Options for Meeting GWAR


Undergraduate students must first complete their lower division English composition courses in Area A, General Education, before attempting to complete this upper division requirement. Fulfillment of GWAR should be undertaken at the beginning of the junior year (or 60 units), and satisfied by the time 72 units are completed.


Students working toward a master's degree should meet the GWAR requirement within the first nine units of graduate work. This requirement must be met before students can begin their culminating activity (thesis/project or comprehensive exam).

Degree Requirements

All students subject to degree requirements listed in the 1979-80 and all subsequent general catalogs must demonstrate competency in writing skills through one of the options listed below.

Any Questions?

Contact the Testing Center at (310) 243-3909 or via email testing@csudh.edu.

Graduation Writing Examination (GWE)

The Graduation Writing Examination is is a one-hour examination in which students write an extemporaneous essay responding to a specified topic given to them when the test is administered.

On Campus: The GWE is offered five times per academic year in in September, November, February, April, and July. The exam is $35 per exam. Students may only take the examination twice within their academic career. The exam must be paid for every time a student tests. After two examination attempts, students must then take a certifying course. Please see the GWAR homepage for test dates and registration information.

Distance Learning: Students who are part of a distance learning program or live greater than 25 miles from campus may elect to complete the GWE via proctor. The distance learning GWE is offered three times a year in the fall, spring, and summer. Students who fall into the distance learning category should see the Distance Learning GWE page for further information on testing via proctor.

English as a Second Language: Students who are non-native English speakers may choose to complete the GWE as an ESL student. Students who identify themselves as ESL at registration will be given two hours to complete their essay. Students must choose this option at registration to be granted the additional hour on test day. Students cannot switch to the ESL option on test day. ESL essays are scored along with those of native speakers with respect to overall considerations of focus, critical understanding, content, organization, and grammar.

DSS Students: Students must contact Disabled Student Services at least 10 business days prior to the GWE date. Students must register before contacting DSS. Arrangements are made on an individual basis by Disabled Students Services, Welch Hall D-180, (310) 243-3660, in conjunction with the Testing Office.

Religious Accommodations: Accommodations are made for students who, for religious or other compelling reasons, cannot be tested on Saturdays. If students can provide official documentation for inability to take the GWE on Saturday, an alternative day will be found. Qualifying students should contact the Testing Office, testing@csudh.edu, for additional information.

Undergraduates can satisfy the GWAR by scoring an 8 or higher on the GWE.

Graduates can satisfy the GWAR by scoring an 8 or higher on the GWE.

Certifying Courses

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 is administered at the end of the course and counts for 25% of the grade. 

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 is administered at the end of IDS 398 and counts for 50% of the grade.

Undergraduates can satisfy the GWAR by completing English 350 with a C or better or by receiving credit for both IDS 397& 398.

Note: CSUDH students who complete English 350 with a C+/C in their undergrad and return to CSUDH for a graduate program will have to meet the GWAR at the graduate level.

Graduates can satisfy the GWAR by completing English 350 and IDS 397/398 with a B or better.

Transfer Certification

Petition for Fulfillment of GWAR form [pdf]

Students who have satisfied the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) at another CSU campus in 1984 or later but prior to matriculation at CSU Dominguez Hills may petition for exemption from repeating the requirement at CSUDH.  Students must complete the Petition for Fulfillment of GWAR and submit official supporting documentation to the Testing Office.

Students may also petition for Fulfillment of GWAR if they have:

  • Completed an upper division composition course (equivalent to English 350 at CSUDH) at another university prior to admission to CSUDH with a grade of B or higher. Lower division writing courses (e.g. Freshman English,) upper division literature or discipline-specific courses, and specialized courses in business, technical, report, or creative writing, among other courses, are NOT acceptable. Students must submit an official set of transcripts with the applicable course highlighted and a copy of the university catalog description of the course.
  • A score of 4.0 or higher on the Analytical Writing Analysis of the GMAT.
  • A score of 4.0 or higher on the Analytical Writing section of the GRE.