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Graduate Degree - Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)

NOTE: University Policy S19-3 will be in effect beginning Fall 2020 for students admitted during and following that academic term (see below).

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: http://www.sjsu.edu/cgs/current-students/policies/index.html;
  • 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.

For students entering in the Fall 2020 semester or later: University Policy S19-3 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 three ways:

  • Satisfactory completion of a course approved by the College of Graduate Studies of at least three units in which a major written report is required. The course should be completed prior to advancement to candidacy.
  • Approval by the College of Graduate Studies of a professional publication written in English for which the candidate was a primary author.
  • Completion of a master's or doctoral program with a substantive writing requirement at an accredited university in which the primary language of instruction is English unless a department requires additional documentation of writing proficiency.

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.