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California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

College of Engineering

San Luis Obispo, CA

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Introduction | California Polytechnic State University: College of Engineering

The College of Engineering (CENG) at Cal Poly is a leader in engineering education that promotes "project-based learning" to link theory with hands-on practice. Cal Poly engineers are highly sought by industry because they are known to have "two feet on the ground and two hands on the problem”.

Key Facts and Overview | California Polytechnic State University: College of Engineering

According to the U.S. News & World Reports 2020, the College of Engineering ranked 8th out of 210 public and private undergraduate engineering schools in the U.S. where doctorates are not offered. The same report ranked several programs in the top 5 : Civil Engineering: 3rd; Computer Engineering: 2nd; Electrical Engineering: 2nd; Industrial Engineering:1st; and Mechanical Engineering: 2nd.

The College of Engineering is creating a culture shift and drawing attention to under-represented groups including minorities and women in engineering. With strong corporate connections built through an enduring tradition of alumni programs, the College of Engineering delivers an applied curriculum that prepares students to be career-ready upon graduating. Cal Poly Career Connections is an online network and mentoring platform that connects students, alumni, and the professional community.

California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) fosters scholarship, service, and teaching in a Learn by Doing environment. The application of theory to practice, active-learning methods, and field and laboratory work form the core of this academic approach. Established in 1901, Cal Poly is a public, coeducational university located in San Luis Obispo, California in the western region of the United States. According to Colleges in California, its campus is one of the most beautiful in the state. The university is situated in an area known for its mild climate, natural beauty, and outdoor recreational options.

Majors and Degrees | California Polytechnic State University: College of Engineering

The College of Engineering offers several graduate degree programs: 

M.S Aerospace Engineering 

The M.S. degree in aerospace engineering promotes competency in advanced mathematics, science, and aerospace engineering knowledge, while also supporting awareness of professional and ethical responsibility, global and contemporary issues related to aerospace and the rapid advancement of modern technology. It prepares students for engineering work related to aerodynamics, flight testing, structures, propulsion, control systems, vehicle dynamics, stability and control, flight simulation, and design for both fixed and rotary wing aircraft, missiles and spacecraft. 

M.S. Biomedical Engineering

The M.S. degree in biomedical engineering is well-suited for individuals who desire to explore the application of engineering to living systems. The program aims to provide graduates with a broad-based advanced education in engineering fundamentals coupled with applied human physiology. It also offers a specialization in regenerative medicine. The program prepares graduates for the many diverse career opportunities that are part of the global health community, including biomechanics, bioinstrumentation, regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, and micro/nano-based point-of-care diagnostics.

M.S. Civil & Environmental Engineering 

The M.S. degree in civil and environmental engineering prepares students with a job-entry education for the more complex areas of engineering, such as research and development, innovative design, systems analysis, and engineering management. 

M.S. Computer Science

The M.S. degree in computer science offers students the opportunity to prepare for careers in several areas, including software engineering, computer architecture, programming languages, theory of computing, operating systems, database systems, distributed computing, computer networks, artificial intelligence, computer graphics, and human computer interaction. The program is designed for maximum flexibility to allow students to concentrate in one or more areas of study.

M.S. Electrical Engineering

The M.S. degree in electrical engineering provides an opportunity for students to expand their expertise in these strategic areas: power and energy, mobile computing, systems on a chip, and embedded computing. 

M.S. Engineering Management

The M.S. degree in engineering management is designed to inspire and educate a new generation of technical leaders with analytical knowledge, business insight, advanced communication, and project management skills. The program equips students to design and implement data-driven, innovative and effective solutions for improving processes and systems in industry and society.

Fire Protection Engineering

The M.S. degree in fire protection engineering is directed toward the identification, analysis and mitigation of fire hazards and risks across a broad spectrum of applications, including buildings, consumer products, industrial processes, transportation vehicles, infrastructure facilities, and the wild land-urban interface. This program is designed for working professionals in the field, and is offered in a largely online format. 

M.S. Industrial Engineering 

The M.S. degree in industrial engineering is designed to prepare students for a successful career in industry as well as the option to further their study at the doctoral level. Building on Cal Poly’s strength in Learn by Doing and project-based engineering education, students work closely with industry to solve real-world problems. 

M.S. Mechanical Engineering 

The M.S. degree in mechanical engineering is designed to prepare graduates to work in research or product design. It provides a systems-level foundation of knowledge, and students can select an area of emphasis based on their specific area of technological interest, including biomechanics, stress analysis, thermal-fluid sciences, and robotics.

Admissions | California Polytechnic State University: College of Engineering

Admission to a graduate program at Cal Poly is centralized through the Cal Poly Admission Office, in direct collaboration with coordinators in each of the graduate programs.  Applicants to Cal Poly will follow the official process as described through Cal State Apply, selecting Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, which is one of 23 campuses of the California State University system.

