GE Program Policies
GE policies that address current student concerns have been agreed upon through collaboration and discussion with various departments, committees, and administrative staff. If you need a clarification on a GE policy, please visit our Contact page to reach the appropriate party.
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
There are five subareas within the GE program that are designated as Writing Intensive:
- A2: Written Communication
- A3: Critical Thinking
- C2: Humanities — Literature, Philosophy, Languages other than English
- Upper-Division C
- Upper-Division D
All courses A2, A3, Upper-Division C, and Upper-Division D must include a minimum of 3,000 words of writing and base 50% or more of a student’s grade on written work. Within C2, 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.
Source: AS-873-19 "Resolution on Template for General Education 2020" (pdf). 16 April 2019.
For Engineering Students Who Change Majors — ENGL 149 and BIO/ENGR 213
ENGL 149 — College of Engineering majors who have passed ENGL 149, and who change majors to another college, may count English 149 as fulfilling their GE A3 requirement. They do not have to take English 145 or 148.
(Policy approved by GE Director and GE Committee in Spring 2004)
BIO 213/ENGR 213 — College of Engineering majors who have passed BIO 213 and ENGR 213, and who change majors to another college, may count BIO/ENGR 213 as fulfilling their GE B2 requirement. They do not have to take another B2 class. (Policy approved by GE Director in Spring 2005).
Double Counting (for students on 2019-20 and subsequent catalogs)
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.
Double Counting (includes exceptions to policy for students on catalogs 2017-19 or prior)
The following policy governs double-counting for upper-division courses. Courses from a student's major department MAY NOT BE USED to fulfill upper-division electives in Areas C4 or D5.
Clarifications and Exceptions to Double Counting Policy — Updated June 1, 2006
Subject to the approval of the GE committee, departments that have more than one major may request exemption from this policy to allow students from one major to be able to use coursework from another major within the department to fulfill an upper-division GE requirement. Such exemptions may be allowed if departments can establish that courses have significant emphasis and breadth beyond the student's major.
PHIL — RELS department exception approved by GE Committee. PHIL majors can take RELS for C4 credit.
Anthropology-Geography majors can take Sociology courses for D5.
Sociology majors can take Anthropology or Geography courses for D5.
- Public Health majors can receive GE D5 (Upper-Division Elective) credit via Kinesiology 323: Sport and Gender or Kinesiology 324: Sport, media and Popular Culture. Approved by the General Education Governance Board on September 25, 2019.
Subject to the approval of the GE Committee, faculty may request that cross-listed courses be allowed to count for upper-division GE credit by majors from any of the departments offering the cross-listed courses. Faculty are encouraged to make the request for double-counting of these courses when they are first proposed. The courses will be reviewed by the GE Committee to determine if they have sufficient breadth and are interdisciplinary. If approval is granted, it will be on an "all or nothing" basis: either all the courses in the cross-listing are approved for double- counting, or none of them is.
ARCH 326 (C4) and ES 326 (C4) are officially approved to double-count for Architecture and Ethnic Studies majors. (March 2004)
ES 360 (C4) and FNR 360 (C4) will continue for the time being to double-count for Ethnic Studies and Forestry and Natural Resource majors.
ES 308 (D5) and FNR 308 (D5) will continue for the time being to double-count for Ethic Studies and Forestry and Natural Resource majors.
Courses with a College Prefix
Subject to the approval of the GE Committee, faculty may request that courses with a college prefix (e.g., SCM, AG, EDES, ENGR) be allowed to count for upper-division GE credit for majors in that college. Faculty are encouraged to make the request for double-counting of college-prefix courses when they are first proposed. The courses will be reviewed by the GE Committee to determine if they have sufficient breadth and are interdisciplinary.
Double-Majors (Engineering and another Major)
Students with a double major in an ABET-accredited Engineering major (on the Engineering GE template) and in another major (on the standard GE template) may use a Petition for Special Consideration to request exemption from the Area F requirement in the other major. To be approved, this petition needs the endorsement signatures of the other major’s department chair/head and college dean. If the student does not complete the other major, then the terms of the petition have not been fulfilled (since the student is no longer a double major) and the student will be required to satisfy the Area F requirement.
Second Baccalaureate for All Students
"Post-baccalaureate students seeking a second baccalaureate degree shall not be required to complete additional general education courses as a requirement for graduation, if they have previously earned a baccalaureate or higher degree from a regionally accredited institution."
Policy updated 10/24/2011 — In compliance with EO 1063.
Cal Poly's General Education High-Unit/Engineering Template
The GE High-Unit/Engineering template applies to all engineering programs that are accredited by ABET. Any engineering program that has applied, but not been approved, for ABET accreditation may request interim approval to use the High-Unit/Engineering Template pending ABET's decision on accreditation. (Requests for interim approval should be accompanied with a clear status report and projected timetable for ABET's decision.)
GE Upper-Division Coursework for Students on High-Unit/Engineering Template
Clarification is provided below to show how Engineering programs will meet the 12-unit upper-division General Education and 8-unit upper-division Writing Intensive requirements.
Four upper-division units in Area C (providing four writing-intensive units).
Four upper-division units in Area B.
Four specified upper-division units in engineering which are writing intensive.
Programs on the engineering template will identify four units of writing-intensive coursework that will complement the writing-intensive coursework taken as a part of the GE 2001 curriculum. These units may be from a single class or from a series of classes or labs. Each program will send to the GE Committee a plan for establishing writing-intensive coursework within the program's curriculum. The plan should make clear the amount and kind of writing which will be included in the identified coursework. Faculty teaching the writing-intensive courses will be strongly encouraged to participate in the WINGED workshops, and specific workshops will be presented which address the needs of faculty and students in engineering programs.
GE B4 — Definition of a Lab Experience
GE Area B4 courses are generally taught in the lab format, but activity courses will count as a lab experience if they satisfy the criteria listed in 1-4. Lab experiences must:
be based on the use of the scientific method or on the application of basic scientific principles in a laboratory environment or in a field experience.
involve observation and analysis or data collection and analysis.
contain an appropriate writing component.
(require concurrent or previous enrollment in a course that satisfies the Area B life science or physical science requirements.
Approved by GE Committee (now known as GE Governance Board) and clarified May 02, 2006.
GE B2 — Definition of Life Science Objectives
Students may fulfill the GE requirement for the Life Sciences with either a broad overview of a number of the many disciplines within the life sciences, or by a narrower but more in-depth focus on a smaller set of disciplines.
Upon completion of a broad overview of the life sciences, students will have achieved at least four of the learning objectives listed below at a basic level.
Upon completion of a narrower study of the life sciences, students will have achieved at least two of the learning objectives in depth.
Understand the chemical and physical bases of life processes.
Understand the patterns and processes of evolution and the resulting diversity of life.
Understand the process of reproduction and patterns of inheritance.
Understand structure, function, and development at the molecular, cellular and/or organism levels.
Understand the interactions of organisms with each other and with their environment.
Understand the impact of humans on world ecological systems.