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California Polytechnic State U, San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo, CA


About This Campus

For more than 100 years, Cal Poly has intentionally combined a theoretical approach to its curriculum with practical, professional, and experiential learning opportunities to offer a "Learn by Doing" education. Students are prepared to be well-rounded professionals and whole-system thinkers, problem-solvers, and leaders who can adapt, evolve, inspire, and succeed. Cal Poly students enjoy one of the largest, most comprehensive university facilities in the U.S., consisting of a 6,000 acre main campus, an oceanographic research facility in nearby Avila Beach, and a 3,000 acre field laboratory north of Santa Cruz, California. From picture-perfect Mediterranean weather to tasty cuisine, award-winning wines, breathtakingly beautiful hiking and soft sandy beaches- there is something for everyone here in San Luis Obispo!

Location Information

Cal Poly is in San Luis Obispo, a city of about 45,000 on California's central coast, midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The city and university share a neighborly, small-campus, small-town atmosphere.

Helpful Information

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. Cal Poly ranked "Best in the West" for the 26th consecutive year with U.S. News & World Report.

2020/2021 Placement

Host Payment (A)
Home Payment (B)

2021/2022 Placement

Host Payment (A)
Home Payment (B)

Learn more about Chance of Placement
and choosing alternate options.

Fast Facts

Location | San Luis Obispo
Population | 48,399
Enrollment | 21,812
Language | English
Calendar | Quarter
Canada | Home (B)
Term Dates
Fall | 9/17-12/11
Winter | 01/4-03/19
Spring | 3/29-06/11

Campus Diversity

White | 55%
Black | 1%
Hispanic/Latino | 17%
Asian | 13%
Native/1st Nation | 0%
Hawaiian/P.I. | 0%
Two or more | 7%
Other | 7%


-- Campus Catalog --

Registration Priority
  • Before seniors
Closed Programs
Art and design, music, wine and viticulture.

1:1 placements for business administration and economics Majors. Audition or portfolio may be required for admission to music, theater, architecture, and some art classes. Architecture requires a portfolio review soon after the March placement, and fourth-year status. Some upper-division graphic communication and journalism courses are restricted to majors and required permission. Priority will be given to students whose majors are similar to the majors of our outgoing students. Please keep in mind that you will need to be flexible in the courses you can take in order to be successful at Cal Poly. Pre-approving more courses then you plan on taking is the best practice. Please keep in mind that courses may have specific prerequisites and it may take time to verify you meet them prior to receiving a permission number. Please note that enrollment in courses is not guaranteed even if the prerequisite is met at the home campus. Most departments are impacted so flexibility is key.

Notable Academic Programs

  • City Planning
  • Aerospace Engineering

Honors Access: Yes

Undergraduate Majors Open to NSE Students
Agriculture: Agricultural Business, Agricultural Communications, Agricultural Education, Agricultural Sciences, Agricultural Technology Management, Animal Sciences, Crop Science/Management, Dairy Science/Management, Fruit Science, Horticulture, Ornamental Horticulture

Anthropology: Anthropology, Ethnic Studies

Architecture: Architecture, Landscape Architecture/Design

Area Studies: Asian Studies, Latin American Studies

Art/Design/Fine Art: Art History, Theater Art

Biological Sciences: Biology/Life Science, Biotechnology, Microbiology

Business: Accounting, Business Administration, Entrepreneurship

Chemistry: Biochemistry, Chemistry

Communications: Communication, Graphic Communication, Integrated Marketing, Journalism

Computer Science: Computer Science

Earth Sciences: Astronomy, Earth Science

Economics: Economics

Education: Child Development, English, French, Mathematics, Music

Engineering: Aerospace Engineering, Architectural Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, Materials Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Software Engineering

English: English, Linguistics

Environmental Studies: Environmental Engineering, Environmental Management, Environmental Studies, Natural Resources/Science/Management

Food Science: Food Science, Nutrition

Forestry: Forestry

General Studies: Interdisciplinary Studies, Liberal Studies

Geography and Urban Studies: City Planning, Geography

Geology: Geology

Health and Safety Sciences: Gerontology, Kinesiology, Public Health

History: History

Hospitality and Tourism: Tourism Management

Industrial Studies: Construction Management, Industrial Technology

Information Studies: Computer Science

Languages: German, Italian, Languages

Marine Sciences: Marine Sciences

Mathematics: Mathematics, Statistics

Performing Arts: Dance, Theater Arts/Drama

Philosophy/Religious Studies: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Physics: Physics

