Writing Proficiency

The Associate Director congratulates a student for passing the WPE.


What is the Writing Proficiency Requirement?

To graduate from UMass Boston, students must demonstrate the ability to evaluate different points of view, read critically, and write analytically by meeting the Writing Proficiency Requirement. It is one of our general education requirements for undergraduates. We assess your proficiency through a portfolio of your writing or an exam.

There are four evaluation periods per year:

  • October (portfolio only)
  • January (exam and portfolio)
  • March (portfolio only)
  • June (exam and portfolio)

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. We recommend that you have your writing proficiency evaluated soon after you complete the Intermediate Seminar in your sophomore year. The Intermediate Seminar will give you stronger critical reading and writing skills and help prepare you to meet the Writing Proficiency Requirement.

Transfer Students

If you will have earned 75 or more credits at the end of your first semester as an undergraduate transfer student, you should register to have your writing proficiency evaluated as soon as possible.

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.

If students reach 75 credits without completing the Writing Proficiency Requirement, a hold will be placed on their account and the student will be required to meet with a staff member to review the student's degree audit and graduation plans.

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 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.