GE Study Abroad Policies and Petitions



General Study Abroad Course Policies

  • Cal Poly courses taken through a Cal Poly Study Abroad Program MUST be on the approved GE list to count for GE credit.
  • Lower-division courses MAY NOT be used to fulfill upper-division courses in GE Areas C4, D5, or F.
  • Each GE requirement in a GE subarea (e.g., C1, C2, C elective) is a course requirement as well as a unit requirement.
  1. A study abroad course must be the equivalent of at least 4 quarter units in order for it to be considered for GE transfer credit. 
  2. One study abroad course cannot count as satisfying two GE course requirements.
  3. If a study abroad course is the equivalent of more than 4 quarter units and it is approved for GE transfer credit, it will be allowed to count for one GE course requirement, consisting of 4 quarter units of GE; the extra units will be counted as free elective units.
  4. GE credit can only occur after official transcripts have been received, allowing verification of grades and of the information provided on the GE Study Abroad petition: course title and description; units; lower-division or upper-division status, etc.
  5. When out of the country and you need to change your courses, you may contact the Cal Poly Evaluations Office for INFORMAL advice via email at  Please allow 1 week for an email response.  Upon your return, complete this petition for formal review of the course.

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Study Abroad GE Policies for Courses in Languages other than English

  • Students are strongly encouraged to submit a GE Study Abroad petition before going abroad in order to know in advance which foreign language courses will be approved for GE credit.

  • In most cases, first-term (and later) foreign language courses, including upper-division courses, that are non-Cal Poly courses taken abroad will be granted transfer credit toward C1, C2, and/or the C elective at Cal Poly, up to a maximum total of 8 units in Area C, because of the substantial value-added cultural component of these study abroad courses.

  • Foreign language courses that are purely or mostly conversation courses WILL NOT be approved for GE credit, as these do not have the depth or rigor expected of GE courses.

  • To receive GE credit, foreign language courses should have a significant emphasis on reading and writing within the foreign language.

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GE Study Abroad Course Substitution

When planning to traveling abroad, we strongly encourage students to submit a GE course substitution prior to departure if courses are not on a pre-approved course list. Use the GE Course Substitution for Study Abroad form to request possible credit for courses taken through a Study Abroad program. This form can be found at the International Center (bldg. 52 room E32).


Processing Your Request

  1. Cal Poly courses taken through a Cal Poly Study Abroad Program that are not on the Cal Poly GE list will not be allowed to count for GE.
  2. Review the requirements on Cal Poly's GE website.
  3. Determine the GE area you need to fulfill (refer to your Degree Progress report or check with your advisor). Note: Lower-division courses may not be used to fulfill GE C4, GE D5 or GE F.
  4. Complete the GE Course Substitution for Study Abroad form for course review and consideration.
  5. Attach the course descriptions and supporting documents for each course printed or photocopied directly from the international catalog or web site.  Do not copy and paste this information into your own document.  Be sure the printed documents include the campus, location, term, print date and URL, if applicable.
  6. Meet with a Study Abroad Advisor to discuss your plan and obtain their signature. Note: The International Center does not approve course substitutions.
  7. The Study Abroad Office will submit the form to the Office of the Registrar (Bldg 1, room 222).
  8. The Office of the Registrar will route the form for you.
  9. Your copy will be returned by email with the final decisions on your petition requests.
  10. GE Course Substitution for Study Abroad petitions are valid only after the official receipt fo official transcripts and verification of the educational institution, courses, course levels and units. (Each course must be the equivalent of at least 4 quarter units.)
  11. Please allow 4 weeks to process your petition.

If you are out of the country and need to change your course(s)........

You may contact the Cal Poly Evaluations Office for INFORMAL advice via email at  Please allow 1 week for an email response.  Upon your return, complete this petition for formal review of the courses.

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