Support Liberal Studies

Frequently Asked Questions

GENERAL

What is the minimum passing grade for a Major or Support course? 

How do I interpret my Degree Progress Report (DPR)  Which classes did I receive transfer credit for?

Which catalog should I follow? 

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

Where can I get information about General Education requirements? 

How do I switch to the new (2019-21) catalog? 

Where can I gain access to an LS curriculum sheet and flowchart to guide me in scheduling classes? 

My substituted courses are not showing up on my Degree Progress report. Who do I contact? 

Is it possible for B.S. Liberal Studies students to pursue a minor at Cal Poly? 

Who can I see if I have questions about scheduling LS courses, graduation requirements, concentrations, multiple and single subject credentials, courses substitutions, catalogs, and credential requirements? 

Who can I see if I want help with scheduling my classes for the next quarter or an overview of the classes I need to complete for my degree? 

Who can I see if I have questions regarding career objectives, approving major coursework for study abroad, internships, research opportunities, Masters/Ph.D. programs, senior project, and letters of recommendation? 


REGISTRATION

How do I find out when courses will be offered?

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

Where do I pick up the drop a class form?

I’m registering for a class that I am currently taking the prerequisite for but the system won’t let me register. What do I do? 


GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

How does the University know when I want to graduate?  

How do I fulfill the Graduation Writing Requirement?


CONCENTRATION

What subjects can I concentrate in?

How do I declare a concentration?

When do I declare a concentration? 

Can I use major support courses to complete a concentration? 

My concentration courses are not showing up on my profile. Who do I contact?

When should I attend a Multiple Subject credential meeting (MSTEP)?


CREDENTIAL

Why is the blended program not offered at Cal Poly (B.S. with credential program)?

When should I meet the Basic Skills Requirement (BSR) or CBEST for a multiple subject credential?

What are the basic skill requirements?

When should I take the CSET: multiple subjects exams?

How do I sign up to take the CBEST/CSETs? 

When should I complete my MSTEP application?


ISMA

What is the ISMA and what does it allow you to do?

When do I get an ISMA?

What subjects are available to add as an ISMA?


OUTSIDE HELP

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

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

What do I do if I am on Academic Probation? 

Where would I go to find a tutor?


What is the minimum passing grade for a Major or Support course?

A D- in major/support courses is a passing grade but we strongly recommend that you maintain a “C” average in upper division courses to be able to continue to a credential.  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." 

See an Advisor immediately when experiencing difficulty in a course. For recommendations or referral services. 


How do I interpret my Degree Progress Report (DPR)  Which classes did I receive transfer credit for?

Degree Progress report (DPR) symbol key. Below are key symbols you will see throughout the Degree Progress Report and what some of these symbols mean. 

Credit has been given for any course listed on the Degree Progress that has a green circle with a check mark.  Work in progress courses are marked with a yellow diamond and a Red rectangle shows that the course requirement has not been met.  For more information on reading your DPR go to the Cal Poly Office of the Registrar page here.  Contact your Advisor for any questions regarding your evaluation or the Evaluations office in the Administration building.


Which catalog should I follow? 

Transfer students may elect to follow either the catalog currently in effect at the time they entered Cal Poly or any catalog in effect during the time they are in attendance, provided they have continuous enrollment.  You may be eligible to graduate under the catalog requirements that were in effect at the time you began attending a higher education institution.  Please see an advisor to help you figure out if a different catalog may be better for you. 


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, state university campuses, and most UC campuses are available to be referenced on the web at http://www.assist.org. Please visit the COSAM advising or Mustang Success Center for help in selecting courses that articulate. 


Where can I get information about General Education requirements? 

Information about General Education requirements can be found in the Cal Poly catalog, the Curriculum sheet and on the web at http://www.ge.calpoly.edu  


How do I switch to the new (2019-21) catalog? 

Please consult with a faculty or academic advisor if you are interested in a change of catalog.  Forms are found outside the LS office, COSAM advising, and the registrar’s office. 

