Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I change my major?

Students who are considering a change of major into one of the departments in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) should contact the proposed major department or the CAED Advising Center in Bldg. 05, Room 210 for information and program requirements. CAED students who are considering a change of major outside of the college will need to contact the proposed department for information and program requirements and then make an appointment with Mitra Nafisi in the CAED Advising Center. Students who are not sure which major would best suit their interests and abilities should contact Career Services in Bldg. 124, Room 114.

2. How can I get into a required class that is closed?

You should keep checking class availability via Schedule Builder and/or Class Search because new sections may have been added. If the course is being offered by your own department, you may want to contact the department to advise them of your inability to register for the course and to see if a list is being kept of students who are requesting the class. If that doesn't work, then you will have to "crash" the course on the first day of the class. If you are still unable to enroll in the class, you should see your faculty advisor to review your schedule of courses.

3. How do I interpret my evaluation form?
What classes did I get credit for?

Credit has been given for any course listed on the evaluation form which has the unit value marked off (/ or x), regardless if there is a "+" or " - " sign after the unit value. Courses, which are “in progress”, are marked with a circle around the unit value. Contact either the CAED Advising Center for any questions regarding your evaluation or the Evaluations Office in Bldg. 01, Room 218.

4. How can I substitute one course requirement for another?

To substitute either a major or support course, you will need to complete a Petition for Major or Support Course Substitution/Exception E-Form and it will be routed to the appropriate signatures. Petitions for substitution of a general education course is available by emailing

5. What do I need to do to take a leave from my studies?

If you are in good academic standing (not on academic probation), you may take an Educational Leave for up to two years. A Petition for Educational Leave can be found on the Registrar Forms website.

6. How does the university know when I want to graduate?

Starting in Fall Quarter 2015, undergraduate students no longer need to apply for graduation using the Graduation Application/Request for Graduation Evaluation form.

Instead, when students reach 75% or more of degree completion (80% for Architecture and Landscape Architecture majors), as indicated on their Academic Progress gauge on Poly Profile, the Office of the Registrar will input an expected graduation term for them that is one year away. Students will receive an email from, informing them that this expected grad term has been set for them, and that they are expected to graduate within four quarters.

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

7. I am having academic difficulty in one or more of my classes. What should I do?

You should contact the faculty member(s) who is teaching the course to discuss any problems you are having. You should also contact your faculty advisor or the CAED Advising Center as soon as you realize you are in academic difficulty. There are many campus resources available to you including the Academic Skills Center, Writing and Learning Center, tutoring, etc.

8. I am having personal or health problems this quarter which are affecting my academics. What should I do?

You should contact the CAED Advising Center for referral to campus resources such as Health Services, Psychological Services, Financial Aid, etc.

9. Which catalog should I follow?

Students may elect to follow either the catalog in effect at the time they entered Cal Poly, or any catalog in effect during the time they are in attendance through graduation, provided they have been in continuous enrollment. Transfer students may be eligible to graduate under the catalog requirements in effect at the time they began attendance at a California community college, California State University campus, or any combination of California community colleges and campuses of the California State University provided they have been in continuous enrollment.

10. How do I find a part-time job while going to school?

The Career Services has a student employment office, which has listings of many part-time jobs. Also, you can access MustangJobs through your Cal Poly Portal for exclusive job opportunities to Cal Poly students.

11. How do I fulfill the U.S. Cultural Pluralism Requirement?

Refer to the list of courses in the current quarter's Schedule of Classes, which fulfill the USCP requirement. Many courses do "double count" and fulfill both a General Education course requirement and the USCP. English 345 and English 346 do "triple count" and fulfill the C3 General Education requirement, the USCP and the Graduation Writing Requirement (GWR). View the USCP listings online here.

12. How do I fulfill the Graduation Writing Requirement?

Students who have completed 90 units may fulfill the Graduation Writing Requirement (GWR) either by enrolling in a specified upper-division literature or writing course, or by passing the Writing Proficiency Examination (WPE) which is normally given once each quarter on a Saturday morning. Information on the exam and list of courses can be found on the Writing and Learning GWR website.

13. I need help with my writing skills. What should I do?

Contact Writing and Learning Initiatives for support in reading comprehension, wring, test preparation, and academic support workshops.

14. Who is my faculty advisor?

You will need to contact your major department office for information about who has been assigned as your faculty advisor. For Architecture majors, a group of faculty members advise all students and are available on a walk-in basis according to a posted schedule in Bldg. 05, Room 220.

15. How do I withdraw from a course?

To withdraw from a course after the drop deadline, you could complete an E-Form on the Registrar Forms website during the withdrawal period. The W grading symbol will be assigned to the course and is not used in calculating grade point averages. Withdrawals are permitted only if there are serious and compelling reasons for withdrawal.

16. How can I be sure that courses taken at a community college are equivalent to Cal Poly courses?

Articulation agreements between Cal Poly and all California community colleges, California State University campuses and most University of California campuses are available on Visit the How to Use Assist website to understand what courses are equivalent at a CA community college.

17. Where would I go to find a tutor?

Tutor listings are available with respective departments. You can also contact the Academic Skills Center or Writing and Learning Initiatives.

18. How do I find out about competitions or scholarships?

Information about scholarships and student competitions will be available on CAED and department websites.

19. Where can I review the contents of my student file folder?

Your student file folder is located in the CAED Advising Center in Bldg. 05, room 210, and can be looked at anytime between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

20. Where can I get information about General Education Requirements?

Information about General Education Requirements for the majors in the CAED can be found in the Cal Poly catalog, on the Curriculum Sheets for each major.

21. What do I do if I am on Academic Probation?

If you are placed on academic probation as a result of your last quarter's grades, you will receive a letter from the dean of the CAED stating the academic conditions you will need to meet during the current quarter. In addition, you will need to complete a three-quarter academic plan with your faculty advisor to avoid a "hold" being placed on your account that would affect next quarter's registration.

22. What are the curriculum requirements for my major?

Curriculum requirements are listed on the departmental curriculum sheets, which are available online, in the CAED Advising Center, and in the Cal Poly catalog.

23. How do I find out when courses will be offered?

For majors in the CAED, courses are generally offered according to the plan on the departmental "flowchart" of courses. Contact the course department for more information.

24. What is the minimum passing grade for a major or support course?

Except for Architectural Engineering majors, a "D-" is the minimum passing grade for major or support courses. Architectural Engineering majors must earn at least a "C-" in major and support courses.

25. How do I find out about Financial Aid?

Contact the Financial Aid Office in Bldg. 01, Room 212. Financial Aid information is also available online at:

26. How can I get a list of my departmental/professional electives?

You can get a copy of your program's professional electives in your major department's office, in the CAED Advising Center or from our site.

27. How do I get information about restricted classes?

You will need to contact the academic department which is offering the restricted class.

28. How do I find out my grades at the end of the quarter?

Grades are available on the Student Center in your Cal Poly Portal beginning the Friday after finals.

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