Departments & Programs
Students working in a laboratory. Photo by Jerry Garns.
Cal Poly Engineering offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate programs as diverse as Aerospace and Environmental Engineering. See below for details and department websites.
Undergraduate Departments & Programs
Aeronautics focuses on systems that operate in the Earth's atmosphere and Astronautics on those operating in space. Within each division, your choice of a career path can take you on a journey through widely varying disciplines as you advance through the ranks of an organization.
Biomedical Engineering is an interdisciplinary field in which engineering principles and tools are applied to solve biomedical problems. By its very nature, it is broad and requires a depth of understanding in engineering as well as in physiology and other biological sciences. Biomedical Engineering plays an increasingly important role in medicine and in projects that range from basic research in physiology to advances in biotechnology and the improvement of health care delivery.
Civil & Environmental Engineering
The Bachelor of Science degrees in Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering emphasize the study of engineering principles and the application of scientific knowledge and technology for the betterment of humankind. The program stresses the team design concept and systems approach to problem solving.
The Computer Engineering major is an interdisciplinary program resting on the foundations of two departments: Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.
Computer Science & Software Engineering
The Computer Science Department educates students in the disciplines of computer science and software engineering, and teaches them to apply their education to solve practical problems in a socially responsible way. Pursuant to the department's educational mission, faculty engage in research and professional development that allows them to remain current in their fields and to provide technological leadership to the university community.
The Cal Poly Electrical Engineering Department serves many undergraduate and graduate students. With its large number of laboratory classes and high degree of instructor-student interaction, the Department is able to achieve the Cal Poly motto: 'Learn by doing'.
The General Engineering program is designed for students who are interested in pursuing a course of study whose scope reaches beyond the established curriculum of any single department. The flexibility of the General Engineering curriculum allows students the latitude in course selection needed to educate themselves either in the classical study of engineering or in a self-selected interdisciplinary emphasis area that requires a strong engineering foundation. Examples of some of the emphasis areas pursued by General Engineering majors include chemical engineering, sustainable energy, entrepreneurship, product design, and audio engineering.
Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering
Industrial Engineering students design, install, and improve systems that integrate people, technology, materials, and information.
Materials engineers deal with materials spanning the spectrum from steels for large bridges, buildings, pipelines, and similar structures to ultra-light, high-strength materials used in modern aerospace applications. Materials engineers are heavily involved in the advances being made with high-temperature, superconducting ceramics, and with biomedical device applications.
The Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering concerns itself primarily with the design, construction, and use of a wide variety of equipment ranging from manufacturing machinery and power generation equipment to consumer goods. Of primary concern to the mechanical engineer is the proper application of solid mechanics, fluid mechanics, and thermodynamics in the design, manufacturing, and use of this equipment
Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies
The LAES program is a hybrid study of engineering and technology components enriched with the appropriate features of culture, arts and the humanities that includes specializations in the study of sound and music, theater, public policy, interactive design, intercultural communication, and a wide range of other innovative technical careers.
Graduate Degree Programs
M.S. Aerospace Engineering
The Master of Science program in Aerospace Engineering prepares the student for entry into a well-established field of aerospace engineering. Two versions of the master’s program are available.: MS Aerospace Engineering with Specialization in Research or MS Aerospace Engineering with Specialization in Space Systems Engineering. A blended BS+MS degree is also available.
Civil & Environmental Engineering
The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers a Master of Science (M.S.) degree program as well as a blended B.S. + M.S. program. Links to these programs are provided below. In addition, the Department offers M.S. degree programs with specializations in Transportation Planning and Water Engineering. These specialized degree programs are offered in cooperation with the College of Architecture and Environmental Design and the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences, respectively.
The MS program in Computer Science offers students the opportunity to prepare for careers in several areas of emphasis, including software engineering, computer architecture, programming languages, theory of computing, operating systems, database systems, distributed computing, computer networks, artificial intelligence, computer graphics, and human-computer interaction. A blended BS+MS degree is also offered.
Electrical engineering graduates will find opportunities for research and development, design, construction and manufacturing, sales and applications, field engineering, and management in a variety of disciplines.
Fire Protection Engineering
The Master of Science (MS) degree in Fire Protection Engineering is only the third graduate program in Fire Protection Engineering in the United States and the first one to be located on the West Coast. Fire protection engineers use science and technology to protect people, property and businesses from destructive fires. They analyze how buildings are used, how fires start, how fires grow, and how fire and smoke affects people, buildings and property. Fire protection engineers work with architects and other engineers, state and local building officials and local fire departments to build and maintain fire safe communities. They make recommendations for cost effective fire protection solutions to ensure that the structure, and the property and occupants contained within are adequately protected.
The IME Department offers three graduate programs and a five-year BS+MS blended program:
- ME-IE - a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering.
- ITM - a Master of Science in Engineering with specialization in Integrated Technology Management (ITM).
- EMP - a joint MBA/MS in Engineering with specialization in Engineering Management (offered with the College of Business).
- Blended - A five-year program that allows students to work toward a BS and a Master of Science (MS) at the same time.
The Mechanical Engineering department offers both a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering (MSME) as well as a blended program leading to MSME degree. The only difference between the two programs is that up to 8 units of undergraduate technical electives may be double-counted towards the masters requirements. Other differences between the two programs are only internal and relate to the process of application and financial aid. In blended programs the undergraduate degree is not awarded until requirements for both BS and MS are satisfied.
Engineering Programs in other Colleges
The architectural engineering (ARCE) curriculum prepares students for professional careers in the structural design of buildings. This program goes beyond sound fundamentals of science and mathematics to stress the practical application of interdisciplinary design principles.
The major is located in the College of Architecture & Environmental Design.
BioResource & Agricultural Engineering
The BioResource and Agricultural Engineering major at Cal Poly offers hands-on experience in a wide range of engineering skill areas including irrigation, mechanical design, structures, agricultural safety, renewable energy and waste treatment, electronics and control systems, and resource information systems.
The major is located in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.