Students have a right to catalog choice that matches the start of their university studies.  


Where can I gain access to an LS curriculum sheet and flowchart to guide me in scheduling classes? 

Hard copies are located just outside of the Liberal Studies office (25-125B). Electronic copies are located at the catalog.calpoly.edu website:   http://flowcharts.calpoly.edu/mymap.php  


My substituted courses are not showing up on my Degree Progress report. Who do I contact? 

Inquire with the Registrar’s Office located in Building 01-222.  Forms take 4-6 weeks to process and you will be notified by e-mail.


Is it possible for B.S. Liberal Studies students to pursue a minor at Cal Poly? 

Three of our concentrations are aligned to minors:  Spanish, Child Development and Biology.  You need to meet with an advisor from the respective Departments early to work on a plan of study; there may be additional courses that you need to take.  Our graduates have also pursued other minors like Psychology, Latin American Studies, Sociology, and Dance.  It is possible to concentrate on one subject and minor in another but this requires proactive planning and extra summer coursework.


Who can I see if I have questions about scheduling LS courses, graduation requirements, concentrations, multiple and single subject credentials, courses substitutions, catalogs, and credential requirements? 

Visit the Advising office in 53-211 or call (805) 756-2615 to make an appointment.  You may also visit Dr. Berber during her office hours located at 25-125C. If her office hours do not work with your schedule email the Liberal Studies office at libstud@calpoly.edu  


Who can I see if I want help with scheduling my classes for the next quarter or an overview of the classes I need to complete for my degree? 

Call (805) 756-2615 or stop by in person to schedule an appointment with the College of Science and Math Advising Center, located at 53-211.  


Who can I see if I have questions regarding career objectives, approving major coursework for study abroad, internships, research opportunities, Masters/Ph.D. programs, senior project, and letters of recommendation? 

Meet with the faculty advisor that was assigned to you upon entering Cal Poly or your department chair. 


How do I find out when courses will be offered?

Check PASS (Plan A Student Schedule) in your Cal Poly student portal: http://my.calpoly.edu  OR http://schedules.calpoly.edu/  


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

Keep checking class availability via PASS; students may drop, new sections may be added, etc.  Make sure you put yourself on the “Wait List” for a class if full.  If spaces do open up, students on the waitlist will have first priority in filling those spaces.  


Where do I pick up the drop a class form?

At the Registrar’s Office located in Building 01-222. Most all other forms may be retrieved from your department office. 


I’m registering for a class that I am currently taking the prerequisite for but the system won’t let me register. What do I do? 

Contact the instructor and their corresponding Department to request a permission number.


How does the University know when I want to graduate? 

When students reach 75% or more of degree completion, 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 evaluations@calpoly.edu, 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. 

If you are moving your graduation term earlier, you do not need signature approval; you can submit the “Undergraduate Change of Completion Term Request” form directly to the Office of the Registrar, Bldg. 01, room 222.   If you are moving your graduation to a later date, you need to seek a signature from a COSAM Associate Dean (25-229C) or CSM professional advisor (53-211). 


How do I fulfill the Graduation Writing Requirement?

Students who have completed 90 units may fulfill the Graduation Writing Requirement (GWR) either by: 

  1. Enrolling in specified upper-division literature or writing course (see quarterly Class Schedule booklet) or 

  2. Passing the Writing Proficiency Examination (WPE) that is normally given each quarter on a Saturday morning.

What subjects can I concentrate in?

Liberal Studies students may concentrate in the subject areas of Biology, Child Development, English, Mathematics, Physical Sciences, History/Social Sciences, Spanish, and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).  Three concentrations are aligned to a minor: Biology, Child Development, and Spanish.  Four of them are focused on K-9 background knowledge to help you build an Introductory Subject Matter Authorization: Mathematics, English, Science, and History/Social Sciences.  Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) leads towards a TESOL certification, and Spanish opens opportunities for a Bilingual Authorization in Spanish (used to be the BCLAD). 


