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Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies Program

Freedom to Choose / Freedom to Create / Freedom to Travel

Current Students



LAES students will need to select one Engineering concentration and one Liberal Arts concentration. However, how they choose those concentrations can vary:

Option 1: Pre-defined Concentrations

Students may choose from a list of pre-defined concentrations that have been created to make it easier for students who want to follow a career path in those areas. View the pre-defined concentrations.

Option 2: Individualized Course of Study (ICS)

Or, students also have the option to follow an ICS concentration in Engineering and/or in the Liberal Arts for certain catalog years. An ICS concentration allows students more freedom to hand-pick the classes and build the curriculum they want to take in each college to better personalize a concentration that fits their career goals outside of the pre-defined ones.

  • Sample course combinations for specific areas of focus are listed on the Prospective Students page.
  • Students who follow this path must consult further with LAES advisors (Michael Haungs/David Gilette) and must complete the total units (and upper level units) required for the Liberal Arts concentration.
  • Students should seek advising assistance as early as possible for help in selecting/developing a suitable concentration.
  • Sample courses listed on the Prospective Students page are based on past student choices.
  • Enrollment in courses is not guaranteed.

The LAES Concentration and Study Abroad Declaration form is specific to each catalog year and must be submitted to the Registrar once a Change of Major (ICMA) contract has been successfully completed. Visit the Advising page for more details on declaring and revising your LAES concentration. 


Declaring and Updating a Concentration

You can declare or update your concentrations here by requesting access to the form. Please note and select the correct catalog (either form your in progress ICMA or your DPR):

2019-2021 Catalogs: PowerForm - LAES Concentration Declaration 19-21

2021-2026 Catalogs: PowerForm - LAES Concentration Declaration 21-26

NOTE: Once submitted, advisors will look over the request to either approve or require edits.

Reasons for updating a Concentration Declaration Form may include: 

  • Change in availability or offering of a required course listed in the curriculum, in which case a substitution may be added (pre-defined concentration) or a new course (ICS)
  • Study Abroad / Global Perspectives courses prior to studying abroad 


Additional Information

For any additional information on the topics below, visit the Prospective Students page (or contact advising):

  • LAES Coursework
  • Degree and Unit Requirements
  • Concentrations
  • Individualized Course of Study (ICS)
  • Example Careers of LAES Alumni

LAES Coursework Timeline

In addition to the concentrations, LAES students must take core-specific LAES courses that will lead to senior project classes (LAES 461 & 462).

It is highly advised that students plan this into their curriculum early on as each class is a prerequisite for the next. The following chart represents the class names, terms they are offered, and the prerequisites:

Class: LAES 301 LAES 302

LAES 461

(Senior Project)

LAES 462

(Senior Project)

Term Offered: Fall, Spring Fall, Spring Fall, Winter, Spring Fall, Winter, Spring

Approved Entrance into Major

LAES 301

LAES 302

LAES 461


  • LAES 301 and 302 are not offered in winter quarter. Please plan accordingly.
  • All LAES classes above require a permission number during registration. To acquire a permission number, contact LAES Administrative Coordinator Luna Larsen at


Senior Project

  • LAES 461 and 462 must be taken in sequential order. To learn more about the complete senior project guidelines, including the proposal, deliverables, and requirements, check out the senior project guidelines page. 
  • To view past examples of LAES senior projects, visit the complete Projects page or search the Robert E. Kennedy archives

Graduation / Senior Project

Keep an eye on your student email for your graduation email!

LAES students graduate from both Cal Poly's College of Engineering & College of Liberal Arts and are invited to walk in either, or both, graduation ceremonies. These ceremonies are typically held on different days. 

Navigate to the Senior Project Guidelines page here, or in the right menu bar, to view information regarding important dates, proposals, and deliverables.

Study Abroad / Global Perspectives

LAES strongly encourages students to spend three-to-six months studying and/or working abroad.

However, the program does permit flexibility by allowing students to fulfill the 8 upper-division unit requirement by taking Cal Poly global perspectives courses in lieu of going abroad. For more information, visit the Study Abroad Page

Frequently Asked Questions

When do I need to declare my concentrations and how do I do that?

New LAES majors should declare their concentration once they have started their Individualized Change of Major Agreement (IMCA). It will be processed once the change of major has been approved. It may still take a few weeks to process the concentration completely. 

Current LAES majors may need to update their concentration to reflect any course substitutions or changes to their ICS. Advising guidance is available for all LAES students to view instructions and forms for declaring and updating their concentration.


How do I register for the core-specific LAES courses?

The LAES 301-302-461-462 series is registered by permission number. Please note the prerequisites and email and cc the Co-Directors (Michael Haungs and David Gillette) when you are ready to take each class. A permission number will be provided to students in the major only. 

REMINDER: LAES 301 and 302 are not offered in winter quarters. You must plan accordingly.


Can I take a different class than the one that is listed in my concentration?

Most likely! Course substitutions in the concentrations are common. The goal is to keep your concentration theme and overall objective in mind when choosing alternative courses.

Also, upper-division (300-400 level) courses should be substituted with other upper-division courses. If you do substitute a course, you do need to update your concentration form.


How do I update my concentrations?

You can declare or update your concentrations here: 


2019-2021 Catalogs: PowerForm - LAES Concentration Declaration 19-21

2021-2026 Catalogs: PowerForm - LAES Concentration Declaration 21-26

NOTE: Once submitted, advisors will look over the request to either approve or require edits

Find instructions and forms for updating your concentration in the advising page.



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