Cal Poly recommends that applicants investigate the program of interest, and research any curriculum questions related to the program.  Program overview information can be found in the Graduate Education Programs Catalog on the Graduate Education website.  Each program has a Faculty Graduate Coordinator who can provide answers about curriculum and professional opportunities.  A list of Graduate Coordinators by program can be found on the Cal Poly Graduate Education website. 

Cal Poly also recommends that applicants familiarize themselves with the graduate admission information outlined on the Office of Admissions website, as well as with information provided on the Graduate Education website.  In addition to these resources, applicants should consult the program for additional program-specific requirements, if any.

General Requirements to be considered for admission to Cal Poly:

    • - Have completed a four-year college course of study at an accredited institution. 
    • - Be in good standing at the previous institution attended. 
    • - Provide official transcripts from the undergraduate degree granting institution to the Cal Poly Admissions Office by the appropriate deadline. 
    • - A GPA from the bachelor degree granting institution of 3.0 of better. A GRE score demonstrating a 50th percentile or higher in each of the 3 categories may allow an application with a GPA of 2.5 or below to be considered. 
    • - Some programs require GRE scores for all applicants. Refer to the Admissions Office and program as there are some exceptions. If your program requires GRE scores, official scores must be reported to the Cal Poly Admissions Office by the deadline. 
    • - Letters of Recommendation as required by the program on interest. 
    • - All graduate and post-baccalaureate applicants, regardless of citizenship, whose native language is not English and whose preparatory education was principally in a language other than English must demonstrate competence in English. Those who do not possess a bachelor's degree from a post-secondary institution where English in the principal language of instruction must take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of 80 or better, or the International English Language Testing system (IELTS) exam with a score of 6.5 or better. 

International applicant admission to Cal Poly:  

The CSU must assess the academic preparation of international students. For this purpose, international students include those who hold U.S. temporary visas as students, exchange visitors, or in other non-immigrant classifications. The CSU uses separate requirements and application filing dates in the admission of international students. The process for filing an international application can be found on the Cal Poly Admissions website.

Cost, Financial Aid, and Tuition | California Polytechnic State University: College of Engineering

Cal Poly ranked 37th in the U.S. in PayScale’s 2018 “College ROI Report,” which ranked 1,878 colleges and universities. According to PayScale’s projections, Cal Poly has a 20-year net return on investment of $699,000. This ROI is the 2nd highest in the California State University system and is higher than all of the University of California schools.

For all programs except the Fire Protection Engineering Program, the estimated tuition and fees for a full-time, resident graduate student is $11,376 for three quarters. For full-time students who are not residents of the state of California, estimated tuition and fees are $17,712 for three quarters. For full-time international students, estimated tuition and fees are $19,902 for three quarters. For the Fire Protection Engineering Program, the estimated registration and fees are $16,438. Additional information about living expenses, supplies and transportation can be found here.

Cal Poly provides several opportunities to reduce tuition and fees, including resident tuition waivers, non-resident tuition waivers, and State University Grants. Applicants can apply for Resident and Non-Resident Tuition Waivers here. State University Grants are need-based financial aid. Students interested in need-based financial aid should submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) or the California Dream Act Application if they are not eligible for federal financial aid. Students who complete one of these applications are automatically considered for need-based grant programs. Graduate Education also oversees the Graduate Equity Fellowship, which provides support students with demonstrated financial need.  Graduate Education also provides Graduate Assistant positions to support the professional development and mastery of your chosen field

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Master of Science (MS)

Degrees Awarded

Degree Number Awarded
Master's Degrees 227

Earning Your Degree

Part-time study available? Yes
Evening/weekend programs available? No
Distance learning programs available? No
Terminal master's degree available? No

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirement
Master's Degrees Entrance Exam GRE Required for most 
Comp Exam Required for some
Thesis Required for some


Acceptance Rate



Application Fee - Domestic
applications accepted?
Applications processed
on a rolling basis?

Application Deadlines

Type Domestic International Priority date
Fall deadline January 1st January 1st No

Entrance Requirements

Exam Details
Thesis or Master's Degree Exam GRE

International Students

Exam Details
TOEFL: Required TOEFL IBT score: 80

Tuition & Fees

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Financial Support

Financial award applicants must submit: FAFSA or California Dream Act Application
Application deadlines for financial awards March 1 or June 1
Types of financial support available Tuition Waivers, Scholarship and/or Loans
Graduate Assistantships

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
International Breakout (representing other countries)


Hispanic/Latino 12.03%
Black or African American 0.57%
White or Caucasian 52%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0.29%
Asian 14.9%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 6.59%
Unknown 6.88%


Male (71%)
Female (28%)


Total faculty
Full-time - 69
Part-time - 9
Male (63)
Female (15)


Focus of faculty research: Artificial intelligence, fuel systems, solar power, mechatronics, traffic systems
Externally sponsored research expenditures last year: 0

Location & Contact

Address 1 Grand Avenue
San Luis Obispo, CA  93407
United States
Contact Dr. Amy Fleischer
Phone: 805-756-2131

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California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
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