Off-Campus Programs

Photo of off-campus study students

"I found myself reminiscing about Cal Poly and the incredible experiences I had there...particularly with the department itself. And a huge aspect of my experience was the study abroad programs that were offered. I participated on the first one to Japan and China...This trip began my desire to live and work in foreign lands. I then spent a year studying in the program in Florence...and then joined the LA trip through Spain and Portugal. So, as you can see, I took advantage of all that was offered and to this day I value every minute of those experiences. For students who desire similar things and can save up and afford such opportunities, I encourage each and every one of them."

--Kirkwood Hale, class of 1988

The department encourages every student to participate in off campus study opportunities as a means to enhance professional education and development, and heighten personal growth and awareness. Though off campus study, the department hopes students will:

  1. Extend beyond the familiar classroom and campus environments the opportunity to "Learn By Doing" through academic and travel activities located off campus nationally or internationally.
  2. Heighten development and involvement of intellectual, emotional and perceptual learning through immersion in off campus landscapes and cultures.
  3. Acquire and develop skills and knowledge for day-to-day activities, practical life experiences and life-long learning. 

Off campus study provides the opportunity to explore and experience unique study options, approaches, landscapes and cultures. Students must evaluate opportunities against personal goals, department requirements, scheduling and budget considerations. Participation in any approved program is intended to allow for normal progress toward the satisfaction of graduation requirements. 

Consult an academic advisor of your interests in study abroad to locate programs. Students wishing to receive academic credit for Off-Campus study must participate in a pre-approved study/travel experience, and adhere to the procedures and requirements established by the Landscape Architecture Department and Cal Poly. 

Criteria for Participation

Most programs have specific criteria for participation. The Landscape Architecture Department approves students for Off-Campus study who meet the following conditions:

  1. Good academic standing with a Cal Poly SLO grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 or better.
  2. Completion of ALL general education and departmental required courses in the major up to the time of participation.
  3. Completion of a minimum of two (2) Focus Studios and ILC's prior to the quarter of off-campus study.
  4. Review of progress towards degree with an academic advisor and a plan of coursework during Off-Campus study activities.

Process for Participation and Application Form

Review and Research Programs – The department makes a late fall / early winter presentation to introduce programs and the application process. 

Attend Information Sessions – Attend a mandatory Study Abroad 101 Workshop offered by Cal Poly as well as department and program presentations to learn more about opportunities. For more information on Study Abroad 101, click here.

Estimate Costs – Create a budget that includes tuition, program fees, transportation, room and board, school supplies and personal expenses.  Review budget with your family and the Financial Aid office as necessary.

Meet with Off Campus Study Faculty Advisors – Review course offerings, schedule, application requirements.  

Complete a Department Application – Due mid-winter quarter, this application helps with advising, providing course credit and scheduling.  The department reviews applications for satisfaction of participation criteria and notifies students of their status to participate, preliminary course substitutions and related academic issues.

Apply Directly to Program – Varies, but most programs require separate applications.  Pay attention to application requirements and deadlines.

To download the Off Campus Study Application, click here.

Program Options

Students can engage in Off-Campus study in a number of ways according to individual interests, capabilities and resources. Options include:

Departmental Student Exchanges

The LA Department currently has agreements with:

Additional exchange agreements may be available through related departments.

National Student Exchanges (Universities with Landscape Architecture)

There over 20 universities around the country with landscape architecture programs that are current members of the NSE system – agreements change constantly. To search for programs in landscape architecture, click here.

CSU International Programs

Several CSU-IP programs may offer related academic experiences to Landscape Architecture.  Work with a Faculty Advisor and Cal Poly International Center to find a program.  For more information, click here.

Connections with Architecture

Several programs may be available through the Architecture department.  See the Architecture Department's 4th Year Off-Campus Programs web site.  Participation in Architecture programs must be approved and coordinated with an academic advisor in order to receive course credit.

Cal Poly International Center Programs

Cal Poly provides information on Landscape Architecture and related programs (including programs providing General Education credit).  For information and opportunities use the Search or Advanced Search engine on the Cal Poly Study Abroad website. 

Non-Affiliated Programs

Additional programs may be available through connections outside of Cal Poly.  These programs are not affiliated with Cal Poly and require additional planning, advising, and independent planning.  Students should verify financial obligations, including the ability to utilize financial aid, course equivalencies and program requirements.  Careful academic planning should be developed with an Off-Campus study advisor.  Current programs include:

  • Cal Poly Pomona, Santa Chiara Program in Castiglione, Italy – fall 2020. For more information, download the 2020 Pomona Italy flyer.
  • University of Washington, Design|Build Perugia, Italy – fall 2020.  For more information download the 2020 UW flyer.

Contact for More Information

Landscape Architecture Department
Off-Campus Study Committee

Joseph Ragsdale
Email: jragsdal@calpoly.edu
Phone: 756-2040

César Torres-Bustamante
Email: ctorresb@calpoly.edu
Phone: 756-1534

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