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F A S T   F A C T S
Location | San Luis Obispo
Population | 49,530
Enrollment | 22,279
Language | English
Calendar | Quarter
Canada | Home Payment

Term Dates
Fall | 09/23-12/13
Winter | 01/6-03/21
Spring | 04/01-06/13

California Polytechnic State U, San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo, CA

Our “Learn by Doing” motto describes our commitment to experiential education.
Named the “Best in the West” by US News & World Report annually for 30 years!
Our beautiful campus is the second largest in California at 9,178-acres.

About This Campus

For over a century, Cal Poly has intentionally combined theory and practice through a multidisciplinary curriculum designed to foster critical thinking skills, prepare students to enter the professional world and make a lasting impact on their communities. Our students are highly sought after by employers and quickly become indispensable and valued members of their professional teams. 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 world class cuisine, award-winning wines, breathtakingly beautiful hiking and soft sandy beaches- there is truly something for everyone here in San Luis Obispo! The city even boasts one of the largest farmer’s markets in the nation, featuring weekly vendors, artisans and live music.

Location Information

Cal Poly is located in San Luis Obispo, a city of about 45,000 on California's picturesque Central Coast, midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The city and university share a neighborly, small-campus, small-town atmosphere. The county enjoys one of the lowest crime rates in the state, making it a safe, friendly place in which to learn and grow.

Helpful Information

Cal Poly is a nationally-ranked, four-year, comprehensive public university and learning community offering students a hands-on educational experience that prepares them for today's scientific and technical world. NSE students get to register for classes here first!
2024-2025 Chance of Placement
Host Payment |Open
Home Payment |Waitlist
Campus Availability & Deadlines
2025-2026 Chance of Placement
Host Payment |Good
Home Payment |Most Competitive
Understand Chances of Placement


RegistrationClosed Programs
Art & Design.

Priority will be given to students whose majors are similar to the majors of our outgoing students. Some upper-division courses are restricted to majors. Some courses have specific prerequisites and it may take time to verify that you meet them prior to receiving a permission number to enroll. Enrollment in courses is not guaranteed even if the prerequisite is met at the home campus. Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Software Engineering courses are highly impacted and we cannot guarantee courses in these majors. Audition or portfolio may be required for admission to music and theater. Architecture requires a portfolio review soon after the March placement, and fourth-year status.

Notable Academic Programs

  • Engineering - Cal Poly’s College of Engineering (CENG) is an internationally-recognized, top-ranked, undergraduate engineering college. The CENG is known as a leader in engineering education because of its Learn by Doing, hands-on approach. With 5,000 engineering and computer science students, 13 undergraduate and nine graduate degree programs, the college is one of the West’s largest engineering colleges. Find out more at https://www.calpoly.edu/college-of-engineering
  • Animal Science - Cal Poly's Animal Science Department Cal Poly's Animal Science Department is a national leader of undergraduate training in animal nutrition and reproductive physiology. It is one of the four largest programs in the nation. It offers students the opportunity to apply the principles of animal biology, molecular biology and other life sciences to a variety of species including farm animals, exotic animals, laboratory animals, as well as their own pets. The department boasts one of the most comprehensive hands-on, Learn by Doing programs in the United States, as students work with several species of animals on a regular basis. Find out more at https://animalscience.calpoly.edu/
  • Liberal Arts - College of Liberal Arts – Cal Poly’s College of Liberal Arts (CLA) infuses a liberal arts education with meaningful, hands-on learning opportunities across all 17 departments in the humanities, social sciences, communications, and performing arts. Find out more at https://cla.calpoly.edu/
  • College of Business - Cal Poly's Orfalea College of Business (OCOB) is a transformational leader in experiential business education. Leveraging current technology and Cal Poly’s signature Learn by Doing approach, our faculty share their expertise and relevant research with students, offering an innovative business education. Find out more at https://www.calpoly.edu/orfalea-college-of-business
  • City & Regional Planning - City & Regional Planning (CRP) at Cal Poly is an integral part of the nationally recognized five department College of Architecture and Environmental Design. The CRP program began in 1968 and has nearly 1,500 graduates (Bachelors and Masters level). The program evolved in the College where the planning laboratory (studio) has been the core of the curriculum. We are proud of the program's strengths in urban design, transportation, land use and environmental planning, and community sustainability. Find out more at https://planning.calpoly.edu/

