WWU Writing Requirements

Western Washington University promotes the development of writing proficiency systematically throughout a course of study. To that end, Western has established a program of writing courses, as well as faculty and student support services, beginning in the first year and extending to upper-division writing proficiency (WP) courses offered throughout the University.

Writing Requirements for Graduation:

Lower Level Communication General University Requirement (GUR), Block A: - Students need to complete English 101, Writing and Critical Inquiry, with a minimum grade of C- prior to the accumulation of 45 credits.  Requirement will be waived for students demonstrating high English competency on Advanced Placement (CEEB English score of 4).

Upper- Level Writing Proficiency Course(s): Students need to complete a minimum of three writing proficiency (WP) points in designated WP courses, taken at WWU, with a minimum grade of C-.

WP courses are upper-division classes emphasizing researching and writing in a particular discipline. Students learn the writing style and conventions of their disciplines, as well as the techniques for integrating evidence into scholarly papers.

Since most departments offer WP courses, students typically register for them in their majors. To search for WP courses in current and future quarters or to view open sections, times, or instructors for these courses, use Classfinder's search feature to select the "WP" designation for that quarter.

All Western writing proficiency courses should follow these University-wide guidelines:

  • Students have opportunities for receiving feedback,
  • Instructors provide expectations for revision, and
  • Instructors assign course grades based on writing (see grid below): 
Writing Proficiency Points Fulfilling the Writing Proficiency Requirements
(Minimum 3 points required)
  Credit Hours of course % of Grade Based on
Writing Assignments
WP1 1 Credit 75%
2 Credits 50%
3 Credits 25%
4 Credits 20% (18.75%)
5 Credits 15%
WP2 2 Credits 75%
3 Credits 50%
4 Credits 40% (37.5%)
5 Credits 30%
WP3 3 Credits 75%
4 Credits 55%
5 Credits 45%

Alternative WP Courses:

If students are unable to satisfy the WP requirement with a regularly scheduled WP course, they might be able to arrange an alternative.  See “Guidelines for Arranging an Alternative Writing Proficiency (WP) course" and “Alternative Writing Proficiency (WP) Course Agreement.”

Other Designated Writing Courses at WWU

Coummmunication GUR, Block C:
While not a requirement for graduation, students may elect to satisfy the second part of the GUR in Communication by taking a Block C writing course.  

To see current Block C course offerings, use Classfinder.

Block C writing courses need to abide by the following criteria (from 2006-08 ACC Handbook, p. 20):

  • Has prerequisites of English 101 and 30 credits
  • Caps enrollment at 25
  • Carries a minimum of 3 credits  
  • Includes instruction in how to write academic discourse about a particular academic topic or domain such as the sciences, humanities, arts, etc. 
  • Includes writing as at least 75% of the final letter grade, including both formal and informal writing products
  • Needs to provide opportunities for revising
  • May be a stand-alone course or offered as part of a link or sequence of courses


Western Washington University’s GUR Competency #1:
Analyze and communicate ideas effectively in oral, written, and visual forms.  See GUR Competency #1 Model Rubric.  


Consultation Times

Carmen Werder, WIS Director, is available for individual, small group or departmental consultations on any topic related to writing instruction and assessment as well as to consult on expectations for Writing Proficiency courses. 

To set up an appointment contact Carmen at (360) 650-7329 or at Carmen.Werder@wwu.edu.