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California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

College of Science and Mathematics

San Luis Obispo, CA

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Introduction | California Polytechnic State University: College of Science and Mathematics

The College of Science and Mathematics offers graduate students the Cal Poly Learn by Doing approach, strong research mentoring and small classes. The College of Science and Mathematics “promote(s) their learning, understanding, and appreciation of the disciplines within science, mathematics and education.” 

Cal Poly's College of Science and Mathematics (COSAM) is where science, mathematics, the art of teaching and California's Central Coast intersect. Students in the College of Science and Mathematics collaborate with faculty on research at the forefront of some of the most pressing issues facing society today.

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

The College of Science and Mathematics builds connections and meaningful relationships, creating opportunities to solve the California’s and the world’s most pressing problems. The College offers three, diverse graduate programs in high-demand fields, like mathematics, biology, and biology with a specialization in regenerative medicine, as well as specialized programs like polymers and coatings science.

The College of Science and Mathematics is “#2 in the nation among master’s comprehension universities for number of chemistry grads who go on to earn PhDs”, according to

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: The College of Science and Mathematics

The College of Science and Mathematics offers the following graduate programs: 

M.S. in Biological Sciences

M.S. degree in biological sciences is designed to strengthen students’ academic understanding and improve competence for fields that require advanced training beyond the bachelor’s degree. Students work closely with faculty on laboratory and field research, and have the opportunity to gain valuable teaching experience, preparing graduates for a variety of professional and academic trajectories.

M.S. Biological Sciences with a Specialization in Regenerative Medicine 

The Regenerative Medicine Interdisciplinary Program at Cal Poly was created in 2009 with support from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and with the goal of continuing Cal Poly's tradition of graduating day-one ready professionals for the burgeoning Regenerative Medicine/Biotech Industry. With a year of coursework and project experience followed by a paid full-time 9-month internship, the program prepares graduates for careers in research and development, biologics manufacturing, and translational research, as well as to matriculate into doctoral programs. 

M.S. in Polymers and Coating Sciences

The M.S. degree in polymers and coatings science allows students to gain a technical background in the field through lecture and laboratory courses. Students undertake a rigorous industrial internship that develops advanced skills through directed study in areas related to their internship work. The program is designed to prepare students for challenging careers in the polymers and coatings industry.

M.S. in Mathematics 

Cal Poly’s M.S. degree in mathematics immerses students in both pure and applied math. Graduate students have the opportunity to teach during most quarters or to engage in paid summer research projects. Faculty research interests include areas such as analysis of partial differential equations, ordinary differential equations and dynamical systems, climate and fluid modeling, discrete mathematics, topology, geometry, operator theory, abstract algebra, and mathematics education.

Admissions | California Polytechnic State University: College of Science and Mathematics

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 Science and Mathematics

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.

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. 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 123

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
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 February 1st  February 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

Calculator icon

Financial Support

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

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
International Breakout (representing other countries)


Hispanic/Latino 20.86%
Black or African American 2.88%
White or Caucasian 58%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 7.19%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 3.6%
Unknown 4.32%


Male (34%)
Female (65%)


Total faculty
Full-time - 37
Part-time - 8
Male (25)
Female (20)

Location & Contact

Address 1 Grand Avenue
San Luis Obispo, CA  93407
United States
Contact Dr. Dean Wendt
Phone: 805-756-2226

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California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
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