Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR)

The University of California requires all undergraduate students to demonstrate a minimum proficiency in English composition by meeting the Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR). This is one of the undergraduate degree requirements

How do I meet the ELWR?

Students may meet the requirement in any of the following ways, prior to enrollment at UC San Diego:

  • Score 30 or higher on the ACT, English Language Arts (ELA)  Note: ACT English cannot be used to fulfill the ELWR.
  • Score 680 or higher on the SAT, Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
  • Score 680 or higher on the SAT, Writing section of the Reasoning Test (last administered January 2016)  
  • Score 3 or higher on Advanced Placement Examination in English (Language or Literature)
  • Score 5 or higher on an International Baccalaureate Higher Level Examination in English (Language A only) 
  • Score 6 or higher on an International Baccalaureate Standard Level Examination in English (Language A only) 

Students may also meet the requirement by earning a grade of "C" or better in a UC-transferable English composition course from an accredited college or university, prior to enrollment at UC San Diego (see ASSIST for UC Transfer Admission Eligibility Courses/UC-E English Composition).

Can other exams be used to meet the ELWR?

No. TOEFL, TOEIC, IELTS, Cambridge English exams, iGCSE, GCE, or other types of language assessments cannot be used to meet the ELWR.

Can the college composition course I took outside of California be used to meet the ELWR?

It depends. If you earned a C or better on a college composition course in other states in the U.S. prior to enrollment at UC San Diego, contact the Analytical Writing Program at awp@ucsd.edu with the following information. We will let you know whether it is a qualifying course.

  • College name and the state it is located in
  • Course name and course number
  • Letter grade earned

If you took a college composition course outside of the U.S., it cannot be used to fulfill the ELWR.

What should I do if I meet the ELWR?

If you have met the ELWR but have not submitted your official scores/transcripts to the Office of Admissions at University of California San Diego, do so by the following deadlines:

  • College transcripts*: July 1
  • AP or IB scores: July 15
  • SAT or ACT scores: July 15

*High school transcripts displaying college composition courses will not be accepted. You must submit the official college transcripts in order to clear the ELWR. If you are currently taking the course, you can submit the transcripts after you complete it. 

Review your "Triton Checklist" to see if your official records are displayed. Self-reported scores will not be accepted. Note that it is students' responsibility to ensure that their scores/transcripts are received by UC San Diego.

What happens if I don't meet the ELWR?

All students who have not previously satisfied the ELWR must take the Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE) or UC San Diego Writing Placement Test (WPT) prior to enrollment at UC San Diego in order to determine their writing course placement. 

If you do not pass the placement test and do not have other ways to fulfill the ELWR, you must enroll immediately in the AWP course in which you are placed (either AWP 3 or AWP 4A) during your first quarter at UC San Diego. Students who enroll in AWP 4A are required to enroll in AWP 4B in the subsequent term. Earning a grade of C or higher on AWP 3 or AWP 4B satisfies the ELWR. If you miss this enrollment, you will have lost one of the quarters allotted you for fulfilling the ELWR.

What if I'm a transfer student?

All transfer students must complete two UC-transferable English composition courses prior to their transfer. So if you are a transfer student, you have met the ELWR and do not need to take the placement test.