The Evaluations Unit in the Office of the Registrar will evaluate previous college work and test credit in relation to Cal Poly degree requirements. Newly admitted and matriculated transfer students will receive an email from Evaluations that their evaluation has been completed and that the results are available in their Degree Progress Report via the Student Center on the Cal Poly Portal. New students cannot access their Degree Progress Report prior to that time, nor can Evaluations provide any specific information about credit prior to that time.
Every effort is made to provide a complete Degree Progress Report (DPR), with all transfer credit reflected, prior to the date of new transfer student registration in mid-August. The DPR serves as the basis for determining remaining degree requirements and should be used frequently to track progress toward the degree. More information about the Degree Progress Report can be found here:
While every effort is made to complete the evaluation according to the timelines outlined above, it is important that new transfer students review their previous college work in relation to the degree requirements outlined in the catalog in order to make a tentative selection of courses for their first quarter of enrollment. Students should consult their college advising center or a faculty advisor in their major department for assistance in the selection of courses. They should also use the “By Major” agreements on www.assist.org for assistance with work from California Community Colleges.
Sending final transcripts as early as possible helps expedite the process of finalizing the transfer evaluation. A delay in receipt of final transcripts will postpone the finalization of the transfer evaluation.
Some major/support courses may need to be petitioned through the student’s major department if articulation agreements are not in place in ASSIST, or if classes were taken at a private institution, at a University of California campus, or an out-of-state school. Every effort is made to extend all appropriate credit, including honoring the GE pattern of the transfer institution where possible.
Note: Transfer students with Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate credit must have their scores sent to Cal Poly directly from the College Board or IB; notation of AP or IB exams on a college transcript is not sufficient for Cal Poly to award credit. Students should do this as soon as possible, in order for the transfer evaluation to be complete and accurate, and in order to satisfy registration prerequisites.
Semester units transferred to Cal Poly are converted to quarter units by multiplying the semester units by 1.5; a 3-unit semester class will equate to 4.5 Cal Poly units. If the Cal Poly requirement is 4 units, the excess 0.5 unit will count toward free electives.
The evaluation remains valid provided that the student matriculates for the term they are admitted, remains in their declared major, and remains in continuous attendance.
While students may follow the specific academic program requirements for the catalog year on which their initial evaluation of transfer credit is based, they are responsible for complying with any and all changes in other regulations, policies, and procedures, which may appear in subsequent catalogs, or which are communicated to them via email from the Office of the Registrar. These include CSU-mandated changes and changes approved by Cal Poly’s Academic Senate and/or administration.
Credit for Community College Courses
Course credit earned at regionally accredited community colleges is evaluated by the Evaluations Unit in accordance with the following provisions:
- Community college credit is allowed up to a maximum of 105 quarter units (70 semester units) toward overall units for the degree. Credits earned above this allowable maximum may still be used to satisfy specific subject and grade point requirements, but may not be applied toward the total count of units required for graduation (Example: a student in a 180-unit program, who has 110 quarter units of community college credit, all of which satisfies subject requirements, must still complete 75 units of non-community college work [not 70 units]).
- Upper division credit is never granted for community college work.
- The 105-unit limit does not apply to work from four-year institutions; however, specific course requirements, as well as Cal Poly residency requirements, must still be met regardless of the number of units transferred from four-year institutions (see "Academic Residence Requirements" under "Minimum Requirements for Graduation").
Cal Poly maintains articulation agreements at www.assist.org with all California Community Colleges (CCC), the California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) campuses. The CCC campuses publish the CSU General Education (GE), the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Core (IGETC) course lists, and the lists of CSU transferable courses on the ASSIST website.
Transfer credit for GE courses is accepted from California institutions, as approved by the CSU Chancellor’s office. The GE Area letters and numbers at Cal Poly (e.g., A1, B1) may be different from other colleges; for help in understanding these differences, please refer to https://registrar.calpoly.edu/how-use-assist.
Note: GE certification, whereby transfer students can complete all lower-division GE at a CCC or CSU, does not exempt students from meeting the CSU requirement of 72 overall units of GE, nor from completing upper-division GE requirements. Many Cal Poly programs require specific GE courses in the Major and/or Support; these courses must be met with articulated equivalencies. See the General Education page for General Education requirements.
Submitting a CSU GE certification form is not required; Evaluations will use assist.org and/or the catalog, to determine GE certification. Submitting an IGETC certification, if the student is IGETC certified, is highly encouraged. Note: if a CCC GE certification is incorrect, it will not be honored (i.e., if it applies work from a previous institution in an inappropriate manner). As the institution granting the bachelor’s degree, Cal Poly will make the final determination of GE certification.
