College of Engineering

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Engineering Bldg. (192), Room 301
Phone: 805.756.2131 

Dean: Amy Fleischer
Executive Associate Dean: Rakesh K. Goel
Associate Dean: Robert Crockett
Associate Dean: Eric Mehiel

Academic Programs

Program name Program type
Aerospace Engineering BS*, MS
Biomedical Engineering BS, MS, Specialization
Civil and Environmental Engineering MS
Civil Engineering BS*
Computer Engineering BS*
Computer Science BS**, MS, Minor
Electrical Engineering BS*, MS
Engineering Management MS
Environmental Engineering BS*
Fire Protection Engineering MS
General Engineering BS
Industrial Engineering BS*, MS
Manufacturing Engineering BS*
Materials Engineering BS*
Mechanical Engineering BS*, MS
Software Engineering BS*

Joint Programs

Program name Program type
Cross Disciplinary Studies Minor in Bioinformatics Minor
Cross Disciplinary Studies Minor in Computing for Interactive Arts Minor
Cross Disciplinary Studies Minor in Data Science Minor
Cross Disciplinary Studies Minor in Heavy Civil Minor
Environmental Studies Minor
Liberal Arts & Engineering Studies BA
Specialization in Transportation Planning Concurrent CE-MS/MCRP

Graduate Certificate Programs 

Program name Program type
Fire Protection Engineering Applications Certificate
Fire Protection Engineering Science Certificate

Engineering and computer science programs at Cal Poly are strongly oriented toward preparing graduates for immediate entry into professional practice. Students declare their majors when they enter as freshmen, and they generally take at least one course in that major each quarter. This early introduction better motivates and prepares students to master the foundational mathematics, basic science, and engineering science or computer science central to success in all the engineering disciplines.

The undergraduate bachelors of science engineering disciplines listed above provide the education needed for entry to the engineering profession and for continued academic work toward advanced degrees. Many of our graduates enter graduate programs at Cal Poly or other institutions. Cal Poly engineering and computer science graduates are highly desired by industry and find a variety of professional opportunities awaiting them, such as engineering design, computer hardware and software engineering, test and evaluation, systems analysis, modeling and simulation, manufacturing, applied research, development, sales and field engineering. Graduates pursue careers in a broad cross-section of industry, government agencies, public utilities, marketing groups, and educational institutions.

The College of Engineering is an internationally-recognized, premier undergraduate engineering college. Its mission is to provide an excellent Learn by Doing education and to graduate in-demand, Day One-ready professionals. The College vision is to transform students into world class, innovative and collaborative engineers to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

State-of-the-art facilities and laboratories form the core of Engineering’s project-centered curriculum. Ranging from the Aircraft Design Lab to the Rotor Dynamics Laboratory, these facilities offer advanced technological systems that allow students to link theory with practice. College buildings also promote interdisciplinary project activities, including the Advanced Technology Laboratories, Bonderson Projects Center, and Engineering IV. With 19,000 square feet of space for individual and team-based projects, the Bonderson Center offers enriched opportunities for multidisciplinary projects and collaboration with industry. Engineering IV, a 104,000-square-foot building includes modern classrooms and laboratories for aerospace, mechanical, civil, environmental, industrial and manufacturing engineering programs.

Engineering Student Services

Engineering South (40), Room 115
Phone: 805.756.1461
Director: Kim Marsalek

Engineering Student Services provides an inclusive, respectful, encouraging environment that fosters the retention and graduation of all undergraduate engineering students.  Through our Advising, Multicultural Engineering (MEP), and International Exchange Program (IEP) our staff provides comprehensive services to guide and empower students to achieve their goals.

Advising Center

Engineering South (40), Room 115
Phone: 805.756.1461

Senior Academic Advisor: Dawn Sirois
Academic Advisor: Ashlee Burt
Academic Advisor: Greg Roldan
Academic Advisor: Jamey Stamets
Academic Advisor: Maria Zavala

As a division of Engineering Student Services, the Advising Program is dedicated to providing accurate and timely academic resources and guidance to undergraduate engineering students.  Through a welcoming and inclusive environment, advising’s services promote student success and development while assisting students in navigating the curricula and university polices to reach their goals.

