California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo

California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo

California Polytechnic State University, popularly called Cal Poly, is a nationally ranked four-year public university in California. Established in 1901, it has one of the largest campuses covering over 9,678 acres of land. The university offers bachelor's and master's degrees to over 19,000 students in 7 distinct colleges:

  • College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
  • College of Architecture and Environmental Design
  • Orfalea College of Business
  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Liberal Arts
  • College of Science and Mathematics

Cal Poly has consistently been listed in the U.S. News & World Report for America's Best Colleges and according to the Forbes.com ranking of college campuses in 2008, the alumni have the third-highest average salaries of all public university graduates in the United States.

The Cal Poly university mascot is the Mustang and the university fields over 20 varsity sports. The women's volleyball team won the second straight Big West Title in 2007. Stephanie Brown Trafton won the gold medal in the women's discus throw at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

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Contacting Cal Poly

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo
One Grand Ave
San Luis Obispo , CA 93407
General Phone: (805) 756-1111

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Cal Poly Programs and Degrees (2008-2009)

General CategoryDegreesMost Common Majors [see all]
Engineering928engineering, aerospace engineering, bioengineering, architectural engineering, biomedical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, engineering science, environmental engineering, ...
Business and Management666business management, business administration, accounting
Liberal Arts455foreign language and literature, English, speech and rhetoric, liberal arts and sciences, interdisciplinary studies, social services, economics, political science, history ...
Nutrition and Exercise Therapy282parks and recreation studies, health and physical education, dietitian
Architecture and Planning266architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture
Agricultural Science and Management249agriculture, agricultural management, agricultural mechanization, food science
Science248biology, biochemistry, microbiology, ecology, physical sciences, chemistry, polymer chemistry, geological and earth sciences, physics ...
Computer Science and Engineering170computer science, computer engineering, software engineering
Education and Teaching148education, early childhood education, agricultural teaching
Animal Science and Care119animal science, dairy science
Media112journalism, graphic communications
Therapy and Counseling106psychology
Landscaping and Horticulture84ornamental horticulture, agronomy, horticultural science, pest management, soil science
Mathematics70mathematics, statistics
Conservation and Resource Management52natural resources policy, forestry
Fine Arts48fine arts
Religion and Philosophy23philosophy
Family and Social Work19child development, public administration
Drama and Performing Arts8drama

Number of programs and degrees for Cal Poly in 2008-2009:

Degree LevelTotal
Number of
Master's degree44422
Bachelor's degree3,61766

Cal Poly Student Body

In 2007-2008, Cal Poly had a total enrollment of 19,777 students (18,835 full-time equivalent).

Students in the Freshman Class:

Group Percent
Men 58%
Women 42%
Full-Time 98%
Part-Time 2%

Students By Class:

Group Percent
Undergraduate 94%
Graduate 6%

Racial Diversity:

Race Percent
White 65%
Black 1%
Hispanic 11%
Asian 11%
American Indian 1%
Unknown 10%
(Foreign Students) 1%

Students by Age:

Age Percent
Under 18 0%
18-19 36%
20-21 32%
22-24 24%
25-29 5%
30-34 1%
35-39 1%
40-49 1%
50-64 0%

Incoming (Freshman) Students by Place of Residence:
(From available data sampling)


Cal Poly Graduation, Retention, and Transfers

Retention Rates (2007):

Group Returning From
Previous Year
Full-Time 90 %
Part-Time 77 %

Cal Poly Room and Board (2007)

Cal Poly offers campus housing for 5,362 of its 18,835 (full-time) students.

(Please refer to our profile of San Luis Obispo, California for details about the area surrounding the campus. Also see our list of other California Colleges).

The school offers students a meal plan with 10 meals per week.

Cal Poly Admissions and Selectivity


EnrolledPercent of
Accepted Enrolled

Standardized Test Scores:

Test25th Percentile75th Percetile
SAT Verbal520620
SAT Math560670
ACT Verbal2228
ACT Math2429
ACT Composite2328

Application Requirements:

Class Ranknot required
High School Recordrequired
College Prep Programrequired
Recommendationsnot required
Formal Demonstration of Competencenot required
Standardized Tests (SAT and/or ACT)required
Percent of Applicants Submitting SAT96%
Percent of Applicants Submitting ACT50%
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)required
Other Standardized Testsnot required

Cal Poly Expenses and Financial Aid (2008-2009)

Expenses and Financial Aid:

Expense Amount
In-state tuition and fees $ 5,035
Out-of-state tuition and fees $ 15,213
Room and board $ 9,369
Room charge $ 5,218
Board (meal plan) charge $ 4,038
Books and supplies $ 1,566
Other expenses $ 3,147

Financial Aid:
Cal Poly participates in Federal Title IV financial aid programs. (The school's OPE ID is 114300)

Cal Poly Faculty

Cal Poly has a tenure system for faculty.

Tenure Status of Faculty (2008-2009):

Full-Time Faculty LevelMenWomen
Non-tenured, but on tenure track16396
Non-tenured and not on tenure track7051

Salaries for full-time faculty:

Full-Time Faculty (2008-2009):

Full-Time Faculty LevelContract LengthNumber MenAvg Salary MenNumber WomenAvg Salary Women
Professorcalendar year29$113,7716$108,080
Associate professorcalendar year2*2*
Assistant professorcalendar year2*0*
Lecturercalendar year2*1*
No academic rankcalendar year1*0*
All faculty totalcalendar year36$110,5419$99,711

*: salaries are not displayed where there are fewer than 3 professors in the category.

