General Requirements – Bachelor's Degree

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General Graduation Requirements

There are eight general requirements which all students must meet in order to earn the bachelor's degree from Cal Poly and participate in commencement.  The more students understand their progress toward meeting these requirements and relate them to the many programs available, the better the chance of creating an exciting educational experience and avoiding errors which may delay graduation.

Students must be formally admitted to the major in which they wish to graduate, and must matriculate, in order to earn a degree.

The specific requirements for each degree program are shown under the academic department offering the major and include a curriculum display with courses listed by Major, Support, Concentration (if applicable), General Education, and Free Electives. Each major has a degree flow chart, which shows the recommended sequence of courses leading to the degree; see the "Degree Flowcharts" link at the top of this page.

Students are responsible for meeting all requirements, and should embrace the responsibility. Advice is available from faculty advisors, college advising centers, the Office of the Registrar, and students’ online Degree Progress Reports. Students should plan their degree programs carefully and review them frequently with their advisors. Students are strongly encouraged to access their Degree Progress Report frequently, including after they register each quarter, to verify that courses in which they enrolled are fulfilling requirements as expected. They are also encouraged to address any unanticipated deficiencies in the information shown on their Degree Progress Report, while realizing that recently received substitutions, transfer credit, etc., may not yet be reflected in the Degree Progress Report. As they approach graduation, careful attention to the Degree Progress Report will help ensure that they complete degree requirements in a timely fashion.

Minimum Requirements for Graduation

  1. Minimum Number of Units
    Baccalaureate degree programs ........... Minimum 180 units
    Individual baccalaureate degree programs may require more than 180 units. (Title 5, Sections 40500, 40501, 40505, 40507) A minimum of 60 units overall must be upper division (defined as any course completed by the student at the 300- or 400-level; this could include transfer work completed at the upper-division level at a four-year institution).

    NOTE: A maximum of 16 units of internship and cooperative education coursework can be applied to the bachelor's degree. A maximum of 105 units of coursework from community colleges can be applied to the total units required for the degree. See Evaluation of Transfer Credit for more details.

    Degree Minimum # of major units at 300-400 level
    Bachelor of Arts (BA) 18
    Bachelor of Science (BS) 27
    Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) 27
    Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) 41
    Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) 41
  2. Grade Point Average (GPA)
    Students must earn at least a 2.000 GPA in all three of the following: 1) all Higher Education units earned (all college-level work), 2) Cal Poly cumulative units earned, and 3) the major (the courses used to meet Major Courses, see the curriculum sheet; support courses do not count toward major GPA). For a definition of GPA and grade points and units graded, please refer to the Grading section of this catalog.
  3. U. S. Cultural Pluralism (USCP) Requirement
    Students must complete the USCP requirement. See the separate section on USCP.
  4. General Education (GE) Requirements
    Students must complete the GE requirements as indicated in the degree program and shown in the GE section of this catalog. A CSU-mandated minimum of 72 units of GE overall must be completed.
  5. Graduation Writing Requirement (GWR)
    Students must demonstrate competency in writing skills (as described below).
  6. Senior Project
    A senior project is  required for all Cal Poly students (as described below).
  7. Academic Residence Requirements
    The minimum requirements for units taken in residence at Cal Poly are:
    • 50 quarter units
    • 36 of the 50 units in residence must be upper division
    • 18 of the 36 upper division units in residence must be in the major
    • 12 units of General Education
    • 28 units in residence of the last 40 units counted toward the degree

      Extension credit or credit by examination may not be used to fulfill the residence requirements. However, a maximum of 36 quarter units of extension credit may be counted toward the bachelor's degree.
  8. Disciplinary Condition

    When an allegation has been made that a student has violated the Interim CSU Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Exploitation, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking, and Retaliation, Revised December 24, 2021, or any of the Standards for Student Conduct (Title 5, section 41301 of the California Code of Regulations), and the student is under inquiry and/or investigation or a sanction has been applied for a violation, degree conferral may be impacted. If a student is expelled from the University, regardless of academic progress, including when a student has completed all academic requirements at the time of the expulsion, the student will not receive a degree. Expulsion means permanent separation from the University and no degree will be conferred.

  9. Graduation Application Process

    When undergraduate students reach 72% or more of degree completion (78% for Architecture and Landscape Architecture majors) as indicated on their Academic Progress gauge on Poly Profile, the Office of the Registrar will assign an expected graduation term for them that is the greater of either: one year away or four years from their first admit term (five years for students in Architecture and Landscape Architecture). Transfer students will be assigned an expected graduation term that is two years after their initial admit term, or one year away, whichever is greater (three years after initial admit term for Architecture and Landscape Architecture majors). This process occurs each quarter except summer.

    Students will receive an email from, informing them that their graduation term has been set for them, and that they are expected to graduate by that term.

    The expected graduation term can be viewed in the Student Center and Poly Profile.

    Students are not able to register beyond their expected graduation term.

    However, there may be legitimate reasons why some students need to extend their graduation term beyond the one that is automatically set for them.

    Students with such academically or personally justifiable reasons to extend their graduation term can fill out the Request to Extend Expected Graduation Term--Undergraduate form and see their advisor for possible approval of the request to extend. The form can be found at:

    The Notification of Earlier Expected Graduation Term--Undergraduate form should be used by students who wish to move their graduation term earlier than the one assigned for them by the university. Advisor approval is not needed to move to an earlier graduation term.

    Once notified that their graduation term has been set, students should access their Degree Progress Report each time they register, to ensure that they are fulfilling the requirements for their degree.

    Students are encouraged to submit any and all paperwork (substitutions, transcripts for requirements completed elsewhere, etc.) in a timely fashion in order to expedite conferral of degrees.

    If a student breaks enrollment prior to completion of degree requirements, she or he may be required to re-enroll and may be held to catalog requirements in effect at that time.

