student research boat in Morro Bay


by Doing

Our Core Philosophy

Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing philosophy sets us apart from other colleges and universities. Learn by Doing combines classroom theory with hands-on, real-world experiences. This powerful combination gives our students the skills and confidence to become successful and resourceful in their careers and throughout their lives.

We incorporate Learn by Doing into every aspect of our campus — from our course curricula to our student life programs. Our classes emphasize activities and discussions, lab and field work, hands-on projects and collaborative work experiences. We encourage student involvement in the research process from hypothesis through peer review and publicationStudents are encouraged to participate in personal and professional development programs such as Study Abroad, volunteer work and internships.

Learn by Doing challenges you to think broadly and gives you the skills and confidence you need for your future, whether it be in your career or graduate studies. It teaches our students to become lifelong learners, outstanding employees, and inspiring leaders who thrive on change and who are constantly driven to greater accomplishments.

Our Colleges

students working with a young horse

The College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences boasts one of the nation’s most prestigious undergraduate agriculture programs, taking students into the field, the farm and the forest to apply cutting-edge techniques to the ancient challenge of feeding a growing society.
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CAED lab with faculty and students

The College of Architecture and Environmental Design offers students a hands-on approach to working in all aspects of the built environment, from designing homes and gardens to planning cities.
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working on a satellite

A national leader in engineering education, the College of Engineering promotes project-based learning to link theory with hands-on practice to solve the future’s most pressing technical challenges.
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Student works with preschooler

The College of Liberal Arts houses fifteen departments offering programs in the humanities, social sciences, communications and performing arts that share focus on the evolving nature of human experience and expression in the modern world.
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COSAM students diving in Morro Bay

The College of Science and Mathematics prepares students to become leaders in an increasingly scientific and technological society through education, research and practical experience.
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Orfalea College of Business students

At the Orfalea College of Business, students gain expertise in the fields of management, finance, economics and entrepreneurship by working with real companies in their communities and developing business ideas of their own.
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Internships and Co-ops

Internships and co-op positions are an important part of your education and many majors require an internship before graduation.

Through this significant first step in your career, you will gain critical job search and networking skills — and often employment after graduation. In fact, roughly 63 percent of our recent graduates had their jobs lined up before they graduated.

Experience gained as an intern can increase your starting salary and allow you to test career paths and adjust your educational plan to line up with your future goals.

Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing philosophy prepares students for co-op and internship positions. Our students have held internships and co-ops in a wide variety of companies, non-profits and organizations including Apple, Amazon, Disney, Brightview, the National Park Service, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and more.

Study Abroad

Studying abroad is a great way to learn about the world and yourself while expanding your resume and career possibilities. With more than 500 approved study abroad programs in 75 countries, you can experience other cultures while earning credits toward your degree. Programs are available every quarter as well as during spring and summer breaks, and many allow you to use financial aid to fund most or all of your travel.

Last year, more than 1300 Cal Poly students studied in Australia, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Thailand, and more. In fact, 23 percent of Cal Poly students study abroad, one of the highest percentages in the CSU system.