California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo, is a public, four year institution that was established in 1901. The school was originally a vocational high school, which changed when it came under the stewardship of the state, resulting in it becoming a two year institution in 1933. By 1942 the school had begun offering four year degree, followed by master's degrees in 1949. By 1960 the school's control was transferred to an independent board of trustees that later became the California State University System. The school is one of two polytechnic institutions in the California State University System, the second being California Polytechnic State University Pomona, which was originally an extension of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo founded in 1938.
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo offers a large number of bachelor and master degree programs, most of which are dedicated to technical and applied science majors. Bachelor degree programs take approximately four years to complete and require the student take a combination of lower and upper division courses related to their major, general education courses, and elective courses that allow students to experience classes and ideas outside of their major. Additionally, students are able to take on a minor degree through additional courses that confer allow for a second area of study.
Master degree programs require students to have earned the appropriate bachelor's degree to be considered for admission. Students will have to take a graduate exam and have a strong academic record to be considered for admission. Individuals will apply to a program rather than the school, and space for a given program is limited each year.
Programs offered include:
Admissions and Financial Aid
Individuals wishing to enroll at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo must complete the application for admission, provide all pertinent transcripts, write the required essays, provide teacher recommendations and any other information the school may ask for. Students will have their application reviewed by the school, and if they meet or exceed the requirements for admission, the student will be admitted to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Any California residents that meet the California State University GPA to SAT/ACT test score scale will be guaranteed admission to a California State University school, though not necessarily the one they have chosen.
Financial aid is available in the form of loans, grants, scholarships and work study programs. Students in need of financial assistance must complete the Free Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA), which is the primary source of information for the school's financial aid department when reviewing student need and aid program eligibility when constructing an aid packet. California residents are also eligible for CalGrants, which are offered based on academic success as well as need. Aid must be applied for prior to each academic year, and students should complete the process early to ensure they meet all posted deadlines.
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo participates in athletics through the NCAA Division 1. The school's mascot is Musty the Mustang, and the school maintains a rivalry with UC Santa Barbara. Individuals participating in athletics are required to maintain a certain level of academic performance. Individuals will also learn valuable skills, such as leadership, teamwork, and discipline. Interested students should contact the school's athletic department to begin the process of participation, including tryouts and forms.
Athletic programs include:
- Indoor Track
- Swimming and Diving
- Track and Field
- Cross Country
Admission Requirements & Details
The admissions information below may give an overview of the students California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo accepts. The details may include admissions application requirements and recommendations, as well as any college credits that may be transferred.
College Credits Accepted
- Dual Credits
- AP Course Credits
California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo has a total student population of about 21,000. The student body is made up of 96% undergraduate students and 24% graduate students.
Estimated Costs & Financial Aid
The average "out of pocket" cost of attendance, after any grants and scholarships are considered, is around $18,200. To calculate a more personalized cost visit the net price calculator. There is also a $55 application fee for students applying to the school. The figures listed below are for informational purposes only and do not represent current or future tuition, fees, and expenses.
Tuition & Fees Information
- Annual tuition range estimates:
- State Residents: $5,500-$6,600
- Out-of-State: $17,000-$19,960
Financial Aid Details
The table listed below helps break down the types of financial aid students receive and the percent receiving aid, as well as the average amount of aid per student per year.
|Percent of Students||Average Amount|
|Any Financial Aid||52%||-|
|Receiving Grants & Scholarships||47%||$5,621|
|Receiving Student Loans||27%||$5,890|
Academics & Student Services
Student ServicesTo help students and alumni, California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo may provide services including:
- Online course work available
- Remedial instructional courses
- Career path counseling
- Employing students to lower education costs
- Helping students find work after graduation
- Day care for children
California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo has an overall graduation rate which is close to 70%.
|Number of Year to Graduate||Percent of Entering Class|
|Students Graduating in 4 Years||29%|
|Graduating in 5 Years||32%|
|Graduating in 6 Years||8%|
Specialized Programs & Accreditations
- Art and Design Program
- * Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, Commission on Accreditation (since 1995)
- Dietetics Program
- * Accredited by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (since 1974)
- Music Program
- * Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, Commission on Accreditation (since 2003)
California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo is a Member of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), with many of the sports being in the NCAA Division I-AA classification. The most popular sports played are listed below:
- Baseball (Big West Conference)
- Basketball (Big West Conference)
- Track and Field (Big West Conference)
- Football (Big Sky Conference)
- Swimming and Diving
The program list below is organized by areas of study. The programs that have a link will direct you to the program's profile page where you can learn more about education requirements and career pathways.
Get more information about the programs offered by California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo by clicking the request information to the right.
(C) Certificate or Award | (A) Associate's | (B) Bachelor's | (M) Master's Degree | (D) Doctorate (PhD,...)
Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Business and Marketing Studies
Communications and Journalism
Computer and Information Sciences
English Language and Literature
Ethnic Cultural and Gender Studies
Foreign Languages and Literature
Health and Clinical Professions
Liberal Arts and Sciences
Mathematics and Statistics
Natural Resources and Conservation
Philosophy and Religious Studies
Public Administration and Social Services
Recreation and Fitness Studies
Security and Protective Services
Visual and Performing Arts
Other 4-Year Public Colleges
The list of schools below have been selected by researching which schools offer similar programs to California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo.
- California State University - Bakersfield in Bakersfield, CA (88 miles away)
- California State University - Monterey Bay in Seaside, CA (113 miles away)
- California State University - Fresno in Fresno, CA (116 miles away)
- California State University - Channel Islands in Camarillo, CA (121 miles away)
- California State University - Northridge in Northridge, CA (142 miles away)
Also, check out our college lists below, which can help students compare schools to one another: