Writing & Rhetoric Center

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General Questions

  • When am I eligible to meet the GWR?
    Undergraduate students can satisfy the GWR after completing ninety units of course work, usually when students reach their junior year. Postbaccalaureate students should meet the GWR during the first quarter in residence.  Those student eligible to fulfill the requirement receive an email explaining how to satisfy the GWR either by coursework or by taking the Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE).
  • When is the best time to meet the GWR?
    Students should attempt to satisfy the requirement immediately after completing ninety units of coursework. If writing/reading skills have diminished, students will then have time to brush up before their second attempt to meet the requirement prior to graduation. Graduate students should meet the GWR during the first quarter of residence; graduate students may not be advanced to candidacy without completion of the GWR.
  • What do I have to do to be GWR-certified in a course?

    GWR-approved courses are offered every quarter. You must inform your instructor of your wish to fulfill the GWR through his or her class. While the writing proficiency certification is based on an in-class essay on an unannounced topic, it is not the same as the WPE. Essays in GWR courses are most likely related to course material. In a class, the instructor evaluates the essay and then submits it to the University Writing & Rhetoric Center Office for review and credit. In addition, you must earn a C or better in the class.

  • May I take a GWR course Credit/No Credit?
    Yes, GWR-approved courses may be taken credit/no credit, but the earned, or input, grade must be a C or better and students must be certified writing proficient by the instructor.
  • How will I know if I've fulfilled the requirement once I take a course or the exam?
    Please verify your GWR certification on your PolyProfile page after course grades or exam scores are posted. Your GWR status appears in the Career Program Plans section under Milestones Completed.
  • What if I don’t meet the GWR before graduation?
    The GWR is a degree requirement and your diploma will be withheld until you have fulfilled the GWR. You can participate in graduation ceremonies, but you won’t receive your diploma.
  • What if I am a returning student after some years out of school and I satisfied the requirement many years ago?
    Your fulfillment of the GWR remains valid.







Related Content

Upcoming Events

Writing Consultations 

Jan. 7 - March 20

Spring Quarter WPE Dates 

April 9, 10, 27

*Click here for WPE preparatory resources.

Writing Consultations

The University Writing & Rhetoric Center offers free writing consultations to all Cal Poly students. Students may visit one of three locations and work with a consultant for thirty or sixty minutes.  *Note: the center is no longer located in Building 10, Room 138; the center's main location is now in Kennedy Library, Room 111C. Click here for more information.

English Placement

The CSU determines four levels of English placement based on multiple measures of students' pre-college performance. Students placed in both Category III and Category IV are required to complete a two-quarter stretch sequence of English composition. Category IV students are also required to complete Early Start English prior to enrolling in the two-quarter stretch sequence. More information is available here.

Graduation Writing Requirement

The GWR must be fulfilled by all Cal Poly students who are seeking a degree, including a Master's degree or teaching credential.  Undergraduate students must complete 90 units before they can fulfill the requirement and should fulfill the requirement before the senior year.  Visit the GWR page for more information.