Upper-Division Writing Directed Self Placement

At San Jose State, all students have to complete an upper-division writing course in their discipline in order to graduate.  This course is called 100W and can be challenging.  However, students do not have enroll directly into 100W if they feel they are not quite ready.  The other course available to you is called 100A, and it helps students prepare for the rigors of 100W and upper division work

Once you have completed your A3 and Core GE requirements, you have a choice regarding which writing course you would like to take first: will you enroll directly in 100W, OR would you prefer to take 100A and then 100W? 

Flow chart

What is the Difference Between 100A and 100W?
100A is an extra semester of writing instruction, available to students who need more practice in academic writing before enrolling in 100W. 100A prepares students for 100W through extensive practice in drafting, feedback, and revision.

100W is an advanced, upper-division writing course designed to introduce students to writing in their disciplines. Students learn writing and appropriate contemporary research strategies and methodologies to communicate effectively to both specialized and general audiences.

How Do I Choose?
In order to help you choose which writing course is best for you, students complete a brief online exercise called the Upper-Division Writing Directed Self Placement (UDW-DSP). This exercise will provide more information about the two writing courses you are choosing between, and ask you some questions about your experience with college-level writing.  The goal is to inform you of your two choices and help you choose your course appropriately.  And, it will only take about 10 minutes!

What Do You Need to Do?
In order to complete the UDW-DSP, all you need are

  • An internet connection.
  • 10-15 minutes.
  • A sample college paper that uses sources (i.e., has a Bibliography).  This can be from any college, on any subject (in either PDF or Word format).

Once you’re ready, click on the link below to complete the exercise and choose your writing course.

Complete the Upper-Division Writing Directed Self Placement Exercise.

Other Need-to-Knows:

  • The UDW-DSP is NOT a test.  It is an online exercise, similar to a questionnaire.  It is meant to help you, not test you.
  • DSP, or “Directed Self Placement,” means you are placing yourself in the writing course that you feel is most appropriate for you.  You know your writing abilities best and so the choice is up to you (not anyone at SJSU).
  • If you still have questions after completing the UDW Directed Self Placement, please contact an Adviser in the Student Success Center for your College.

Other Questions?
Click here for a regularly updated list of Frequently Asked Questions and Answers [pdf]

Sara Cook, the Upper-Division Writing DSP Coordinator, is here to support you and answer your questions. Send Sara Cook an e-mail at: