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Getting Credit for the WA

Entering Freshmen normally satisfy the WA requirement by taking College Composition and Rhetoric (English 1010) and passing it with a C or better. However, two other ways are possible.

  • Through AP:  Students may satisfy the requirement if they enter UW with an AP English score of 4 or 5.
  • Through taking the departmental exemption exam: to qualify to take this exam, a student first takes the CLEP exam. A CLEP score of 50 or above qualifies the student then to take the departmental exam. 
  • Note: To take the CLEP (which is a placement exam), a student must not have taken any college level English classes.


Transfer Students: Most transfer students satisfy the WA requirement by transferring in a college composition course equivalent to UW's. If such is not the case, the following are eligible to take the English department's exemption exam

Students who fulfilled their first-year writing requirement at another university but for some reason were not successful in having that course transfer to UW as a WA

Students who have attended universities that do not offer freshman composition (i.e. Canadian and British schools)

Students otherwise caught in a transfer loophole.  The central question is, does the student’s writing meet the minimum exit criteria for WA?

Students who have completed WB and WC but never took WA:  Enroll in a WA class.  Rationale: WA is designed as a class in basic academic writing; WB and WC are designed to cover different tasks and meet different goals.

To apply to take the English Department exemption exam, students should contact the office assistant in Hoyt 201, or call 766-6452.  He/she has the most current information on when the exam is offered, how much it costs (for 2007-08 the fee is $80.00), and how to sign up.  And if a student passes the exam?  If he/she took the CLEP exam, the 3 credit hours of WA are posted on the transcript.  If he/she qualified to take the exam by some other means, the 3 credits of WA are not posted on the transcript, although the WA requirement will be shown as satisfied in On-Course.


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