Cal Poly

Undergraduate Programs

Biz Plus

Biz Plus Header 2What is Biz Plus?

Biz Plus is a program in Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business that encourages prospects, newly admitted students and underclassmen to plan an academic schedule that completes the required units in three years instead of four. With accelerated academic progress, students have a myriad of options during their third or fourth year, including studying abroad, taking an extended internship, or earning a graduate degree. This program is self-selected by successful students who are motivated to accomplish more within the usual four years of college.

Students can complete the 180 units required for a bachelor’s degree in business administration or economics in three years by leveraging a combination of:

  • AP Credit earned in high school
  • College credit earned in high school
  • Cal Poly Summer Term courses
  • Cal Poly Quarter Plus (3-week summer) courses

Guided by Academic Advisors in the college’s BUS 100 first quarter orientation course, students will have the flexibility to tailor and modify their plan to meet their goals. Students can often use Summer Session and Quarter Plus to complete general education and elective courses, leaving fall, winter and spring quarters for courses specific to their major and concentration.

Who is right for a Biz Plus academic plan?

An accelerated Biz Plus schedule would be an ideal fit for highly-motivated students who are entering Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business with some AP credit. The schedule will likely require students to take 16 units per quarter during fall, winter and spring quarters and include plans for summer term course enrollment. Students should have excellent time management and study habits established to excel in this environment.

All students are encouraged to find the academic plan that’s right for them. Any student may elect to plan a Biz Plus schedule. There are no additional fees or costs to planning a schedule in this fashion beyond the costs of the courses themselves.

The Biz Plus program does not eliminate any required or elective courses in Cal Poly’s comprehensive polytechnic environment. It does not cut out any of the college’s signature Learn by Doing experiences. Students are required to complete the full 180 units required to earn a bachelor’s degree.

What are the advantages of pursuing a Biz Plus academic plan?

Biz Plus give students a spectrum of unlimited options in planning their academic journey. By completing a degree in three years, students can take the extra year to fulfill their unique goals.  Students may choose to spend their junior year away from campus on a study abroad excursion or internship. Or students could elect to graduate in three years and spend the next year earning a master’s degree or traveling the world.

Options include:

  • Studying abroad
  • Taking a gap year to travel after graduation
  • Earning a master’s degree
  • Delving into a long-term internship
  • Learning a foreign language through an immersion program
  • Exploring Americorps or Peace Corps opportunities
  • Entering the workforce one year ahead of your peers
  • Launching a startup

With a degree complete in three years, families can also see a strong return on the investment in a student’s education. Graduates may see expanded earning potential thanks to either diverse experiences earned outside the classroom or completing a graduate degree.

Added costs for study abroad, graduate programs or language programs are not included in the Biz Plus program.

Success Stories

With one of the most selective admissions profiles in the country, a number of high-achieving Orfalea College of Business students already adopt an accelerated academic plan. Now, they’ve gone on to do amazing things with their fourth year.

Hear from a recent graduate and a current student who utilized AP credit and Summer Session to complete a full 180 units early.

Kaitlin Siemering

Kaitlin Siemering graduated in 2015 with a degree in business administration and a concentration in entrepreneurship in three years. She was winner of the Orfalea College of Business’ 2015 Academic Excellence & Delta Sigma Pi Award for having the highest GPA of any senior in the college. She’s now a law student at NYU.

When did you make your plan to graduate in three years?

The idea of gradating in three years didn’t occur to me until a friend of a friend who was a year older was telling me that she was going to graduate in three years. She had enough AP Credit coming in and was able to make it work. I had an “aha!” moment, and it started to make a lot of sense.

How did you fit all of the required courses into your schedule?

I had quite a bit of AP credit and a little bit of University of Washington credit for college classes taken in high school. That credit counted toward a variety of GE courses. Business majors have a good amount of elective units, and I filled all of those before I arrived on campus, which was over a quarter already out of my schedule. If I had known from day one that I could graduate in three years, then all I would have had to do was to take 16 units during three quarters per year. But my freshman year I took only 12 units fall quarter and a class that didn’t count toward my major in spring. I did take one summer session to cover those two classes.

Being ahead coming in is what made it possible to graduate in three years. As soon as I realized that was my plan, I was able to use my priority registration strategically to ensure I had the classes I needed. I didn’t have to waste any classes or worry about crashing a class. I think I needed a permission number for one class my entire time for a GE class.

How did you keep yourself motivated when you accelerated schedule became stressful?

I’m an academic person and I like school, so that helped. The toughest part was being in my last couple quarters and taking classes with other students who had a lighter course load than me – maybe in two classes. But at that point I knew I was going to law school so I at least had a good reason in the back of my head to keep my grades up and get it done.

Do you feel like you missed out on anything graduating in four years?

Academically, I didn’t miss out on much. I was part of Gamma Phi Beta and got a bit of out that experience. I didn’t miss out on any Learn by Doing experiences. Being in the entrepreneurship concentration, each of those classes come with an inherent element of Learn by Doing, so definitely got to experience that fully. Socially is the only thing you miss out on, but I’m now doing something I’m excited about. Having all my friends still there doing their senior years certainly makes me miss them, but I live in New York City now.

How are you spending your “fourth” year of college now?

I’m now a 1L at NYU School of Law. I live in Greenwich Village, which is fabulous, but I’m also in law school, so I’m reading all the time. It’s been a totally different experience moving across the country by myself from a small town to one of the biggest cities in the world.

When did you decide you wanted to go to law school?