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Final Degree Conferral

When undergraduate students reach 72% or more of degree completion, as indicated on their Academic Progress Gauge on Poly Profile, the Office of the Registrar will assign an expected graduation term for them that is a full four years after their initial admit term, or one year away, whichever is greater. Transfer students will be assigned an expected graduation term that is two years after their initial admit term, or one year away, whichever is greater (three years after initial admit term for Architecture and Landscape Architecture majors). Students will receive an email from the Evaluations Unit of the Office of the Registrar informing them that their expected grad term has been set. The expected graduation term can be viewed in the Student Center and Poly Profile.

Graduate (Master's) students must submit a Graduate Application for Graduation Form to the Graduate Education Office at least two quarters prior to the anticipated term of degree completion.

The actual date of graduation (degree conferral) is the end of the quarter in which all requirements have been met. This date may differ from the student’s last quarter of enrollment (for example, a student who completes the Graduation Writing Requirement [GWR] or submits Senior Project for final grading after the last term of enrollment).

Graduating students receive one complimentary diploma. Additional diplomas may be ordered from the Office of the Registrar’s Online Diploma Service. The diploma is not ordered until all degree requirements have been completed. The diploma is mailed to the student’s mailing address by the Evaluations Unit in the Office of the Registrar approximately three to four weeks after the degree has been conferred. It is the student’s responsibility to update their mailing address on the Cal Poly Portal prior to the end of the final quarter of enrollment, to ensure the receipt of their diploma.

Concentrations and minors are not noted on the diploma; they are noted on the transcript. Latin honors are noted on both the diploma and the transcript; the Distinction notation for Master's students is noted on both the diploma and the transcript.

Once a degree has been awarded, subsequent revision or alteration of any transcript entry is permitted only for correction of proven error as certified by the appropriate academic dean and the Registrar. No changes are made to the academic record 60 days following the degree conferral date.


The Commencement Office provides graduates and guests with a memorable and meaningful graduation experience that symbolizes the culmination of their academic achievements. Commencement ceremonies are coordinated in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and the university’s Commencement Operations and Policy Committees, which are held twice annually in June and December.

To be eligible to participate in commencement ceremonies, students must satisfy at least one of the following:

  • Completed all degree requirements and have not participated in a previous commencement ceremony;
  • Be currently enrolled in classes that will complete all of that student's degree requirements; or,
  • Be registered for classes for the following term that will allow the student to complete all of their degree requirements.

Students completing all degree requirements in the Winter, Spring or Summer terms are automatically eligible to participate in the Spring (June) Commencement. Students completing all degree requirements in the Fall term are eligible for Fall (December) Commencement. Graduate (Masters) students must submit a Request for Graduation Evaluation Form to the Graduate Education Office at least two quarters prior to the anticipated term of degree completion.

Students who wish to participate in a commencement ceremony other than the one for which they are scheduled and in which they are eligible to participate must complete a Commencement Request Form.

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Graduation Writing Requirement (GWR)

The Graduation Writing Requirement (GWR) is a CSU Board of Trustees mandate designed to ensure that students demonstrate effective written communication skills at the upper division before they enter the professional workforce. All undergraduate students who are seeking a Cal Poly degree must fulfill the GWR before a diploma can be awarded.

Undergraduate students with 90 or more completed units should attempt to fulfill the requirement before their senior year. Upper-division transfer students who completed the requirement at another CSU campus prior to enrollment at Cal Poly may transfer completion of the requirement.

Students should review the requirements of their major program of study to determine which of the following options is the appropriate pathway for GWR completion:

  1. Pass a GWR-certified course with a grade of C or better (C- or below does not qualify). The course may be taken on a credit/no credit basis, but the student must earn a minimum grade of C in order to satisfy the GWR component of the class. Available sections of GWR-certified courses are searchable in the class schedule. For a full list of courses, please see the GWR Courses website in the Courses A-Z section of the Cal Poly Catalog.
  2. Pass the GWR Portfolio via UNIV 401.

Further information on pathways to meeting this degree requirement may be obtained from the Office of Writing and Learning Initiatives, Kennedy Library (35) Room 202A (805-756-2067), or on the GWR webpage,

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Senior Project

All Cal Poly undergraduate students shall complete a senior project as part of their baccalaureate degree program requirements.

Definition: A capstone experience is a high-impact educational practice in which students (a) integrate and evaluate the knowledge and skills gained in both the General Education (GE) and major curricula and (b) demonstrate career or postgraduate readiness.

As a bridge from college to career/postgraduate success, the senior project at Cal Poly is a capstone experience with achievable outcomes that culminates in a self-directed final production or product carried out under faculty direction. Senior projects analyze, evaluate, and synthesize a student's general and discipline-specific educational experiences; relate to a student's field of study, future employment, and/or postgraduate scholastic goals; and include an element of critical, self-reflectiveness to facilitate student development and promote the metacognitive awareness that leads to lifelong learning.

Expected Outcomes: While major programs of study are responsible for designing specific senior project learning outcomes, all senior projects at Cal Poly provide an opportunity for holistic, competency-based assessment that demonstrates a strong foundation in general and discipline-specific knowledge as well as an advanced proficiency in the core competencies of critical thinking, written and oral communication, information literacy, and quantitative reasoning.

Furthermore, senior projects broadly address program learning objectives, which align with one or more University Learning Objectives.

Forms & Examples: Senior projects may be research-, project-, and/or portfolio-based; individually supervised or course-based; independently completed or team-based; discipline-specific and/or interdisciplinary. They may take forms including, but not limited to, the following:

  • an experiment;
  • a self-guided study;
  • a student-generated research project;
  • participation in a faculty-generated research project;
  • engagement in an industry-driven project;
  • a report based on a prior or concurrent co-op/internship or service learning experience;
  • a design or construction project;
  • a portfolio of work documenting the results of creative practices, and/or
  • a public presentation or performance.

