CENG IEP Frequently Asked Questions

1. What programs are offered?

Answer: The College of Engineering has established exchange agreements with 7 Engineering Universities around the world. These countries include:

Partner School Country
1. Chalmers University of Technology Sweden
2. Lucerne University of Applied Sciences Switzerland
3. Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences Germany
4. KTH Royal Institute of Technology Sweden
5. Munich University of Applied Sciences Germany
6. Swinburne University of Technology Australia

TECNUN University of Navarra


2. What are the best colleges that fit my major?

Answer: Here is a spreadsheet with majors offered by each partner school. Although it is possible for you to study at a partner school that does not offer your major, as long as courses that are offered are relevant to your major and can apply for your degree (for example, most students that are non-ME may also have to take ME courses that can potentially be taken abroad).

3. Which classes can I take abroad that would give me credit here at Cal Poly?

Answer: This may depend on the school that you want to apply to for exchange. You need to research which schools offer the major that you are studying. If you find a program that has your major, courses for your major will most likely be offered. If you know what school you want to participate in you will have to research which courses can be substituted for Cal Poly courses. You must also look into the courses that are available in the semester you want to be abroad and the language in which you want the courses to be taught. It is important to research which courses are available in English for your major (you many not be ready to take an upper-division engineering course in German or Chinese for example) so you may be limited to only taking courses in English. Each partner school has a website for international students (most likely in English) in which they list the courses taught in English.

You receive credit for courses taken abroad by submitting major/support substitution petitions (available at the CENG Advising Center 40-115) for each course you want to take abroad (you can submit these petitions in advance before you take each course--this way you will know that you will receive credit for the course you want to take before you take it). It may also be a good idea for you to meet with a faculty advisor to discuss which courses are most similar. In addition, the Advising Center may have a list of courses that students have taken abroad previously and this may help you plan your course selection. Please inquire about this to the IEP Advisor at the Advising Center (you are not restricted to only taking the courses on the list).

4. How do I approach working with the new language, will courses be in English?

Answer: It is important to have some knowledge of the language where you will be studying. We recommend students take language courses in German, Spanish or Swedish if they want to study in these countries. If you are fluent in the language you can probably take courses in that language. However, if you are not fluent you will be limited to taking coursework in English. You should still learn some of the basic language to get around. Luckily, a lot of people in many foreign countries know English so you can ask for help when needed. Our former exchange students have agreed that this was not a big problem especially in countries with a lot of tourists.

5. How are ECTS units converted to Cal Poly quarter units?

Answer: This only applies to European schools that use ECTS credits (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System). Take the ECTS credits and divide by 2 to calculate US semester units (this is done because ECTS system is based on 60 units/year whereas US semester schools are 30 units/year). Lastly, take the US semester units and multiply by 1.5 (semesters are longer then quarters) to equal Cal Poly quarter units.

Example: 4 / 2 = 2, 2 x 1.5 = 3

4 (ECTS) = 2 (US Semester) = 3 (US Quarter)
2 (ECTS) = 1 (US Semester) = 1.5 (US Quarter)

If you need further clarification, please contact the Evaluations office (building 1 room 218) evaluations@calpoly.edu.

6. Most schools overlap with Cal Poly quarters --how are fees determined?

Answer: Student fees will be paid to Cal Poly for each Cal Poly quarter a participant studies abroad. If the semester or quarters abroad overlap by two weeks or more with Cal Poly quarters, students must pay Cal Poly tuition for both quarters. A student who participates in a fall semester exchange which concludes before the beginning of Cal Poly's winter term will pay Cal Poly fees for the fall quarter only. A student who participates in a spring semester exchange which includes Cal Poly's winter and spring terms will pay Cal Poly fees for both the winter and the spring quarters.

7. I am only a freshman, how should I set my goals for next year and this summer if I plan to study abroad in my 3rd or 4th year?

Answer: It is great that you are interested in our exchange programs this early in your academic career. Although you are a freshman it is the best time for you to look into the various types of exchange programs that the College of Engineering offers as well as looking into other study abroad opportunities though our International Education & Programs (38- 108). It is recommended that you research our exchange programs and specifically look into what courses you can take. Depending on the program, some programs may offer more courses that can potentially meet your major curriculum requirements and/or offer more courses in English. You may also want to think about the time of the year you want to be abroad (summer vs. winter), and take holidays into account. You should research as much as you can about the school you want to participate in and especially, talk to our former exchange students to get a better idea of what the program is about. Please contact the IEP Advisor at the Advising Center for this contact information. Most of our partner schools are on a semester system and thus, they can overlap with Cal Poly's quarter system. If this is the case you will have to pick which quarters to be abroad. Some schools like Swinburne in Australia, Chalmers in Sweden, or Helsinki in Finland have shorter semesters allowing you to only miss one quarter at Cal Poly (fall quarter).  All in all, you want to do as much research as possible about our schools and apply to the program that benefits you.

8. What if I am interested in a specific program or country, but I cannot find it on the website?

Answer: Unfortunately, if you cannot find a school or country that you are interested in, the College of Engineering does not have an established exchange agreement there. You should check with the International Education & Programs (38- 108) to see if they know of any programs that may interest you: http://studyabroad.calpoly.edu/programs/index.html. It may also be possible for you to plan an independent study abroad experience.

9. How much does traveling delay my graduation?

Answer: Traveling may not delay your graduation at all as long as you plan carefully which courses you want to take abroad. Remember with our exchange programs you will be taking Engineering courses and rarely any GE's. For example, a former exchange student who studied at Chalmers in Sweden for the Fall quarter took four courses and was able to apply all of them to his major. However, most of our programs are on semester systems which overlap with our Cal Poly quarters. This may cause you to miss a quarter at Cal Poly and therefore may delay your graduation-it all depends on how ambitious you are in completing your degree requirements.

10.What type of housing is available?

Answer: Most of our programs offer guaranteed on-campus housing. It is important to apply for accommodation as soon as you have received an acceptance letter and housing information in order to secure housing. If you want to live off-campus, you must make your own arrangements or inquire about this option to the exchange coordinator at the school of interest.

11.Is there a form for writers of letters of recommendation for international exchange programs?

Answer: Unfortunately, we do not have a template for people who will write the letter of recommendation for your study abroad application. The format is open for your instructors to be creative and indicate their support for your studying abroad application. They should discuss your performance and potential as a student. You can have the instructor make the letter out to the "College of Engineering, International Exchange Program" (note: this letter will also be read by the partner institution abroad). You can either have the instructor send the letter to the Advising Center or you can ask to pick up the letter and submit it with the rest of your application so nothing gets lost. 

12. What type of health insurance is needed to participate on an exchange?

Answer: Please contact the international center.

13. Would it be possible to sublet my room to an incoming exchange student for a quarter or two?

Answer: If you live off-campus and want to sublet your room for one or more quarters please contact Susan Tripp in the International Education & Programs Office: sltripp@calpoly.edu(805) 756-7535 building 38 room 210. Susan can help you post your room to incoming exchange students. Please let her know the dates and quarters you would like to sublet your room for.

14. I want to apply for exchange - what are the next steps I need to take?

Answer: The first step is to attend a Study Abroad 101 workshop to learn about all study abroad opportunities and options. To apply for exchange and learn about deadlines, please go to the Study Abroad website > Find a Program link to create a Cal Poly Abroad Portal. Once you have registered with the portal and chosen the program you wish to attend, click on the "Apply Now" button. If you have more questions about our international exchange programs please feel free to contact us at intlengr@calpoly.edu or call the advising center (805) 756-1461 for our walk-in advising hours or to make an appointment with the IEP advisor.