Writing and Learning

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Graduation Writing Requirement

The Graduation Writing Requirement (GWR) is a CSU-mandated program that requires students to achieve and demonstrate a level of writing proficiency expected of college graduates. All students must fulfill the GWR at the upper-division level as a requirement for the baccalaureate degree. 

  • Undergraduate students may attempt to fulfill the GWR after they have completed 90 quarter units. 
  • Graduate and postbaccalaureate students admitted for fall 2023 or thereafer are not required to fulfill the GWR.

How to Confirm You Are Eligible to Fulfill the GWR:

Before pursuing GWR completion through either a GWR-certified course or the UNIV 401 GWR Portfolio, students should check their Degree Progress Report (DPR) or Poly Profile to confirm they are eligible to do so.

If a student is not yet eligible to fulfill the requirement:

  • In the DPR, the "Grad Writ Req" section will include a "GWR REQ Message" that states that the student is not yet eligible to meet the GWR as they have not yet completed 90 quarter units.
  • In the Poly Profile, the Milestones box under the "Career Programs Plan" section will list "Ineligible/Required" to indicate a student has not yet completed 90 quarter units and is therefore not yet eligible to fulfill the GWR. 

Once a student has completed 90 quarter units and has reached junior standing, the "Grad Writ Req" section of the DPR will show a message about GWR eligible courses, and the Poly Profile Milestones box will change to "Eligible/Required."

What Options Are Available For Fulfilling the GWR:

  1. Earn a C or better in a GWR-certified upper-division course, with a C or better on the major GWR writing assignment and at least 35% of the final grade based on the cumulative grade of all writing projects; OR,
  2. Earn credit for UNIV 401: GWR Portfolio, a 0-unit course that carries a $35 fee. The GWR Portfolio consists of three required documents: one writing reflection of 500 or more words and two independently completed writing artifacts of 750 or more words with an earned grade of C or better from any Cal Poly credit-bearing upper-division (300-, 400-, or 500-level) course. UNIV 401 is offered all four quarters.

Visit the GWR-certified Courses or GWR Portfolio webpages for more information, or contact the Office of Writing and Learning Initiatives, for more information.

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Graduation Writing Requirement

All undergraduate students who are seeking a Cal Poly degree must fulfill the GWR before a diploma can be awarded. Students must have upp division standing (completed 90 units) before they can attempt to fulfill the requirement and should do so before the senior year. The two pathways to GWR completion are 1) in an approved upper-division course and 2) via the GWR Portfolio. More information is available on the GWR webpage