About Us

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About Cal Poly

Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, four-year, comprehensive public university located in San Luis Obispo, halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on California's Central Coast. It is a distinctive learning community offering academically focused students a hands-on educational experience that prepares them for today’s scientific and technical world.

Learn by Succeeding: Our Graduates Do

Our graduates are out doing what they learned (97% employment rate) and well-compensated for the doing, even in their first jobs (average starting salary $51,000).

How Do You Rank Practical Experience?

Highly, if you’re the Wall Street Journal looking at the best new grads to hire, nationally:

  • No. 22 in business/economics
  • No. 18 in engineering

U.S. News & World Report:

  • No. 1 public master’s-level university


  • No. 3 public university in the country for alumni earnings


  • No. 3 architecture program in the country

Bloomberg’s Businessweek:

  • 1 of 2 California public institutions named in the Top 100 undergraduate business schools

Learn by Working Hard: Our Competitive Admissions

Cal Poly's admissions process is highly competitive. For the 2010 fall quarter, the university received a record 40,904 undergraduate applications for roughly 4,000 places in the freshman class.

Postal Mail Address and Phone:
California Polytechnic State University
1 Grand Ave.
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407

More on How Our Graduates Do

A Cal Poly graduate can expect a great return on their investment in their education. In a 2008-2009, self-reported survey conducted by Career Services, 81 percent of graduates reported they are working full-time (63 percent), or attending graduate school (18 percent.)
Read more about our graduate statistics

The median starting salary for 2008–2009 grads was $51,000 a year.



All Colleges


College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences


College of Architecture & Environmental Design


College of Business


College of Education


College of Engineering


College of Liberal Arts


College of Science & Mathematics


Our graduates are in high demand in the job market, with 56 percent reporting job offers before graduation. Within three months of graduation, 82 percent had jobs, and nine months after graduation 97 percent of graduates had jobs. Of those reporting, 90 percent found jobs in their related field of study.

Hundreds of firms recruit and employ Cal Poly graduates each year. Depending on the status of the national economy, Cal Poly hosts from 300 to 600 different employers each year through its on-campus recruiting program and job fair events.

More on How We Rank

Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal: Cal Poly Business, Engineering Produce Best Hires in the Nation
See the WSJ breakout of recruiter bests 'by major' | What recruiters told the WSJ about Cal Poly grads | Read the WSJ 'Paths to Professions' package

U.S. News & World Report
For the past 20 years, Cal Poly has been rated the best public-master's university in the West by U.S. News & World Report, according to its 2013 “America’s Best Colleges” guidebook.

Cal Poly placed sixth in the magazine's overall list of the West’s best universities, including both public and private institutions, that provide “a full range of undergraduate and master's-level programs but few, if any, doctoral programs.” U.S. News ranks colleges that grant doctoral degrees, such as those in the University of California system, in a separate category.

Cal Poly’s College of Engineering program ranked second among public engineering programs, bested only by the U.S. Military Academy, for schools whose highest degree is a bachelor’s or a master’s. A number of College of Engineering degree programs ranked high in the Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs in their individual specialty categories. The university’s industrial and manufacturing, computer, electrical, and mechanical engineering programs were each ranked as the top program at a public university in their respective specialty categories. Cal Poly’s civil and environmental engineering program was ranked the second best program at a public university.

Cal Poly ranks third nationally among public universities in a Forbes.com ranking of college campuses, based on a recent study that looks at earnings of alumni at colleges around the country. Cal Poly followed only Berkeley and University of Virginia in the public rankings, tying for the third spot with UCLA and UC San Diego. According to the study, compiled by PayScale.com, Cal Poly alumni with 10-20 years of experience earn a median salary of $101,000, with 10 percent of the graduates at this experience level making more than $178,000. For more information on the rankings and the study, visit Forbes.com

In 2009, Cal Poly's architecture program was rated as the No. 3 architecture school in the nation by the leading architecture and engineering journal DesignIntelligence. Cal Poly's architecture program was ranked fifth in the nation in granting architecture degrees to students of all minority groups, architecture degrees to Asian American students, and architecture degrees to Hispanic students. Read more about the 2009 rankings by the organization Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

Bloomberg’s Businessweek
Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business is one of only two public universities in California to rank in Bloomberg’s Businessweek’s ranking of Top 100 undergraduate business programs in the nation. Cal Poly and UC Berkeley are the only public universities in California to make the list.

Highly Ranked for Minority Graduation
Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences is consistently rated among the top agricultural programs in the nation in granting baccalaureate degrees to minority students. In 2009, the college was ranked No. 4 in the nation in granting agriculture degrees to Hispanic students, No. 6 in degrees to Asian American students, and No. 7 in degrees granted to all minority students.

Recognized for Coastal Quality of Life
Because of our location on California’s Central Coast, Cal Poly enjoys other rankings as well.

Cal Poly ranked No. 3 in the nation in the 2009 “Top 10 Surf Schools” ranking by Surfline.com.

U.S. News & World Report ranked San Luis Obispo among its Best Places to Live in 2009. And according to the magazine, Cal Poly played a big part in the distinction. “Tucked into California’s sweeping Central Coast region is lovely San Luis Obispo....In addition, California Polytechnic State University, which is located in town, infuses the community with intellectual energy.”

More on Our Competitive Admissions

A Decade of Excellence:
Average GPA, *SAT I, and ACT scores of Incoming Cal Poly Freshmen












































*SAT I: reading and math only
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Link to the Admissions Website for information on selection criteria, application deadlines, creating your VIP page and more!