Google Tag Manager

Cal Poly Global Site Tag

Definitions and Keywords

The following is a list of some common terms and phrases you will hear and use during your time at Cal Poly.

If you come across a word or phrase you are unfamiliar with, you should be able to find the definition below.

Add a Class

The process to formally enroll in a class section. Students may add a class to their schedule via Schedule Builder, the Shopping Cart, or Class Search. Note that a student is not officially added to a class section unless they see it in their Student Center. Students may be added to a Canvas course by an instructor, but this does not mean they are officially enrolled. More information here.

Add/Drop Period

During fall, winter, and spring term, the add/drop period is the first eight days of the term. During this time, students can add and/or drop classes from their schedule. A permission number is not required for the first four days of the term. A permission number is required the fifth through eighth day in order to register in a class. After the add/drop period, a Late Enrollment Appeal is required to enroll in a class, and a Withdrawal Petition Form is required to withdraw from a class. More information here.

Block Schedule

Degree applicable major, support, or general education courses a student is enrolled in based on their major. Only first-year students receive block schedules during the fall, winter, and spring terms of their first year at Cal Poly. More information here.

Cal Poly Catalog

The Cal Poly Academic Catalog is published by the Office of the Registrar.

The catalog contains the official regulations and approved curricula and courses, as well as academic policies, descriptive materials about the campus, its colleges and departments. Unless changed by appropriate administrative action, courses are taught only as described in the Catalog and requirements for graduation in each of the curricula are those published therein.

As changes often occur between publications, it is vitally important that each student knows their Catalog. A student's Catalog information (the Cal Poly Catalog they must adhere to in order to complete their degree) can be found in Poly Profile. The specific Catalog will be listed in parentheses next to the degree being pursued. More information here.

Class Search is one of the many registration and academic progress tools available to students via their Student Center. Class Search is most helpful when a student wants to find a single, specific course. More information here.


Cal Poly's six academic colleges offer more than 60 undergraduate majors and over 50 graduate programs. The six colleges are:

  • College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
  • College of Architecture and Environmental Design
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Liberal Arts
  • Bailey College of Science and Mathematics
  • Orfalea College of Business

Degree Planner

Degree Planner is a degree planning tool which provides students with a personalized, pre-populated path to graduation. Each individualized path contains a sequence of courses that students are encouraged to regularly adjust to accurately reflect their future plans. More information here.

Degree Progress Report

The Degree Progress Report (DPR) is a vital tool that should be run at least once per term to track a student's progress to degree. The Evaluations Unit of the Office of the Registrar uses the Degree Progress Report to post a student's degree, so it is important to make sure the courses the student has taken and is planning to take are fulfilling the degree requirements expected. More information here.

Drop a Class

The process to formally remove oneself from a class section. This is done through the Student Center. More information here.


A student's EMPL ID is their nine-digit student ID number. It is unique to the student and automatically assigned. A student's EMPL ID can be found in the Personal Info tab of their My Cal Poly Portal.

Enrollment Appointment

Enrollment appointments are set based on the student's academic progress. Students who have completed a larger percentage of their degree requirements receive an earlier enrollment appointment. This is the order in which students will be allowed to register for classes. The specific day and time of the enrollment appointment will be displayed in the student's Student Center on the date that the Class Schedule publishes for the next term. More information here

Expected Graduation Term

When undergraduate students reach 72% or more of degree completion (78% for Architecture and Landscape Architecture majors), the Office of the Registrar assigns an expected graduation term. Students are expected to complete all degree requirements and graduate by their expected graduation term. Students are also unable to enroll beyond their expected graduation term. More information here.

Final Exam

The final exam schedule is published prior to the start of registration each term. Instructors will provide information on requirements for a particular class, but students should anticipate meeting at the published exam time, unless otherwise noted. More information about final exam policy here.

Flowchart or Curriculum Sheet

The flowchart is a tool for students to see how they can complete their degree requirements. It takes into consideration the prerequisites for courses and provides an order in which courses can be taken. The prerequisites can be found in green underneath each course.

Full Time Schedule

A full time schedule is 12 or more units for undergraduate students and 8 or more units for graduate students. 

Fully Graded Term

On the fully graded term date, all GPAs have been correctly calculated, repeats for the term have been applied, academic Probation and Disqualification information is sent out, and honors are calculated. In short, all grade information for the term is compiled and shared.


A registration hold on a student's account will prevent the student from enrolling in classes. Students can find holds (if any exist) in their Student Center; holds may appear at any time. To clear a hold, a student must contact the department that placed the hold.

Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment is the period of time when saved seats (seats that have been held for specific populations of students) are released and made available to all students. During Open Enrollment, enrollment appointments are no longer needed to complete the registration process.


Post Enrollment Requisite Check. This process occurs once grades have been submitted by instructors. PERC verifies that requisites have been completely fulfilled for a future class the student was conditionally enrolled in (for example, CHEM 216 must be successfully completed before a student can enroll in CHEM 217). Students who do not fulfill requisites are dropped from courses.

Permission Number

A permission number is a code provided that overrides set registration controls, including but not limited to: prerequisites, closed class, and reserve capacity. More information here.


One or more courses that must be completed, or other knowledge, skills, or standards that must be demonstrated, before a student is permitted to take certain courses. Prerequisites (if any) for a course are listed in the course's description in the Cal Poly Catalog.

Registration: Round 1

A student's Round 1 (or first round) enrollment period begins on the date/time of their Round 1 enrollment appointment and ends at the end of Round 1. Students can enroll in classes at any point during this window of time. During Round 1, a student can enroll in up to 18 units and waitlist in up to 16 units.

Registration: Round 2

A student's Round 2 (or second round) enrollment period begins on the date/time of their Round 2 enrollment appointment and ends at the end of Round 2. Students can enroll in classes at any point during this window of time. During Round 2, students can edit their schedule from Round 1, enroll in up to 22 units, and waitlist in up to 16 units (students can waitlist for a maximum of 16 units per term). 

Reserve Capacity (Reserve Cap)

Seats held for a specific population of students during a limited time period in the registration process. Reserve caps for majors or minors are in place from the time the schedule publishes through the end of the first round of registration.

Schedule Builder

Schedule Builder is a tool which allows students to build and enroll in their quarterly class schedule. The main difference between Schedule Builder, Class Search, and the Shopping Cart is Schedule Builder allows students to build out their entire schedule ahead of time. Students can build and save multiple possible schedules in Schedule Builder, making their registration process easier at the time of their enrollment appointment. More Information here.

Shopping Cart

Students can use their Shopping Cart (found in their Student Center) to add a class to their schedule during the registration period. Students can search for classes or add a class by class number. More information here.

Student Center

The Student Center allows students to add, drop or swap classes; view payment information; view their schedule for the term; see their enrollment appointment; access their Degree Progress Report (DPR); and a variety of other tasks. More information here.

Swap a Class

The process to add one class section and drop another based on space availability. More information here.


When a class is closed (full/at enrollment capacity), students may choose to waitlist for that class in the hopes a seat will become available. Once the waitlist is created, enrollment can only occur through the waitlist process unless the department or the instructor issues a permission number that overrides the waitlist (note that this happens under rare circumstances). The waitlist process (adding students into the class when seats do become available) runs nightly starting the first day of registration. More Information here.


Related Content