Composition Requirements


Students enrolled before 2005


This information is relevant only to students who are eligible for and approved to follow the graduation requirements of a catalog prior to fall 2005. The catalog rights policy is published in the UCSC General Catalog's section on graduation requirements: Students should contact their College Advising Office if they have questions about their catalog rights.

Transfer articulation notes: The C general education requirement was replaced by the C1/C2 general education requirement in fall of 2005. For students who first enrolled at UCSC prior to fall 2005, taking and passing "Writing 1: Composition & Rhetoric" or equivalent, satisfied the "C" requirement. As of fall 2005, "Writing 1: Composition & Rhetoric" and "Writing 2: Rhetoric & Inquiry" were cross-listed and taught concurrently as the same course. As of December 2008, Writing 1 was retired as an enrollment option. Writing 2: Rhetoric & Inquiry satisfies the C2  requirement at UCSC. Please consult UCSC's Educational Objectives of the C1 and C2 for a full description of UCSC's lower-division writing requirements.

Writing 1 is no longer available as an enrollment option. Students who entered UCSC before fall 2005 who are seeking to satisfy the C requirement should request a permission number to enroll in a Writing 2 class during their first-pass enrollment period by sending an email message to

Students who wish to attempt to satisfy the C requirement by exam may take the campus Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE), which is offered at the beginning of each quarter. A score of 11 or 12 on the exam will satisfy the C requirement.

Students who do not satisfy the C requirement by receiving a score of 11 or 12 on the AWPE may submit the appeals materials listed below within two weeks after receiving their exam results. Appeals must be submitted no later than one calendar year after the exam was taken. Students will be notified of the results of the appeal about three weeks after they have submitted these materials. Students should plan their appeal far enough in advance of their intended graduation date to enroll in Writing 2 (formerly Writing 1) should the appeal be denied.

Students may initiate the appeal by contacting the Writing Program ( to arrange for their bluebook to be retrieved from storage, and submitting items #2 and #3 below to the Writing Program Office, Humanities 1, Room 209, or by inserting items #2 and #3 into their bluebooks at the time they take the AWPE.

Appeal Packet:
(1) The AWPE (bluebook) most recently taken.
(2) A cover letter asking to be considered for a C appeal, including the following information:
  1. Name
  2. Student ID number, year and quarter in school
  3. College
  4. College mailbox number
  5. Local phone number
  6. E-mail address
  7. Whether you want your papers returned to you by campus mail; returned to you by U.S. mail (please include a SASE envelope); discarded; or whether you will pick them up from the Writing Program office (Humanities 1, Room 209).
(3) Two or three papers (a total of 12 or more pages of writing) or a senior thesis (20+ pages): 
  • The papers should demonstrate the writer's ability to compose a clear, coherent, purposeful argument based upon analysis and using accurate citation forms and standard written English. The analysis can be of texts or data or both.
  • The papers can be from any UCSC course as long as they make an argument and do not simply report. Scientific reports and social science papers that make arguments in the results and discussion sections are fine to submit for this appeal.
  • The citation style should follow the one required by the discipline (e.g., Sociology uses APA style, Literature uses MLA style, Biology uses CBE).
  • The work submitted should include evidence that it is the student's own work. Sufficient evidence would be an instructor's marginal and end comments on a paper, or a narrative evaluation that makes specific references to the paper(s) submitted.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I appeal the C1 or C2 requirement?

No. Only the C requirement (for students who entered UCSC prior to Fall 2005) may be appealed.

Can I submit poetry or fiction?

No. The C requirement is designed to develop the student's ability to compose an argument based upon analysis because that is the kind of writing required by academic disciplines.

I haven't written an actual essay since Core. I'm not sure I have any writing to submit. What should I do?

You do not have to submit essays to appeal this requirement. Any writing that makes an argument based upon the analysis of readings, data, or other kinds of evidence is fine. For instance, many papers written for courses in Psychology, Sociology, Chemistry, etc., require students to do research, to analyze whatever they have found, and to make claims and support those claims using logic and evidence. These kinds of papers are fine to use to appeal.

My major doesn't require much writing, but it does require so many courses that I don't think I have room for Writing 2 (formerly Writing 1). How can I appeal the C requirement?

Unfortunately, if you haven't been writing papers, you won't have materials to appeal. You also may not be getting the opportunities to develop the writing abilities needed in most jobs that require a bachelor's degree. Fortunately, Writing 2 can help you develop those abilities as well as the abilities needed in many GE courses.

Who reads the appeals? If I don't pass, will they tell me why?

A member of the Writing Program faculty who teaches Writing 2 will read your appeal. You may contact the Writing Program office and ask to be put in touch with the appeal reader.

Do I get credit for Writing 2 (formerly Writing 1) if my appeal is successful?

No. A successful appeal does not confer credit; it merely says that you do not need to take Writing 2. You can, of course, take Writing 2 if you want to and get five units. If you plan to transfer to another university, you should keep in mind that most colleges require that you take a course to satisfy a composition requirement and may not exempt you on the basis of our exam.

I'm really bad at writing and I know I'd do awful work in Writing 2 (formerly Writing 1). Do I have to take it?

Yes, and here's the good news: Writing 2 teachers are experts at helping people who have had bad experiences with writing, who have writer's blocks, who struggle at any stage of writing, and who may dislike or avoid writing for a variety of reasons. We will work with you individually to help you develop strategies to address your fears and to meet the challenges. You may find others in the class who have similar concerns and who can give you support and suggestions. Most students who take Writing 2 feel more confident as writers and do better in their other courses.

Can I get my papers back?

Yes. If you request the return of your papers, we will send them to the on-campus address you provide. If you live off-campus, we will hold your papers in our office for you to pick-up because our budget does not allow for off-campus mailing at this time. Please let us know in your cover note if you would like us to send them (to an on-campus address), hold them, or discard them after the appeal.

If you have any questions, please contact the Writing Program by email at; by phone, (831) 459-2431; or visit us in Humanities 1, Room 209.