Doctoral Writing Assessment Exemption Policies

You have decided to start (or for some of you continue) your doctoral journey at Walden University. You may be new to the rigors of doctoral coursework while others may have already taken doctoral courses here at Walden or at another institution. So, you may be asking yourself what the Doctoral Writing Assessment is, and do you really have to partake in this course.

The Doctoral Writing Assessment is a requirement for all doctoral students who start at Walden University for the academic year 2017 or later. There are many students who enter the doctoral program each year at Walden. All Doctoral students have completed a Master’s level degree, may write professionally and/or often at their job, or already view themselves as highly skilled writers. We recognize the skill needed to achieve those different levels of success. However, doctoral study raises the bar above the skills and expectations that enabled you to be successful professionally or in previous programs.

Our goal in having developed this writing assessment is to help ensure students are best positioned for success from the beginning of their doctoral program. The purpose of the doctoral writing assessment is to assess students’ writing skills and to strengthen those skills relevant to doctoral coursework such as summary, organization, paraphrasing, synthesis, grammar, and mechanics. New doctoral students are not expected to demonstrate the same writing skills of Walden students who have completed their doctoral coursework and are ready to write a dissertation or doctoral study. We provide this assessment and its writing support courses to help all students strengthen and refresh their skills for ongoing success.

There may be some of you however who qualify for an exemption based on your current status as a doctoral student. Exemptions are permitted for doctoral students who meet one or more of the following exemption policies:

  • Students who admit or readmit at the proposal stage
  • Students who change between equivalent degree programs (e.g., from PhD in Psychology with specialization in Clinical Psychology to PhD in Clinical Psychology)
  • Students who already have earned a completed doctoral degree from Walden University or another accredited institution
  • Students who are contributing faculty or core faculty teaching courses at Walden University

Students who qualify for an exemption can complete and submit the Doctoral Writing Assessment Exemption Form. The Walden Writing Assessment team will contact the student with an outcome or to request additional information within 3 business days at the email address provided on the form.

For more information about exemptions, see the assessment requirement policy in the Walden University Student Handbook.


Stephanie Kramer is a Writing Assessment Specialist for the Doctoral Writing Assessment within the Academic Skills Center (ASC). She joined Walden in 2015 as a Student Success Advisor and moved to the ASC in 2017. Stephanie focuses on developing resources and providing the necessary tools to help students succeed in their educational goals.

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