Leading engineering education and innovation to serve humanity


To be the premier college of engineering that benefits humanity by educating engineers, who are:

  • socially responsible
  • innovative and result-oriented
  • successful as team members in a diverse, multidisciplinary, global environment
  • productive on Day One
  • curious and thirsty for life-long learning

Learn By Doing

A leader in engineering education, the College of Engineering promotes "project-based learning" to link theory with hands-on practice. Graduates are well prepared to enter graduate school or the engineering profession. In fact, Cal Poly engineers are highly sought by industry because they are known to "have two feet on the ground and two hands on the problem."


Engineering has been part of Cal Poly from the very beginning.

When "The California Polytechnic School" opened October 1, 1903, instruction was offered in agriculture, engineering/mechanics and domestic science. One of the first six engineering students was Herbert H. Cox, who became the Chief Electrical Engineer at the Los Angeles Bureau of Water and Power.

Cox and the Cal Poly engineering students who followed him have benefited from a hands-on, project- and designed-centered curriculum. Originally, students assisted in building and maintaining Cal Poly's facilities. The school's first buildings included a power plant, electrical lab, carpentry and machine shops, and a forge-students attended classes in the morning and then worked in the labs and shops in the afternoon. As late as 1948, electrical and mechanical engineering students helped generate part of the electrical power needed on campus.

The five original labs and two founding disciplines have evolved into 13 engineering degree programs and more than 80 laboratories. With approximately 5,000 students, the College of Engineering is the largest of Cal Poly's six colleges.

Today, Cal Poly's engineering students design computer software systems, wastewater treatment systems and satellites that are launched into space. In fact, CENG students and faculty have brought Cal Poly's "learn by doing" credo to a new level of real-world involvement. Sponsored student and faculty applied research projects not only expose students to the most current technology, but also contribute advancements to society and industry.