Requirements: Each academic department determines specific senior project requirements, yet all senior projects and senior project policies adhere to the following requirements.

Senior projects shall

  • commence when, or after, a student has earned senior standing, though completion of preparatory courses and/or research may precede senior standing;
  • serve as a bridge from the college experience to professional/postgraduate readiness;
  • include clearly defined student learning outcomes that are aligned with program learning objectives;
  • have faculty oversight with scheduled meetings for which specific timelines/outcomes are defined;
  • include a formal proposal and/or statement of intent to be submitted to the faculty advisor;
  • involve inquiry, analysis, evaluation, and creation; 
  • demonstrate core competencies in critical thinking, written and/or oral communication, information literacy, and quantitative and/or qualitative reasoning;
  • require a process/production and culminate in a final product as defined at the program level;
  • include an explicit element of self-reflection;
  • adhere to discipline-specific norms of academic integrity and ethical practices;
  • be individually and formally assessed;
  • include a minimum count of 3 units, or 90 hours of work, with no maximum;
  • take no more than three quarters to complete;
  • be assigned grades consistent with Cal Poly's policy on grading.

Note: Senior projects shall neither consist solely of a co-op/internship experience nor solely of a test/exam of any kind, and senior projects shall not be unsupervised.

Archiving: Each academic department determines a process for archiving senior projects, whether at the department or college level and/or in collaboration with Kennedy Library. Policies and procedures governing submissions to Kennedy Library's institutional repository are based on University policies pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), intellectual property rights, and CSU accessibility requirements. Senior projects submitted to Digital Commons, the institutional repository hosted by Kennedy Library, become part of university's scholarly record.

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California State University (CSU) General Education Breadth Requirements
GE Program Learning Outcomes
GE Course Substitutions
GE Study Abroad
Transfer Credit
GE Requirements
Writing Component
Golden Four
GE 2020 Standard and High-Unit Templates
General Education Courses

General Education Mission Statement

Adopted by the General Education Governance Board on April 7, 2021.

The General Education (GE) program is one of the primary means for realizing Cal Poly’s vision of a comprehensive polytechnic education. GE integrates all disciplines in a program of liberal education accessible to all Cal Poly students. GE complements the major and promotes an understanding and appreciation of the foundational disciplines that ground all intellectual inquiry. The program affords students the opportunity to contextualize the knowledge from their major programs by presenting relevant scientific, humanistic, artistic, and technological perspectives. Because Cal Poly students declare their major upon matriculation, their experience of GE develops side-by-side with the major. Through the university’s distinctive commitment to Learn by Doing, GE imparts transferable skills, nurtures creativity, fosters critical thinking and ethical decision making, supports integrative learning, and prepares students for civic engagement and leadership. In GE, students work inclusively with peers from diverse intellectual, disciplinary, and social backgrounds. Cal Poly’s GE program also provides an opportunity for students to develop intellectual humility, an interdisciplinary mindset, and lifelong habits of mind.

California State University (CSU) General Education Breadth Requirements

Consistent with the California State University (CSU) General Education Breadth Requirements, Cal Poly's General Education (GE) program has been designed to complement major courses and electives completed by each baccalaureate candidate. The GE program seeks to cultivate well-rounded and informed persons. GE requirements are designed to provide CSU students with the knowledge, skills, experiences, and perspectives that will enable them to expand their capacities to take part in a wide range of human interests and activities; confront personal, cultural, moral, and social problems that are an inevitable part of human life; and develop an enthusiasm for lifelong learning. Faculty are encouraged to assist students in making connections among disciplines to achieve coherence in the undergraduate educational experience.

GE Program Learning Outcomes

Adopted Spring 2014 by the General Education Governance Board

After completing Cal Poly's General Education Program, students will be able to:

  1. Construct and critique arguments from a logical perspective.
  2. Use appropriate rhetorical strategies to connect with diverse audiences through oral, written, and visual modes of communication.
  3. Address real world problems by demonstrating broad disciplinary knowledge, skills, and values in arts, humanities, sciences, and technology.
  4. Understand the value of a general education in relation to major course of study.
  5. Collaborate with people of different backgrounds, values, and experience.
  6. Evaluate global and local issues and their impact on society.
  7. Use intention and reflection to develop and improve one's own learning.

GE Course Substitutions

Students are expected to complete the GE courses published for their degree program. Cal Poly GE courses must be selected from the approved GE list. Substitutions are not permitted except in extraordinary circumstances. Students requesting exceptions must follow petition procedures, outlined on the GE website This process may take several weeks.

GE Study Abroad

Students should first review the GE website for study abroad courses that have already been pre-approved for Cal Poly GE credit. If the course is not there, students are strongly encouraged to submit a GE study abroad petition before going abroad in order to determine if the course will be granted GE credit. For assistance with GE study abroad petitions, contact the Cal Poly International Center at

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit for GE courses is accepted from California institutions, as approved by the Chancellor’s Office. For more information, go to How to Use Assist located on the Office of the Registrar’s website. Some Cal Poly programs specify particular GE courses for major or support; these courses must be met with articulated equivalencies. Refer to for California Community College both CSU GE lists and specific articulation agreements.

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GE Requirements

  • All Cal Poly students are required to take 72 quarter units of General Education.
  • A minimum of 12 units is required in residence (i.e., Cal Poly enrollment).
  • A minimum of 12 units is required at the upper-division level (8 units upper-division for ABET-accredited engineering programs)
  • For students admitted in Fall 2016 or later, a grade of C- or better is required in one course in each of the following GE Areas: A1 (Oral Communication), A2 (Written Communication), A3 (Critical Thinking), and B4 (Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning).
  • Double Counting: Some majors indicate specific GE courses to fulfill both GE and major requirements. (These are listed in the major's curriculum display.) Students should consult their academic advisors during freshman year for clarification.
  • All GE courses are 4 units unless otherwise indicated.

