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Baccalaureate Degree Programs, General Requirements

There are nine general requirements which all students must meet in order to earn the bachelor's degree from Cal Poly and participate in commencement. Students must be formally admitted to the major in which they wish to graduate, and must matriculate, in order to earn a degree. Students must satisfactorily complete the coursework and requirements for their degree major program. 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.

1. Minimum Number of Units: 180 units

For the Bachelor of Arts (BA), a minimum of 18 major units must be in upper division courses and 60 units overall must be upper division. For the Bachelor of Science (BS), a minimum of 27 major units must be in upper division courses and 60 units overall must be upper division. Individual baccalaureate degree programs may require more than 180 units. (California Education Code, Title 5, Sections 40500, 40501, 40505, 40507)

2. Grade Point Average (GPA)

Students must earn at least a 2.0 GPA in all Higher Education units attempted (all college-level work), in Cal Poly cumulative units attempted, and in the major (the courses listed as major courses in the curriculum display).For a definition of GPA and quality points and hours, please refer to "Grading."

3. Satisfactorily complete one U. S. Cultural Pluralism (USCP) Course

4. Satisfactorily complete General Education (GE) requirements

Cal Poly's GE program includes the American Institutions requirement (Title 5, Sections 40404, 40405, E.O. 405 (PDF), E.O. 595 (PDF)).

5. Satisfactorily complete the Graduation Writing Requirement (GWR)

6. Satisfactorily complete at least one Senior Project course

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 (continuing education) credit or credit by examination may not be used to fulfill the residence requirements. However, a maximum of 36 quarter units of extension (continuing education) credit may be counted toward the bachelor's degree. (Title 5, 40403)

8. Evaluation for Graduation

Students must request an Evaluation for Graduation (PDF) from the Office of Academic Records and should do so four quarters prior to their anticipated graduation date. The evaluation confirms remaining requirements for graduation and is a formal statement on the expected quarter of graduation. Also, please refer to the Senior Checklist.

9. Graduation/Commencement

  • The actual date of graduation will be the end of the quarter in which all requirements have been met. Graduating students will receive a complimentary diploma in the mail approximately four weeks after the date of graduation (diplomas are not distributed at commencement). Additional diplomas may be ordered through El Corral Bookstore.
  • The diploma will not be ordered until all degree requirements have been completed.
  • If a student breaks attendance prior to completion of degree requirements, he or she may be required to re-enroll and may be held to catalog requirements in effect at the time he or she re-enrolls.
  • To "Commencement" policy.


Searchable Title 5 site

AS-827-17 Resolution on In-Residence Requirement for Last 40 Units

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