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
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: Approximately 21,812 (Fall 2018)
Faculty (including part-time): 1,473 (Fall 2017) 
Staff (approx., including part-time, hourly and management, Fall 2017): State, 1,670
Student-to-Faculty Ratio (Fall 2017) 15:1

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
Total: 9,178 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: 65 bachelor's, 39 master's, 84 minors, 13 credentials
Total bachelor's degrees (1942-2017): 130,329
Total master's degrees (1951-2017): 12,754
Terms: Four 11-week quarters per year
Accredited/recognized programs: 31
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 2017

Men: 11,559 (52.1%) 
Women: 10,629 (47.9%)
Average age: 20.1
Geographic Origin of Freshmen:
San Francisco Bay Area: 26.6% 
Central Coast (San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Monterey counties): 7.1% 
Los Angeles area: 21.7% 
San Joaquin Valley: 6.7%
San Diego area: 8.4%
Sacramento area: 7.3% 
Other California Counties: 4.4%
Other U.S. states: 14.8% 
International Students: 0.9%
Annual Applicants: 58,304 (Fall 2017) 
5,253 first-time freshmen, 878 transfer (Fall 2017)
Enrolled first-time freshmen students' average high school GPA: 4.04 (Fall 2017)
Enrolled transfer students' average GPA: 3.41 (Fall 2017)
Enrolled first-time freshmen students' average ACT score: 30 (Fall 2017) 
Enrolled first-time freshmen students' average SAT 1 Math and Reading score: 1391 (Fall 2017)

Cal Poly Enrollment by College - Fall 2018
Ag, Food & Environmental Sciences 4,005 73 4,078
Architecture & Environmental Design 1,840 48 1,888
Engineering 5,921 250 6,171
Liberal Arts 3,348 91 3,439
Orfalea Business 3,088 36 3,124
Science & Math 2,784 262 3,046
Other 51 15 66
University Total 21,037 775 21,812

Click here for more information about the Student Body from Cal Poly's Institutional Research Office

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Graduates - Careers & Grad School 

(2016-17 Graduates)

Employed full-time or in graduate school within one year of graduation: 90%
Graduates employed full time within year after graduation: 75%
Employed part time: 1%
Attending graduate school: 15%
Median starting salary: $62,000
*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, tennis, track & field (all Big West Conference); wrestling (Pac-12 Conference), football (Big Sky Conference), swimming & diving (Mountain Pacific Sports Federation)
Women's NCAA Div. l: Basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field (indoor/outdoor), volleyball (all Big West Conference)
In intercollegiate sports: There are 598 students on rosters in 21 intercollegiate sports as of Fall 2017
Intramurals: About 10,400 students participate in about 900 teams in 20 sports, as of Fall 2017
Club Sports: Twenty-nine club sports teams with roughly 1,100 students participating on active rosters
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: 7,758 spaces in 14 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 7,744 Fall 2018 undergraduates on campus, including all first-time freshmen.
Food Service outlets: 25

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: 165,000 square feet of recreational space
Alex G. Spanos Stadium: 11,000+ seats 
Robert A. Mott Athletics Center: 3,032 seats
Parking: About 7,406 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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