Writing Component

All General Education courses must have an appropriate writing component. In achieving this objective, writing in most courses should be viewed primarily as a tool of learning (rather than a goal in itself as in a composition course), and faculty should determine the appropriate ways to integrate writing into coursework. The writing component may take different forms according to the subject matter and the purpose of a course. Outside of the GE areas specified below, at least 10% of the grade in all GE courses must be based on appropriate written work (e.g., lab reports, math proofs, essay questions, word problems, exam questions).

Writing Intensive Policy

GE areas A2, A3, Upper-Division C, and Upper-Division D are designated as Writing Intensive. All courses in these areas must include a minimum of 3,000 words of writing and base 50% or more of a student’s grade on written work. GE area C2 is also designated as Writing Intensive, but all courses in this area must include a minimum of 2,000 words of writing and base 50% or more of a student’s grade on written work. All Writing Intensive courses must include process-oriented writing instruction in which faculty provide ongoing feedback to students to help them grasp the effectiveness of their writing in various disciplinary contexts. The kind and amount of writing must be a factor in determining class sizes.

Golden Four

The “Golden Four” classes are a set of foundational learning classes that set the stage for future learning within GE and within the major programs. As such, students are encouraged to complete these four courses within the first year. These courses are all three courses within Area A plus B4: Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning. The three courses within Area A provide instruction and practice in writing, speaking, and critical thinking. Completion of one or more courses within this area is often a prerequisite for other GE courses. All Golden Four subareas require students to earn a grade of C- or better. (Other GE courses require a passing grade of D- or better.)

GE 2020 Standard and High-Unit Templates

Cal Poly’s GE program includes two templates: the Standard Template and the High-Unit Template. A “high-unit” program, as it relates to GE, refers to undergraduate programs within the College of Engineering along with the other ABET-accredited programs of ARCE and BRAE. Only these programs are considered high-unit degree programs and, as such, only students within those degrees will follow the High-Unit Template.

Majors In Templates in Table Below

High-Unit: ARCE, BRAE, and College of Engineering majors
Standard: All other majors
X = non-unit requirement

  Standard High-Unit
Oral Communication (A1)1 4 4
Written Communication (A2-Writing Intensive)1 4 4
Critical Thinking (A3-Writing Intensive)1 4 4
Unit Sub-total 12 12
  Standard High-Unit
Physical Science (B1) 4 4
Life Science (B2) 4 4
Laboratory Activity (B3) (in B1 or B2) (in B1 or B2)
Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning (B4)1 4 8
Upper-Division B 4 4
Area B Electives X 8
Unit Sub-total 16 28
  Standard High-Unit
Lower-division courses in Area C must come from three different prefixes
Arts: Arts, Cinema, Dance, Music, Theatre (C1) 4 4
Humanities: Literature, Philosophy, Languages other than English (C2-Writing Intensive) 4 4
Lower-Division C Elective - Select a course from either C1 or C2 4 4
Upper-Division C (Writing Intensive) 4 4
Unit Sub-total 16 16
  Standard High-Unit
Standard: Select courses in Area D from at least two different prefixes
American Institutions (D1 - Title 5, Section 40404 Requirement) 4 4
Lower-Division (D2) 4 X
Upper-Division D (Writing Intensive) 4 X
Area D Elective
High-Unit: Select either a lower-division D2 or an upper-division D course
X 4
Unit Sub-total 12 8
  Standard High-Unit
Lower-Division (E) 4 4
  Standard High-Unit
Ethnic Studies (F) 4 4
  Standard High-Unit
GE Electives - Select courses from two different areas; may be either lower- or upper-division levels (Standard) 8 X
GE TOTAL 72 units 72 units

General Education Courses


  Standard High-Unit
Oral Communication (A1) 4 4
Public Speaking
Principles of Oral Communication
  Standard High-Unit
Written Communication (A2) 4 4
Writing and Rhetoric Stretch (Part II)
Multilingual Writing and Rhetoric
Writing and Rhetoric
Writing & Rhetoric
  Standard High-Unit
Critical Thinking (A3) 4 4
Argument and Advocacy
Reasoning, Argumentation, and Writing
Writing Arguments
Writing Arguments about STEM
Reasoning, Argumentation, & Writing
Logic and Argumentative Writing
Reasoning, Argumentation, and Writing on Gender and Sexuality


