Big Data

Exchange Programs

Interested in becoming an exchange student at Cal Poly?

Cal Poly has individual exchange agreements with universities around the world. Work with us and your university to gain a new experience at Cal Poly.

Cal poly Exchange Program List

View all current Cal Poly International Exchange Program Opportunities

Exchange students asking questions at a booth


Students on exchange programs pay fees at their home university. Other costs include travel, living expenses, health insurance, and books.

How to Apply

1. Consult with Coordinator

Consult with your home campus exchange coordinator. If you have been approved by your home campus exchange coordinator, they will notify Cal Poly of your nomination.

2. Prepare to Apply

Prepare to submit the following with your application

  1. Proof of English language proficiency may be either:
    • A recognized English language test score certificate from a test taken no more than two years prior to applying showing minimum scores (or the equivalents) of:
      • TOEFL ibt 80, paper 550
      • IELTS 6.0
      • CEF B2
    • Or a letter from your institution verifying your language skills are sufficient to be able to do well in an academic setting where only English is used
  2. Transcript of previous work and work in progress
  3. Statement of Academic Exchange Objective (why you wish to study at Cal Poly)
  4. Course List Form

This form allows you to indicate which Cal Poly courses you wish to take and the corresponding courses for which you wish to receive credit at your home institution. Immigration regulations require that you take a majority of your courses in the Field of Study listed on your DS-2019, so consider this carefully when completing your course list and selecting your field of study for Cal Poly.

3. Apply

Application Instructions


Cal Poly academic year is approximately 9 months with 3 quarters.


Dates: Mid-September to Mid-December

Application Deadline: February 1


Dates: Early January to Mid-March

Application Deadline: August 1


Dates: Late March to Mid-June

Application Deadline: November 1

Once Accepted

1. Acceptance Email

You will receive an acceptance email from and instructions to provide additional information required to issue your DS-2019 form.

2. Upload Documents

Fill out the additional questionnaires and upload a documents and proof of funding.

  1. Cost Estimate for Exchange Students at Cal Poly.
  2. Proof of funding can be a bank statement from yourself or a family member or other supporter or a scholarship document. You will provide these same documents at your visa interview
  3. Supporters will provide a letter of sponsorship similar to the Sample Letter of Financial Support (DOC).

3. Once Submitted

Once you supply all that is required to issue the DS-2019 form, it will be issued and sent to your study abroad office at your home institution.

4. Review DS-2019

Review the DS-2019 for accuracy and contact us to report any discrepancies.

5. Apply for J-1 Visa

Apply for your J-1 exchange visitor visa. Review exchange visitor visa information on the U.S. Department of State website, as well as the instructions at the U.S. embassy or consulate office where you will apply for a visa.

After you receive your visa, check to see that you received the right type of visa and that your name and date of birth are correct and match the information in your passport.

6. Cal Poly Portal

The International Center will create a My Cal Poly Portal account for you, which you will use to reserve housing and register for classes.

7. International Welcome Ambassadors

You will be invited to participate in the International Welcome Ambassadors program where a Cal Poly student can assist you with arrival.

International Welcome Ambassadors are an initial student contact on campus to help answer questions you might have about coming to Cal Poly or the U.S. Once you are here, you can join in social activities to meet all the Welcome Ambassadors and form friendships with many students.

8. Housing

Make your own housing arrangements as early as possible. See Cal Poly Housing for information.

9. Health Insurance

While on a J-1 visa you must have valid health insurance. Unless you are sponsored by a government organization that requires you to use a particular insurance plan, you will be enrolled in the Cal Poly international health insurance plan and you will be charged the fee to your student account when you register for classes each quarter. Be aware of the insurance effective dates for each quarter.

10. New Students

Read the International Student Welcome Guide section to familiarize yourself with class registration, housing, and visa application.

11. J-1 Online Orientation

Before departing for the U.S., complete the J-1 Online Orientation course on your My Cal Poly Portal. You will be notified via email when the course is available to you.

12. Orientation

Upon arrival, complete online Check-in and attend the Orientation. Information about this will be emailed to your Cal Poly email address.