The 2020-2021 catalog will feature Cal Poly’s new GE requirements, which take effect Summer 2020. Students will have the choice to stay on their current catalog or switch to the new GE 2020.

 GE 2020 will not change your major, support or concentration curriculum. Students who choose to stay on their current catalog from 2019-20 or earlier, will keep the same requirements. For students who plan to take GE courses during spring or summer 2020, Cal Poly administration recommends reading about all the options available. 

 “Changes in the Cal Poly GE template and how it affects any given continuing student can be confusing if not explained properly and clearly,” University Registrar Cem Sunata wrote in an email. “To that end, we have created a specific communication strategy to the students as well as a dedicated website that includes frequently asked questions.”

The 2019-2020 and earlier catalogs had three different GE patterns, but the new catalog will only feature two. One GE pattern is designed for High-Unit programs, which consist of all programs in the College of Engineering as well as architectural engineering (ARCE) and bioresource and agricultural engineering (BRAE) majors. The other GE pattern is designed for all other students.

Video by Tessa Hughes

Changes in Area A

Students are still required to complete 12 units of coursework in Area A with a grade of C- or higher. The new catalog will change Area A1 (Expository Writing) to Area A2 (Written Communication).

Area A2 (Oral Communication) will become Area A1 (still Oral Communication). A3 (Reasoning, Argumentation, and Writing) will still be referred to as A3, but will be known as Critical Thinking.

Changes in Area B

Students in CAED, CAFES, CSM and OCOB will have one less math class, changing the overall Area B requirements from 20 units to 16 units on the 2020-2021 catalog. CLA students will not be required to take a B1-B5 elective for four units in addition to a reduction in a math four-unit GE, so the overall Area B requirements have gone from 24 units to 16 units with GE 2020.

Students in CENG, ARCE and BRAE will still be required to complete the 28 units in Area B (Area B Electives).

Changes in Area C

Only students in CAED, CAFES, CSM and OCOB will no longer be required to take a C1-C5 elective for four units, so the overall Area C requirements have gone from 20 units to 16 units on the 2020-21 catalog. 

Area C1 (Literature) will now be known as Arts, which was previously Area C3. Area C2 (Philosophy) will become Humanities and include the literature courses from C1, philosophy courses from C2, and the Cal Poly study abroad foreign language study abroad courses. There will no longer be a C3 area and Area C4 will simply be Upper-Division C. 

Specific comparisons between the GE courses on each catalog can be found on the GE conversion matrix

Catalog and PASS descriptions for GE courses will show both the old and new GE, so students can choose the right option. If admitted as a first-time student in Summer 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020 or Spring 2020, Cal Poly will automatically change these students to the GE 2020 track in the summer. Graphic communication students are the exception to this automatic change, and it is recommended that students go to the CLA Advising Center about the most beneficial course of action. 

For more detailed information about all of the GE changes and frequently asked questions, visit the GE 2020 comprehensive guide.

The Office of the Registrar declined initial requests for an interview to explain the details of the changes.


Editor’s Note: The story has been updated to further represent the changes in GE 2020 after several requests for an interviews were declined by the Office of the Registrar. The graphic with insufficient information has been removed.

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