What courses should you take?

  • Plan to take 4–5 courses per quarter/semester, or 1–3 courses in summer
  • Depending on your program, you have the opportunity to take Major, Concentration, Support, and GE courses

How to calculate units:

  • Semester Units x 1.5 = Quarter Units (ex. 3 x 1.5 = 4.5)
  • ECTS Units / 2 x 1.5 = Quarter Units (ex. 6/2 x 1.5 = 4.5)
  • Free Electives: If you have free elective units to complete, any extra units that are not used to satisfy a class requirement after the conversion will be pushed towards your free electives. In the example above, this means if you took a 3 unit semester class abroad to satisfy a 4 unit GE at Cal Poly, .5 units would be pushed to your free elective requirement.

Major Courses

  • Once you choose your program, check the Study Abroad Pre-Approved List for classes that have already been approved to substitute for Cal Poly business requirements. If the course descriptions match, you do not need to submit a Major/Support/Concentration Substitution Petition form for the approved requirement.
  • If the class is not listed on the Study Abroad Pre-Approved List, you must schedule an appointment with an Orfalea Peer Advisor to fill out a course substitution form.

Common Major Courses Abroad

Business Administration

  • International Business Course
  • Economics Upper Division Elective (300 level)
  • Technology Management Course (ITP Requirement)
  • Concentration Electives


  • Concentration Electives
  • General Economics Concentration Courses
  • Economics Elective (300-400 Level)
    • 300 level is a lot more common than 400 level

Industrial Technology and Packaging

  • Industrial Technology Approved Electives
  • Packaging Approved Electives

Major Pre-Approved Study Abroad List

GE Courses

  • Common GE’s you can take abroad:
    • C1, C2, C-Elective Lower Division, Upper Division C
    • Upper Division D
    • GE Elective (C or D)
  • Many language classes are pre-approved for area C2 or C-Elective Lower Division
  • If the class you want to take is not listed on the GE Pre-Approved List, you must schedule an appointment with the International Center to complete a course substitution.

Course Substitutions

If there is a course you would like to take that is not on the pre-approved list above, you will need to submit a course substitution petition.

  • Please start the course substitution process immediately after you decide on a program
  • The process can take over one quarter and should be completed prior to departure.
  • If you have questions about which classes to take abroad or which classes will substitute, please make an appointment with a Study Abroad Peer Advisor at Orfalea Student Services.

Course Descriptions

  • Course descriptions are required for each course you submit a substitution form for. Please have course descriptions readily available in your appointment.
    • Major, Support or Concentration Course: Provide Orfalea Student Services with course description and fill out the Study Abroad Petition for Course Substitution Form.
    • GE Credit: Provide the Cal Poly International Center with the course description and fill out a Study Abroad GE Substitution Petition Form.