Skip to main content

Ranked Second in Nation Among Master’s Universities for Study Abroad

The Institute of International Education has ranked Cal Poly second among master’s institutions in the U.S. for the number of domestic students studying abroad in the 2017-18 academic year.

Cal Poly sent 1,231 students to destinations including Australia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain and Thailand.

The Institute of International Education released these rankings in its annual Open Doors report on international education in the U.S. Cal Poly moved up from its third-place ranking last year and seventh from the year prior. 

The top-ranked institution, James Madison University, sent 1,322 students abroad, making Cal Poly less than one hundred students away from the top-ranking among master’s institutions.

Additionally, Cal Poly ranked first in the nation for the number of students sent abroad on mid-length programs (a semester or quarter), fifth for the number of students sent abroad on long-term programs (a full academic or calendar year), and ninth for students sent abroad on short-term programs (less than 10 weeks).

Spain was the top destination for Cal Poly students studying abroad in 2017-18. Other popular destinations included France, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Over 400 of the students who studied abroad traveled with Cal Poly faculty-led programs.  

“Study abroad supports our vision for internationalization in providing immersive international and intercultural opportunities that help cultivate global citizens — it is an opportunity we should make accessible for every student,” said Cari Vanderkar, assistant vice provost for international programs.

“Our ranking reflects the tremendous support and advocacy across campus for study abroad and international education generally. We’ve made tremendous strides, but we need to continue to improve by increasing access and removing barriers to study abroad for all Cal Poly students, particularly for those underrepresented in study abroad.”

Cal Poly’s International Center recently established its Global Scholars Fund to provide scholarships for students whose participation in study abroad is a challenge, including those with higher financial need.

Monday, Nov.18, marked the start of International Education Week at Cal Poly. Events are being held on campus throughout the week, including language workshops, international student networking sessions, and a panel discussion on Eastern Europe in the 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. For more information, visit