Cal Poly Engineering Named 5th Best in Nation in 2024 U.S. News & World Report Rankings 

Cal Poly Human-Powered Vehicle Club officers George Bernat, left, and Dylan Hyde carry the group’s HPV bike frame across Engineering Plaza on the way to the Week of Welcome club showcase near the Bonderson Projects Center. Photo by Dennis Steers

The Cal Poly College of Engineering has earned a historic top 5 spot in the nation for its master’s-level engineering programs in the latest U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges guidebook, marking another move up from last year’s rankings. 

The college improved its standing from sixth to fifth in a record year for the Learn by Doing university that was named best public institution in the West for the 31st year and tops among all 120 public and private institutions for the first time ever.  

Among specialty programs, Cal Poly’s Computer Engineering remained at the top of public and private institutions, while the Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering programs were ranked No. 2 overall.  

The 2024 edition of America’s Best Colleges Guidebook evaluated nearly 1,500 four-year bachelor’s degree-granting institutions on hundreds of data points and measures of academic quality, such as graduation and retention rates of first-year students.  

“These rankings underscore the profound impact of our Learn by Doing approach,” said College of Engineering Dean Amy S. Fleischer. “Our commitment to pursue excellence as we foster diversity, equity and inclusion is at the heart of our mission, and these results validate our unwavering dedication to providing a hands-on, transformative education.”  

Dean speaks to faculty and staff
College of Engineering Dean Amy S. Fleischer shares past successes and future goals with staff and faculty at the 2023 fall conference.

The college’s computer program that stands as a beacon of innovation also forms the foundation of The Noyce School of Applied Computing – the first interdisciplinary school of its kind at Cal Poly – launched this year.  

The Noyce School combines three departments – Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Software Engineering, and Computer Engineering – to create opportunities for students and faculty to address real-world problems using computer principles, concepts and technologies.  

The school funded seven Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) projects ranging from developing a machine learning system for monitoring livestock with aerial images to exploring safe methods for integrating knowledge from human experts with OpenAI and ChatGPT. 

“The Noyce School opens a world of possibilities for innovation and impact, and we look forward to witnessing the profound contributions our students will make to the future of applied computing,” Fleischer said.  

The college has made great strides in diversifying its student population as the leadership works to continuously increase the number of women and member of underrepresented groups. The college’s efforts have been recognized with national awards from the Society of Women Engineers, Boeing, and Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (oSTEM) Inc.  

Engineering students across all disciplines continue to put the college on the map as they excel in competitions that require them to design race cars, startup businesses, model roller coasters and solar-powered boats.  

Officers from Cal Poly Amusement Park Engineers and Designers (CAPED) participate in the Week of Welcome club showcase near the Bonderson Projects Center. From left are Jacob Cacho, Kenzie Goldman, Samantha Flores, Michelle Griffith and Madison Reedy. The club’s model roller coaster placed first at a national ride engineering contest in April. Photo by Dennis Steers

Groundbreaking research by the college’s faculty has led to advances in climate change, smart manufacturing, earthquake safety and robotics, as they seek solutions to universal problems, including back pain, misinformation on social media and mental health challenges.  

“The dedication of our students, staff and faculty inside and outside the classroom has been instrumental in propelling our college to new heights of success,” Fleischer said. “Together, we continue to innovate, inspire and leave an indelible mark on engineering education.” 

The College of Engineering includes over 6,000 students and more than 80 state-of-the-art laboratories. Graduates continue to be recruited by some of the best-known companies in the world, including Amazon, Apple Inc., Boeing, Microsoft Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp., Tesla Inc., and many state and federal agencies.  

For more details about the College of Engineering, visit For more information on Cal Poly’s 2023 U.S. News regional rankings, visit

College leadership poses for a photo
College of Engineering leadership gather for a meeting at the historic Octagon Barn in San Luis Obispo before the start of the fall quarter. Photo by Dennis Steers