UMass Boston

Writing Proficiency

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What is the Writing Proficiency Requirement?

  • Students must demonstrate the ability to evaluate different points of view, read critically, and write analytically.
  • It is one of our general education requirements for undergraduates. 
  • Students are required to demonstrate writing proficiency before they complete 75 credits.
  • It is a graduation requirement.

How is this requirement fulfilled?

Students have three options for fulfilling this requirement.  This document, "Three Ways to fulfill the writing proficiency requirement," compares the three options

  1. EWRAP (Electronic Writing Assessment Portfolio) consists of a collection of course papers. 
    • This option is only available to students enrolled in an intermediate seminar in the current semester. 
    • EWRAP portfolios are due at the end of the semester, in December or in May. 
    • Students enrolled in intermediate seminars will receive detailed information by email at mid-semester.
    • Students in CRW 282 can participate in EWRAP.
  2. WPE Portfolio consists of a collection of course papers and a new (challenge) essay. 
    • WPE portfolios can be submitted up to three times a year.
    • See the schedule page for a detailed review of the next two upcoming WPE Portfolio cycles. 
    • Students are notified by email at the start of every WPE Portfolio cycle.
  3. WPE Timed Exam consists of an essay written in person using readings that the student has prepared in advance. 
    • No timed exams are currently scheduled.
    • Students who think they must do a timed exam should send an email message to writing.proficiency@umb.edu.  

What is the purpose of the Writing Proficiency Requirement?

You’ll need critical reading, reasoning, and writing skills to be successful in every class you take at UMass Boston. The purpose of the Writing Proficiency Requirement is to help you be better prepared for academic work in advanced courses where you will be expected to apply these essential communication skills.

When do I complete the Writing Proficiency Requirement?

You must complete the requirement by your junior year when you have between 60 and 75 credits.

  • Most students fulfill the requirement by participating in EWRAP in the semester they take an Intermediate Seminar. 
  • Students who have taken an intermediate seminar or who are not required to take an intermediate seminar must submit a WPE portfolio before they complete 75 credits.

What if I am a transfer student?

Most transfer students are required to take an intermediate seminar and can complete an EWRAP portfolio.

  • If you transfer or earn 75 or more credits, you should fulfill the writing proficiency requirement at the end of that semester (EWRAP) or in the month after the end of that semester (WPE).
  • Transfer students in their first semester at the university are not expected to attempt the mid-semester WPE.
  • New transfer students qualify for modified submission requirements. 

What is the significance of 75 credits?

Your ability to reflect upon a problem, to organize your thinking and argue your point of view persuasively are skills required in upper level courses. Therefore, we require that you are proficient at writing by your junior year, so that you will be successful in your 300 and 400 level courses.

What if I have a WPE hold on my Wiser?

Students who haven't fulfilled the writing proficiency requirement by the semester in which they will reach 75 credits will receive a WPE hold on their Wiser account. See WPE Holds to learn how to get the hold released.  

Accommodations for students with disabilities

The University of Massachusetts Boston is committed to providing reasonable academic accommodations for all students with disabilities. Students with disabilities who need accommodations on the Writing Proficiency Requirement (Timed-Essay Exam or Portfolio) must contact the Ross Center by writing to ross.center@umb.edu or by calling 617.287.7430 to request necessary accommodations. Students must be registered with the Ross Center for Disability Services, UL 211, before requesting accommodations for the Writing Proficiency Requirement.