Writing Placement Exemptions and Waivers
All undergraduates at UMass Amherst must satisfy the College Writing (CW) General Education requirement to complete the bachelor’s degree. While most students fulfill the CW requirement after completing writing placement and College Writing, some students fulfill the CW requirement through Advanced Placement scores or transfer credit. Other students fulfill the CW requirement through a CW waiver, which involves completing writing placement and writing an additional essay. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information about applying for a CW waiver.
- Do my AP scores exempt me?
- Do my other test scores exempt me?
- I am a new student—should I take the writing placement questionnaire?
- I am a transfer student—should I take the writing placement questionnaire?
- I’m not sure I fulfilled the CW requirement. Do I have to take the placement questionnaire?
- Am I qualified for a waiver?
- How do I apply for a waiver?
Students who have fulfilled the CW requirement before coming to UMass Amherst do not need to take the writing placement questionnaire or College Writing.
Do my AP scores exempt me?
Students are exempt from the CW requirement, with credit, if they earned a 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement English Language and Composition Exam; these students do not need to do writing placement or take College Writing.
Students who earned a 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement Literature and Composition Test are not exempt from the CW requirement but will receive three English credits; these students should do writing placement.
Do my other test scores exempt me?
Students who took the SAT I before March 2016 (the "old" SAT) and scored a 1460 or higher on the combined Critical Reading and Writing Sections are exempt from the CW requirement with credit and do not need to do writing placement or College Writing. Guidelines about transferring credit through CLEP are available through the Registrar.
ACT, IB, and SAT II results are not accepted for exemption from the CW requirement. SAT I scores from March 2016 or later are also not accepted for CW exemptions.
I am a new student—should I take the writing placement questionnaire?
New students who scored a 4 or 5 on the AP English Language and Composition exam do not need to take the writing placement questionnaire, even if it is listed as required in OWL. OWL lists writing placement as required for all students because the placement assignment list is not customized for individuals. Students whose AP scores exempt them from the CW requirement can ignore what OWL says about writing placement, and they do not need to contact the Writing Program or OWL about the assignment list. These students should still make sure they have sent their AP scores to UMass Amherst, and they should be aware that sending those scores will not change OWL in any way. There are no additional steps to confirm AP exemptions beyond submitting test scores to UMass Amherst: students do not need to fill out additional paperwork or individually confirm exemptions with the Writing Program.
I am a transfer student—should I take the writing placement questionnaire?
Transfer students who took writing courses at their previous institutions should look for an email from Transfer Admissions with the subject line "Welcome to UMass!" to see if they need to take the writing placement questionnaire. If students have questions about the transfer of course credits, they should contact Transfer Credit Services in the Office of the University Registrar. Students who have fulfilled the CW requirement through transfer credit do not need to take writing placement, even if it is listed as required in OWL. (OWL lists writing placement as required for all students because the placement assignment list is not customized for individuals.)
I’m not sure I fulfilled the CW requirement. Do I have to take the placement questionnaire?
Current students who believe they have fulfilled the CW requirement should confirm that they have by checking their Academic Requirements Report (ARR) on SPIRE. If you believe you fulfilled the CW requirement but your ARR shows that you have not, make sure you have sent your scores or transcripts to UMass Amherst. If your ARR still shows you have not fulfilled the CW several months after sending your scores or transcripts, contact Transfer Affairs in the Office of the University Registrar. Students who have not fulfilled the CW requirement will need to take writing placement and Englwrit 112.
Am I qualified for a waiver?
Englwrit 112 is usually a good fit for students who have recently graduated from high school and for students who have been outside the academic setting for a while and want more practice with conventions of academic writing. Most incoming UMass students—including students who performed well in the highest-level writing course their high schools offered—should plan to take Englwrit 112.
If, however, you have taken multiple writing-intensive courses at the college level or you have written across a range of professional or public contexts—and you feel confident about writing at UMass—you might consider applying for a waiver.
A waiver allows students to fulfill the CW requirement without taking Englwrit 112. Be aware, however, a waiver does not carry any credits, and students who earn CW waivers must still complete the junior-year writing requirement.
Students who are interested in waiving the CW requirement but do not have AP scores or transfer credits may still apply for a CW waiver.
How do I apply for a waiver?
To apply for waiver, students need to do the following:
- Take the Writing Placement Exam.
- Email email@example.com and request waiver application instructions. The email can be short: "I have completed writing placement and would like to request information about waiving the CW requirement."
- Write an essay and reflection following the waiver application instructions.
- Submit the essay and reflection through the form provided in the instructions.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org to notify us about the submission.
Students who have questions about fulfilling the CW requirement should contact email@example.com.