Portfolio Requirements


  • Note to faculty who are developing writing assignments: For details on the grading rubric for the WPE, please refer to the Elements of Writing Proficiency. For details on the requirements of course papers included in a WPE portfolio, refer to page 2 of the Portfolio Certification Form (see the links on right side of this page).

If you decide to meet the Writing Proficiency Requirement through a portfolio, you will be asked to create a writing portfolio consisting of two parts.

The first part of your portfolio consists of at least 15 pages of supporting course papers, showing your work as a writer over several different courses.  You will need to plan ahead to complete this part of the portfolio, and we encourage you to assemble the supporting papers over several semesters.

The second part is a new essay (at least five (5) full pages long) answering a question about a set of readings provided by the Writing Proficiency Requirement Office.   

The 4 steps to building and submitting your portfolio are listed here, with important information about the requirements.  Note that if you are a new transfer student, special conditions may apply.  Click here for more information.

Step 1:  Obtain certification forms; fill out one form for each of your supporting papers.

Step 2:  Register for the portfolio and write the new essay.

Step 3:  Complete the Portfolio Submission Form.

Step 4:  Submit the completed portfolio by the deadline in CC 1/1313.

Step 1:  Assemble and obtain certification for supporting papers.
You must turn in at least 15 pages of supporting course papers satisfying these criteria:

  1. You must submit a minimum of two papers from two courses.  (The only exceptions are Intermediate Seminars, NU 212 or NU 360, and CRW 282--students may submit two papers from those courses.)
  2. Each must be a typed, graded paper written for a course taught at UMass Boston (for example, English 102, First Year Seminar, or Intermediate Seminar).
  3. At least one of the papers must come from a course at the 200-level or higher (for example, an Intermediate Seminar).
  4. All course papers must be analytical essays written in English and must demonstrate the criteria outlined in The Elements of Writing Proficiency.
  5. Two or three of the supporting course papers must be based on the analysis of two or more readings. Only one paper may be based on the analysis of one reading or on the analysis of information gathered through observation, interview, or experimentation.
  6. Each paper must come from a different course. But, two papers can be submitted from the following courses: Intermediate Seminars, NU 212, NU 360, and CRW 282. Although papers must come from different courses, papers from different courses taught by the same professor are allowed.
  7. The supporting papers must total at least 15 full pages. No single paper can be less than three full pages, and one paper must be at least five full pages. (Papers must be double-spaced, 1" margins, maximum of 12-point type, on 8 1/2" by 11" paper).
  8. Each paper must be certified as the original graded paper.   You can download the Certification Form here.  Important:  You should start the process of certification as soon as you can, preferably while you are still in the course. Although chairs may sign on behalf of a faculty member who is on leave or is no longer at the university if you provide them with the original graded paper, please be advised that department chairs are under no obligation to certify papers.
  9. Each original graded paper must have attached to it a completed certification form signed by the instructor who graded it. If you do not have an original graded paper, but you have an electronic copy of the original paper, you may print out a copy of the paper and use it if:
  • The professor to whom the paper was submitted signs the certification form and writes “I remember that this is the paper submitted for the course..."

Note that the grades on the submitted supporting course papers do not factor in to the assessment of the student’s WPE.

Step 2:  Register for the portfolio and write the new essay

When you register for the portfolio, you will receive a link to a site that contains the reading sets and the question.   You should allow several weeks to analyze the readings in light of the question, draft your new essay, review your new essay, and finalize the essay.  We give some advice on how to carefully read and analyze the reading sets below, and the Writing Proficiency Office will offer workshops and tutoring to help students.

The new essay must be at least five (5) full pages. Papers must be double-spaced with 1" margins, using a maximum of 12-point type (we recommend using Times New Roman), on 8 1/2" by 11" paper.

Step 3:  Complete the Portfolio Submission Form
Download and print the Portfolio Submission Form, then complete the portfolio submission form and sign it.

You must submit your supporting papers, completed certification forms, new essay, and completed, signed portfolio submission form all at one time.  Do not put them in a folder or binder of any kind--we will provide you with a labeled folder.

Step 4:  Submit the portfolio on time
Completed Portfolios must be submitted before 4:00 p.m. on the due date, in CC 1/1313.  NOTE: Your new performance essay on the supplied reading set must be at least five full pages. We do not accept anything less, but you can, of course, write a bit more. 

Any Portfolio that is submitted but does not meet all of the requirements will be graded as a “Void” and the student will have to submit a new Portfolio in the next testing period.

You will receive an email giving your result on the portfolio assessment (Pass; Retake; Void).  The WPE portfolio page will contain information about when results will be sent and how to appeal a Retake result.

Transfer students

If you are a student who:

  • Is a new transfer who has not yet completed your second semester at UMass Boston), and

  • has completed 75 or more credits by the end of your first semester at UMass Boston,

then you may submit ten pages of supporting papers (along with the new five-page paper).  The requirements for supporting papers for transfer students meeting these conditions are as follows:

  • You must submit at least two supporting papers from UMass Boston courses.
  • The papers must total at least 10 full typed pages.
  • One paper must be at least five full typed pages.
  • No paper can be less than three full pages.
  •  All papers must analyze two or more readings.  If you must include a paper based on observation in order to reach ten pages, please get pre-approval from the writing proficiency office.
  • All papers must meet the requirements listed in Step 1, including the certification requirements. 
  • The papers must be from two different classes, except for papers from NU 212 or NU 360; CRW 282; and any intermediate seminar.

Note: Please write on the Portfolio Submission Form that you are a new transfer student and list the date you transferred to UMass Boston.

If you have any questions please phone or visit the Writing Assessment Office in the Department of Undergraduate Studies. We are located in the Campus Center 1/1300; contact us by phone at 617-287-6330 or by writing to We will make every effort to provide you with information, practical advice, tutoring, workshops, and support to help you meet this requirement in a timely way.