Cal Poly

Prospective Students

Discover Why Students Love Cal Poly

Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, four-year, comprehensive public university located in San Luis Obispo, halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on California's Central Coast. It is a distinctive learning community offering academically focused students a hands-on educational experience that prepares them for today's scientific and technical world. Visit the Admissions page for prospective students.

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The Cal Poly Academic Year

The Cal Poly academic year is approximately nine months long and consists of three quarters with an optional summer quarter:

  • Fall Quarter - Mid-September to Mid-December
  • Winter Quarter - Early January to Mid-March
  • Spring Quarter - Late March to Mid-June
  • Summer Quarter - Late June to Mid-September

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Degree-Seeking Students

How to Apply

If you are interested in obtaining a degree from Cal Poly, visit the International Admissions website for detailed information on how to apply. Generally, undergraduates are admitted for fall quarter only and graduate students are admitted for fall or winter quarter. Some graduate programs are limited to fall admission only. The application window to submit the online application for Cal Poly admission for fall quarter is open from October 1st to November 30th of the previous year. There is a later deadline to submit supporting materials. For more information, refer to the International Admissions website or contact Admissions at (805) 756-2311 or

Cost of Attendance

Refer to the Cost of Attendance page for an estimate of current tuition fees and living expenses. International students pay an additional $248 per unit of non-resident tuition. Visit the Money and Budget page to see more costs incurred by international students.

Requesting an I-20

Once you have been admitted to Cal Poly, International Center will contact you to provide information for your I-20 including proof of funds and a copy of your passport. Refer to the Requesting an I-20 page for more information. You will use your I-20 to apply for an F-1 visa or to travel and re-enter to Cal Poly if you are a transfer student. We will also send you pre-departure and orientation information. Most degree-seeking students require an F-1 Student visa. If you already have a visa other than F-1, please check with Judy Mitchell to find out if you need to change your visa status to F-1 or if you may stay with your current visa.

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Exchange Students

Cal Poly International Exchange Programs

Cal Poly has individual exchange agreements with universities around the world. You can view the list of Cal Poly Exchange Programs with our partner universities. Students on exchange programs pay fees at their home university. Other costs include travel, living expenses, health insurance, and books.

CSU International Exchange Programs

Another way to attend Cal Poly as an exchange student may be possible through California State University (CSU) International Programs. Use the link above to find a list of exchanges and see if there is a system-wide exchange established with your university.

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VISIT Cal Poly Students

Students may apply through the VISIT Program for short-term non-degree programs offered by Cal Poly Extended Education. Once accepted to the program, International Center will prepare your I-20 which you will use to apply for an F-1 Student visa.

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Financial Aid

With the exception of athletic scholarships and non-resident tuition waivers for graduate students, Cal Poly does not provide financial aid to international students. Our Financial Aid page can assist you in your research of options available to you.

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© 2015 California Polytechnic State University Cal Poly International Center
Building 52, Room E32
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
Phone: (805) 756-1477
Fax: (805) 756-5484