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Competency in Written English/Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement - Graduate

All graduate students are required to demonstrate their competency in written English as a requirement for graduation. SJSU policy requires that English competency be a requirement for advancement to candidacy within a master's program. Students may satisfy this requirement in one of five ways:

  • Satisfactory completion of the CSU baccalaureate graduation requirement of competency in written English;
  • Satisfactory completion of a departmentally approved, university-certified, GWAR-satisfying course, which has been approved by the Office of Graduate Studies & Research, of at least three units in which a major report is required and that report is at least 30 percent of the course grade. Approved courses are listed at http://www.sjsu.edu/gradstudies/docs/03-11-13%20GWAR%20Approval%20Status.pdf. Note that passage of the writing workshop waiver examination (WST), unless with a "waiver score," is insufficient for waiving the competency requirement at the graduate level;
  • Approval by the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies & Research of a professional (peer-reviewed) publication for which the candidate was the sole author;
  • Satisfactory completion of a discipline-specific upper-division writing course at another university judged by the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies & Research to be equivalent in content and writing requirements to the SJSU 100W. To satisfy the requirement under this category, students will usually be required to submit to their graduate advisor a transcript (unofficial acceptable) showing completion of the substituting course and the grade received (a "B" or better is required) and a syllabus of the course. Original, single-authored writing samples from the course, including especially a large term paper from the course with instructor feedback visible, are also useful for borderline decisions. If the graduate advisor approves of the substitution for an SJSU GWAR course, he or she would then petition the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies & Research on behalf of the student. Students may not petition GS&R directly. Substituting courses will be assessed on the basis of GWAR course-certification criteria (3 units minimum, 3000 word requirement, term paper comprising 30% of course grade, and teaching of professional standards). Professional standards include the teaching of referencing and literature citation, professional style guidelines, ethics and plagiarism, copyright laws and use of published illustrations and data, IRB and animal-use permission in research, report writing and formatting, proposal writing and formatting, oral communication and presentation, and English writing proficiency.

Candidates should be aware that each department may establish its own criteria within these policy guidelines, and candidates must abide by the department decision. Thus even if a student has satisfied one of the criteria above, the department must approve the waiver by petitioning the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies & Research and can require that its GWAR-satisfying course still be taken. Graduate courses can also not be taken for credit by examination.