Graduate Writing Exam: Overview

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Photo by Christopher Harting

MIT’s Graduate Writing Exam (GWE) is the first step in many graduate programs. It is taken the summer before matriculation and assesses incoming students’ competency in technical writing, proper use and citation of sources, and usage of standard written English.

Students who pass the exam have fulfilled their program’s entry writing requirement. Those who do not pass will be required to take an IAP writing workshop (21W.794 Graduate Technical Writing Workshop) or a full-semester writing course, depending on their department’s policy.

Currently, the following departments require that the Graduate Writing Exam be taken by all incoming students:

  • Aeronautics & Astronautics (Course 16)
  • Biological Engineering (Course 20)
  • Computation for Design & Optimization (CDO)
  • Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
  • Civil & Environmental Engineering (Course 1)
  • Institute for Data Systems & Society (IDSS)
  • Media Arts & Sciences (MAS)
  • Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
  • Operations Research Center (ORC)
  • Technology & Policy Program (TPP)

If your department is not on this list, you do not need to take the exam.

PLEASE NOTE: The Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication program (WRAP) administers the GWE, but all subsequent decisions are made by your department. For questions about your results or your department’s passing scores, policies, and individual course requirements, contact your Graduate Administrator.

Click here for more details on the exam.