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Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies Program

Freedom to Choose / Freedom to Create / Freedom to Travel

Prospective Students

Index

Topics covered on this page include: 

Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Program

The Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies (LAES) degree is a hybrid B.S. program that combines the study of Engineering with the study of the Arts and Humanities.  Students in this program will be able to take courses in both the College of Engineering (CENG) and the College of Liberal Arts (CLA). The LAES program is designed to be flexible and is centered around the slogans: "Freedom to Choose," "Freedom to Create," and "Freedom to Travel." Students who transfer into the program work with the Program Directors to create a curriculum best suited to their goals and interests.

The curriculum allows Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies students, in collaboration with students from all other Cal Poly majors, to participate in development teams working on national and international technology and cultural projects. To further prepare students for work with diverse teams that include participants from across the globe, the program strongly encourages students to spend three to six months studying and/or working abroad. Graduates of the LAES Program receive a Bachelor of Science Degree.

Note: If you are a high school student, parent, or counselor interested in learning more about LAES, please visit the High School Students page

 

The B.S. in Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies can lead to careers in fields such as:

  • Animatronics 
  • Audio Engineering
  • Digital Media Production and Management
  • Environmental Technology Education
  • Film and Television Production
  • Game Design
  • Government Policy Making / Analysis
  • International Technology Management
  • STEM Education in School and Out-of-School Contexts
  • Sustainable Community Development
  • Technical Communications
  • Technology Services and Management
  • Web Design
  • UI/UX Design

Check out our alumni testimonials to get a better understanding of how the LAES program has helped out their careers.

Check out project collaborations our students have worked on!

Note: This page only gives summary information. For accurately detailed degree requirements, curriculum sheets, degree flowcharts, and learning objectives, please consult the current catalog.

LAES Coursework

The elements of coursework that make up the LAES major include (180 total units):

  • Core curriculum
  • Concentrations (Engineering & Liberal Arts)
  • Study abroad / global perspectives courses
  • General education courses
  • Free electives
 

major courses

UNITS

English

4

LAES Project-based Learning

16

Science & Mathematics

40

Engineering Concentration (minimum 12 units at 300-400 level)

34-35

Liberal Arts Concentration (minimum 12 units at 300-400 level)

24

Study Abroad or Global Perspectives Courses (required at the 300-400 level)

8

Total Major Units

126-127

Total General Education Units

40-52

Free Electives

1-14

Total BS Degree Units

180

Concentrations

A concentration is a group of courses designed to provide specialized knowledge within a degree program. If you are interested in changing your major, visit the advising page for more details. 

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

LAES students select one concentration from Engineering and one from Liberal Arts. Students may choose to follow an individualized course of study in Engineering and/or the Liberal Arts, constructed in consultation with LAES advisors. 

Engineering Concentrations (select one)

Liberal Arts Concentrations (select one)

    Individualized Course of Study (ICS)

    An Individualized Course of Study (ICS) concentration allows students more freedom to hand pick the classes they want to take in each college to better personalize a concentration that fits their career goals outside of the pre-defined ones. An ICS may be selected instead of a pre-defined Engineering or Liberal Arts concentration for certain catalog years. 

    The selection of courses must be made with LAES advisor approval and must complete the total units required for the Engineering and/or Liberal Arts concentration. Students should seek advising assistance as early as possible for help in selecting a suitable concentration. Sample courses listed below are based on past student choices*

    *Enrollment in courses is not guaranteed, especially in highly impacted courses. Please consult with a LAES advisor about the classes you desire to take.

    AREA OF FOCUS

    combinations

    Sample Courses

    Audio

    Engineering

    Engineering: Electrical Engineering

     

    Liberal Arts: Sound Design 

     
    Electrical Engineering: 
    • Intro to Electrical Engineering
    • Electric Circuit Analysis
    • Energy Conversion Electromagnetics
    • Electromagnetic Fields and Transmission
    • Power Systems
     
    Music:
    • Music Theory
    • Sound Design: Technologies, Recording, Synthesis, Composition & Production

     

    Game Design

    Engineering: Game Design

     

    Liberal Arts: Student's Choice (Typically Art & Design or Theatre)

     

    Computer Science: 

    • Game Design
    • Intro to Mixed Reality
    • Interactive Entertainment Engineering

     

    Art:

    • Figure Drawing
    • Illustration I & II
    • Collaborative Studio: Storyboarding, Modeling, Animation, and Rendering

     

    English:

    • New Media Arts I & II

     

    Interdisciplinary Studies:

    • Intro to Media Arts and Technologies
    • Media Arts and Technologies: Storytelling & Cinematic Process