  Standard High-Unit
Physical Science (B1) (B1 & B3=lab course) 4 4
Introduction to the Solar System
Introduction to Stars and Galaxies
World of Chemistry (B1 & B3)
General Chemistry for Physical Science and Engineering I (B1 & B3)
General Chemistry for Physical Science and Engineering II (B1 & B3)
General Chemistry for Agriculture and Life Science I (B1 & B3)
Introduction to Geology
The Geologic Record: Fossils and the History of Life
Introductory Physics
Contemporary Physics for Nonscientists
College Physics I
College Physics II (B1 & B3)
General Physics I
General Physics II (B1 & B3)
General Physics III (B1 & B3)
Matter and Energy (B1 & B3)
Physical Oceanography
Introductory Soil Science (B1 & B3)
Soils in Environmental and Agricultural Systems (B1 & B3)
  Standard High-Unit
Life Science (B2) (B2 & B3=lab course) 4 4
Biological Anthropology
Principles of Animal Science
Safe Handling of Animal-Based Foods for Consumers (B2 & B3)
General Biology (B2 & B3)
Plant Diversity and Ecology (B2 & B3)
Biology of Sex
Diversity and History of Life (B2 & B3)
Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology (B2 & B3)
Biodiversity of California
Wildlife Conservation Biology
General Botany (B2 & B3)
Introduction to Biological Systems (B2 & B3)
General Dairy Manufacturing (B2 & B3)
Landscape Ecology: Concepts, Issues, and Interrelationships
Microbiology (B2 & B3)
General Microbiology I (B2 & B3) (5)
Survey of Marine Biology
People, Pests and Plagues (B2 & B3)
For Engineering students only; concurrent enrollment required:
Life Science for Engineers (2)
Bioengineering Fundamentals (2)
  Standard High-Unit
Laboratory Activity (B3) – to be taken with a course in B1 or B2 X X
  Standard High-Unit
Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning (B4) 4 8
Financial Literacy
Computing for All I
Computing for All II
Data Science for All I
Nature of Modern Math
Stretch Precalculus Algebra I (3)
Precalculus Algebra I (3)
Precalculus Algebra II (3)
Precalculus Algebra
Precalculus Trigonometry
Calculus I
Calculus II
Calculus III
Calculus for the Life Sciences I
Calculus for the Life Sciences II
Calculus for Architecture and Construction Management
Calculus for Business and Economics
Mathematics for Elementary Teaching I
Introduction to Statistical Reasoning
Introduction to Statistical Concepts and Methods
Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences
Statistical Inference for Management I
Statistical Inference for Management II (5)
  Standard High-Unit
Upper-Division B 4 4
Air and Space
Principles of Organic Crop Production
Cal Poly Land: Nature, Technology, and Society
The Global Environment
Holistic Management
Equilibrium Without Statics
Physiological Chemistry of Animals
Longitude, Navigation, and Timekeeping
Human Genetics
Biology of Cancer
Genetic Engineering Technology
Plants, People and Civilization
Irrigation Water Management
Energy for a Sustainable Society
Biochemistry: Fundamentals and Applications
Chemical and Biological Warfare
Biochemical Principles
Sustainability and the Built Environment
Practical Computer Security for Everyone
Microcontrollers for Everyone
Engineering for the Environment
Introduction to Air Pollution
Soil, Water, and Civilization
Gender, Race, Culture, Science & Technology (USCP)
Nutrition & Exercise for Health & Disease Prevention
The Science of Food for the Consumer
Fermented Foods
Seismology and Earth Structure
Human Factors and Technology
Topics in Public Engagements with STEM
Packaging Fundamentals
Packaging Polymers and Processing
The World of Spatial Data and Geographic Information Technology
Living in a Material World
Vector Analysis
Combinatorial Math
Linear Analysis II
Engineering Principles in Everyday Life
Technologies for Ocean Discovery
Global Climate Change
Technology of Wildland Fire Management
Water Resources Technology and Society
Classical Mechanics I
Plants, Biotechnology, and the Media
Nuclear Energy and Weapons in the Modern World
Energy, Society and the Environment
Appropriate Technology for the World's People: Design
Behavioral Genetics
Selected Environmental Issues of California's Central Coast
Statistical Methods for Engineers
Applied Experimental Design and Regression Models
Probability and Statistics for Engineers and Scientists
Probability and Random Processes for Engineers
Survey of Grape Growing and Winemaking
  Standard High-Unit
High Unit students select 2 courses from B1-B4 X 8


