Skip to main content

High School Course Requirements

High schools offer many different courses that can be used to meet our required courses for admissions. For the specific A-G areas in which your high school’s courses fall, please refer to the UC/CSU Approved A-G course list.

In general, the following courses apply to the specific areas:

History/Social Sciences (Area A)

Two years of history/social science are required, including one year of world history, cultures or historical geography and one year of U.S. history. One-half year of U.S. history and one-half year of civics or American government is also acceptable.

English (Area B)

Four years of English are required and five years are recommended. Five years can be achieved by taking two eligible classes during one academic year or taking a college course. Eligible classes include courses in language, composition and literature; they must integrate extensive reading, frequent writing, and practice listening and speaking with different audiences. Students may only use one year of ESL/ELD English.

Mathematics (Area C)

Three years of mathematics are required and five years are recommended.


Two years are required. This includes both Algebra 1 and Algebra 2. Cal Poly will give consideration for coursework taken in seventh and/or eighth grade.


One year is required. This will include two-and-three dimensional geometry. Cal Poly will give consideration for coursework taken in seventh or eighth grade.

Advanced Math

Although not a requirement for the CSU, Cal Poly recommends applicants complete two years of advanced math courses such as trigonometry, pre-calculus, calculus or statistics for greater chances of admission.

Lab Science (Area D)

Two years of laboratory science are required, including one year of physical science and one year of biological science. Four years are recommended. Classes must provide fundamental knowledge in two of the following: biology, chemistry, or physics. A yearlong interdisciplinary, or integrated, or earth and space science course can meet one year of this requirement.

Language Other than English (Area E)

Two years of the same language, other than English, are required and American Sign Language is acceptable. We recommend four years of a language — after two years of the same language are complete, other languages are accepted. Cal Poly will give consideration for coursework taken in seventh and/or eighth grade.

Visual/Performing Arts (Area F)

One year is required and two years are recommended. Courses can be chosen from one of the following categories: dance, music, theater, interdisciplinary arts, or visual arts (e.g., painting, web/graphic design, film/video, inter/multimedia arts). Two one-semester courses from the same discipline is also acceptable.

Electives (Area G)

One year is required. Electives can be taken any year but must fall within the following subject areas: Visual and Performing Arts, History, Social Science, English, Advanced Mathematics, Science and languages other than English.

Seventh and/or Eighth Grade Coursework (if applicable)

Cal Poly accepts coursework taken in seventh and/or eighth grade for Mathematics and Language Other Than English (LOTE) on the application. This coursework must be entered into the seventh and/or eighth grade coursework section of the application.

In order to receive consideration, the same course cannot be repeated in ninth grade; you must continue on in the course progression. For example, if an applicant takes Algebra 1 in eighth grade, they must take Geometry in ninth grade in order to use that Algebra course.