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Prospective Freshmen Students


Prospective freshmen students should review all admission requirements and information posted on the Cal Poly Admissions web site. The ARCE department plays no part in the admission process; therefore, it is crucial to meet or exceed the standards on the Admissions website. General information about the ARCE program can be found under the Prospective Students heading. Prospective freshmen are encouraged to visit the Cal Poly campus and the department. For information about receiving a tour of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, click here.

Note: The ARCE department is part of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED). The CAED is not part of the College of Engineering and the College of Engineering tours do not visit or talk about the ARCE department. If you would like to visit the ARCE department or need information about the ARCE department, feel free to call the ARCE department at 805.756.1314 to schedule a time to visit and talk with the Department Head, or another faculty member.

Fall Quarter Major & Support Courses

It is important to understand how the ARCE curriculum flowchart works, and how it is crucial for some courses to be taken in sequential order. For instance, during the first year it is very important to take ARCH 131, 132, and 133 sequentially beginning in Fall quarter and finishing Spring quarter of the first year. Later on in the curriculum prerequisites become very important, and can be found on the flowchart and curriculum sheet in Advising under the Current Students tab.

Typical Fall Quarter Courses

The following courses are critical to take unless you have received AP credit for them:

  • ARCE 106 Introduction to Building Systems (2 unit)
  • Arch 131 Design & Drawing (4 units)
  • Math 141 Calculus I (4 units)
  • ENGL 134 Writing: Exposition or COMS 101 or 102 Speech (4 units)

Note: The first year of the curriculum is very similar to Architecture; however, we want to emphasize there are major differences between Architecture and Architectural Engineering (see ARCE v. Architecture under the Prospective Students tab). In the second year, you will begin to see some major differences, and by third year the ARCE curriculum is what you can expect to see for the remaining time in the ARCE department at Cal Poly.

Get Ahead

It is highly recommend that students take Advanced Placement (AP) tests while in high school. Your counselor or advisor should be able to tell you what test subjects are available to take at your school or geographic area. By passing various AP tests, it is possible to receive college units in English, Calculus, Physics, and many other subjects before even coming to college. If you obtain AP credit, you will be able to get ahead in the curriculum, which many students find extremely beneficial. Please click here to learn more about potentially obtainable college credit.

How to Apply

For steps to applying and other information about the undergraduate Architectural Engineering program here at Cal Poly, please visit our Admissions website here.


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