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Selected Topic Proposals

Selected topics courses are academic credit-bearing courses in the Cal Poly catalog that provide a generic course vehicle to offer special topics on an "as needed basis."

The most common occasional courses, 270, 470, 471, 570, 571, are available to all academic programs, and have the same generic course description.

Each topic offered through a selected topics course has its own unique set of learning objectives, unlike subtitle/topic courses, e.g. ENGL 439 Significant British Writers. The latter type of course has a set of learning objectives shared by all of its topics.

Selected topics courses must be taught following the generic catalog description, that is, all 470 courses must be taught in the lecture mode with regular grading. If a lecture/lab mode is desired, both 470 and 471 courses must be proposed.

Topics appear in the Class Schedule and on the students' transcripts.

Selected topics courses are for teaching topics which:

  • are to be offered for one or two terms (selected topics to be offered more than two terms should be proposed as regular courses for the Catalog),
  • are worthy of academic credit, and
  • are designed for group study and so would not be appropriate for individual study.

For additional information, refer to academic policy.

Proposal and Review Process

A department proposing a Selected Topic must make sure that such a course is clearly within the subject area of its own department, or that the written opinion of departments which may have a major interest in the subject area has been obtained, or that substantive reasons for pursuing the course over objections can be offered.

Topics approved at least one month prior to the start of registration for a term can become valid that term.

To substitute a Selected Topics Course for a course required in a program’s curriculum, a "Blanket Curriculum Substitution" form must be completed, which specifies the particular topic that substitutes for the curriculum requirement.

  • Complete a Selected Topics Course Proposal form and route for review and signature approvals.
  • The dean’s office forwards the proposal to the Office of the Registrar.
  • The approved topic’s description is added to the Cal Poly Catalog and the offering department is notified, so the topic may be assigned to the appropriate course section in the schedule of classes.

Be sure to check with your college curriculum committee for submission and review deadlines.

for a topic to be offered in: office of the registrar must receive proposal by:
Winter 2024 October 2, 2023
Spring 2024 January 22, 2024
Summer 2024 March 15, 2024
Fall 2024 April 8, 2024

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