Multicultural Engineering Program (MEP)

Engineering South (40), Room 115
Phone: 805.756.1433

Coordinator: Meghan Schuler-Jones
MEP Advisor: Candy Janiam
Retention Advisor: Katie McGuire

As a division of  Engineering Student Services the Multicultural Engineering Program (MEP) is an academic support program designed to retain and graduate students who continue to remain underrepresented in engineering. MEP leverages a strong support network to build a community and provide the necessary bridges for students academic, personal, and professional success.

International Exchange Program (IEP)

Engineering South (40), Room 115
Phone: 805.756.1461

IEP Advisor: Maria Zavala

As a division of Engineering Student Services, the International Exchange Program (IEP) partners with engineering universities around the world.  IEP strives to expose engineering students to the increasing demands of our global economy while allowing students to make progress towards their engineering degree.

Women’s Engineering Program (WEP)

Engineering South (13), Room 216
Phone: 805.756.2350

Director: Helene Finger
The mission of the Women’s Engineering Program (WEP) is to recruit and retain women engineering and computer science students by focusing on outreach, on-campus support and professional preparation objectives. To meet these objectives, WEP works closely with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Cal Poly student section, one of the top student sections in the nation, in supporting a variety of programs directed at pre-college, undergraduate and graduate students.

Outreach activities are directed at students from kindergarten through community college. These programs are designed to encourage pre-university women and girls to consider engineering as a career choice. Outreach recruitment activities include: Building an Engineer workshops, High School Shadow an Engineering Student day, Girl Scout Engineering Badge day, robotics competitions, elementary school workshops, and career fairs.

The Women’s Engineering Program provides on-campus support to Cal Poly women engineering students through a variety of academic, leadership and social activities. These activities help students connect to their peers while concurrently assisting them in achieving their educational goals.

On-campus support activities include: scholarships, academic counseling and referrals, pre-registration counseling, big sibling program, test files, SWE meetings, social events, and community service activities.

Professional preparation activities are designed to prepare students for a productive career by facilitating networking with professionals and corporations. Professional preparation activities include: Evening With Industry banquet, Team Tech national design competition, Industry Tours, Resume Book, bi-weekly industry presentations and corporate information sessions.

Graduate Programs

MS Fire Protection Engineering

General Characteristics

The profession of Fire Protection Engineering is directed toward the identification, analysis and mitigation of fire hazards and risks across a broad spectrum of applications, including buildings, consumer products, industrial processes, transportation vehicles, infrastructure facilities and the wildland-urban interface.

The Master of Science in Fire Protection Engineering prepares individuals to assess and reduce the potential for property and human loss from fire in these and other settings. Students learn to analyze how buildings are used, how fires start, how fires grow, and how fire and smoke affect people, buildings and property. Fire protection engineers use the latest engineering and construction technologies to:

  1. Design systems that control fires, alert people to danger and provide means for escape;
  2. Evaluate buildings to identify fire risks of and the means to prevent or mitigate them;
  3. Conduct fire safety research on consumer products and construction materials; and
  4. Investigate fires to discover how fires start, how they spread, why protective measures fail, and how those measures could be designed more effectively.

To meet these program goals, the fire protection engineering curriculum requires that students successfully complete a total of 45 units including a fire protection engineering project as the culminating experience (FPE 596). The culminating experience will be innovative and require independent thinking. Typically, the students will perform a detailed fire and life safety evaluation of a selected building, the preparation of a comprehensive report documenting the results of this evaluation and the presentation of their analysis and findings in an oral defense to a review committee. Other innovative culminating experiences of similar scope and complexity may be submitted for approval.

