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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who is my Faculty Advisor?

Each student in the College of Liberal Arts is assigned a Faculty Advisor in their major*. Faculty Advisors are randomly assigned to students just prior to the start of their first quarter. If you meet with your Faculty Advisor and find that your interests are not the same, you may be able to change your Faculty Advisor by asking a professor of your choice to be your advisor. If agreed, please make sure to inform your major's department office of this change.

*Except, first year English majors are assigned a Faculty Advisor at the start of their third year. The CLA Advising and English Department's Associate Chair are available for any advising needs until your your third year.

To find out who your Faculty Advisor is, check with the Advising Center or your department office.

Those who have a concentration in their major will also be assigned a concentration advisor, once they have declared their concentration. 

How do I declare a concentration?

Many majors in CLA require or allow students to declare a concentration. A concentration is an area of emphasis within your field of study.

Please note that it will take some time for your concentration to be applied to your degree progress.

Anthropology-Geography Meet with a designated concentration coordinator (faculty) to declare a concentration. You can call the Social Sciences department or CLA Advising to find out who the current concentration coordinator is for your area of interest.
Art and Design Concentrations are declared at the time of admission. If you are considering changing concentrations, you need to meet with your Department Chair
Child Development No concentration
Communication Studies No concentration
English No concentration
Ethnic Studies No concentration
Graphic Communication GRC students must apply for concentrations during a designated time frame.
History No concentration
Journalism No concentration required. However, JOUR majors must choose a Public Relations or News Track as an area of focus. No formal declaration is required. Simply begin taking the required courses in your chosen track.
Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies To initially declare your concentrations, submit a completed concentration form to one of the Co-Directors for approval. This can be done in person or via email. If you have questions about building an Independent Course of Study (ICS) or substitutions, you can talk with the LAES Advisor.
Modern Languages and Literatures To declare your concentration - either a secondary foreign language or Cal Poly minor - students need to meet with the Department Chair.
Music No concentration
Philosophy A concentration in Ethics and Society is optional. The alternative is the completion of 20 units of 300-400 level PHIL elective, with at least 12 units at the 400 level. If you wish to pursue the Ethics and Society concentration, fill out the declaration form and submit it to the department office.
Political Science Meet with a designated concentration coordinator (faculty) to declare a concentration. You can call the Political Science department or CLA Advising to find out who the current concentration coordinator is for your area of interest.
Psychology No concentration
Sociology Meet with a designated concentration coordinator (faculty) to declare a concentration. You can call the Social Sciences department or CLA Advising to find out who the current concentration coordinator is for your area of interest.
Theatre Arts No concentration

How do I declare a minor?

The minor declaration process depends on the minor you are declaring. Some minors  may have an application and/or GPA requirements. University Advising maintains list of minors that includes links to course requirements and declaration information (when available online).

Please note that after you declare a minor, it may take some time for your minor to be applied to your Degree Progress Report and Poly Profile.

How do I change my major?

In general, the change of major process is consistent across colleges. However, Individualized Change of Major Agreement (ICMA) requirements vary according to major. If you have reviewed the resources below and still have questions, please speak with the appropriate Advising Center for the major you are interested in.

What is the minimum passing grade for a course?

A "D-" is the minimum passing grade, for all courses. However, if you started college Fall 2016 or later, you must earn a C- or better in A1, A2, A3 and at least one B1 GE to receive credit for your degree.

Note that some prerequisite courses will require a particular grade in order to move on to the following course. Check the course description in catalog.calpoly.edu for details.

Important: While a D- may be considered passing, your MAJOR GPA, CPSLO GPA and Higher Ed GPA must be at least 2.0 (a C Average) in order to graduate.

What classes can I take as Credit/No Credit (CR/NC)?

The University policy for Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) grading is that each student may choose to take up to 16 units of coursework with this grading option. This does not include courses that are only taught with the CR/NC option or transferred in as CR/NC.

Of the 16 units:

  • 4 units can be from GE courses (if not also applying to your major)
  • 4 units can be from Major and Support courses if your department allows it
  • The remaining units can be used for free electives

Credit/No Credit grading must be selected by 5pm on the 8th day of instruction. Students must have a 2.0 CPGPA and can select no more then 8 units (two classes) as CR/NC in one term.

Instructions on how to change a course to CR/NC.

Credit/No Credit Allowances by Major
Credit/No credit allowances vary by major and catalog year. Each major lists its policy as a note on the appropriate curriculum sheet. This table has been updated for the 17-19 catalog. For older catalogs, refer to your curriculum sheet.
Major Policy
Anthropology-Geography No major, support, or concentration courses may be taken as CR/NC.
Art and Design Up to 4 units in major or concentration may be taken as CR/NC.
Child Development No major or support courses may be taken as CR/NC.
Communication Studies No major or support courses may be taken as CR/NC.
English No major or support courses may be taken as CR/NC.
Ethnic Studies No major or support courses may be taken as CR/NC.
Graphic Communication No major, support, or concentration courses may be taken as CR/NC.
History No major or support courses may be taken as CR/NC.
Journalism Up to 4 units in major or concentration may be taken as CR/NC.
Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies No major, support, or concentration courses may be taken as CR/NC.
Modern Languages and Literatures No major or support courses may be taken as CR/NC.
Music No major courses may be taken as CR/NC.
Philosophy No major or concentration courses may be taken as CR/NC.
Political Science No major, support, or concentration courses may be taken as CR/NC.
Psychology No major or support courses may be taken as CR/NC.
Sociology No major, support, or concentration courses may be taken as CR/NC.
Theatre Arts No major or support courses may be taken as CR/NC.

What is the cancellation policy for CLA Advising appointments?

As a courtesy to our office and your peers, if you need to cancel or reschedule your advising appointment, please call or email claadvising@calpoly.edu. We prefer at least 24 hours advance notice, but we know last minute things come up. 

How do I register for classes?

Information how to plan and find classes to register for can be found on the Tools for Registration page. It will review:

  • Degree Flowcharts
  • Degree Progress Report (DPR)
  • Plan a Student Schedule (PASS)
  • PolyPlanner

Specifics on the registration process can be found on the Office of the Registrar Student Center page. It will explain:

  • Adding a class
  • Dropping a class
  • Editing a class (Credit/no credit or variable credit)
  • Permission numbers
  • Swapping a Class
  • Waitlist

Fall Quarter PASS/Registration Workshops

If you have any questions about what to register for we are happy to plan for one quarter during our walk-in advising hours: Mon - Fri, 9am-12pm & 1-4pm.

If you would like to plan for more than one quarter, please call the CLA Advising Center at 805-756-6200 to schedule an appointment.

Where can I find answers if my question isn't listed here?

Great question!  University Advising maintains a comprehensive website of general tips and resources for all Cal Poly students. If you've looked there and you still have questions, please come see us!

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