About the Cal Poly Architecture Department

Architecture is one of five departments in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED), along with Architectural EngineeringCity and Regional PlanningConstruction Management, and Landscape Architecture.  This unique combination of disciplines, all responsible in some way for the conception and production of the built environment, makes possible an integrative and interdisciplinary approach to the learning of architecture. For additional information, visit the CAED's web page.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Architecture Department is to provide diverse and comprehensive educational opportunities for persons preparing to serve society as responsible, ethical and creative individuals involved in the design of a sustainable built environment through the profession of architecture.

The department achieves its mission through excellence in teaching, scholarship, creative work, and service. We have a strong commitment to providing a learning environment that develops the ability to make design judgments that integrate and synthesize technical, contextual, environmental, and experiential issues in the creation of the built environment.

Departmental Goals

  • To create a teaching/learning environment that develops an ability and passion for the lifelong pursuit of knowledge and understanding in the design of the physical environment and the practice of architecture.
  • To create teaching, learning and work environments that support physical and mental health and personal and professional growth.
  • To provide educational opportunities to pursue design excellence, technical knowledge and contextual understanding in the creation of the built environment.
  • To provide educational opportunities to gain an understanding and appreciation for the interdisciplinary nature of design and the profession of architecture.
  • To provide educational opportunities to gain an understanding and appreciation for the diversity manifest in the people, societies and cultures in relationship to the design and use of the built environment.
  • To educate architects that understand the connections and balance between ecologies of nature, economies of production and occupancy, and the stability of social equity, commonly known together as "sustainable design."

Program Admissions Statistics

Acceptance into Architecture at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo is highly competitive due to its reputation for excellence. The program receives many more applications than it can admit students. For example, in 2018-19, Cal Poly received 55,000 applications, 1,501 of which were for the Architecture Program, and 172 students had were accepted. 

For your information, we are including the following statistics from Fall 2017:

  • We received 1,197 freshman applications; 174 enrolled as freshman in Fall 2017 (14.5% enrollment rate)
  • We received 224 applicants wishing to transfer into the program; 15 enrolled in their third year in Fall 2017 (6.7% enrollment rate)
  • The Average High School GPA was 4.04
  • The Average SAT Reading score was 619
  • The Average SAT Math score was 642
  • The Average ACT Composite score was 29.4

Our students are some of the best and brightest in California. We encourage you to apply and join their ranks.

DesignIntelligence: Cal Poly Architecture Program consistantly ranks among the best in the Nation!

The Architecture Department ranked first in the nation among undergraduate programs in the 2014 DesignIntelligence survey ranking public and private degree programs nationally. Since then, we have held tight to the second highest ranking for 2015, 2016, and now 2017. Cal Poly’s Architecture program has made the nation’s Top 20 list since 2003 with a ranking of sixth or better.

Polytechnic Education

The education offered in the Architecture Department at Cal Poly is based on the polytechnic tradition. Graduates receive an education that finds its identity at the intersection of art and science. This curricular approach has been central to the Department’s tradition for 45 years and provides our graduates with a balanced education enabling them to be responsible design professionals in an ever-changing world.

Active Learning: Learn by Doing

Cal Poly’s historical commitment to the pedagogy of learn by doing means an emphasis on hand-on, project-based learning that amplifies the interdisciplinary opportunities offered by the College’s five departments.  Students learn to think creatively and critically, while directly applying their knowledge through a design-based education.

Visit Us

We invite you to visit our campus and schedule a tour of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) facilities.  Contact the CAED at caed@calpoly.edu.

A self-guided tour of the CAED is also available for unscheduled visits and can be downloaded HERE or picked up at the CAED lobby.  

Address and directions

Cal Poly State University
Architecture Department
Bldg 05-212A
​1 Grand Avenue
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407

Phone: 805.756.1316
Fax: 805.756.2765

Map showing the location of the Cal Poly Architecture Department on the Cal Poly Campus

Campus Map
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Driving to San Luis Obispo

California Highways 101 provide an easy and beautiful scenic ride from San Francisco or Los Angeles. Take the Cal Poly exit and proceed on Grand Avenue towards the North till you encounter the Main North campus entrance. Please request a visitor's parking permit and ask for directions to the Architecture Department. Please see Cal Poly Visitor Parking.

For Architecture Department Administration and Staff contacts, visit the Faculty & Staff Directory.


Updated 09.14.21

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