University Honors Program

Live, Learn, Achieve

Thank you for your interest in the University Honors Program at Cal Poly. The program recruits first-time freshmen, first-time transfer students, and continuing Cal Poly students at the end of their freshmen year.

If you are an incoming first-time freshman, application to the Honors Program is BY INVITATION ONLY. If you are selected to apply you will receive an invitation from Cal Poly Admissions in mid to late March. If you do not receive an invitation you will have the opportunity at the end of your first year to apply as a continuing student.

Admission to the University Honors Program is highly competitive, and application materials are carefully reviewed. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered under any circumstances. All application materials must be submitted electronically.  

Incoming First-Year Students Admission Requirements

Each year, a select number of conditionally admitted Cal Poly students are invited to submit an application to join the Honors Program. Invitations are typically sent in mid to late March. Applications are completed and submitted electronically and are typically due by the beginning of April. Submission instructions and specific deadlines are included in the email invitation and application. 

Each applicant is asked to respond to several essay prompts. Below are samples of past application essay questions: 

  • Why are you interested in joining the Honors community at Cal Poly?
  • What will your participation in the program add to your education at Cal Poly?
  • Tell us more about yourself.  What are you passionate about? 
  • How might you use your passion to contribute or give back to the Cal Poly Honors community?
  • During high school, what has been the most enriching activity you have participated in outside of the classroom?
  • Briefly list and/or describe your most recent high school and community leadership activities and/or experiences.

Submitting an application does not guarantee admission to the Honors Program. Students are selected for admission through a competitive application process. 

Questions about the application process:  Please see our FAQ's page

Incoming Upper-Division Transfer Requirements

To be considered for admission to the Honors Program, incoming upper-division transfer student applicants must have a cumulative higher education GPA of 3.50 or higher. A conditionally admitted transfer student may still apply by filling out the following link: Transfer Student Application Request

Transfer applicants must respond to several essay prompts (see sample questions above). Submission requirements are summarized on the application.  Transfer students accepted to the Honors Program must also be admitted to Cal Poly.  Meeting the above minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to the Honors Program.

Transfer Application Deadlines:

Application are now closed. Questions:  Please email

Continuing Cal Poly Students Honors Program Requirements

Continuing Cal Poly students are encouraged to apply to the University Honors Program. The program only considers applications from first year students who have completed 2 quarters at Cal Poly. Applications will open May 1st and close the last day of Spring quarter classes. 

Continuing student applicants must have a cumulative Cal Poly GPA of 3.40 or higher to be considered for admission to the Honors Program. Applicants must complete the online application and provide the name and contact information of a Cal Poly faculty member or instructor who can speak to their accomplishments as a student and fit for the Honors Program. 

Meeting the above minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to the Honors Program.

Continuing Cal Poly students are admitted to the Honors Program as space permits. 

Continuing Student Application Deadlines:

Application for continuing students (i.e., first year students who have completed 2 quarters at Cal Poly) are now closed. 

Questions please email


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Questions? Read our FAQ here.