Links
HFA - College of Humanities & Fine Arts view HFA submenu
Students

Writing Placement Exemptions

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 taking the Writing Placement Exam and College Writing, some students fulfill the CW requirement through Advanced Placement scores or transfer credit. Students who have fulfilled the CW requirement before coming to UMass Amherst do not need to take the Writing Placement Exam or College Writing.

  • AP Scores: 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 take the Writing Placement Exam. 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 take the Writing Placement Exam.
  • Other Exams: 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. 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 take the Writing Placement Exam. Guidelines about transferring credit through CLEP are available through Undergraduate Admissions.

New students who scored a 4 or 5 on the AP English Language and Composition exam should make sure they have sent their AP scores to UMass Amherst. Students who are exempt from the CW requirement through AP scores do not need to take the Writing Placement Exam. 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. Incoming students who recently took the AP English Language and Composition Exam and are waiting for results are strongly encouraged to take the Writing Placement Exam

Transfer students who took writing courses at their previous institutions should consult the Preliminary Transfer Credit Evaluation form on SPIRE to determine whether or not they need to take the Writing Placement Exam. 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 the Writing Placement Exam.

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 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.

OWL lists the Writing Placement Exam as required for all students, regardless of whether or not they have already fulfilled the CW requirement, and the Writing Program also typically sends reminders about the Writing Placement Exam to all incoming students. If you have fulfilled the CW requirement, you do not need to take the Writing Placement Exam.

Students who have questions about fulfilling the CW requirement should contact writingplacement@umass.edu.