  Standard High-Unit
Lower-division courses in Area C must come from three different prefixes
16 16
Arts: Arts, Cinema, Dance, Music, Theatre (C1) 4 4
History of Structures
Architecture Design Studio for Non-Majors
History of World Architecture: Prehistory - Middle Ages
History of World Architecture: Middle Ages - 18th Century
History of World Architecture: 18th Century - Present
Fundamentals of Drawing
Introduction to the Visual Arts
Western Art: A Thematic History
Introduction to Digital Photography
Ceramics I
Beginning Sculpture
Performance, Literature, and Culture
Dance Appreciation
Introductory Topics in Cinematic Expression
History of Landscape Architecture: Ancient Civilizations through Colonial America
History of Modern and Contemporary Landscape Architecture
Introduction to Music Theory
Music Appreciation
Jazz Styles (USCP)
Popular Music of the USA (USCP)
Introduction to Theatre
Theatre History I
Theatre History II
Gender and Sexuality in Visual and Popular Culture
  Standard High-Unit
Humanities: Literature, Philosophy, Languages other than English (C2) 4 4
British Literature: Beginnings to 1789
British Literature: 1789 to the Present
American Literature: Beginnings to 1865
American Literature: 1830 to the Present
Introduction to Classical Literature
Introduction to Medieval through Enlightenment Literature
Introduction to Romantic through Modernist Literature
Children's Literature in a Diverse Society
Critical Reading in French Literature
Critical Readings in German Literature
Philosophical Classics: Knowledge and Reality
Philosophical Classics: Ethics and Political Philosophy
Introduction to Hispanic Readings
Study Abroad C2 courses
Elementary Mandarin Chinese I Study Abroad
Elementary Mandarin Chinese II Study Abroad
Elementary Mandarin Chinese III Study Abroad
Intermediate Mandarin Chinese I Study Abroad
Intermediate Mandarin Chinese II Study Abroad
Intermediate Mandarin Chinese III Study Abroad
Elementary Italian I Study Abroad
Elementary Italian II Study Abroad
Elementary Italian III Study Abroad
Intermediate Italian I Study Abroad
Elementary Spanish I Study Abroad
Elementary Spanish II Study Abroad
Elementary Spanish III Study Abroad
Intermediate Spanish I Study Abroad
Intermediate Spanish II Study Abroad
Intermediate Spanish III Study Abroad
  Standard High-Unit
Lower-Division C Elective - Select a course from either C1 or C2. 4 4
  Standard High-Unit
Upper-Division C 4 4
Topics in Architectural History
Native American Architecture and Place (USCP)
Art History - Nineteenth Century Art
History of Photography
Asian Art Topics: National, Religious, and Intellectual Movements
Topics in Renaissance Art
Group Performance of Literature
Cultural Influence on Dance in America (USCP)
Advanced Rhetorical Inquiry and Composing
Translingual Rhetorical Inquiry and Writing
Writing Sustainability, Resilience, and Equity
Writing Sustainability
British Literature: Beginnings to 1485
British Literature: 1485-1660
British Literature: 1660-1798
British Literature: 1798-1832
British Literature: 1832-1914
British Literature: 1914-Present
Introduction to Shakespeare
American Literature: Beginnings-1865
American Literature: 1865-1914
American Literature: 1914-1956
American Literature: 1956-Present
Women Writers of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries (USCP)
Ethnic American Literature (USCP)
African American Literature (USCP)
Asian American Literature (USCP)
Gender in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature (USCP)
The Modern Novel
Modern Poetry
Modern Drama
The Bible as Literature and in Literature and the Arts
World Cinema
Film Styles and Genres
Film Directors
Topics on Gender Representations in Film
Disability and Diversity in American Film (USCP)
Literary Themes
Diversity in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century American Literature (USCP)
LGBT Literature and Media (USCP)
Creative Nonfiction
Fiction Writing
Poetry Writing
Chicano/a Non-Fiction Literature (USCP)
Latina/o Literature of the United States (USCP)
Chicana/o Literature (USCP)
Latina/o Poetry and Politics (USCP)
Chicana/o Film (USCP)
Cultural Production and Ethnicity
Ethnicity and the Land (USCP)
Significant Works in French
French Literature in English Translation
Significant Works in German
German Literature in English Translation
Values and Technology
Topics and Issues in Values, Media and Culture
Feminist Studies of Popular Culture and Whiteness
Music and Society
Women in Music (USCP)
Philosophical Topics
Early Greek Philosophy through Plato
Aristotle and Hellenistic Philosophy
Medieval Philosophy
Early Modern Rationalism
Early Modern Empiricism
Kant and 19th Century European Philosophy
History of Analytic Philosophy
Philosophy of Science
Philosophy of Technology
Ethics, Science and Technology
Robot Ethics
Technologies and Ethics of Warfare
History of Ethics
Political Philosophy
Philosophy of Law
Social Ethics (USCP)
Feminist Ethics, Gender, Sexuality and Society (USCP)
Business Ethics
Biomedical Ethics
Environmental Ethics
Professional Ethics
Philosophy of Religion
Power, Alienation, and Political Life
Philosophy of Literature
Indian Philosophy
Chinese and East Asian Philosophy
Religions of Asia
Abrahamic Religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Religion, Gender, and Society (USCP)
Spiritual Extremism: Asceticism, Mysticism, and Madness
Religion and Violence
Religion and Contemporary Values
Topics in Religious Studies
Significant Works in Spanish
Spanish and Latin American Film
Chicano/a Authors (USCP)
Hispanic Literature in English Translation
Chicano/Latino Writers in the United States (USCP)
Topics in Diversity on the American Stage (USCP)
Global Theatre and Performance
World Cultures through Film
Humanities in World Cultures
Humanities in Chicano/a Culture (USCP)
Literatures in World Cultures


  Standard High-Unit
Standard: Select courses in Area D from at least two different prefixes
American Institutions (D1 - Title 5, Section 40404 Requirement) 4 4
Race, Culture, and Politics in the United States (USCP)
United States History to 1865 (USCP)
United States History Since 1865 (USCP)
United States Cultures (USCP)
American and California Government
Gender and Sexuality in US Society and Politics (USCP)
  Standard High-Unit
Lower-Division (D2) 4 X
Cultural Anthropology
World History Before Writing
Survey of Economics
Human Geography
World History to 1800
Modern Political Economy
Comparative Social Movements
World History, Beginnings to 1000 CE
World History, 1000-1800
World History, 1800 - Present
The World at War
Creating Sustainable Communities I (2)
Creating Sustainable Communities II (2)
Sustainability and Communities
Media, Self and Society
Religion, Dialogue, and Society
Sociocultural Dimensions of Work and Leisure
Comparative Societies
International Political Economy
  Standard High-Unit
Upper-Division D 4 X
Area D Elective
High-Unit: Select either a lower-division D2 or an upper-division D course
X 4
Upper-Division D
Indigenous South Americans
Sex, Death, and Human Nature
Human Behavioral Ecology
Human Cultural Adaptations
Water for a Sustainable Society
Managing Technology in the International Legal Environment
Housing and Communities
Intercultural Communication (USCP)
Intergroup Communication
Media Effects
Communication, Media, and Politics
Digital Cities
Reflections on Biking, Walking and the City
Cities in a Global World
Economics of Poverty, Discrimination and Immigration (USCP)
Comparative Economic Systems
Fire and Society
Hip-Hop, Poetics and Politics (USCP)
African Americans in Popular Culture (USCP)
Native Americans in Popular Culture (USCP)
Asian Americans in Popular Culture (USCP)
Latina/os in Popular Culture (USCP)
The Chinese American Experience (USCP)
The Filipina/o American Experience (USCP)
Queer Ethnic Studies (USCP)
Gender, Race, Class, Nation in Global Engineering, Technology & International Development
Critical Race Theory (USCP)
The Social Construction of Whiteness (USCP)
Global Geography
Geography of Latin America
Geography of the Caribbean
The Witch-Hunts in Europe, 1400-1800
European Thought 1800-2000
The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade
Cultures of West Africa and the African Diaspora
East Asian Culture and Civilization
Comparative World Environmental History & Sustainability Since 1492
Modern Middle East
Modern East Asia
The Lure of the Sea
The City in the Modern World
Modern South and Southeast Asia
Colonial and Revolutionary America
Civil War America
Modern America
United States Foreign Relations since 1898
Modern Europe, 1789-1914
Modern Europe, 1914-Present
Britain at War: The British, the Americans and the Struggle for Freedom, 1939-1945
Colonial Latin America
Modern Latin America
The Scientific Revolution, c. 1500-1800
London: From Roman Colony to World Capital
Sport and Gender (USCP)
Sports, Media and American Popular Culture (USCP)
Identity and Equity in American Schools (USCP)
Fire and Society
Human Dimensions in Natural Resources Management
Social Dimensions of Sustainable Food and Fiber Systems
Environmental Leadership and Community Engagement
Global Political Issues
U.S. and China in the Contemporary World
Critical Issues in American Politics
Authoritarian and Democratic Rule
Early American Political Thought
Contemporary American Political Thought
Appropriate Technology for the World's People: Development
Intergroup Dialogues
Environmental Psychology
Psychology of Aging
Conflict Resolution: Violent and Nonviolent
Approaches to Religion and Spirituality
Global Race and Ethnic Relations
Migration (USCP)
Sociology of the Life Cycle
Social Change (USCP)
Contemporary Societies of the Developing World
Sociology of Religion
Contemporary Issues in Women's and Gender Studies (USCP)
Contemporary Issues in Queer Studies (USCP)
Women, Gender and Sexuality in Global Perspective
Masculinity Studies
Feminist/Queer Transnational Studies
Sexuality Studies
Critical Issues in Latin American Studies
Language, Technology and Society


