Writing Requirements FAQs

Placement FAQs

Who completes the Directed Self Placement (DSP) process?

All incoming frosh are required to complete the Directed Self-Placement (DSP) process as part of summer orientation, regardless of test scores or any college credits.

Transfer students do not complete the Directed Self-Placement process. If you are a transfer student, you can use Assist to see if a course you took elsewhere transfers, and contact undergraduate advising with questions. Also review Transfer & Returning Students FAQs below.

Returning students do not complete the Directed Self Placement process upon their return. If you began at UCSC in 2018 or later, refer to your UCSC student portal to see which courses you need to take. If you began at UCSC prior to 2018, contact a Writing Program advisor to determine what you need to do to satisfy undergraduate writing requirements.

Where can I find my writing course placement?

To see your placement, check your UCSC student portal. Go to My Academics>Test Scores. Your DSP course placement will be provided (For example, DSP Enroll WRIT 1 or WRIT 1E or WRIT 2 or WRIT 26 or WRIT 25).

Can I change my writing course placement?

After you complete DSP, your placement is final and cannot be changed in fall quarter or any other time. Remember that your placement was based on your responses to the survey.

For other placement questions and answers, please see the FAQs about Directed Self-Placement (DSP).

Writing 1/ELWR FAQs

Basic Questions

What is the Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR)?

This question is answered here.

How do I know if I am required to take a course to meet the ELWR, or if I already met it?

This information is provided in your UCSC student portal. Go to My Academics>Degree Progress Report>UC ELWR: Entry Level Writing.

What if I think I took tests (such as AP or IB) to meet the ELWR, but credit for these hasn’t shown up in my portal?

Contact admissions@ucsc.edu to make sure any tests that meet ELWR were received. The Writing Program does not request or process such tests, so we can’t help you obtain these scores. 

What course do I take at UCSC to satisfy the ELWR?
Can I take Writing 1 the summer?

Yes, you can. Writing 1 is offered in the summer, typically online. Visit Summer Session’s website for more information.

If I fail Writing 1 or Writing 1E (once), do I take the class again the next quarter?

Yes. If you fail Writing 1 or Writing 1E once, you should take the class again in the next quarter.

If you fail it twice, speak with your college advisor to request a double-repeat petition/triple-take.  

ELWR at Community Colleges

Can I meet the ELWR by taking a course at a community college?

Students can take ELWR-satisfying courses at California community colleges while not enrolled at UCSC. This includes the summer session, if you’re not taking summer classes. 

How do I know if a community college course satisfies the ELWR?

If you want the class to meet ELWR, make sure the course is “articulated,” which means it’s been pre-approved to satisfy ELWR. Here is the database of articulated courses.

ELWR Deadlines and Holds

How long do I have to meet the ELWR deadline?

In general, you have your first year at UCSC. But more specifically, there are two answers to this question: 

  1. If the first required writing course you take is Writing 26, 1, or 1E, you have until the beginning of your fourth quarter of enrollment to pass Writing 1 or 1E. (So if you start in fall, you have until the beginning of fall quarter in your sophomore year. If you start in winter, you have until the beginning of winter quarter of your sophomore year.)
  2. If the first course you take in the Writing Program is Writing 25, you have until the beginning of your fifth quarter of enrollment to pass Writing 1 or 1E.
If I failed Writing 1 or Writing 1E, what should I do?

You should take Writing 1 or Writing 1E again.

If you’re confused, contact writingprogram@ucsc.edu with questions.

I’ve been told I have an ELWR hold. What does this mean?

This means that you did not meet the ELWR requirement by passing Writing 1 or Writing 1E by the deadline, you did not file a petition to extend your deadline, and/or did not file a double-repeat petition. Unfortunately, the UC system requires you to leave UCSC, go take a course that satisfies ELWR at a community college, and then contact your college advising office to apply to come back. (Many local students choose to go to Cabrillo College, and if you are an international student, you can reach out to International Student Services at Cabrillo.) Please reach out to the Writing Program with questions—we want you to succeed and stay at UCSC if you can.

How do I have my ELWR hold released so I can re-enroll at UCSC?

To have your ELWR hold released, submit official transcripts that you passed an ELWR-satisfying to the UCSC Registrar (not to the Writing Program) to be evaluated for ELWR satisfaction. (Note that there used to be something called the “ELWR appeal packet,” but it is no longer used.)

To return to the university, you will be required to submit an application for readmission to UC Santa Cruz. This is not handled by the Writing Program. Contact college advising with questions.

Writing 2/Composition Requirement FAQs

What is the deadline for taking and passing Writing 2?

It is recommended that students complete and pass Writing 2 prior to the start of their 7th quarter of enrollment.  Summer is not counted in the quarter count. Students will not be canceled for failing to complete the Composition (C) Requirement prior to their 7th quarter. However, this requirement is foundational for students to make academic progress.

I am not yet past the Writing 2 deadline, but the number of credits I have prevents me from enrolling in Writing 2. What should I do?

Contact the Writing Program who can help you navigate the enrollment process.

What is Writing 2 all about?

This question is answered here.

How do I know if I am required to take Writing 2?

This is indicated in your UCSC student portal. Go to My Academics>Degree Progress Report>GE C: Composition. Almost all incoming frosh enter UCSC needing to take Writing 2. Most transfer students enter UCSC having met their Writing 2/Composition Requirement.

Can I take Writing 2 in the summer?

Yes, you can. Writing 2 is offered at UCSC in the summer, typically online. You can find more information on Summer Session’s website.

You can also take a transferable course that satisfies the C requirement at some California community colleges. Check Assist for articulated courses. And remember, if you take course outside of UCSC, an official transcript from the relevant institution must be received by the UCSC Registrar to receive GE and unit credit.

Transfer & Returning Students FAQs

I am a transfer student. How do I know which lower-division writing courses I need to take?

Most transfer students enter UCSC having met the ELWR/Writing 1 and Composition/Writing 2 requirements. Your status will be indicated in your UCSC student portal.

If your portal shows you have not meet these requirements, you’ll need to enroll in the appropriate course.

If you believe a course you took at another university that meets these writing requirements that is not reflected in your portal, you can use Assist to see if the course you took elsewhere transfers, and contact undergraduate advising with questions.

I am returning to UCSC after an absence. How do I know what courses to take?

If you began at UCSC in 2018 or later, simply head to your UCSC student portal. It will tell you if you have meet the ELWR/Writing 1 and Composition/Writing 2 requirements.

If you began at UCSC prior to 2018, begin by checking your UCSC student portal. Prior to 2018, the writing requirements were different, so you may have additional/different options in terms of the courses you can/should take. Contact the Writing Program to discuss options.

Other FAQs

I am a transfer student or a graduate student, and I don’t qualify to take Writing 1, Writing 1E, or Writing 2. But I want to work on my writing. Can I enroll in these classes anyway?

You cannot enroll in Writing 1, 1E, or 2 if you already have credit for these courses or are a graduate student. Also, these courses aren’t what you’re looking for in terms of writing development. The Writing Program hopes it will soon be able to offer upper-division courses to meet your needs. 

What are DC courses? Are they taught by the Writing Program?

DC courses are Disciplinary Communication courses, and they are required in each undergraduate major. Here’s a list of them. The Writing Program is not responsible for these courses. Contact your major advisor about your DC course. 

Can I apply for the Don Rothman Endowed Award in First-Year Writing if I am not first-year?

No. Don Rothman founded this award to honor the achievements of one or more first-year students.

My question wasn’t answered here. How can I get in touch with the Writing Program?