Graduate Degree - Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)

University Policy S94-7 requires that all graduate students demonstrate competency in written English for advancement to candidacy within a master's program. Graduate students may satisfy the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) in one of four ways:

  • Satisfactory completion of a baccalaureate degree at a CSU campus;
  • Satisfactory completion of a GWAR course listed here:;
  • Approval by the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies of a well-written, professional (peer-reviewed) publication, graduate thesis or dissertation in which the student was the sole author;
  • Satisfactory completion of a discipline-specific upper-division writing course at another university judged by the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies to be equivalent in content and writing requirements to the SJSU 100W. To satisfy the requirement under this category, students are required to submit to their graduate advisors a transcript (unofficial acceptable) showing completion of the substituting course and the grade received (a "B" or better is required); the syllabus of the substituting course; and original, single-authored writing samples from the course, including especially a large term paper from the course with instructor feedback visible. If the graduate advisor approves of the substitution for an SJSU GWAR course, he or she would then petition the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies on behalf of the student. Students may not petition College of Graduate Studies directly.

Candidates should be aware that each department may establish its own criteria within these policy guidelines, and candidates must abide by the department decision. Thus even if a student has satisfied one of the criteria above, the department must approve the waiver and can require that its GWAR-satisfying course still be taken. Waiving the program GWAR requirement will require the addition of an elective selected in consultation with the graduate advisor. Graduate courses cannot be taken for credit by examination.