Political Science: Political Science

Psychology: Psychology

Recreation: Parks Administration and Management, Recreation

Sociology/Social Work: Law and Society, Sociology, Women and Gender Studies

Technology: Computer Engineering Technology, Graphic Communications Technology, Manufacturing Engineering Technology


Quick Links GPA and Other Academic Requirements
  • No students accepted from NSE members within my own state
  • 3.00 GPA
  • Seniors are discouraged from applying and all students must have great flexibility with the courses they plan to take. All students must have a declared major at the time of placement. Students who were previously enrolled at Cal Poly are not eligible for exchange.
Exchange Preferences
  • Full-year exchange Accepted
  • Single term exchange Fall Only
Mid-Year Exchange (Exchange that begins with the Spring/Winter Term)
  • Not available
Non-Native English Speakers
  • TOEFL: must have a score of 550.00 paper, 213.00 computer or 80.00 Internet
  • IELTS: must have a score of 6.50
Summer Exchange
  • Not available
International Students (Visa Students)
  • Will accept on Plan B

Tuition / Fees

-- Campus Budget --
  • Fees are subject to change without notice.
  • Two semesters = one academic year
  • Three quarters = one academic year
Tuition and Fees Per Quarter - Host Payment (Plan A) Students
  • Figures are current as of 10/07/19.
  • Estimated cost: $3314.
  • Expect 5-15% increase for the subsequent academic year.
  • Figures are based on 15 hours. Actual costs may be greater or less depending upon your actual enrollment.
  • Figures do not include costs you will incur for course specific enrollment (e.g., laboratory courses, student teaching, studio art)
  • See below for credit hour restrictions and/or miscellaneous fees applicable to Host Payment (Plan A) students.
Tuition and Fees - Home Payment (Plan B) Students
  • No tuition/fees are paid to the host campus.
  • Figures do not include costs you will incur for course specific enrollment (e.g., laboratory courses, student teaching, studio art)
  • See below for credit hour restrictions and/or miscellaneous fees applicable to Home Payment (Plan B) students.
Maximum Credit Hours Per Quarter
  • Host Payment (Plan A): 22
  • Home Payment (Plan B): 22
Miscellaneous Fees - Per Quarter
Figures are current as of 10/07/19.

Purpose Amount Period Plan Status
Housing Deposit $500 Year Plan A & B Mandatory
Parking Fee $630 Year Plan A & B Optional
Orientation Fee $200 Year Plan A & B Optional

Exchange with Canada - Health Insurance
Students must purchase campus health insurance at $388 per quarter.

Financial Aid

Host Payment (Plan A)
For Plan A U.S. students, aid is awarded by and disbursed from your host campus. Students apply for federally funded financial aid by using the FAFSA code of their host campus. Host campuses award aid to eligible incoming Plan A students on a first-come, first-served basis as long as funds are available. Ask your home campus NSE coordinator if your campus awards aid to their own outgoing students. If so, do not apply for aid from your host campus.

For eligible Plan A applicants U.S. federal financial aid may be available in the following programs:

  • Pell
  • CWS
  • Perkins
  • SEOG
  • DL
  • Plus
Use FAFSA CODE: 001143

Home Payment (Plan B)
For eligible Plan B students, aid is awarded by and disbursed from your home campus.

Regardless of Payment Plan, students exchanging to or from Canada, apply for financial aid at their home campus.

Room / Meals

Figures are current as of 10/07/19

On-Campus Housing Per Quarter
  • 32% living on campus
  • Double: $4902 (includes meals)
  • Full-year contract required for a full-year exchange
  • On campus living is limited
  • Maximum unrestricted housing reserved: 10
Off-Campus Housing
  • Approximate monthly cost: $650
  • Proximity to campus: within one mile
  • Local Public Transportation Available to Campus
Notes About Housing
For the 2019-2020 academic year, students were required to complete their housing contract and pay their first installment payment by May 1st. The date for the 2020-2021 academic year has yet to be set but will likely be similar.

Meal Plans Per Quarter

  • Meal purchase is required for on campus living.
Notes About Meal Plans
NSE students typically live in apartments (Cerro Vista or Poly Canyon Village) and no meal plan required. There are two dining plan options - Mustang Flex Max, Mustang Flex Prime, & Mustang Flex Basic. For more information, see the Campus Dining website https://www.calpolydining.com/diningprograms/continuing-transfer-student/.

All data in this document is the responsibility of the campus and has been provided by the campus NSE coordinator.
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