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Academic Policies

Mid-Career Writing Assessment (MCWA)

The Mid-Career Writing Assessment (MCWA) has replaced the former Upper-Division Writing Proficiency Exam (UDWPE) as a measure of students' writing skills.  Students who have previously satisfied the UDWPE requirement need take no further action.

Every undergraduate degree program requires satisfaction of the Mid-Career Writing Assessment (MCWA).  The MCWA is based on students' performance in their second semester English composition course.  A grade of A or B in one of the following courses will satisfy this University writing proficiency requirement:

  • English 102  or
  • English 108  (for ESL students)  or
  • English 104H  (for Honors students)  or
  • English 109H  (for students earning a 4 or 5 on the AP exam)

Transfer courses in composition are evaluated by the External Link English Writing Program composition coordinators.

Once students have completed 40 units toward their degrees and have been admitted to their major degree program, their academic records are reviewed.  Students earning less than a B grade in their second semester composition course must take one or more additional steps to improve their composition skills so they can meet the writing standards of their major department.  Students are responsible for providing evidence that they have completed these additional steps, or their academic records will not reflect completion of this graduation requirement.  Depending on the department's requirements, this evidence might be, for example, an attendance sheet from a workshop series offered by the Writing Center, writing samples revised as part of the Writing Skills Improvement Program, or a polished portfolio of papers written for certain Tier One General Education courses.  Once the department has verified that the MCWA requirement has been satisfied, the major advisor notifies the college deanís office that the student has met the departmentís requirement.

Beginning in Spring 2003, your Student Academic Progress Report (SAPR) will display the Mid-Career Writing Assessment as a degree requirement.

Procedures for students earning less than a B in their second semester composition course:

  • If you have declared a major:  you should contact your department or college External Link advisor for your major for instructions on how to satisfy the MCWA for that department.  Your advisor will explain what the department expects its majors to do and will give you a reasonable deadline in which to accomplish it.

  • If you change your major:  after meeting the MCWA requirement for one department, be aware that you may need to take additional steps to satisfy the proficiency requirement for the department of your new major.  Contact the advisor in your new major for instructions on completing the MCWA for that department.

  • If you have not yet declared a major OR are in the pre-professional phase of your program (e.g., pre-education, pre-nursing):  you should NOT contact your department or college advisor until you have declared a major or are admitted to the professional phase of your program.  Prior to declaring a major or while in the pre-professional phase, you may want to strengthen your writing skills through the Writing Center or Writing Skills Improvement Program so that you are better prepared when you are admitted to your major.

  • If you have a double major OR concurrent degree programs:  you should contact the department advisor of your primary major or primary degree program on how to fulfill the MCWA.  While you will need to complete any major-specific writing requirements for both of your degree programs, you will satisfy the University-level writing proficiency when you meet the standards established by your primary major.

  • If you have previously earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited American institution:  your advisor for your current major will determine if you have satisfied the Mid-Career Writing Assessment.

Please direct questions to your department or college External Link advisor.

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