     

    Theatre: 

    • Intro to Theatre
    • Stagecraft
    • Script Analysis
    • Seminar in Playwriting

     

    Industrial Design

     

    Engineering: Industrial/Manufacturing Engineering or Materials Engineering

     

    Liberal Arts: Art & Design

     

     

    Industrial/Manufacturing Engineering:

    • Intro to IME
    • Process Improvement Fundamentals
    • Industrial Costs and Controls
    • Project Organization and Management
    • Engineering Economics
    • Test Design and Analysis

     

    Art: 

    • Foundation in Digital Art
    • Digital 3D Modeling and Design
    • Animation
    • Video
    • Interactive Design

     

     

    Sustainability

     

    Engineering: Environmental Engineering

     

    Liberal Arts: Student's Choice (Typically Interdisciplinary Studies)

     

     
    Environmental Engineering:
    • Intro to Air Pollution
    • Fundamentals of Environmental Engineering
    • Industrial Pollution Prevention
    • Environmental Health and Safety
     

    Environmental Design: 

    • Sustainable Environments
    • Implementing Sustainable Principles
     

    Interdisciplinary Studies: 

    • Intro to Science
    • Technology & Society
    • Values and Technology
     
    Product Design

    Engineering: Mechanical Engineering

     

    Liberal Arts: Student's Choice (Typically Art & Design, Communications, or Graphic Communication)

     

    Mechanical Engineering:

    • Engineering Statics & Dynamics
    • Intro to Detailed Design with Solid Modeling
    • Philosophy of Design
    • Design for Strength and Stiffness
    • Mechanical Systems Design
    • Experimental Methods in Mechanical Design
       

    Civil Engineering:

    • Mechanics of Materials I & II

     

    Art:

    • Foundation in Digital Art I & II
    • Figure Drawing
    • Illustration I & II
    • Collaborative Studio: Storyboarding, Modeling, Animation, and Rendering

     

    Communications: 

    • Organizational Communication
    • Business and Professional Communication

     

    Graphic Communication:

    • Intro to Graphic Communication
    • Digital Publishing Systems
    • Materials for Graphic Communication Applications

     

    Interdisciplinary Studies: 

    • Intro to Science
    • Technology & Society
    • Values and Technology

     

    Project Management

    Engineering: Industrial Manufacturing Engineering

     

    Liberal Arts: Student's Choice (Typically Technical Communication or Psychology)

     

    Industrial/Manufacturing Engineering:

    • Intro to IME
    • Process Improvement Fundamentals
    • Industrial Costs and Controls
    • Project Organization and Management
    • Engineering Economics
    • Test Design and Analysis

     

    Communications: 

    • Organizational Communication
    • Business and Professional Communication

     

    English: 

    • Technical Editing
    • Information Design and Production

     

    Psychology:

    • General Psychology
    • Social Psychology
    • Developmental Psychology

     

    UI/UX

    Engineering: Usability Studies

     

    Liberal Arts: Student's Choice (Typically Art & Design, Graphic Communication, or Technical Communication)

     

    Usability Studies:

    • Fundamentals of Computer Science
    • Computer Organization
    • Intro to Software Engineering
    • Systems Programming
    • User-Centered Interface Design and Development
    • Human-Computer Interaction Theory and Design 

     

    Art:

    • Foundation in Digital Art I & II
    • Figure Drawing
    • Illustration I & II
    • Collaborative Studio: Storyboarding, Modeling, Animation, and Rendering

     

    Communications: 

    • Organizational Communication
    • Business and Professional Communication

     

    Graphic Communication:

    • Intro to Graphic Communication
    • Digital Publishing Systems
    • Materials for Graphic Communication Applications

     

    English:

    • Technical Editing
    • Information Design and Production

     

     

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    Can I apply to Cal Poly as a LAES major? What major should I apply to if I plan to change my major to LAES?

    At this time, students cannot apply directly to LAES when they apply to Cal Poly. Students can only change into LAES after their first year. We recommend applying to another major that you would equally enjoy while at Cal Poly! New first-year students can work with an advisor in the Mustang Success Center to see how Calculus and Physics can fit into their block schedule. During your first quarter, you should plan to meet with a LAES Change of Major advisor. New transfers should reach out to a LAES Change of Major advisor after they have received an email that their transfer evaluation has been completed (usually mid-July to late Aug).

     

    How do I change my major to LAES?

    Check out the change of major resources!

     

    Is LAES ABET accredited?

    No. LAES is not specifically ABET accredited. However, this has not slowed our graduates from getting amazing jobs in exciting and creative areas that blend engineering and liberal arts.

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