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Cal Poly Quick Facts

Cal Poly Spring View

Cal Poly in Spring

Photo by Cal Poly alumnus Gregg Erickson
(M.S., 2006, Industrial and Technical Studies)


Full name: California Polytechnic State University
Usually referred to as: Cal Poly
Location: San Luis Obispo - about 230 miles south of San Francisco, 200 miles north of Los Angeles, 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean
Affiliation: Part of the 23-campus California State University system
Emphasis: Comprehensive undergraduate education, combining technical and professional curricula with the arts and humanities
Guiding philosophy: Learn by Doing
President: Jeffrey D. Armstrong


Student body: Roughly 18,762 (Fall 2011)
Faculty (including part-time): 1,244 (Fall 2011)
Staff (approx., including part-time, hourly and management, Fall 2009): State, 1,383; Corporation, 445; ASI, 84
Student-to-Faculty Ratio (Fall 2009) 19:1

Campus size:  

Main Campus: 1,321 acres, of which 155 are the campus core
San Luis Creek Ranches, adjacent to campus: 1,614 acres
Western Ranches, not contiguous to campus: 3,043 acres
Swanton Pacific Ranch, Santa Cruz County: 3,200 acres
Valencia Property, Santa Cruz County: 500 acres
Total: 9,678 acres.

Cal Poly is the second largest land-holding university in California, second only to UC Berkeley, and one of the largest land-holding universities in the nation. Cal Poly uses all of its land holdings in active support of the education of its students.

Browse this page for more Quick Facts or Skip to Sections On:
Academics | History | Student Body | Graduates & Careers | Annual Events | Sports | Buildings & Facilities


Programs offered: 64 bachelor's, 31 master's, one doctorate of education in association with UC Santa Barbara, 68 minors, 14 credentials
Total bachelor's degrees (1942-2011): 105,078
Total master's degrees (1951-2011): 9,468
Terms: Four 11-week quarters per year
Accredited/recognized programs: 30
Cost of Attendance: visit the Financial Aid website

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Founded as: Vocational high school
Founding legislation signed: March 8, 1901
First day of class: Oct. 1, 1903
First bachelor's degree: May 28,1942
1901-37: California Polytechnic School
1937-47: California State Polytechnic School
1947-72: California State Polytechnic College
1972- Present: California Polytechnic State University
Visit the Kennedy Library Web Archive of Cal Poly History

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Student Body

Fall 2011
Men: 10,400 (54%)
Women: 8,362 (46%)
Average age: 20.2
Geographic Origin of Freshmen:
San Francisco Bay Area: 29.1%
Central Coast (San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Monterey counties): 8.2%
Los Angeles area: 23.3%
San Joaquin Valley: 7.2%
San Diego area: 9.2%
Sacramento area: 7.3%
Other California: 5.2%
Other states: 10%
International Students: 0.5%
Annual Applications for approximately 4,000 freshman seats: 33,000+ (Fall 2011)
4,316 first time freshmen, 808 transfer (Fall 2011)
First-time freshmen students' average high school GPA: 3.84 (Fall 2011)
Transfer students' average GPA: 3.35
First-time freshmen students' average ACT score: 27 (Fall 2011)
First-time freshmen students' average SAT 1 Reading score: 593 (Fall 2011)
First-time freshmen students' average SAT 1 Math score: 633 (Fall 2011)

Cal Poly Enrollment by College - Fall 2011
College Undergrad Postbacc/Grad Total
Ag, Food & Environmental Sciences 3,646 94 3,740
Architecture & Environmental Design 1,418 77 1,495
Engineering 5,045 433 5,478
Liberal Arts 2,648 141 2,789
Orfalea Business 2,309 31 2,340
Science & Math 2,586 248 2,834
Other* 73 13 86
University Total 17,725 1,037 18,762

*Cuesta College agriculture students, high school students, senior citizens, Cal Poly faculty and staff members, and others taking classes
Click here for more information about the Student Body from Cal Poly's Institutional Research Office

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Graduates - Careers & Grad School (2009-2010 Graduates)

Employed full-time or in graduate school within one year of graduation: 82%
Graduates employed full time within year after graduation:
Employed part time: 6%
Attending graduate school: 17%
Median starting salary: $50,000
*based on most recent survey data
Visit the Cal Poly Career Services Web site for more information on Graduates and Career Placement

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Annual Events

Week of Welcome and Fall Conference (start of the academic year): September
Homecoming: October or November
Commencement: December and June
Open House (formerly Poly Royal): mid- April
Visit the Cal Poly Events & Entertainment Calendar of public events | Visit the Campus Master Calendar

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Mascot: Mustangs
University colors:
Green and gold
Men's NCAA Div. l: Baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field (all Big West Conference); wrestling (Pac-10), football (Big Sky Conference)
Women's NCAA Div. l: Basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field (indoor/outdoor), volleyball (all Big West Conference)
Intramurals: About 2,300 students participate in about 320 teams in 14 sports, two tournaments annually
Club Sports: About 20 recreational and competitive sport clubs
Click here for more information about Cal Poly NCAA Sports
Click here for details about club and rec sports (ASI website)

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Buildings & Facilities

Space: 5.8 million square feet in 149 major buildings with a replacement value of $500 million
On-campus student housing: 6,300+ spaces in nine residence halls and two apartment-style complexes: Cerro Vista, with space for 800 students, and Poly Canyon Village, with space for 2,660 students. Cal Poly housed 34.6 percent of Fall 2009 undergraduates on campus, and 95.5 percent of fall 2009 first-time freshmen on campus.
Food Service outlets: 20

Notable Facilities Include:

Robert E. Kennedy Library: 208,433 square feet
Julian A. McPhee University Union: 106,000 square feet, including Chumash Auditorium (seats 940)
Galleries: University Union Gallery; University Art Gallery, Dexter Building; Kennedy Library's Photo Option Gallery
Performing Arts Center - Cal Poly Theatre: 497 seats; Christopher Cohan Center  - Harman Hall seats 1,298
ASI Recreation Center: 91,559 square feet (main hall seats 4,000)
Mustang Stadium: 11,000+ seats
Robert A. Mott Gym: 3,032 seats
Parking: About 8,700 spaces
Outdoor Favorites: Poly Canyon, agriculture units, Cal Poly Organic Farm, Cal Poly U-Pick Orchards
Click here for more information about Cal Poly Facilities

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