Cal Poly San Luis Obispo -- August 22, 2003

For 11th Straight Year, Cal Poly Is Best in the West in U.S. News Rankings

For the 11th year in a row, Cal Poly has been rated the best public largely undergraduate university in the West by U.S. News & World Report, in its 2004 America’s Best Colleges guidebook.

Cal Poly retained its No. 5 position overall in the magazine’s list of the West's best public and private universities that provide a full range of undergraduate and master's-level programs but few, if any, doctoral programs.

(U.S. News ranks colleges such as those in the University of California system, which grant Ph.D. degrees, in a separate category.)

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  • Cal Poly’s academic colleagues think highly of the university, ranking it second in the country in academic reputation for a public institution of higher learning that provides a full range of undergraduate and master’s programs but few, if any, doctoral programs.

  • Cal Poly is one of the most selective public undergraduate universities in the nation, according to the U.S. News data. The school receives almost 30,000 applications a year, admitting only some 3,600 new students.

  • U.S. News also suggests programs “to look for,” defined as “outstanding examples of academic programs that lead to student success.” Cal Poly is included in two categories: Internships/Co-ops and Undergraduate Research/Creative Projects.

  • Also earning a top spot in the magazine’s Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs – for schools whose highest degree is a bachelor’s or master’s – is Cal Poly’s College of Engineering, ranking as the No. 3 program at a public school, behind only the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy.

  • A number of College of Engineering programs also ranked high in the Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs individual specialty categories. The computer, electrical, industrial/manufacturing, and mechanical programs were each ranked as the top program at a public university in their respective specialty categories. The civil program was the No. 2 ranked program at a public university in its category.

  • The U.S. News rankings are available at, starting Friday, Aug. 22, and are in the Sept. 1 issue of U.S. News & World Report.


“It is extremely gratifying to garner such national recognition for 11 consecutive years. It reflects the university’s tradition of excellence, strong focus on undergraduate education, and dedicated faculty. It confirms the value of the unique polytechnic educational experience.”

Warren J. Baker, President
Cal Poly

“We're pleased but not surprised that once again Cal Poly’s College of Engineering has been ranked one of the nation's top undergraduate engineering institutions. We attribute our consistent success to an excellent faculty, sharp and motivated students, and our leadership in hands-on, learn-by-doing engineering education in a global environment."

Peter Y. Lee, Dean
Cal Poly College of Engineering

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