Student Waiver Requests

The director of the SWS Program will consider requests for changes in, or waivers of, the Supplemental Writing Skills Course requirement.

Be certain to read all of the following carefully if you are considering a waiver request.

What Qualifies for an SWS Student Waiver Request?

By submitting an SWS Student Waiver Request, you are asking for an official appeal of part of your SWS requirement. Previously taking a course that required writing does not qualify you for an appeal. The SWS Student Waiver Request is not intended to provide a loophole for anyone wanting to avoid taking two SWS courses while at GVSU. An appeal is granted only in extraordinary circumstances.

The SWS Student Waiver Request was created by the University Writing Skills Committee to allow the Director of SWS to consider student appeals of the SWS requirement. The SWS Student Waiver Request appeal process was primarily created to allow the SWS Director

  1. To consider special cases where students had repeatedly attempted to take two different SWS courses, but did not receive a "C" or better in both classes.
  2. To evaluate course credit transfer requests for students who have completed significant degree work at another institution or who are trying to complete GVSU requirements by studying abroad; however, SWS courses must be taken at GVSU, except in very unusual cases.

Know that the fact that you have already walked at graduation or that you are suffering financial hardship are not normally sufficient grounds for an appeal. Some situations other than those listed above might qualify as an extraordinary circumstance. Every appeal is considered carefully on a case-by-case basis by the SWS Director. The final determination of what qualifies for a waiver is at the discretion of the SWS Director. All decisions are final (i.e. you cannot appeal the decision regarding your appeal).

SWS Course Substitution Eligibility

In preparing your SWS Student Waiver Request, you will have to (a) explain how your need for an SWS waiver constitutes an extraordinary circumstance, (b) explain why taking two preapproved SWS courses at GVSU poses a unique challenge to your progress toward degree, and (c) supply evidence that another course you took is an equitable replacement for an SWS course. If your SWS Student Waiver Request is approved, this course will then be used to substitute your SWS requirement on your GVSU transcript.

Be aware. Just because a class that you took involved a lot of writing or was similar to another preapproved SWS section, that does not mean that your circumstance qualifies for a waiver.  If you believe that your circumstance meets criteria a and b above, please explain criteria c.  SWS course sections must meet these baseline standards:

  1. The writing must be expository writing analyzing a particular content area, not fiction writing, news writing, etc.
  2. At least one third of the course grade must be based on the writing assignment.
  3. At least four class hours must be devoted to discussion of writing.
  4. At least 3,000 words must be submitted, not counting essay exams.
  5. Students must be taught revision. Courses which assign a term paper due in its final draft at the end of the semester do not qualify.
  6. You must have completed the course with a grade of "C" or better (not "C-").

If a course cannot be shown to meet these requirements, you will not receive waiver request approval. Waivers can only be submitted after a course has been completed.

Transfer Courses

If you are studying abroad or studying away and seeking a waiver request for a transfer course not taken at GVSU: Generally, only one transferred course will be accepted toward fulfillment of the SWS requirement. Please explain the extraordinary circumstances of your study away in your waiver request application. Actual SWS credit can only be applied after coursework is completed and on your transcript, though advice can be helpful while planning a future plan for travel.

Submit a Waiver

Submit an SWS Student Waiver Request

If you have questions about preparing and assembling your documents or trouble accessing the SWS Waiver Form, please contact SWS Director, Dr. Lindsay Ellis at [email protected].

Please allow 2-3 weeks for a decision. A copy of our decision will be sent to you and to your advisor.

Page last modified February 20, 2024