From the beginning
Since our founding in 1901, Learn by Doing has always been Cal Poly’s core philosophy.
It’s a deliberate process in which students, from day one, acquire knowledge and skills through active engagement and self-reflection inside the classroom and beyond it.
Critical Part of our Curriculum
Experiences are a critical part of our curriculum, which shows students how theory combines with application and prepares them to use their knowledge to solve the world’s challenges. To do is to learn — that’s why our faculty infuse hands-on opportunities in every part of the learning experience.
But it doesn’t just happen in the classroom. From labs and internships to launching business ventures while in school, Cal Poly students take what they learn and put it to work. Learn by Doing isn’t just our signature learning philosophy — it’s our way of life.
The result of this experience is that Cal Poly graduates are ready, from day one, to make an immediate impact on the world around them in their careers and throughout the rest of their lives.
As a sophomore, food science student Jimmy Wong dreamed of being a chef in an upscale restaurant — but he wasn’t willing to wait until graduation day to get there. He combined his classroom knowledge, his family’s culinary heritage and his passion for good food to launch DENCH., an appointment-only restaurant experience that caught nationwide attention — out of his studio apartment.
When she first got to Cal Poly, computer science student Selynna Sun launched a club aimed at helping other students develop big ideas. Now she travels the world helping others do the same.
Architecture is her calling, but music is her passion. Architecture student Emma Gracyk found a way to bring the two together with a research project exploring how sound and space work together.
Explore Wild California
Every year, a select group of students from across Cal Poly get to explore California’s plant diversity in one of the state’s most rigorous field courses. Get a preview of this distinctive Learn by Doing journey from the desert to the Sequoias.
After a painful night of dancing, business student Haley Pavone wanted to create a shoe that could switch seamlessly between comfort and couture. Her innovative solution is now a company getting national attention.
Is there a way to innovate a crop that has been cultivated since ancient Egyptian times? Bioresource and Ag Engineering student Sean Foster is working on a way to grow a better head of lettuce.
During a season of political turmoil, sociology student Malcolm Mills got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: to venture into the epicenter of American politics and find out how Congress really works.
More Learn by Doing in Action from Our Colleges
Monitor Crops from the Sky
Work with a drone to take aerial photos to measure various factors of crop health and analyze how they grow over time.