Graduate Education

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Graduate Education
Science Bldg. (52), Room D27A
Phone: 805.756.2328; Email: grad@calpoly.edu

Prospective Graduate Students

Cal Poly offers over 35 Master's degree programs covering all of our six colleges:

  • College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES)
  • College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED)
  • Orfalea College of Business (OCOB)
  • College of Engineering (CENG)
  • College of Liberal Arts (CLA)
  • College of Science and Mathematics (CSM) and School of Education (SOE)

A complete listing of our graduate programs can be found on the Cal Poly Graduate Education site.

Application for Admission

An application for admission to a Master’s program is available at Cal State Apply. The Cal State Apply system allows students to browse through general information about CSU's twenty-three campuses, view multimedia campus presentations, send and receive electronic responses to specific questions, and apply for admission and financial aid.

All graduate and post-baccalaureate applicants (e.g., Master’s degree applicants, those seeking educational credentials, or graduate certificates) must file a complete graduate application as described in the graduate and post-baccalaureate admission materials at Cal Poly Admissions. Applicants who completed undergraduate degree requirements on a CSU campus and graduated the preceding term are also required to complete and submit an application and pay the $70 nonrefundable application fee.

The CSU advises prospective students to supply complete and accurate information on the application for admission, residence questionnaire, and financial aid forms. Further, applicants must submit Official Transcripts from their bachelor-granting institution directly from the issuing institution to the Cal Poly Admissions Office. Failure to complete, accurate, and authentic application documents may result in denial of admission, cancellation of academic credit, suspension, or expulsion (Section 41301, Article 1.1, Title 5, California Code of Regulations).

Applicants for graduate programs should refer to the Cal Poly Admissions Office website for program specific deadlines. Many Cal Poly graduate programs require applicants to complete the GRE; please check with the Cal Poly Admissions website for requirements for each program at Admissions Dates and Deadlines.

Applicants who earned a Cal Poly bachelor’s degree may be granted an exemption from the GRE requirement; however, specific programs may waive this exemption and still require the GRE for all applicants. Please keep in mind that any applicant (external or Cal Poly undergraduate) with an undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or lower will be required to take the GRE and demonstrate results that are at the 50-percentile or higher (Quant, Verbal and Writing) to be considered for admission.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate Admission Requirements

 Graduate and post-baccalaureate applicants may apply for a degree objective, a credential or graduate certificate objective. Depending on the objective, the CSU considers an application for admission as follows:

  • General Requirements -- The minimum requirements for admission to graduate and post-baccalaureate studies at a California State University campus are in accordance with university regulations as well as Title 5, chapter 1, sub-chapter 3 of the California Code of Regulations.
  • Specifically, a student shall at the time of enrollment:
  1. have completed a four-year college course of study and hold an acceptable baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association, or shall have completed equivalent academic preparation as determined by appropriate campus authorities;
  2. be in good standing at the last college or university attended;
  3. have attained a grade point average of at least 2.5 (A = 4.0) in an acceptable earned baccalaureate degree; any applicant with an undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or lower will be required to take the GRE and demonstrate results that are at the 50th percentile or higher to be considered for admission; and
  4. satisfactorily meet the professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards for graduate study, including qualifying examinations, as appropriate campus authorities may prescribe. In unusual circumstances, a campus may make exceptions to these criteria.
  • A student who meets the minimum requirements for graduate and post-baccalaureate studies may be considered for admission in one of the four following categories:
    • Graduate Classified -- To pursue a graduate degree, applicants are required to fulfill all of the professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards, including qualifying examinations, prescribed by the campus.
    • Graduate Conditionally Classified -- Applicants may be admitted to a graduate degree program in this category if, in the opinion of appropriate campus authority, deficiencies can be remedied by additional preparation.
    • Post-Baccalaureate Classified -- e.g., admission to an education credential program -- Persons wishing to enroll in a credential or certificate program, will be required to satisfy additional professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards, including qualifying examinations, prescribed by the campus.
    • Post-Baccalaureate Unclassified -- To enroll in undergraduate courses as preparation for advanced degree programs or to enroll in graduate courses for professional or personal growth, applicants must be admitted as post-baccalaureate unclassified students. By meeting the minimum requirements, applicants are eligible for admission as post-baccalaureate unclassified students. Admission in this status does not constitute admission to, or assurance of consideration for admission to, any graduate degree or credential program. (Most CSU campuses do not offer admission to unclassified post-baccalaureate students).

Residency Status Determination

The campus Admissions Office determines the residency status of all new and returning students for nonresident tuition purposes. Responses to the application for admission and, if necessary, other evidence furnished by the student are used in making this determination. A student who fails to submit adequate information to establish a right to classification as a California resident is classified as a nonresident. For detailed explanation please refer to Cal Poly Admissions Residency for Tuition Purposes.

International (Foreign) Student Admission Requirements

The CSU must assess the academic preparation of foreign students. For this purpose, "foreign students" include those who hold U.S. temporary visas as students, exchange visitors, or in other non-immigrant classifications. The CSU uses separate requirements and application filing dates in the admission of "foreign students". All graduate and post-baccalaureate applicants, regardless of citizenship, whose native language is not English and whose preparatory education was principally in a language other than English must demonstrate competence in English. Those who do not possess a bachelor’s degree from a post-secondary institution where English is the principal language of instruction must take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing system (IELTS) exam, or another exam as indicated and approved by Cal Poly Admissions.

The Office of Admissions completes an initial portfolio review that includes verification of an equivalent B.A./B.S. degree, a determination of the appropriate level of study and an evaluation of all work completed. The Office of Admissions notifies all applicants of the documents needed to complete their portfolios. Graduate coordinators may require additional documentation to assist them in determining an applicant's suitability for the program of study.

The process for filing an international application can be found at Cal Poly Admissions International Student.