Curriculum Services

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) Course

The University graduation writing assessment requirement (GWAR) requires upper-division students to achieve a level of writing proficiency which may be expected of college graduates. In May 1976 the Board of Trustees adopted a resolution endorsing "the principle that all students entering CSU after implementation of the proficiency/diagnostic examination (EPT) would be required to demonstrate their competency with regard to writing skills as a requirement for graduation." (REP 5-7-4) The Trustee mandate resulted in the CSU, Chico upper-division literacy requirement effective since fall 1976: "All departments shall require their majors, before graduation, to demonstrate writing skills in their own fields. The task of formulating the procedure for determining competence is delegated to each department. The policy developed by each department will be subject to approval by the Provost." (EM 75-22 as cited in EM 99-03)

GWAR courses require students to use writing in the following ways:

  1. To engage in rigorous study about a body of knowledge essential to the major
  2. Organize the subject matter
  3. Communicate that knowledge to others
  4. Write frequently in various modes of discourse
  5. Revise papers several times and receive instructor feedback relative to quality of writing

The following GWAR requirements provide students maximum access to GWAR courses and protect faculty from an unreasonable paper load.

Note: Departments unable to meet these additional course requirements will be required to justify their noncompliance by updating the Department GWAR Policy and Procedures Statement on file in each department and in the Provost's Office.

  1. Scheduling: Every semester, each major should offer a GWAR course that is available to juniors as well as seniors and that is not a prerequisite for another required course in the major. Such scheduling minimizes graduation delays for students entering a major late or requiring extra time to improve writing skills to pass the class.
  2. Class Size: A maximum of approximately 30 students. Larger enrollments discourage instructors from assigning, reading, and reacting to a significant amount of student writing.
  3. Staffing: For reasons stated above, departments should assign no more than two GWAR sections to an instructor in any given semester.
  4. Prerequisite: Completion of GE Written Communication (A2) requirement is a necessary prerequisite. Conditional enrollments are prohibited. The University requires that every GWAR course syllabus contain the following statement: "This is a graduation writing assessment (GWAR) course, open only to students who have completed the GE Written Communication (A2) requirement."

Please submit the application form (PDF), including required attachments, to Curriculum Services, SSC 460, zip 128.

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