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Academic Planning

In preparation for studying abroad, students should get organized about academic planning for GE, major, and minor course pre-approvals.  

General Education Credit


Many study abroad programs offer courses that satisfy GE areas C and D. 

Instructions for getting additional study abroad courses approved for GE credit

Classes that have been pre-approved for GE credit (if there are any) can be found on each program’s brochure. To access this list, find the program you are interested in using the Advanced Search feature, click on it to go to its brochure, click on the “Academics” tab, then click the green “Course Pre-Approvals” button.
If there are classes you wish to take for GE credit that have not been pre-approved, you will need to download and complete the GE Course Substitution for Study Abroad Form (fillable PDF). Please note: if a class has been pre-approved it does not need to be petitioned, and if a class is pre-approved for one GE area and you petition it for a different area, the petition will not be approved.

  1. Be sure to check your Degree Progress Report to confirm which GE areas you still need to complete.  
  2. Once you have completed the form, email it along with study abroad/international exchange program course descriptions for each course you wish to substitute to the appropriate Study Abroad Advisor/Coordinator: 
    • CEA, CIEE, FIE: Study Abroad Team (
    • CSU IP, DIS: Holly White (
    • International Exchanges: Leanna Jenkins (
    • Semester at Sea, National Student Exchange (NSE), Wildlands Studies: Chuck Petranek (
    • USAC, Non-Affiliated Programs: Stacey Shimizu (
    • TEAN (Education Abroad Network): Ingrid Almaguer (
    • SIT: Sara Otis (
  3. The appropriate Study Abroad Advisor/Coordinator will review the form (with course descriptions) for completeness, sign it, and forward it to the Evaluations Office for evaluation and final approval. 
  4. Substitutions typically take 4-6 weeks for approval but due to COVID-19, these forms are taking longer to process. You will receive an email from '' when a decision has been reached.
GE Credit for language courses taken on study abroad:
Students following 2020-2021 and later catalogs: Elementary and Intermediate language acquisition courses (100- and 200-level) will satisfy GE C2 or Lower-division C Elective.  Note that Lower-division courses in Area C must come from three different subject prefixes (e.g., SPAN, ITAL, CHIN, GER, JPNS, etc.); you may not use multiple courses with the same subject prefix to satisfy Area C.  Also, these courses do not satisfy C3 or C4.  
Students following 2019-2020 and earlier catalogs: Elementary and Intermediate language courses (100- and 200-level) may be counted for GE C1, C2, or C5 requirements at Cal Poly but only up to 8 quarter units.  In other words, only up to two out of these three GE requirements may be satisfied with language courses. The maximum of 8 quarter units includes both units taken domestically (including any credits from AP exams) and abroad through Cal Poly Global Programs or any other study abroad program.  Also, these courses do not satisfy C3 or C4.  

Major Credit

Students are encouraged to get study abroad courses approved towards their majors before going on study abroad.  

Instructions for getting study abroad courses approved for Major credit

  1. Complete the Major or Support Course Substitution Form for Study Abroad (fillable pdf). This form is strictly for Major or Support course substitutions, not for Minor courses (refer to the "Minor Courses" section below).  Fill out the top section of the form with your student information, and then list the study abroad courses you would like to have approved for major or support course substitutions.  
  2. Attach descriptions of the study abroad courses you have listed on the form.  Substitutions will NOT be considered unless course descriptions are provided.  
  3. Ask your academic advising office to review the form and course descriptions and indicate which substitutions are recommended. If you aren't sure who to contact in your Advising Office, you can start with your College's Academic Advising Center. Find out how to contact your Advising Center on the Cal Poly Advising Webpage.   (NOTE: CLA students go directly to Department Chair for approval signatures).
  4. Your academic advising office will review and move your Substitution Form through the following review process:
  • The Advising Office (except CLA) forwards the form to the appropriate department chair/head for initial review and approval
  • The department chair/head will forward the form to the appropriate Associate Dean for a final department approval
  • After receiving all the necessary approvals, the Associate Dean will forward the form to the Registrar's Office for processing
  • Students will receive an email from '' indicating the decisions reached on their study abroad course substitution requests
  • Please allow up to five weeks for this process

Minor Credit

Students should consult with their minor department advisor to have study abroad courses pre-approved for their minor. The minor department advisor will work with you to complete the Minor Form for any approved courses.   

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