Transfer Students

First-Year Writing Requirement

All students at Washington University must satisfy a first-year writing requirement; most do so by taking College Writing. Some transfer students meet this requirement through having taken an equivalent course at a prior institution. Equivalent courses are those in which writing is a central focus of classroom instruction. Note that this is not the same as a course for which you simply wrote papers (e.g., a writing intensive course).

If you have not taken an equivalent course at your previous college or university, you must take College Writing during your first year of study at Washington University. If you think you have taken an equivalent course, you may be eligible to submit a writing portfolio, which will help us to determine whether or not you are required to take another writing course. The deadline to submit a writing porfolio for consideration in the fall semester is August 1st.

Engineering students should contact the McKelvey School of Engineering about the engineering English Proficiency Requirement.

Submitting a Writing Portfolio

If you think you have taken an equivalent course, you are eligible to submit a Writing Portfolio Eligibility Form. The deadline to submit a writing portfolio is August 1. Students who miss this deadline will be required to take College Writing in their first year of study at Washington University. If you cannot submit your portfolio online, please contact our office by phone at (314) 935-4899 or by email at

Writing Portfolio Eligibility Form

Writing Portfolio for Transfer Students

If you are not eligible to submit a portfolio,

Plan to sign up for and take College Writing in your first year of study at Washington University in St. Louis.

If you believe that you are eligible to submit a portfolio,

You will complete the webform linked in the blue box above that allows you to submit a writing portfolio for our review. This form will ask you to provide information about the course, along with writing samples and a syllabus from the course in order to help us to deterime if the course is sufficient for meeting the first-year writing requirement at WashU or not. After reviewing your portfolio, we will notify you and your academic advisor of either your exemption or your placment into College Writing or Writing Workshop, our 1-credit research writing course.

All submitted work must be your own and adhere to the College Writing and Washington University policies on Academic Integrity.

Portfolio writing samples should include only work produced for college courses. You may include writing samples from the course that you think is equivalent, as well as other writing courses that you have taken. The kinds of writing we are looking for in portfolios include analytical and argumentative essays, as well as researched writing which incorporates scholarly sources from prior college course work. Please provide a brief description of the original assignment / goals for each essay submitted.

Note that the following kinds of writing should not be sumbitted: papers written for high school, responses to essay exams, personal or creative writing, reflective writing, book reviews, journalism articles, or response papers. Where possible, essays should not be marked or graded; grades received in previous courses have no bearing on the portfolio review process.

If you do not have a complete portfolio, you should contact the College Writing Program as soon as possible. In most cases, students who do not have complete portfolios are required to take College Writing.

Some students may also be required to take a placement exam, in addition to the portfolio review process.


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Frequently Asked Questions