On this Advising page you will find information regarding the Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR), Advice by Class Standing, Transfer Student Writing Requirement information, Common Questions, a Note to Parents, and College of Engineering Student Information. Please scroll down to learn more about these topics and UCSB's Writing Program.
Entry Level Writing Requirement
The Entry Level Writing Requirement is a University of California requirement that all students must fulfill during their first year. This requirement applies to students in all three colleges at UCSB.
Students must satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement in one of the following ways:
- score 3 or higher on either of the Advanced Placement English exams
- score of 30 or higher on the ACT combined English Language Arts (ELA)
- score 680 or higher on pre-2017 SAT Writing exam
- score 5 or higher on the International Baccalaureate higher level English A Examination
- score 6 or higher on the International Baccalaureate standard level English A1 Examination
- receive passing score (8 or higher) on the University of California Analytical Writing Placement Exam
- receive a grade of C or higher in appropriate transfer English composition course
- pass UCSB's Writing 1 with a grade of C or higher
It is important to note that once students matriculate at UCSB, they may no longer fulfill the University of California Entry Level Writing Requirement with coursework from another institution.
Advice by Class Standing
As an incoming freshman, you should have taken the Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE) in May of your senior year of high school. If you were unable to take the AWPE in May, we will be offering the exam early fall, winter, and spring quarter. Please refer to the AWPE page for more information regarding the upcoming AWPE. Depending on your score, you will be placed in Writing 1 or Writing 2.
Additionally, if you received high scores on the AP, IB, or SAT Writing portion, please make sure that official scores have been submitted to the UCSB Admissions to guarantee fulfillment of graduation requirements.
At this time, you should have taken the AWPE and been placed in either Writing 1 or Writing 2. If placed in Writing 1, you will need to take it before the end of your third quarter. If placed in Writing 2, you will need to take it before the end of your sixth quarter.
If you completed Writing 1 during your freshman year, you will need to complete Writing 2 at this time. If you completed Writing 2, once you are of junior standing you can take an upper division Writing Program course. Any course from the Writing 105, 107, or 109 series will satisfy the Area A2 Requirement.
As a junior you are now allowed to enroll in upper division Writing Program courses. If you have not yet completed Writing 50, an upper division writing course (WRIT 105, 107, or 109) is likely a good option for you. Any course from WRIT 105A-Z, 107A-Z, or 109AA-ZZ will satisfy the Area A2 General Education Requirement.
- Writing 105 courses focus on study of and practice with interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary academic writing.
- Writing 107 courses focus on study of and practice with writing in professional contexts.
- Writing 109 courses focus on study of and practice with genres and practices in various academic disciplines.
This is also the time to begin preparing for the Minor in Professional Writing, if you are choosing to pursue it, by taking three upper division Writing courses.
As a senior you will soon be entering the workforce or applying to graduate school. Several of our upper division courses are beneficial preparation for successful portfolio and application writing. Also, if you have not yet completed the Area A2 General Education Requirement, any of our upper division courses, Writing 105A-Z, 107A-Z, or 109AA-ZZ, will satisfy this requirement.
Transfer Student UCSB Writing Requirements
Each year, nearly two thousand students transfer to UCSB from California's community colleges, state colleges, out-of-state universities, and other University of California campuses. The key to a successful transfer for most students will be learning the new institution's requirements and figuring out which of those requirements they have met.
General Education Composition Requirement (Area A)
Most students will find that they have satisfied UCSB's writing requirements. Students who transfer to UCSB must satisfy Area A, the university's General Education Composition Requirement. Area A requires the completion of two courses, UCSB Writing 2 (or 2E or 2LK) and one course from the following: Writing 50, 105A-Z, 107A-Z, or 109AA-ZZ. In many cases, transfer work will fulfill these requirements.
Help for Transfer Students
- Talk with the advisor at your previous school to find out which courses transfer to UCSB. UCSB has articulation agreements with many California colleges that specify which of the classes that you take there will count at UCSB.
- Contact the UCSB Admissions office for Advisement. Prospective transfer student services provide information and advisement for students prior to their application at UCSB.
- Check the transferability of your coursework at ASSIST.org. ASSIST (Articulation System Stimulating Interinstitutional Student Transfer) is California's official statewide repository of transfer information, offering easy access to a single database. ASSIST can help you determine if you will receive credit for courses you've already taken, and how those courses will apply to specific academic goals.
- Contact the Writing Program's Undergraduate Advisor.
- In addition to advising students about taking writing courses at UCSB, the Undergraduate Advisor can also enter student's transfer information into UCSB's data system, clearing the student's writing prerequisites. Students cannot enroll in upper division Writing Program courses, or other courses with writing prerequisites, until they are manually cleared by the Undergraduate Advisor. (Note: Official transcripts must still be sent to and received by the UCSB Admissions Office.)
Why do I have a registration block from the Writing Program?
Students who have completed six quarters at UCSB, but have not yet taken Writing 2 receive a Writing Program block. If you are a transfer student, you may be blocked because a course equivalent to Writing 2 needs to be manually cleared. If the Writing Program block is not removed after the quarter begins, or if a student receives a Writing Program block three quarters in a row, it will become a more serious block from the College of Letters and Science. Call the Writing Program at 805.893.2613 to have the block removed.
What do I do if the class I need to take is full?
Writing Program classes are impacted. If you are not able to enroll on GOLD, you are welcome to crash courses on the first day of class. In order to increase your chance of getting into a Writing Program class, crash any and all sections that will fit in your schedule. Writing Program courses cannot be over enrolled so students should not count on successfully crashing. Writing Program instructors have add codes they can give at their discretion if space becomes available after the first day of class, but the Writing Program office does not distribute add codes.
When is the next Advanced Writing Placement Exam (AWPE) offered? What if I miss it? Do I have to take it?
Visit the AWPE page of this site for more information. In short: it is offered near the beginning of fall, winter, and spring quarter. Students should take the AWPE as soon as possible if they miss the test. There are no make-up exams, and everyone must take the test fo fulfill the Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR).
Is there any way to test out of the Area A1 (Writing 2) or Area A2/upper division Writing Program courses?
It is possible to fulfill Area A1 and Area A2 with credit received from Advanced Placement Exams or International Baccalaureate Exams. In fact, depending on the scores students have received on these exams, they may not be able to enroll in Writing 2 for credit. For details, students should meet with an College of Letters and Science advisor in 1117 Cheadle Hall and/or consult the General Catalog:
It is not possible to test out of Writing 2, Writing 50 or an upper division (105, 107,109) Writing Program course once a student has matriculated at UCSB.
Can I take any Writing class P/NP?
No, students cannot take Writing Program classes P/NP.
Note to Parents
As most students are over 18 and adults, we are legally obligated by FERPA to maintain their information in a confidential manner. Therefore, we are not able to release test scores, grades, or any other records to anyone other than the student.
College of Engineering Students
The College of Engineering Area A requirements are significantly different from those outlined above. Please refer to the General Education Academic Requirement book (GEAR) for details, or visit the Undergraduate studies office in HFH 1006, if you have questions. Copies of the GEAR are also available in HFH 1006 or on the web: http://engineering.ucsb.edu/current_undergraduates/publications/