Academic Calendar


The academic calendar is the official University document identifying the dates for major academic events and deadlines for the university year.  Cal Poly's academic calendar is based upon a quarter system, year round operation, and consists of four quarters:  fall, winter, spring and summer.  Each quarter consists of 10 weeks of instruction. 


The academic calendar shall be developed two years in advance following norms and definitions adopted by the CSU Chancellor's Executive Council.  Extensive consultation with various campus constituencies shall occur, including Academic Deans' Council, Academic Senate Executive Committee, Academic Senate Instruction Committee, ASI, Academic Personnel, Enrollment Support Services, Human Resources, Foundation, and Student Affairs. The Provost, or his/her designee, shall submit the academic calendar, including explanation of any anomalies and/or disputed dates, to the President for approval.


The following guidelines shall be considered in the preparation of the academic calendar and will be followed whenever possible:


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Instructional and Faculty Work Days

The typical academic year shall consist of 147 instructional days.  From year-to-year a variation of plus or minus two days is permissible.  There shall be a minimum of 170 academic workdays in the academic year.  There shall be a maximum of 180 workdays in the academic year. 


Whenever possible, the first day of instruction each quarter shall be a Monday with a 48-day minimum per quarter (49-day minimum spring quarter) and the last day of instruction each quarter shall be a Friday.  In calendar years in which the first Monday of the quarter falls on Cesar Chavez Day, instruction shall begin on the Tuesday of that week. In calendar years in which the first Monday of the quarter falls on a major religious or cultural holiday, it is recommended that instruction shall begin on the Tuesday of that week.


Whenever possible, each academic quarter shall consist of a minimum of nine (9) offerings of calendar days’ schedules.


The need to start the first day of instruction on a Monday shall take higher priority in planning the academic calendar than ending summer quarter prior to Labor Day and ending spring quarter prior to the second week in June.


Summer quarter should end prior to Labor Day.  Spring quarter should end prior to the second weekend in June. 


Final examination days should include 5 days per quarter, preferably Monday through Friday of the week following the last day of instruction.


Commencement shall be held the first Saturday after the end of the spring quarter final examinations and the first Saturday after the end of the fall quarter final examinations.


Fall quarter shall include faculty work days as necessary for Fall Conference.


Unless an Evaluation Day is included at the end of the quarter, the quarter will end coincident with the end of the final examination period except spring quarter which ends with Commencement, marking the end of the University year.


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Quarter Break

Whenever possible, quarter breaks should include no less than five calendar days between the last day of final examinations and the beginning of the subsequent quarter.

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Academic Holidays 



Academic Holidays shall be observed in accordance with Title 5, Section 42920 and theCalifornia Faculty Association Collective Bargaining Agreement (Article 33), or as designated by the Governor for a public fast or holiday.  Pursuant to 42920(c), any holiday which falls on a Saturday shall be observed on the preceding Friday, and any holiday which falls on a Sunday will be observed on the following Monday.

The following holidays, when not occurring on a Saturday or Sunday, shall be observed on the days specified:

            January 1

            Third Monday in January (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day)

            March 31 (Cesar Chavez Day)

            July 4

            First Monday in September (Labor Day)

            Thanksgiving Day

            December 25


The following days are designated holidays which shall be observed on the day specified unless they fall on a Saturday or Sunday, or are rescheduled by the President for observance on another day:

            Third Monday in February (President's Day)

            February 12 (Lincoln's Birthday)

            Last Monday in May (Memorial Day)

            September 9 (Admission Day)

            Second Monday in October (Columbus Day)

            November 11 (Veteran's Day)

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Additional Quarterly Dates






Census Date is the 15th day of instruction.


The last day to drop a class is the 8th day of instruction.

The last day to add a class is the 8th day of instruction.


The last day to register late and pay a late registration fee is the 8th day of instruction. 


After the end of the 7th week of instruction, students requesting permission to withdraw from classes must cite "emergency situations clearly beyond the control of the student" rather than "serious and compelling reasons."

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University year
consists of four consecutive quarters beginning with summer quarter, each quarter approximately the same length.
Academic year
consists of three consecutive quarters:  fall, winter and spring quarters. 

