Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) Policy

Month/Year Posted: 
December, 2022
Policy Number: 

Applies to: Faculty, staff, students

Purpose of the Policy

The purpose of this policy is to establish a pathway for all Cal Poly Humboldt students to meet the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) requirement through a three unit upper division course, consistent with CSU Policy on Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement Determination of Competence in English .


Writing intensive Writing-Intensive Courses are those in which writing is used as a central mode of learning as well as of assessment of student learning.

Policy Details (optional)

1. All students subject to the degree requirements of the 2023-24 or subsequent general catalogs must demonstrate competence in writing skills at the upper division level as a requirement for the baccalaureate degree.
2. Students who are undertaking a second baccalaureate degree will be deemed to have met the requirement if their first baccalaureate degree is from an institution of higher education accredited by a U.S. regional accreditor.
3. Certification of graduation writing competence shall be transferable from one CSU campus to another.
4. Cal Poly Humboldt shall integrate the assessment of writing into the demonstrated continuous improvement process of institutional accreditation.
5. Students shall meet the GWAR requirement via a minimum 3-semester unit, upper-division course.
  • Students may complete more than one GWAR certified course in the pathway to their degree. A course grade of C- or better in any one GWAR-certified course shall indicate successful completion of the GWAR requirement.

6. Certified GWAR courses will be indicated in the catalog in alignment with the Course Numbering Policy.

7. Programs shall identify and report to the University how their major students are expected to meet the GWAR requirement. Options for meeting GWAR are outlined in the GWAR framework table.

8. As a CSU graduation requirement, GWAR will be managed as part of General Education and All University Requirements (GEAR). As a result, GWAR courses shall be submitted for approval following the GEAR/GWAR certification processes and reviewed following the ICC processes outlined in the ICC Bylaws and Rules of Procedure.

9. Cal Poly Humboldt recognizes that writing comes in many forms and places no limits on writing formats, venues, styles, lengths, or multi-media approaches that contribute towards demonstrating achievement for GWAR.

10. GWAR courses shall include activities that address one or more of the GWAR (Writing Intensive) criteria:

  • Students will use writing-to-learn strategies (such as brainstorming, free-writing, reading logs, etc.) to develop their understanding of course content and to think critically about that content
  • Students will use drafting, revising, editing, and other writing processes to develop final writing products.
  • Students will use research and documentation practices when appropriate and integrate them in accordance with the conventions of the discipline.



Issued: 12/06/2022

Revised: MM/DD/YYYY

Edited: MM/DD/YYYY

Reviewed: MM/DD/YYYY