How do I declare a concentration?

To declare your concentration, please fill out this Adobe Sign form. Important:  you must request this form using your Cal Poly email account.  Once you request the form, an email will be sent to you containing a request for more information.  You will need to provide:

  • Your full name;
  • Your empl ID number;
  • Your current major;
  • Your catalog year; and
  • The name of the concentration you wish to declare.

When do I declare a concentration? 

As soon as you take courses towards the concentration, you should declare it so they count towards your degree.  The general advice is that the Spanish and Mathematics concentration should get started before the end of the sophomore year.  All others must be declared at the end of your junior year.  While you can change your concentration many times in the duration of your degree, all changes as recorded in your transcripts. 


Can I use major support courses to complete a concentration? 

No, courses listed as major or support cannot be included in your concentration. 


My concentration courses are not showing up on my profile. Who do I contact?

Inquire with the Registrar’s Office located in Building 01-222.  The Registrar’s Office tries to process all forms by the last day of classes every term. 


Why is the blended program not offered at Cal Poly (B.S. with a credential program)?

Separating the two programs (B.S. and credential) allows candidates to pursue additional areas of concentrations (minors or ISMAs) as undergraduates and creates a more coherent credential program.  Also, unlinked credential candidates may benefit from having additional post-baccalaureate units to count for professional salary (45 quarter units). 


When should I meet the Basic Skills Requirement (BSR) or CBEST for a multiple subject credential?

It is strongly recommended that a Liberal Studies student at Cal Poly meet the Basic Skills Requirement during the first quarter on campus.  LS 201/301 will help you verify that you have met this requirement.  There are many ways to meet the BSR.  See this CTC pdf document for more information

If you take the CBEST examination, the score will remain valid indefinitely for all credential and employment purposes.  If you meet your BSR, we recommend that you have a School of Education Credential Analyst review your information.  The credential office is located in building 02 room 120).  Here is more information from CTC.  


What are the basic skill requirements?

The California Education Code (EdCode) and Title 5 Regulations specify, in most cases, that applicants for a credential, certificate, or permit to serve in the public schools of California must verify basic skills proficiency before the credential, certificate, or permit will be issued. For Multiple and Single Subject Teaching Credential candidates, the basic skills requirement must be met prior to being assigned to daily responsibility for whole class instruction in student teaching or serving as an intern. However, institutions may require the basic skills requirement prior to program enrollment. Contact the college or university education department for more information. The basic skills requirement may also be required as a condition of employment. Applicants should contact the school district where they are considering employment for more information.  For more information:   http://www.ctc.ca.gov/credentials/leaflets/cl667.pdf


When should I take the CSET: multiple subjects exams?

We recommend that you take all three no later than in the summer between your Junior and Senior year.  If you want to take one at a time, here are our recommendations: 

CSET Multiple Subjects: Subtest I: Reading, Language and Literature/History and Social Science (test code 101): - take after ENGL 391 and HIST 210 

CSET Multiple Subjects: Subtest II: Science and Math (test code 214): Take soon after Math 329 and science courses are completed.

CSET Multiple Subjects: Subtest III: Physical Education, Human Development and Visual and Performing arts (test code 103):  take after KINE 310, EDUC 207 and LS 370 


How do I sign up to take the CBEST/CSETs? 

General information is on this School of Education website​​​


When should I attend a Multiple Subject credential meeting (MSTEP)?

