Cal Poly Earns 27th Consecutive Best in the West Ranking from U.S. News

University is the region’s top public-masters once again, while its College of Engineering is the best public program in California and eighth best in the nation

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly has been named the best public, master’s-level university in the West by U.S. News & World Report’s annual America’s Best Colleges guidebook for the 27th straight year.

The 2020 guidebook, which ranked 1,921 colleges and universities across the nation, lists Cal Poly in fourth overall in the West — up eight spots from last year’s rankings.

The Western regional list includes public and private institutions in 15 states that provide “a full range of undergraduate and master’s-level programs but few doctoral programs.” (Universities that grant doctoral degrees, such as those in the University of California system, are listed in a separate category.)

The U.S. News ranking comes on the heels of Forbes again naming Cal Poly the top public masters-level university in California and cracking the magazine’s annual list of Top 25 public and private universities in the West.

“These rankings recognize the outstanding work our students are pursuing through Learn by Doing, working toward careers in such diverse fields as agriculture, architecture, engineering, the sciences, teaching fields, and the arts,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “National honors and accolades establish Cal Poly’s reputation and highlight the efforts of our faculty and staff to help prepare our graduates to become future innovators, ready Day One to solve the complex problems facing our world.”

Cal Poly placed highly in several additional rankings for regional universities, including:

— Ranked No. 1 as a Top Public Schools among schools that operate under the supervision of state governments and funded, in part, by tax dollars and state subsidies. These universities often offer discounted tuition to residents of their states.

— Remained as Best in the West for Most Innovative Schools — institutions making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.

— Eighth on the list of best master’s/bachelor’s engineering programs in the nation — and top California-ranked university. Among specialty programs, Cal Poly’s industrial/manufacturing program was ranked No. 1; computer engineering; mechanical engineering, and electrical/electronic/communications all ranked No. 2; and civil engineering ranked at No. 3.

— Tied for first (with Whitworth University, a private Christian liberal arts college in Spokane, Washington) on the magazine’s list of best undergraduate teaching programs in the West — universities that put a particular focus on teaching undergraduate students, rather than focusing on graduate-level research. Cal Poly improved from eighth place last year.

— Second, up from sixth-place in 2019, in the West for most veteran-friendly universities — a listing that shows which top-ranked schools participate in federal initiatives helping veterans and active-duty service members pay for their degrees.

— Ranked in the top 100 (87th) in the Top Performers on Social Mobility category that “advances social mobility” by enrolling and graduating large proportions of disadvantaged students awarded with Pell Grants. The bulk of these federal grants are awarded to students whose adjusted gross family incomes are under $50,000.

The U.S. News rankings methodology focuses on academic excellence, with schools evaluated on hundreds of data points and measures of academic quality, such as graduation and freshman retention rates.

For more on Cal Poly’s U.S. News ranking, visit:

Contact: Matt Lazier

September 9, 2019

# # #

Related Content