  Standard High-Unit
Lower-Division E 4 4
Interpersonal Communication
Active Wellness
Principles of Environmental Design
Food and Nutrition: Culture and Customs (USCP)
Healthy Living
Personal Health: A Multicultural Approach (USCP)
Women's Health Issues (USCP)
General Psychology
General Psychology
Leadership and Diverse Groups


Note: Area F and USCP are separate degree requirements. Courses (either Cal Poly or transfer courses) approved for Area F cannot also satisfy USCP.

  Standard High-Unit
Ethnic Studies (F) 4 4
Area F is fulfilled with one class, typically taken at the lower division level
Global Origins of Race in the U.S.
Introduction to American Indian Studies
Introduction to African American Studies
Introduction to Latino/a/x Studies
Introduction to Asian American Studies
Race & American Literature
Race & Media Studies
Racial Capitalism
  Standard High-Unit
Select any Area B, C, or D course listed above; courses must be from two different areas; may be either lower-division or upper-division. In addition to the courses listed above, the following courses can be used in fulfillment of the GE Electives.
8 X
Area C Electives
Intermediate Mandarin Chinese I
Intermediate Mandarin Chinese II
Intermediate Mandarin Chinese III
Intermediate French I
Intermediate French II
Intermediate French III
Intermediate German I
Intermediate German II
Intermediate German III
Intermediate Italian I
Intermediate Japanese I
Intermediate Spanish I
Intermediate Spanish II
Intermediate Spanish III

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United States Cultural Pluralism (USCP)

USCP courses must fulfill all of the following criteria; and, according to AS-836-17, they must also address the Diversity Learning Objectives (DLOs). USCP courses must:

  1. Focus on one or more diverse groups (identified in the Cal Poly Statement on Diversity) whose contributions to American society have been impeded by cultural, legal, economic, and political conflict or whose social, cultural, legal, economic, and political opportunities have been restricted in the United States;
  2. Cover the historical and/or contemporary social issues resulting from conflict or restricted opportunities that include but are not limited to problems associated with discrimination based on age, ethnicity, gender, nationality, abilities, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or race in the United States;
  3. Address the diverse intellectual, philosophical, and cultural perspectives of historically marginalized people in the United States;
  4. Emphasize the voices and contributions of historically marginalized groups in the United States such that the course content must prominently include sources written and/or produced by historically marginalized people;
  5. Foster critical thinking skills by using intersectional frameworks of analyses that are necessary for adequately understanding and analyzing various social issues related to diversity and equity in the United States;
  6. Require students to examine critically their own beliefs, attitudes, and potential biases related to historically marginalized people in the United States.

In addition to satisfying these criteria, USCP courses must also address the Diversity Learning Objectives.

Students are required to complete one USCP course. This course also fulfills a requirement for Major, Support, General Education, or Free Elective category.

USCP and General Education Area F are separate degree requirements. The same course (either Cal Poly or transfer) cannot satisfy both requirements.

The following courses fulfill the United States Cultural Pluralism requirement.