Go to an information meeting during your junior year so you can get general information.  We recommend that you take a second meeting closer to your application- some policies change from year to year.  Go to this website for more information: https://soe.calpoly.edu/content/multiple-subject-program-prerequisites  

  • Download and complete the MSTEP I application packet 
  • Complete pre-requisite coursework 
  • EDUC 207 Introduction to the Learner’s Development, Culture, Language, and Identity (4 units) 
  • LS 230 Field Experience in the Elementary Classroom I (2 units) and LS 250 Field Experience in the Elementary Classroom II (2 units) 
  • EDUC 427 Theories, Methods, and Assessments of 1st and 2nd Language Acquisition in Schools (4 units) 
  • EDUC 428 Primary Grade (K-3) Literacy and Language Arts Instruction in Schools (4 units) 
  • Issuance of Certificate of Clearance 
  • Health Clearance Verification (TB and Rubella Clearances) 
  • Professional Aptitude Interview (see MSTEP I application) 
  • Evidence of completion of the SPEAKING AND WRITING ENGLISH competencies requirement. 
  • WRITING REQUIREMENT. If you are a CSU graduate within the past 7 years, you automatically fulfill the requirement. 
  • COMS 101 Public Speaking or COMS 102 Principles of Speech Communication or exam (4 units) (Speech Requirement) 
  • Submit the second letter of recommendation to the School of Education Credential Office (Building 02, Room 120, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407). 
  • U.S. Constitution Requirement.  POLS 112 (3 units) American/California Government (U.S. Constitution Requirement); CSU graduates automatically fulfill this requirement. 
  • Verification of satisfying the Basic Skills Requirement (BSR) - See Basic Skills Requirement – CL-667 for options to meet BSR 
  • Verification of subject matter competency - CSET Multiple Subject - Successful passing of all subtests of the CSET-Multiple Subject 

Credential Program: 

  • The following requirements must be met prior to the recommendation of your preliminary credential. You can complete these requirements before entering, during, or after the program. 
  • KINE 250 or KINE 443- Health Education or approved equivalent (4 units) 12. CPR Certification (must include Infant, child, and adult training; online CPR certification is not acceptable). 

When should I complete my MSTEP application?

One quarter before graduation.  They are due on Monday of the 4th week but please check with advising office for any changes.  Make sure that you have all your exams completed before you apply! 


What is the ISMA and what does it allow you to do?

The Introductory Subject Matter Authorization (ISMA) will authorize the holder to teach the subject matter content typically included in curriculum guidelines and textbooks approved for study in grades 9 and below. An employer may assign a teacher with an introductory authorization to teach a class in which the curriculum is for grades 9 and below but the students in the class may be in grades 10-12.  


When do I get an ISMA?

Liberal Studies students may align their concentrations to an Introductory Subject Matter Authorization (ISMA).  This requires 48 units of courses in a subject matter.  Our concentrations aligned to ISMA are Mathematics, Physical Sciences, English and History, and Social Studies.  Please refer to the advising pages for each of the concentration and remember that you will need a credential to get an ISMA. 


What subjects are available to add as an ISMA?

Our concentrations that are aligned to ISMAs are Introductory English, Introductory Mathematics, Introductory Science, and Introductory Social Science.  Please visit the advising pages for more information. 


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

You should contact the professor who is teaching the course to discuss any problems you are having with course content/material.  You should also contact your Advisor as soon as you realize you are having academic difficulty.  There are many resources available on campus that can help you succeed in your classes.  They include the Academic Skills Center, Writing & Rhetoric Center, tutoring, etc. 

Call the Writing & Rhetoric office for dates at (805) 756-2067. http://writingcenter.calpoly.edu/  


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

The Writing & Rhetoric office is located in Bldg. 10, room 130.  They can assist you in improving your writing skills and help prepare for the Writing Proficiency Exam. To get more information or schedule an appointment go to the Writing & Rhetoric website.


What do I do if I am on Academic Probation? 

Every student is different; the reasons you may find yourself on academic probation status are specific to you. You should know that you are not alone in experiencing these challenges. There are many reasons students encounter academic challenges. These challenges can include personal, financial, health, family, time management or study skills.  Academic Advisors encourage you to reflect on what led to you being on academic probation status, to formulate a plan for academic success in future quarters, and to utilize resources available to help you reach your goals.  Please meet an Academic Advisor if you are on academic probation.   


Where would I go to find a tutor?

Tutoring information is available at the Academic Skills Center (ASC).  For study skills information, workshops, etc. go to their web site.

 

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