Writing and Learning Initiatives

Optimizing academic support and achievement

Petition for GWR Substitution

How to Petition to Substitute Alternate Criteria for GWR Completion

CSU EO 665 mandates that all students earning an undergraduate or graduate degree from Cal Poly must fulfill the Graduation Writing Requirement (GWR) at Cal Poly. 

Certification of graduation writing competence is transferable from one CSU campus to another. Transfer students who fulfilled the requirement at another CSU campus may request that their milestone be updated to reflect GWR completion by submitting an official letter from the former CSU campus that verifies graduation writing competence through GWR completion. 

GWR milestone completion also may be granted to incoming graduate students who have completed a similar undergraduate degree requirement at another U.S.-accredited college or university. If you are a graduate student, and you believe you qualify for a GWR substitution, you may submit a petition to substitute alternate criteria for the GWR. Substitutions are granted if you fit into or more of the following categories: 

  • If you have earned a bachelor’s degree from a CSU or University of California (UC) campus, your milestone should be updated automatically; if not, contact the Graduate Education office who can confer with the Writing and Learning Initiatives office on a milestone update.
  • If you have earned a master’s or higher-level graduate degree at a U.S.-accredited institution, provide an unofficial copy of your final transcript with degree conferral date. 
  • If you have earned a score of 4.5 or higher on the analytical writing section of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), provide a copy of your exam score.
  • If you have earned a bachelor’s degree from a U.S.-accredited four-year institution that has a specified upper-division writing requirement as part of its general degree requirements, provide an unofficial copy of your transcript with degree conferral date. If your transcript does not specify that you have fulfilled an upper-division writing requirement, you also must provide evidence, such as a catalog excerpt, to indicate that the institution has a campuswide degree requirement; highlight relevant information.
  • If you have earned a grade of C or better in an upper-division writing-intensive course at another U.S.-accredited, four-year institution with work equivalent to that of Cal Poly’s GWR-approved courses, submit the following: 1) a copy of your unofficial transcript with the upper-division course and grade highlighted; 2) a description of the course from the course catalog; and 3) evidence (such as a syllabus) that the course included low and high stakes writing assignments totaling at least 3000 words, a major writing assignment of at least 1500 words, and 35% or more of the final grade based on writing assignments.

To petition for a GWR substitution, collect the appropriate document(s) and submit materials along with the completed Petition for GWR Substitution Form electronically to writingandlearning@calpoly.edu. Please allow two weeks for the office to process your request.

Related Content

Summer Quarter At-a-Glance


  • Take advantage of free tutoring during summer term.
  • Enroll in UNIV 401 before the registration deadline to complete the GWR Portfolio.

Academic Preparation and Placement

Cal Poly adheres to the CSU's placement practice, which evaluates multiple measures of pre-college academic performance to determine placement in first-year English and math courses. Cal Poly also offers summer support courses in compliance with the CSU's Early Start Program to help incoming first-year students prepare for a successful college experience. More information is available on the Academic Preparation and Placement webpage

Academic Support

The Writing and Learning Initiatives Office offers a comprehensive menu of academic resources designed to ensure optimal educational opportunities for diverse student populations: peer consultants offer free tutoring in any course or subject, peer-led supplemental workshops and study sessions provide support for STEM-specific courses, and the online Study Strategies Library offers a collection of resources to help you achieve your learning goals. More information is available on the Academic Support Programs webpage

Graduation Writing Requirement

All degree-seeking Cal Poly students, including a Master's degree or teaching credential, must fulfill the GWR. Undergraduate students must complete 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