I started contemplating the idea of law school during my second year and so I kept myself schedule full to make sure it was still an option. Spring break of my second year at Cal Poly, I thought about entering the real world, and I explored what I did want to do. From the classes I had take and liked the most, all signs pointed to law school, so I started exploring the idea. By the normal law school standard, that was really quite late. I made the decision quickly and started studying for the LSAT really fast. By the start of my third year, I was taking the LSAT and starting to apply. I wouldn’t recommend that accelerated decision making to everyone, but it worked out just fine for me. It was a quick turn around.

Do you think graduating in three years has put you ahead?

I think graduate programs are incredibly valuable, though they do delay when you enter into the real world. And law school adds another three years of education, which can add up to seven years of college. I think, for me, saving that extra year and getting to enter the workforce after just two extra years of school is pretty valuable. In terms of moving forward with my career goals, it’s doing so much more than taking another full year at Cal Poly and getting at most an extra minor out of it and more social activity.

Would you recommend a three-year plan for business students entering Cal Poly now?

I would recommend looking at a three-year plan. I would say it’s most valuable for someone looking to go to graduate school.

Matt TwohigMatt Twohig is a business administration major concentrating in entrepreneurship who will graduate in March of 2017. He is an avid film maker who spends his free time involved with Cal Poly’s American Marketing Association and the Film Club. Matt is using his accelerated schedule to fulfill his travel ambitions.

When did you make your plan to graduate early?

I decided to graduate in three years and a quarter during my BUS 100 course. Orfalea Student Services came to the rescue when I needed assistance scheduling courses around my quarter abroad, but I didn’t consult with them when I initially made my course plan freshman year.

How did you fit all of the required courses into your schedule?

Cal Poly accepted all of my AP courses, and as a first-quarter freshman, I was a sophomore on paper.

How did you keep yourself motivated when you accelerated schedule became stressful?

I never felt totally overwhelmed, and some quarters I only had 12 units. When things did get tough, I reminded myself of all the money that I’d be saving and the time that I would have free to travel.

Do you feel like you’re missing out on anything by graduating early?

I feel like by graduating early I’m actually able to experience more than I would if I were in school all four years. I didn’t want to be in a position where I wouldn’t be able to to travel upon graduation because of a job, so instead I am just taking the time before I graduate and then hopefully working right out of the gate.

How are you planning on spending time during your “fourth” year of college?

I’m backpacking Europe for three months during fall quarter. I’ve been to Europe twice now and have wanted to go back ever since my last journey two years ago. I didn’t expect to be able to take an extended trip until I realized that I could take a quarter off and return to school and still graduate early. I’m most looking forward to learning about the locals’ day-to-day lives, shooting video in the cities that have been my computer background for years, and navigating the continent on my own.

Do you think graduating in three years has put you in a better position to attain your goals?

Absolutely. I plan to work in post-production for feature films, so having a business degree is really a “pad” for me. Finishing school early not only saves money but it also allows me to start working in the industry I’m really passionate about sooner than I normally would.

Would you recommend considering a three-year plan for business students entering Cal Poly now?

I don’t think it is for everyone. But if you know exactly what you want to do, and you pursue an internship your first summer (in between freshman and sophomore year) then you will be in a good place to graduate in three years.

Sample Schedule

Students are encouraged to plan a schedule that is right for their academic goals.

Business Administration Major

Quarter Plus Fall Winter Spring Summer Total
1st Year  GE A2 (4)

GE B3/B4 (4)

BUS 100 (1)

BUS 214 (4)

ECON 221 (4)

BUS 207 (4)

BUS 215 (4)

STAT 252 (5)

GE A3 (4)

Other Course

BUS 342 (4)

BUS 346 (4)

GE B2 (4)

GE D1 (4)

 50 Units
Qtr Total:  8  13  13 16
2nd Year  GE C3


BUS 387 (4)

BUS 391 (4)

BUS 404 (4)

Other Course

Int. Bus. Requirement (4)

Conc Course B1 (4)


Upper Div. Econ (4)

Conc. Course B2 (4)

Conc. Course B3 (4)

GE C Elective (4)

IT Requirement (4)

 48 Units
Qtr Total:  8  12 16 12
3rd Year  GE D5 (4)

GE C Elect. (4)

 Conc. Course B4 (4)

Conc. Course B5 (4)

GE F (4)

Other Course

Conc. Course B6 (4)

BUS 461 (2)

Other Course

Other Course

 Conc Course B7 (4)

BUS 401 (4)

BUS 462 (2)

Other Course

 36 Units
Qtr Total:  8  12  6  10
4th Year  Cumulative Total
(with AP credit):
174 Units
Qtr Total:


AP Exam Cal Poly SLO Requirement Met Units Received
 AP English & Lit  GE A1 & C1  6
 AP US History  9
 AP Psychology  GE D4 (PSY 202)  5
 AP Statistics  STAT 251  5
 AP Economics
ECON 222  5
 AP Calculus  GE B1 (MATH 141)  5
 AP World History GE D3  5
Total AP Units: 40

This is a sample schedule only. Students are solely responsible for managing their own enrollment, including planning, adjusting and maintaining their own schedules in line with Cal Poly’s actual course offerings and prerequisite requirements. Participation in the Biz Plus program does not guarantee any student placement in any courses.

How to I participate?

If you are a prospective student or a newly admitted student, we strongly encourage you to enroll in Cal Poly’s Quarter Plus three-week intensive summer study program. This will give you a head start in building in required classes earlier. All business administration students will learn about this program through the BUS 100 orientation course, which all students will be enrolled in within their first quarter.  In this course, students will develop out a personalized 3 or 4 year plan based on their unique academic goals and career objectives.

Current students who have questions about planning a Biz Plus schedule should visit Orfalea Student Services in 03-100 or email a question to



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