Full-Time Faculty (2008-2009):

Full-Time Faculty LevelContract LengthNumber MenAvg Salary MenNumber WomenAvg Salary Women
Professoracademic year192$96,43249$93,750
Associate professoracademic year108$82,40448$78,356
Assistant professoracademic year124$69,30482$65,438
Lectureracademic year63$62,06247$61,446
No academic rankacademic year3$125,4040*
All faculty totalacademic year490$82,234226$73,490

*: salaries are not displayed where there are fewer than 3 professors in the category.

Cal Poly Athletics

Athletic Conferences:

Football Other
Basketball Big West Conference
Baseball Big West Conference
Track Big West Conference

Students on Athletic Scholarships (2007):

All Other Sports5975134

Cal Poly Degree Programs (2007)

Agricultural Science And Management
Agricultural Business and Management, General
Agricultural Mechanization, General
Agriculture, General
Food Science

Animal Science And Care
Animal Sciences, General
Dairy Science

Architecture And Planning
Architecture (BArch, BA/BS, MArch, MA/MS, PhD)
City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning
Landscape Architecture (BS, BSLA, BLA, MSLA, MLA, PhD)

Business And Management
Business Administration and Management, General
Business Administration, Management and Operations, Other

Computer Science And Engineering
Computer Engineering, General
Computer Science
Computer Software Engineering

Conservation And Resource Management
Forestry, General
Natural Resources Management and Policy, Other

Drama And Performing Arts
Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General

Education And Teaching
Agricultural Teacher Education
Early Childhood Education and Teaching
Education, General

Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
Agricultural/Biological Engineering and Bioengineering
Architectural Engineering
Biomedical/Medical Engineering
Civil Engineering, General
Construction Engineering
Electrical, Electronics and Communications Engineering
Engineering Science
Engineering, General
Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering
Industrial Engineering
Manufacturing Engineering
Materials Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Metallurgical Engineering

Family And Social Work
Child Development
Public Administration

Fine Arts
Fine/Studio Arts, General

Landscaping And Horticulture
Agronomy and Crop Science
Horticultural Science
Ornamental Horticulture
Plant Protection and Integrated Pest Management
Soil Science and Agronomy, General

Liberal Arts
Economics, General
English Language and Literature, General
Foreign Languages and Literatures, General
History, General
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies
Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies, Other
Political Science and Government, General
Social Sciences, General
Speech and Rhetorical Studies

Mathematics, General
Statistics, General

Graphic Communications, General

Music, General

Nutrition And Exercise Therapy
Dietetics/Dietitian (RD)
Health and Physical Education, General
Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies

Religion And Philosophy

Biology/Biological Sciences, General
Chemistry, General
Geological and Earth Sciences/Geosciences, Other
Microbiology, General
Physical Sciences
Physics, General
Polymer Chemistry

Therapy And Counseling
Psychology, General

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Cal Poly Highlights

(Details are provided further down on this page.)

What Sets Cal Poly Apart:

Number of students
(vs. all colleges)
Top 3%$pretty_college $award_cats{$char}
Number of degree programs
(vs. all colleges)
Top 4%$pretty_college $award_cats{$char}
% of degrees in engineering
(vs. all colleges)
Top 6%Cal Poly % of degrees in engineering
Salaries of full-time faculty
(vs. all colleges)
Top 8%Cal Poly Salaries of full-time faculty
% of degrees in agricultural science and management
(vs. all colleges)
Top 8%Cal Poly % of degrees in agricultural science and management
Degrees concentrated in limited number of degree programs
(vs. all colleges)
Top 8%Cal Poly Degrees concentrated in limited number of degree programs
% of degrees in architecture and planning
(vs. all colleges)
Top 12%Cal Poly % of degrees in architecture and planning
% of degrees in computer science and engineering
(vs. colleges of similar size)
Top 12%Cal Poly % of degrees in computer science and engineering
Lowest tuition & fees (in-state)
(vs. colleges with similar degree levels)
Top 13%Cal Poly Lowest tuition & fees (in-state)
Male % of student body
(vs. all colleges)
Top 14%Cal Poly Male % of student body
Student SAT scores
(vs. all colleges)
Top 16%Cal Poly Student SAT scores
% of degrees in landscaping and horticulture
(vs. colleges with similar degree levels)
Top 18%Cal Poly % of degrees in landscaping and horticulture
Selectivity (based on % of applicants accepted)
(vs. all colleges)
Top 18%Cal Poly Selectivity (based on % of applicants accepted)
% of full-time faculty on tenure track
(vs. all colleges)
Top 18%Cal Poly % of full-time faculty on tenure track
% of degrees in animal science and care
(vs. all colleges)
Top 19%Cal Poly % of degrees in animal science and care
% of degrees in nutrition and exercise therapy
(vs. all colleges)
Top 20%Cal Poly % of degrees in nutrition and exercise therapy

checked Accepts some high school credits
checked Grants credits for AP courses
checked Offers distance learning
checked Career counseling
checked Career services
checked Student employment services
checked On-campus day care
checked Remedial classes for students
checked Option to study abroad
checked Offers part-time study
checked On-campus library
checked Offers campus housing
checked Offers a board (meal) plan
checked Tenure system for quality teaching
checked Has ROTC (army)
checked Offers athletic scholarships
checked NCAA athletic conference member

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