The following definitions have been adopted by the Chancellor's Executive Council:

Instructional Day
Any Monday through Friday during regular academic term when class meetings are scheduled on a regular and extensive basis for the purpose of instruction. During a summer term that satisfies the criteria to be equivalent to a full semester, designation of a Saturday as an instructional day will be approved by exception only.
Examination Day
Any day that is set aside for the exclusive purpose of administering final examinations for the term.  When comparing campus calendars institutions which integrate all or part of examination activity with regular instruction will be presumed to have four examination days per term.  8 DAYS MAXIMUM MAY BE SCHEDULED.
Registration Day
Any day during the academic year during which faculty members are on duty for the purpose of advising, orientation, course enrollment, and similar activities.  For purposes of counting work days, registration days which are also instruction or examination days will not be included a second time.
"Other Day"
Any day during the academic year when faculty members are on duty for such purposes as faculty and departmental conferences, committee meetings, faculty development activities, etc.
Grades Due Days
Any day(s) prior to or at the close of the term that is designated specifically for the purpose of turning in final grades.  This day must be included when computing total academic work days.  Campuses that schedule grades due over several dates may count up to two days per semester or one day per quarter as academic work days. One day is preferred.
Evaluation Day
Days that are set aside for the reading of examinations and papers and for submission of final grades.  A maximum of one day per term may be scheduled as an evaluation day.
Any day set aside for graduation ceremonies.  Commencement is counted as an academic work day only if faculty participation is expected and normal, and if the day is not otherwise credited as an academic day.  Campuses with school commencements extending over several days may count only one day in computing total academic work days.
Academic Work Days
The total of all of the above that occur between the beginning and ending dates of the academic year.
Academic Holiday
Any day (Monday through Friday) occurring between the beginning and ending of the academic year that is so designated by the President. Except by special arrangement, faculty members are not expected to be on duty during academic holidays.
Faculty Vacation
The period from the end of one academic year to the beginning of the next, when all continuing academic year faculty members are on vacation status, except for those scheduled to teach in summer term or for those on duty by other special arrangement.  For faculty members taking a quarter off in exchange for summer quarter teaching, the period extends from the end of the quarter preceding the quarter taken off to the beginning of the quarter succeeding the quarter taken off.
Starting/Ending Cutoff
Midnight on a cutoff date indicates the end of one term and the beginning of the next term for administrative and systemwide reporting purposes.  For all campuses, the summer/fall cutoff date is August 31.  Thus, for these purposes August 31 is the last day of the summer term and September 1 is the first day of the fall term.  For all campuses, the spring/summer cutoff is May 31.  Other permanent cutoff dates (fall/spring or fall/winter and winter/spring) may be set by the campus.

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  • Date approved by the President:  November 18, 2004
  • Office responsible for implementation:  Academic Programs and Undergraduate Education
  • Related University Policies/Documents/Manuals/Handbooks:  AS-677-09, AS-635-05, AS-576-01/EC, AS-511-98/IC, AS-467-96/IC, AS-421-94/EX
  • Any laws, regulations or codes of practice which should be referred to in conjunction with the policy: Title 5 Section 42920, the California Faculty Association Collective Bargaining Agreement (Provision 20.4, Article 33), CSU Coded Memo: HR 2004-11


Academic Program Review


General Education


At Cal Poly, General Education (GE) is central and vital to each student's university experience. GE courses provide essential skills and knowledge which help students succeed in their chosen field, advance successfully in a profession, adapt to the changing workplace of the twenty-first century, be good citizens in their future communities, and become life-long learners.

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Program Goals


Cal Poly's GE Program seeks to promote connections between the various areas so students and faculty will understand GE courses as interrelated rather than as isolated fragments. By placing basic knowledge in a larger context, each course in the program should provide a vision of how its subject matter is an important component of GE. Students should understand the value of a discipline being studied as well as its relationship to other disciplines.

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Administrative Structure


Cal Poly's GE program is the administrative responsibility of the GE Committee. This administrative function is meant to be consistent with normal university procedures involving curriculum and to parallel the process used by departments in making programmatic proposals. Just as a department makes curricular and programmatic recommendations via a dean to the Academic Senate, the GE Committee, after appropriate consultation with affected units, makes curricular and programmatic recommendations to the Academic Senate via the Provost. The Provost submits the GE proposals to the Academic Senate for review and recommendations. The ultimate decisions and responsibilities for the General Education program, as with any program, lie with the president.


