on their score on the placement test:
- Students receiving scores of 11 or higher on the placement test are required to complete a General Education Writing Intensive (WI) capstone course with a grade of “C” or better.
- Students receiving scores of 8, 9, or 10 on the placement test are required to complete a GWAR portfolio course, including submission of a portfolio that earns a passing score, and to subsequently complete a General Education writing intensive capstone course with a grade of "C" or better.
- Students receiving scores of 7 or lower on the placement test are required to successfully complete English 301A with a grade of “C” or better; to then complete a GWAR portfolio
Students enrolled or reenrolled at CSULB prior to Fall 2016 are not required to take a GE Writing Intensive Capstone class. They must, however satisfy the GWAR by on of the pathways specified above.
Graduate and certificate program students are required to satisfy the GWAR, and graduate students must complete the requirement before advancement to candidacy. Graduate students have several options for satisfying the GWAR. Graduate students who have previously (1) received a degree from an accredited college or university in the United States; or (2) received a degree from an accredited non-US institution located in a country where English is a primary language of communication; or (3) received a score of 4 or higher on the analytical writing portion of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) are exempt from the GWAR.
Students who receive a score of 4 or higher on the analytical writing test of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) should submit a copy of the official score report to Enrollment Services (Brotman Hall, room 123) or to Testing, Evaluation & Assessment (Brotman Hall, room 216).
Graduate students who are not exempt from the requirement through one of the provisions above have two options. They may either attempt the GPE writing placement test during their first semester at CSULB and follow one of the GWAR pathways described below, or they may self-place directly into a GWAR pathway without first taking the placement test. To self-place into an appropriate GWAR pathway, graduate students must contact GWAR eAdvising by email at GWAR-Advisor@csulb.edu. A GWAR Advisor will assess their English writing skills and issue a permit for enrollment in the appropriate GWAR course. Graduate students cannot enroll in a GWAR course without first receiving a permit from GWAR eAdvising. Students wanting to self-place into a GWAR portfolio course must do so in their first semester at CSULB. If the student chooses to take the GPE, then self-placement into a GWAR portfolio course is no longer an option. Students must follow the pathway where they place once they receive a GPE score.
Graduate students who are not exempt fulfill the GWAR by one of the following pathways:
- Students receiving scores of 11 or higher on the placement test have satisfied the GWAR and may proceed with completion of other degree requirements.
- Students receiving scores of 8, 9 or 10 on the placement test must complete a GWAR portfolio course, including submission of a passing portfolio.
- Students receiving scores of 7 or lower on the placement test must complete English 301A with a grade of "C" or better and must then complete a GWAR portfolio course, including submission of a passing portfolio.
It is imperative for timely degree completion that students make steady progress toward fulfilling the GWAR. Therefore, students with scores lower than 11 on the writing placement test are required to begin the appropriate GWAR pathway within two semesters of taking the writing placement test. Undergraduate students must enroll in an appropriate pathway course and pass it with a C or better before they are permitted to take their General Education Writing Intensive Capstone course. Graduate students must enroll in an appropriate pathway course and pass it with a C or better before they are permitted to advance to candidacy. Registration may be prevented for students not complying with timely completion of the GWAR requirement by placing a hold on their registration.
Students must contact GWAR eAdvising by email at GWAR-Advisor@csulb.edu.
International & Returning Students
English 301B classes for international students through CCPE are no longer available because of CSU policy.
- All graduate students (M.A., M.S., M.B.A) and post-baccalaureate students (including doctoral students) who have earned an undergraduate degree from an accredited U.S. university or college, or earned an undergraduate degree from an accredited university from an English-speaking country, have satisfied the GWAR at CSULB.
- List of Approved English Speaking Countries
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Grand Cayman Islands
- Ireland and Northern Ireland
- New Zealand
- Sierra Leone
- St. Christopher - Nevis
- St. Lucia
- St. Vincent and Grenadines
- Saint Kitts
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Virgin Islands