Other Academic Credit
Advanced Placement (AP) Credit
Cal Poly grants credit for AP exams successfully completed through the College Board AP program. AP scores may be requested from Educational Testing Service (ETS)/AP Programs and should be sent to Cal Poly electronically. To request scores: ETS/AP Program, PO Box 6671, Princeton, NJ 08541-6671 or 609.771.7300. Cal Poly cannot accept paper score reports which have been opened by the student. Notation of Advanced Placement on high school transcripts is not sufficient; official scores must be requested from ETS.
Exams passed with a score of 3 or higher result in nine (9) quarter units of credit, except where otherwise noted on the credit matrix. All credit is given on a credit/no credit basis; AP units do not calculate into the GPA. Credit may vary from year to year, as Cal Poly requirements and AP Exams change. AP credit matrices, published annually in April, are available at: https://registrar.calpoly.edu/other_ac_credit
Please refer to the matrix for the specific year the exam was taken; credit is always extended based on the year of the exam. To determine credit for combined exams, use the matrix for the year of the last exam taken.
Admitted students should send their AP scores as soon as possible to ensure that credit is applied toward their fall schedule.
International Baccalaureate (IB) Exam Credit
The International Baccalaureate Diploma shall be considered in lieu of a high school diploma for admission to the University.
The International Baccalaureate transcript is required to receive University credit; the diploma is not sufficient to receive credit. IB transcripts may be requested from IB North America by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone: (212) 696-4464.
Credit is awarded for classes at the Higher level. No credit is extended for Standard level exams.
All credit is given on a credit/no credit basis; IB units do not calculate into the GPA.
For each Higher Level exam score of 5 or higher, a maximum of 8 units of credit is awarded.
IB credit matrices, published annually in April, are available at: https://registrar.calpoly.edu/other_ac_credit. Please refer to the matrix for the specific year the exam was taken; credit is always extended based on the year of the exam.
Credit for Non-collegiate Instruction
Cal Poly grants undergraduate degree credit for successful completion of non-collegiate instruction, either military or civilian, appropriate to the baccalaureate degree, which has been recommended by the Commission on Educational Credit and Credentials of the American Council on Education. The number of units allowed are those recommended in the Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experience in the Armed Services and the National Guide to Educational Credit for Training Programs.
Credit for Military Service
Nine quarter units of elective credit are allowed toward graduation to any student submitting evidence of satisfactory completion of basic training in the military service of the United States. 4 units satisfy GE Area E and 5 units are elective credit (Cal Poly requires the DD-214 form to extend credit). Credit is allowed in accordance with the recommendations by the Commission on Educational Credit and Credentials of the American Council on Education. The numbers of units allowed are those recommended in the Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experience in the Armed Services. Credit is not given for college level General Educational Development Tests. Military Service credit does not calculate into the GPA. Military Service credit is not included in scholarship computations.
CLEP Exam Credit
Cal Poly grants credit to those students who pass examinations that have been approved for credit systemwide. These include some College Level Examination Program (CLEP) examinations.
CLEP tests acceptable for credit are:
- College Algebra-Trigonometry with a passing score of 50;
- Pre-Calculus with a passing score of 50;
- General Chemistry with a passing score of 50;
- Calculus with Elementary Functions with a passing score of 51.
4.5 quarter units of credit may be earned with an assigned grade of credit (CR), which is not included in the GPA calculation.
Credit for CLEP and other externally developed examinations is not awarded if any of the following apply:
- examination previously taken within the past year;
- equivalent degree credit or duplicate credit has already been granted;
- credit has been granted for previous coursework or for a previously completed more advanced or higher level examination.
Credit by Examination (Challenging Cal Poly Courses)
A student may challenge a course in which he or she is qualified through previous education by taking an examination developed at the campus. Credit shall be awarded to those who pass this examination successfully. A student may not petition for credit by examination if the student has ever been enrolled in the course. Credit shall not be awarded when credit has been granted at a level more advanced than that represented by the course being challenged.
The credit by examination option is only available to admitted Cal Poly students during a term in which they are officially enrolled. A fee is charged for each credit by exam petition.
The examination may include written, oral, or skills tests, or a combination of all three types, and is sufficiently comprehensive to determine that the student has essentially the same knowledge and skills as those students who successfully complete the course. The grade received is entered on the student's permanent record. The grade may not be Credit/No Credit (CR/NC), except for courses which have CR/NC grading only. The length of the examination is consistent with the unit value of the course.
Arrangements to obtain course credit by exam may be made with the head of the department in which the course is taught. Not all Cal Poly courses are available or appropriate for credit by exam. Units of credit received through this procedure do not apply toward the residence requirements or the Cal Poly GPA for any of the degrees or credentials offered by the University. Detailed instruction for applying for credit by examination may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar.