About the CAED

With about 1,600 students Cal Poly’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) is the largest program of its type in the nation with seven degree programs in five closely related departments: Architectural Engineering, Architecture, City and Regional Planning, Construction Management, and Landscape Architecture. For over a half century the CAED programs and our approximate 15,000 alumni have been a positive influence to the forces that shape the planning, design and construction worlds.

The common educational goal shared by all degree offerings within the CAED is excellence in educating tomorrow’s architecture and environmental design leaders. The CAED programs are distinguished by an active incorporation of hands-on-learning experience and a close instructional relationship with the broad-range requirements of successful professional practice.

As the leading polytechnic university within the 23-campus California State University system, Cal Poly enjoys a national reputation. For 22 years in a row, U.S. News & World Report has rated Cal Poly the best public, largely undergraduate university in the West. More than 70 percent of Cal Poly students are enrolled in professional programs that are supported by a complementary mix of general education courses. As part of Cal Poly’s guiding philosophy, every program requires completion of a senior project for graduation.

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Architectural Engineering

The architectural engineering (ARCE) curriculum, one of the most demanding in the University, prepares the student for a professional career in the structural design of buildings. This program is unique in that it goes beyond sound fundamentals of science and mathematics to stress the practical application of interdisciplinary design principles. Through exposure to the other design and construction disciplines, ARCE students develop much-needed abilities for total professional interaction. The program requires skills and aptitudes in mathematics, sciences and deductive thinking. This program affords the student the opportunity to use these rudimentary skills as a basis for the interactive, creative development of a total design concept.

The program offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees.

More information about ARCE on our Prospective Students page.


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An estimated one in 20 architects in the country are Cal Poly graduates, as are one in five in California. The architecture program is structured to develop and advance the design and technical skills that, coupled with studies in the humanities and communication, prepare students for entry into the profession's vast world of opportunities. As a social art, architecture is a highly regarded profession in America today and there are myriad career choices within its domain.

Because opportunities in architecture are multi-faceted, the program is intentionally broad — a rich educational foundation from which to design one's role in today's complex world. No other college offers so much direct exposure to the other disciplines in the planning, design and construction industry. This occurs through interaction and joint projects among and within the CAED's five departments.

The program offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees.

More information about ARCH on our Prospective Students page.

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City & Regional Planning

The city and regional planning (CRP) curriculum prepares students for professional practice as community planners or as private consultants. Graduates achieve effective, entry-level professional work through applied learning in a studio mode with community-based case studies. The program offers two nationally accredited and complementary degrees.

The four-year Bachelor of Science in City and Regional Planning (BSCRP) offers unique and excellent preparation in physical planning and urban design with opportunities for individual focus on transportation and infrastructure, economic development, environmental planning, and government and public management.

The Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP) program, through laboratory, lecture and seminar course work, allows students to build upon their individual undergraduate preparation. The program is broadly balanced with emphasis options in either land use and development or environmental and regional planning.

More information about CRP on our Prospective Students page.

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Construction Management

Professional constructors work in one of the fastest growing areas of national employment. The construction management (CM) curriculum provides students with the foundation of knowledge and skills necessary to work toward leadership roles in the profession. From the department's central place within the CAED, the faculty integrates architectural, engineering and construction principles required for successful competition in today’s national and international construction communities.

In addition to basic math and science knowledge and skills, the program initially stresses written and oral communication, natural sciences, social sciences, and the arts and humanities — especially architecture. Throughout the curriculum, construction management stresses theoretical knowledge in both technical and managerial disciplines, current practices and applications of these theoretical principles, disciplined reasoning abilities and excellent communication skills.

More information about CM on our Prospective Students page.

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Landscape Architecture

Landscape architecture is a growing profession that includes the design, construction and management of projects such as walkable streets, playgrounds, schools, plazas, wetlands, waterfronts, retail centers, brownfields, community gardens and national parks to name a few.  Landscape architects combine knowledge of the environment, the sciences and the arts to create sustainable sites and communities for future generations.

Within the curriculum, students engage with real sites and clients throughout California while connecting with the profession.  The department maintains an engaged advisory council of alumni and practicing landscape architects, an internship program, and project and firm visits.  The department produces graduates who are workforce ready and have strong foundations in design, sustainable construction technologies, digital representation, and interdisciplinary collaboration.  Career opportunities are broad; opportunities exist within private and public practices in a myriad of positions. 

More information about LA on our Prospective Students page.


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