Phone: 616-331-8655

Brooks College Dean's Office
224 Lake Ontario Hall
Allendale, MI 49401

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 document very 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.

That being said, 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 situation constitutes an extraordinary circumstance and (b) 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, that does not mean that it will qualify. Before submitting a waiver request, make certain that your course meets the main criteria for an SWS course:

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

If you are 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. Additional writing courses transferred in do not equal the second SWS course.

How to Submit Your Waiver

Follow carefully all provided instructions so that your waiver can be processed as expediently as possible.

Make certain that the course you are submitting the waiver request for meets the requirements listed above under SWS Course Substitution Eligibility.

Each waiver request must contain

  • typed cover letter that contains a brief statement presenting your reason for requesting a waiver.
  • completed SWS Waiver Form (available in MS Word .doc and Adobe .pdf formats).
  • Supporting documentation providing evidence that the course meets SWS guidelines (information about the required documents is listed in the SWS Waiver Form).

Submit your completed form and other documents to 

SWS Appeal Process
Dean’s Office, Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies
One Campus Drive, 224 Lake Ontario Hall
Allendale, Michigan 49401

If you have questions about preparing and assembling your documents or trouble accessing the SWS Waiver Form, please contact

What to Expect after Submitting the Waiver Request

Please allow at least 3 weeks for a decision. A copy of our decision will be sent to you and to your advisor. Note that a waiver of the requirement will be granted only in extreme circumstances.

  Last Modified Date: June 9, 2015
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