Prospective Transfer Students

As a nationally top-ranked program, Cal Poly is a great place for transfer students to pursue their five-year Bachelor of Architecture (BARCH) degree. Prospective students should meet the transfer selection criteria and be prepared to enter the third year of Cal Poly’s program. Once admitted, transfer students will achieve their professional degree in three additional years.

Admission to Cal Poly’s Architecture Department is a two-stage competitive process. In the first stage University Admissions screens all applications and ranks them on a shortlist using transfer selection criteria. Based on this ranking, the Architecture Department invites qualified shortlisted candidates to submit a digital portfolio and digital transcripts that are reviewed along with other criteria to determine which students are best prepared to enter the program’s third year.

All questions regarding the admissions process, or notification should be directed to the University Admissions Office at or 805-756-2311.

For questions about transferring to Cal Poly Architecture, please set up an appointment with Clare Olsen, Assistant Department Head, using the following link:

Portfolio Guidelines

Shortlisted applicants will be asked to submit a digital portfolio of student work that demonstrates their growth in the areas of architectural knowledge, skills, and values. The portfolio should cover the span of their college career up until the time of their portfolio submission and present the work in an organized and well-designed manner. For full consideration, portfolios should adhere to the guidelines below.

Students who meet the University Admissions criteria will be asked to submit a portfolio (usually due near the end of January). The deadline and submission procedure will be described in an email from University Admissions.

Portfolios should use an 8.5”x11” format in either a portrait or landscape orientation. Include a Table of Contents that lists your name and Cal Poly EMPL ID, along with Course Names, Course Prefixes, Course Dates, and Community College names. Please use the Word template and see the example.

Portfolios need not include work from every course but instead should focus on design studios and technical courses equivalent to Cal Poly’s first year design (ARCH 131,132 and 133), second year design (ARCH 251, 252 and 253), and second year technology (ARCH 241, 242, and 207). We're interested in seeing process as well as finished work, but 1-3 pages should suffice for each course.

Organize your work in a manner that helps us understand the courses you took, past or present, that are equivalent to Cal Poly’s. Remember that design is important to us, so the way you present your work will be taken into consideration in your selection.

Portfolio samples


Transfer Portfolio Sample 1 Transfer Portfolio Sample 2
Transfer Portfolio Sample 1 Transfer Portfolio Sample 2
Transfer Portfolio Sample 3 Transfer Portfolio Sample 4
Transfer Port Sample 3 Thumbnail Transfer Portfolio Sample 4 Thumbnail

Helpful Resources

Prospective students may use the following resources to help determine their preparedness for transferring to Cal Poly’s Architecture Department.


Updated 9.21.22

Related Content