For more information about the General Education Program, refer to the Cal Poly Catalog or the GE web site:

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  • Date approved by the President:  May 24, 2006
  • Office responsible for implementation:  Academic Programs
  • Related University Policies/Documents/Manuals/Handbooks:  AS-472-97/gebadhoc,
  • Any laws, regulations or codes of practice which should be referred to in conjunction with the policy: Title 5, Section 40405; Executive Order 595


University Honors Program


Founded in 1999, the mission of the University Honors Program is to provide Cal Poly's most academically motivated students with the opportunity to develop their potential both intellectually and personally by fully exploring the resources at Cal Poly.


The Program typically admits an incoming freshman class who are selected from among the numerous highly-qualified high school students who have completed their Statement of Intent to Register and who meet at least two of the following requirements:

  • SAT combined score of 1250 or ACT composite score of 27
  • High School GPA of at least 3.75
  • Two Advanced Placement scores of at least 4

The Program includes students from a wide variety of backgrounds, interests, and talents. These students represent majors from all six undergraduate colleges on campus.  Following Cal Poly's distinctive "hands-on" approach to education, students participate in community projects and co-curricular activities to enhance their coursework and develop leadership skills and global perspectives.


Honors students who complete the Program requirements earn a "with Honors" distinction on their diploma and are awarded a special sash to wear during graduation ceremonies.

For additional information, consult the Honors Program:

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Program Administration


The Director of the Honors Program oversees the program and advises the Honors students on their Honors curriculum.  Based upon a recommendation forwarded by the Honors Council, the Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Undergraduate Education appoints the Director to a three-year renewable term. 

The Honors Council provides oversight and is the source of university policy governing the program. The Council consists of the Director of the Honors Program; at least one faculty member from each College; one representative from each of the following areas: Academic Affairs/Academic Senate Curriculum Committee, Admissions, Office of Academic Records, Advising, and Residential Life; and three Honors students (serving one year, renewable terms).  The Council members are selected by the Director of the Honors Program in consultation with the college deans or department managers.


The Honors Council approves Honors courses and colloquia, evaluates the program periodically, and advises on matters important to the program.

The faculty who teach Honors courses are normally selected jointly by the Director of the Honors Program and the chairperson of the department offering appropriate courses. Faculty are selected on the basis of their ability to work collectively with faculty in other disciplines, to foster intellectual growth, and to work individually with students. Faculty are provided with a supportive environment for working with students and are encouraged to involve themselves at various stages of the development of the students.

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  • Date approved by the President:  September 6, 2006
  • Office responsible for implementation:  Academic Programs
  • Related University Policies/Documents/Manuals/Handbooks:  AS-434-95


Writing Skills Program


The Writing Skills Program, a unit of Academic Programs, provides a free, one-on-one tutoring center to assist Cal Poly students with any writing task. The CSU Graduation Writing Requirement (GWR) is administered by this office, including the upper-division Writing Proficiency Examination (WPE). The developmental writing courses for students who score low on the English Placement Test are coordinated from this office as well as the screening of unqualified students from freshman composition courses.

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Graduation Writing Requirement

The Board of Trustees of the California State University has mandated a Graduation Writing Requirement (GWR) that all students earning undergraduate or graduate degrees in the CSU must be certified as proficient in writing at the upper-division level. 


Students must earn proficiency after reaching 90 units. The GWR must be fulfilled at Cal Poly, not at another campus.


Students may meet the GWR through one of the following options:


(1) pass the Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE) with a score of eight out of 12 possible points OR (2) pass an approved upper-division course with a grade of C or better AND receive certification of proficiency in writing based on a 500-word in-class essay.


For additional information, consult the Writing Skills website


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  • Date approved by the President:  May 24, 2006
  • Office responsible for implementation:  Academic Programs
  • Related University Policies/Documents/Manuals/Handbooks: 
  • Any laws, regulations or codes of practice which should be referred to in conjunction with the policy: Executive Order 514

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