ANT 415Native American Cultures4
ARCH/ES 326Native American Architecture and Place (Upper-Division C) 14
ART/WGQS 375Intersectional Feminist Art Histories4
COMS 316Intercultural Communication (Upper-Division D) 14
CRP/ES 215Planning for and with Multiple Publics4
DANC 321Cultural Influence on Dance in America (Upper-Division C) 14
ECON/HNRS 303Economics of Poverty, Discrimination and Immigration (Upper-Division D) 14
ENGL/HNRS 345Women Writers of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries (Upper-Division C) 14
ENGL 346Ethnic American Literature (Upper-Division C) 14
ENGL/HNRS 347African American Literature (Upper-Division C) 14
ENGL 348Asian American Literature (Upper-Division C) 14
ENGL 349Gender in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature (Upper-Division C) 14
ENGL 374Disability and Diversity in American Film (Upper-Division C) 14
ENGL 381Diversity in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century American Literature (Upper-Division C) 14
ENGL 382LGBT Literature and Media (Upper-Division C) 14
ES/HNRS 112Race, Culture, and Politics in the United States (D1) 14
ES 114Introduction to Ethnic Studies4
ES 300Chicano/a Non-Fiction Literature (Upper-Division C) 14
ES 301Latina/o Literature of the United States (Upper-Division C) 14
ES 302Chicana/o Literature (Upper-Division C) 14
ES 303Latina/o Poetry and Politics (Upper-Division C) 14
ES 310Hip-Hop, Poetics and Politics (Upper-Division D) 14
ES 320African Americans in Popular Culture (Upper-Division D) 14
ES 321Native Americans in Popular Culture (Upper-Division D) 14
ES 322Asian Americans in Popular Culture (Upper-Division D) 14
ES 323Latina/os in Popular Culture (Upper-Division D) 14
ES 324Chicana/o Film (Upper-Division C) 14
ES 325African American Gender & Sexuality4
ES 330The Chinese American Experience (Upper-Division D) 14
ES 335The Filipina/o American Experience (Upper-Division D) 14
ES/WGQS 345Queer Ethnic Studies (Upper-Division D) 14
ES/WGQS 350/HNRS 353Gender, Race, Culture, Science & Technology (Upper-Division B) 14
ES/NR 360Ethnicity and the Land (Upper-Division C) 14
ES 380Critical Race Theory (Upper-Division D) 14
ES 381The Social Construction of Whiteness (Upper-Division D) 14
FSN 250Food and Nutrition: Culture and Customs (E) 14
HIST 201/HNRS 203United States History to 1865 (D1) 14
HIST/HNRS 202United States History Since 1865 (D1) 14
HIST 206United States Cultures (D1) 14
HIST 208Survey of California History4
HIST 406African-American History from 18654
HIST/WGQS 435American Women's History from 18704
HLTH 255Personal Health: A Multicultural Approach (E) 14
HLTH 260Women's Health Issues (E) 14
JOUR 219Multicultural Society and the Mass Media4
KINE 323Sport and Gender (Upper-Division D) 14
KINE 324Sports, Media and American Popular Culture (Upper-Division D) 14
LS 350Identity and Equity in American Schools (Upper-Division D) 14
MU 221Jazz Styles (C1) 14
MU 227Popular Music of the USA (C1) 14
MU 325America's Music4
MU 328Women in Music (Upper-Division C) 14
PHIL 335/HNRS 336Social Ethics (Upper-Division C) 14
PHIL/WGQS 336Feminist Ethics, Gender, Sexuality and Society (Upper-Division C) 14
POLS 310The Politics of Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality4
POLS 343Civil Rights in America4
POLS 445Voting Rights and Representation4
PSY 260African American Psychology4
PSY 372Multicultural Psychology4
PSY 475The Social Psychology of Prejudice4
RELS/WGQS 370Religion, Gender, and Society (Upper-Division C) 14
SOC 216US Race and Ethnic Relations4
SOC 321Migration (Upper-Division D) 14
SOC 327Social Change (Upper-Division D) 14
SOC/WGQS 423Gender and Work4
SPAN 111Elementary Hispanic Language and Culture4
SPAN 206Spanish for Heritage Speakers4
SPAN 340Chicano/a Authors (Upper-Division C) 14
SPAN 351Chicano/Latino Writers in the United States (Upper-Division C) 14
TH 305Topics in Diversity on the American Stage (Upper-Division C) 14
WGQS 201/HNRS 204Gender and Sexuality in US Society and Politics (D1) 14
WGQS 301Contemporary Issues in Women's and Gender Studies (Upper-Division D) 14
WGQS 302Contemporary Issues in Queer Studies (Upper-Division D) 14
WGQS 450Feminist Theory4
WLC 312Humanities in Chicano/a Culture (Upper-Division C) 14

Choice of Catalog / Catalog Rights

Cal Poly typically issues a new catalog every one or two years, and the requirements for degree programs may change from one catalog to the next. Students have the right to choose the catalog they will use, as described in Section 40401 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.

An undergraduate student remaining in attendance in regular sessions at any California State University campus, at any California Community College, or any combination of California community colleges and campuses of the California State University may, for purposes of meeting graduation requirements, elect to meet the catalog requirements in effect at the campus from which the student will graduate either:

  1. at the term the student began such attendance, or
  2. at the term of entrance to the campus granting the degree, or
  3. at the term of graduation, or
  4. as allowed by campus policy: Cal Poly also allows students to elect the requirements of any catalog in effect during their regular attendance.

Campus authorities may authorize or require substitutions for discontinued courses. A campus may require a student changing his or her major or any minor field of study to complete the major or minor requirements in effect at the time of the change.

For purposes of this section, “attendance” means attendance in at least one semester or two quarters each university year. Absence due to an approved leave of absence or for attendance at another accredited institution of higher learning shall not be considered an interruption in attendance, if the absence does not exceed two years.

Choice of Catalog Older than 10 years for Returning Students

Returning students may request to complete their degrees on a catalog older than 10 years only if all remaining degree requirements at the time they left Cal Poly do not exceed 16 units. The decision to approve or disapprove a student's request is based on: (1) her/his willingness to complete the remaining degree requirements within a specified timeframe, and (2) her/his ability to demonstrate, with written documentation, reasonable currency of knowledge and skills in her/his degree field to the satisfaction of the faculty in the applicable major, as certified by the department chair. Both the college dean and the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Programs must give approval.

Currency in the degree field may be demonstrated by additional coursework, in addition to the remaining degree requirements on the student's original catalog, and/or by relevant work experience, to be determined by the department chair. Because Cal Poly degrees are always granted for the term in which requirements are completed, additional requirements may vary, depending on the amount of time elapsed and on the major field, in order to reconcile the curriculum of an older catalog with current trends in the academic discipline.

The expiration of a catalog is determined by adding 10 years to the last term in which that catalog was in effect (e.g., the 2017-19 catalog will be “older than 10 years” after Spring Quarter 2029).

Students are not allowed to complete a degree that is no longer offered by the University.

Note: In addition to the remaining degree requirements on the student’s catalog, s/he may also be required to complete the GWR. Check with the Evaluations Unit in the Office of the Registrar.