Program Goals

The Fire Protection Engineering program is designed to build on the skills, knowledge, and broad engineering principles students acquire in an undergraduate engineering program. The required and elective courses composing the Master of Science degree in Fire Protection Engineering address the specific body of knowledge required by the fire protection engineering profession. Students completing the program will possess the technical knowledge, skills and tools required to practice fire protection engineering in a variety of local, national and international settings. Upon completion of this program, students should possess the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue professional certification and licensure in the fire protection engineering discipline. Furthermore, the program addresses unique fire challenges faced by California and other western states, including wildland-urban interface fires and post-earthquake fires.


For admission as a classified graduate student, an applicant should hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a closely related field from a regionally accredited institution, college, or university. An undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 is required. On occasion, where other credentials are exceptionally strong, a GPA in the 2.5-3.0 range may be accepted.

Tuition and Fees

As a special session program through Extended Education, the MS Fire Protection Engineering program is administratively and academically completely self-supporting. As such, the program carries a separate tuition and fee schedule. Please refer to for the current cost of the program.

Degree Requirements and Curriculum

Graduate Certificate Programs

Fire Protection Engineering Applications

General Characteristics

The courses offered in the Fire Protection Engineering Applications graduate certificate program will prepare students for a specialized career in fire protection engineering. Students completing the certificate program will be prepared for careers in:

  • Consulting/Design Engineering Firms
  • Fire Equipment and Systems Manufacturers
  • Hospitals and Health Care Facilities
  • Insurance Industry
  • Research and Testing Laboratories
  • Fire Departments
  • Government

The fire protection engineering applications curriculum requires that students successfully complete a total of 16 units. 

Degree Requirements and Curriculum

Fire Protection Engineering Science

General Characteristics

The courses offered in the Fire Protection Engineering Science graduate certificate program will prepare students for a specialized career in fire protection engineering. Students completing the certificate program will be prepared for careers in:

  • Forensic Investigations;
  • Nuclear Fire Safety;
  • Fire Science Research (R&D facility, Testing Lab, etc.)
  • Government
  • Fire Departments

The fire protection engineering science curriculum requires that students successfully complete a total of 16 units. 

Degree Requirements and Curriculum

Fire Protection Engineering Science & Fire Protection Engineering Applications

Tuition and Fees

As a special session programs through Extended Education, the MS Fire Protection Engineering program and Fire Protection Engineering graduate certificate are administratively and academically completely self-supporting. As such, the programs carry a separate tuition and fee schedule. Please refer to for the current cost of the program.

How to Read Course Descriptions

FPE Courses

FPE 500. Individual Study. 1-4 units

Prerequisite: Consent of graduate coordinator and supervising faculty member.

Advanced study planned and completed under the direction of a member of the program faculty. Open only to graduate students in the FPE program who have demonstrated ability to do independent work. FPE 500 must be taken as a 4-unit class when substituting for a required course in the FPE program.

FPE 501. Fundamental Thermal Sciences. 4 units

Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.

Introduction to the thermal sciences, including thermodynamics, fluid dynamics and heat transfer, as they relate to fire protection engineering. Includes 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics, conservation relations, hydrostatics, internal and external flows, and heat transfer by conduction, convection and radiation. 4 lectures.

FPE 502. Fire Dynamics. 4 units

Prerequisite: FPE 501 or consent of instructor.

First exposure to fire dynamics phenomena. Includes fundamental fire and combustion topics such as thermodynamics of combustion, fire chemistry, premixed and diffusion flames, ignition, burning of liquids and solids, heat release rates, flame spread and fire plumes. 4 lectures.

FPE 503. Flammability Assessment Methods. 4 units

Prerequisite: FPE 502.

Characterization of flammability properties of gaseous, liquid and solid materials. Fire test methods for evaluating flammability properties of materials and burning characteristics of products. Overview of regulatory requirements for restricting the flammability of products and materials used in buildings. 4 lectures.

FPE 504. Fire Modeling. 4 units

Prerequisite: FPE 502, FPE 503.

