What is the "Upper Division Writing Skills" (UDWS) requirement?
All undergraduate students must demonstrate competency in writing skills at the upper-division (junior-senior) level as a requirement for graduation. Students may meet this requirement in one of two ways:

1. Pass the Upper-Division Writing Examination (UDWE) composed of both an essay and an objective component.


2. Obtain a "C", "CR", or higher grade in an approved upper-division writing course at this university. Approved courses can be identified in the catalog and Schedule of Courses by the letter "W" (e.g., ENGL 160W, IS 105W). The completion of English Composition (ENGL 5A/B or 10) with a "C" grade or higher is a prerequisite to any "W" course.

When should students fulfill the UDWS requirement?
It is imperative that the UDWS requirement be met within two semesters after completing 60 units.

Where should students go to register for the Upper Division Writing Examination (UDWE)?
Students may register online at the Office of Testing Services website.

How much does it cost to take the UDWE?
The test fee is $30.

Will students receive credit for passing the UDWE?
Upon successful completion of the UDWE, undergraduate students may request 1 unit of credit (ENGL 100W), which will be posted to their transcripts the semester following the date the UDWE was passed.

What will happen if students do not pass the UDWE?
Students are permitted to take the examination a maximum of two times.  If students fail the Upper Division Writing Exam twice, then they will be required to take a "W" course and complete the course with a "C" or better to fulfill the Upper Division Writing Skills Requirement.

Which courses satisfy the Upper Division Writing Skills requirement? 

Here is a PDF document with the current list of "W" courses.

Do some majors require students to take a specific "W" course to fulfill the Upper Division Writing Skills requirement?
Yes, some majors require a specific "W" course to complete degree requirements. Students should refer to their major department to see if a specific "W" course is required.

Are there any specific "W" courses that can double count to fulfill the Upper Division Writing Skills requirement and General Education requirements?

  • ANTH 116W (Anthropology of Religion) will double count as a Capstone/Integration Area ID Upper Division General Education course and also satisfy the UDWS requirement.

  • ANTH 105W (Applied Anthropology) will also satisfy the UDWS requirement and double count as a Multicultural/International Upper Division General Education course.