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Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies Program

Freedom to Choose / Freedom to Create / Freedom to Travel

Current Students

Coursework, Concentrations and Degree Requirements

The elements of coursework that make up the LAES major, include the major's core curriculum, concentrations, study abroad / global perspectives courses, free electives, and general education courses, for a total of 180 units.



LAES students select one concentration from Engineering and one from Liberal Arts. Students may choose to follow an individualized course of study in Engineering or/and in the Liberal Arts, constructed in consultation with LAES advisors. A concentration is a group of courses designed to provide specialized knowledge within a degree program. 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. 

2019-2020 LAES Concentration and Study Abroad Declaration form (SAMPLE only)

PowerForm - LAES Concentration Declaration 19-21 ( (REAL)


Individualized Course of Study:

An Individualized course of study may be selected instead of a pre-defined Engineering or Liberal Arts concentration for certain catalog years. Sample course combinations for specific areas of focus are listed on the Prospective Students page.

The selection of courses must be made with LAES advisor approval and must complete the total 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 off past student choices. Enrollment in courses is not guaranteed.

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

  • LAES Coursework
  • Degree Requirements
  • Concentrations
  • Individualized Course of Study
  • Example Careers of LAES Alumni


LAES Coursework Timeline

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

All LAES classes require a permission number during registration. To aquire a permission number, contact LAES assistant, Luna Larsen at


Senior Project:

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



Keep an eye out 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. 

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.  Students may select the following courses from the 2020-2021 catalog:

For more information about studying abroad, visit the complete Study Abroad Page

Upper Division Global Perspectives Courses (2020-2021 Catalog)
ANT 312 Intro to Cultural Resources Management GEOG 308 Global Geography (D5/UD-D)  
ANT 325 Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica (D5/UD-D) GEOG 370 Geography of Latin America (D5/UD-D) POLS 324 International Relations Theory
ANT 330 Indigenous South Americans (D5/UD-D) GEOG 380 Geography of the Caribbean (D5/UD-D) POLS 325 Global Political Issues (D5/UD-D)
ANT 360 Human Cultural Adaptations (D5/UD-D) GEOG 414 Global & Regional Climatology POLS 333 World Food Systems (B7/UD-B)
ANT 401 Culture & Health HIST 306 Witch-Hunt in Europe, 1400-1800 (D5/UD-D) POLS 380 Religion & Politics in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
ANT 402 Nutritional Anthropology HIST 308 Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade (D5/UD-D) POLS 426 International Organizations & Law
ANT 415 Native American Cultures (USCP) HIST 309 Cultures of West Africa & the African Diaspora (D5/UD-D) POLS 427 Politics of the Global Economy
ART 317 Asian Art Survey HIST 310 East Asian Culture & Civilization (D5/UD-D) POLS 429 Issues & Topics in International Relations
ART 318 Asian Art Topics: National, Religious, & Intellectual Movement HIST 314 Middle East PSY 465 Cross-Cultural International Psychology
COMS 316 Intercultural Communication (D5/UD-D,USCP) HIST 316 Modern East Asia (D5/UD-D) RELS 301 Religions of Asia (C4/UD-C)
COMS 319 Critical Cultural Studies & Communication HIST 319 Modern South & Southeast Asia (D5/UD-D) SOC 309 World System & Its Problems
ENGR 350 Global Environment (B7/UD-B) HIST 338 Modern Latin America (D5/UD-D) SOC 315 Global Race & Ethnic Relations (D5/UD-D)
ENGL 459 Significant World Writers HIST 416 Modern Japan SOC 350 Social Organization of Modern Japan
ES 300 Chicano/a Non-Fiction Literature (C4/UD-C,USCP) HIST 417 20th Century China TH 390 Global Theatre & Performance (C4/UD-C)
ES 320 African American Cultural Images (D5/UD-D,USCP) ISLA 310 Humanities in World Cultures UNIV 333 World Food Systems (B7/UD-B)
ES 321 Native American Cultural Images (D5/UD-D,USCP) ISLA 350 Global Environment (B7/UD-B) UNIV 350 Global Environment (B7/UD-B)
ES 322 Asian American Cultural Images (D5/UD-D,USCP) JOUR 401 Global Communication UNIV 391 Appropriate Technology for World's People: Development (D5/UD-D)
ES 323 Mexican American Cultural Images (D5/UD-D,USCP)


UNIV 392 Appropriate Technology for World's People: Design (B7/UD-B)
ES 325 Sex & Gender in African American Communities (USCP)


WGS 320 Women in Global Perspective (D5/UD-D)

ES 326 Native American

Architecture/Place (C4/UD-C,USCP)

ES 330 Chinese American Experience (D5/UD-D,USCP)

ES 335 Filipina/o American Experience (D5/UD-D,USCP)

ES 340 Cultural Prod/Ethnicity (C4/UD-C)



WGS 351 Gender, Race, Class, Nation in Global Engineering, Technology & Intl Development (D5/UD-D

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 individualized course of study (ICS). Instructions and forms for declaring and updating your concentration can be found at: 

How do I register for the LAES courses?

The LAES 301-302-461-462 series is registration by permission number. Please note the prerequisites and email and the Co-Directors when you are ready to take one of these classes. A permission number will be provided to students in the major only. Please note that LAES 301 and 302 are not offered winter quarters. You must plan accordingly.

 Can I take a different class then 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 which 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.

How do I update my concentration?

Find instructions and forms for updating your concentration here:



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