Unique Academic Programs

  • Dairy Science - The Cal Poly Dairy Science Program is one of the best in the nation, housing its own dairy herd and also home to the Dairy Products Technology Center and the Cal Poly Creamery. Find out more at https://animalscience.calpoly.edu/dairy-science-0
  • Bioresource and Agricultural Engineering - The BioResource and Agricultural Engineering Department prepares you to develop solutions to some of the world’s most pressing agricultural problems including food production, water management, renewable energy and more. Find out more at https://brae.calpoly.edu/
  • Aerospace Engineering - From exploring space in the PolySat lab to inventing the future of transportation in our Protoype Vehicles Laboratory, much of your time will be spent engaged in hands-on learning. Industry partnerships throughout California, including nearby Vandenberg Air Force Base, allow you to make connections and utilize real-world technologies. You are able to develop expertise in solving complex problems and the capability to drive innovation in the areas of aeronautics and astronautics. Find out more at https://www.calpoly.edu/major/aerospace-engineering
  • Experience Industry Management - EIM students gain expertise in a wide range of exciting areas, including Community Services Management, Event Planning, Outdoor, Adventure and Resource Recreation, Sport Management, and Tourism Planning and Management. We are the 1st program of its kind in the nation and at the forefront of what's next in Experience Industry Management. Find out more at https://eim.calpoly.edu/

Honors Access: Yes
Study Abroad Access: Yes

Undergraduate Majors Open to NSE Students

Accounting, Aerospace Engineering, Agricultural Business... ++ show all


GPA and Other Academic Requirements
  • General Eligibility Requirements
  • No students accepted from NSE members within my own state
  • All students must have flexibility with the courses they plan to take. Students who were previously enrolled at Cal Poly are not eligible for exchange.
Exchange Preferences
  • Full-year exchange Accepted
  • Single term exchange Accepted
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 Home/Host Pay
Canadian Students - learn more
  • Will accept Home Payment Pay

Tuition / Finances

Figures per Quarter are current as of 05/02/24

Finances Tuition and Fees Per Quarter - Host Payment Students
  • Pay resident-rate tuition to your host campus. No tuition/fees are paid to your home campus
  • Estimated cost: $3286.
  • Figures are based on full-time enrollment.
Tuition and Fees - Home Payment Students
  • Pay regular tuition to your home campus. No tuition/fees are paid to your host campus.
Maximum Credit Hours Per Quarter
  • Host Payment: 22
  • Home Payment: 22

Financial Aid for NSE Students
Regardless of Payment Plan, financial aid is awarded by and disbursed from your home campus.

Miscellaneous Fees - Per Quarter

Purpose Amount Period Plan Status
Housing Deposit $500 Year Host & Home Mandatory
Parking Fee $710 Year Host & Home Optional
Orientation Fee $200 Year Host & Home Optional
Course Fees / MaterialsVariesSemesterHost & HomeMandatory

Room / Meals

Figures are current as of 05/02/24

On-Campus Housing Per Quarter Off-Campus Housing
  • Off-Campus Housing
  • Approximate monthly cost: $1200
  • Proximity to campus: within one mile
  • Local Public Transportation Available to Campus
Notes About Housing
For the 2024-2025 academic year, students are required to complete their housing contract and pay their first installment payment by May 10 for fall or academic year housing.

Meal Plans

Notes About Meal Plans
NSE students typically live in apartments (Cerro Vista or Poly Canyon Village) and no meal plan is required. For more information, see the Campus Dining website https://www.calpolydining.com/diningprograms/


Figures per Quarter are current as of 05/02/24

Purpose Amount Period Plan Status
Health Insurance $500 Quarter Host & Home Optional

Important Notes about Health Insurance
Cal Poly does not require proof of health insurance but does include the following within your tuition and fees:
Health Services Fee-The Health Services Fee supports the student Health Services department as well as Health and Wellness programs on the Cal Poly campus.
Health Facilities Fee-The Health Facilities Fee helps cover the maintenance costs of student Health Centers.

Exchange with Canada - Health Insurance
Students must purchase campus health insurance at $500 per quarter.


Other Health Related Comments
Immunization records are submitted via the student portal. Directions on how to submit immunization records are available here: https://chw.calpoly.edu/health/immunizations

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