The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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College Writing FAQ

When do I need to take College Writing?
We recommend taking College Writing within your first three semesters at UMass Amherst. It is not a problem if you can’t get the course your first fall on campus, but don’t wait too long because College Writing is a prerequisite to your junior-level writing course in your major.

Can I just go to the course I want and have the teacher register me?
No, you can only register through SPIRE.

Can a teacher sign me into a full College Writing section?
No, you can only add through SPIRE in sections where space is available

What if I tried to register for an open space and SPIRE still didn’t let me in?
Did you complete the Writing Placement questionnaire on OWL? If you didn't, that might prevent you from enrolling. If you think you completed the placement questionnaire but are still having problems registering, stop by the Writing Program Office in Du Bois 1323.

How do I see if a writing course from another college/university will count for College Writing?
Call Transfer Affairs in the Registrar’s Office (413-545-0555) and an advisor there will evaluate the course for credit if you have transferred from another school. If you are looking to take College Writing at another institution and are currently a student at UMass Amherst, check with the Registrar's office first to see if the course will transfer. Taking the course and getting it evaluated later will not guarantee you credit. Students MUST get prior approval for taking College Writing elsewhere and must have taken the writing placement exam and placed in College Writing. You will need a signature from the Writing Program office on your prior approval form.

If I didn’t get into a section of College Writing this fall, will I have a problem with my major?
No. We recommend taking College Writing within your first three semesters at UMass Amherst. It is not a problem if you cannot get the course your first fall on campus, but don’t wait too long because College Writing is a prerequisite to your junior-level writing course in your major.

I’m a junior or senior. Do I still need to take College Writing?
YES. Unless you have transfer credit or have waived the College Writing requirement, EVERY student must take College Writing in order to graduate, as it is part of graduation requirements.

Can I exempt from the College Writing Requirement?
Some students may exempt from College Writing based on AP or transfer credit.

What if I haven’t completed the Writing Placement questionnaire?
You can take the Writing Placement questionnaire online using OWL.

Where can I go for help with a paper?
Visit the Writing Center in the Learning Commons in the W.E.B. Du Bois Library. You can make an appointment through their website, but they also accept walk-ins based on availability. Check with the Writing Center website or call (413.577.1293) for hours.