Fire modeling techniques for fire safety assessment. Application of various engineering correlations and computer-based fire models, including zone models and computational fluid dynamics models, to representative fire problems. 4 lectures.

FPE 521. Egress Analysis and Design. 4 units

Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.

Regulatory requirements for egress systems in buildings, including occupancy classifications, occupant loads, means of egress components and exit capacities. Introduction to human behavior in fire and to methods for calculating people movement under emergency conditions, including computer-based evacuation models. 4 lectures.

FPE 522. Fire Detection, Alarm and Communication Systems. 4 units

Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.

Analysis of the operating characteristics of fire detection devices and alarm notification appliances. Introduction to modern fire alarm systems and components. Introduction to mass communication systems. Current installation and approval standards. 4 lectures.

FPE 523. Water-based Fire Suppression. 4 units

Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

Analysis and design of water-based fire suppression systems, including water supply analysis and hydraulic calculations. Overview and design considerations for automatic sprinkler, water spray, water mist and foam suppression systems. Typical contemporary installations and current installation and approval standards. 4 lectures.

FPE 524. Structural Fire Protection. 4 units

Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.

Regulation and analysis procedures for structural components of wood, steel, concrete, composites. Structural capabilities, modifications under fire induced exposures. Calculation methods for predicting fire resistance of structural components. Definition of types of building construction. 4 lectures.

FPE 551. Fire Safety Regulation and Management. 4 units

Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.

Use of model building and fire codes, administrative regulation, retrospective codes, performance-based codes, and risk-based regulation to manage fire safety. Identification and application of different fire risk management tools and techniques. 4 lectures.

FPE 552. Smoke Management and Special Hazards. 4 units

Prerequisite: FPE 502 and FPE 504.

Analysis and design of smoke management systems. Assessment of smoke hazards. Identification of special hazards. Analysis and design of fire suppression systems used for fire control of special hazards, including gaseous and chemical agents and systems. 4 lectures.

FPE 554. Forensic Fire Analysis. 4 units

Prerequisite: Consent of graduate coordinator and instructor. Recommended: FPE 504.

Introduction to the processes of fire investigation and reconstruction. Engineering analysis of structural and wildland fires. Identification of failure mechanisms in fire safety systems. Case studies of actual fire incidents to address and reinforce concepts related to different types of system and performance failures. 4 lectures.

FPE 555. Fire Protection Management in the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI). 4 units

Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor. Recommended: LA/NR 318 and NR 340.

Social, economic, political, and technological issues affecting fire management in urbanized landscapes where fire continues its ecological role. Fire risk analysis; needs assessment, legislative codes, standards and policies; liability issues; evacuation; incident response planning. 3 lectures, 1 laboratory.

FPE 556. Advanced Heat Transfer III. 4 units

Prerequisite: ME 347 or FPE 502; ME 343 or ME 350.

Advanced principles of heat transfer. Classical solution techniques to problems in radiation with applications related to the role of radiation heat transfer in the development of fire in buildings. 4 lectures. Crosslisted as FPE/ME 556.

FPE 593. Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for Fire Protection Engineering. 1-5 units

Prerequisite: Consent of Graduate Coordinator.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) to gain work experience directly related to fire protection engineering. Intended for international students. CPT work authorization is required for all paid or non-paid, part- or full-time employment and internships. Total credit limited to 5 units.

FPE 596. Culminating Experience in Fire Protection Engineering. 1-5 units

Prerequisite: FPE 504, advanced graduate standing, completion of, or concurrent enrollment in, engineering courses in program, and consent of instructor.

Performance of comprehensive fire and life safety evaluations of buildings and other structures. Communication of the results and findings of such evaluations in written report and by oral presentation. Conducted under supervision of faculty.

FPE 599. Design Thesis. 1-9 units

Prerequisite: Consent of graduate coordinator and graduate standing.

Each individual will be assigned a thesis project for solution under faculty supervision as a requirement for the master's degree, culminating in a written thesis.