Frequently Asked Questions

The CPE Office is physically located in the Forbes Center, Building 20A Room 215.

You can call or email the office | (805) 756-1229 or

Windows & Mac Desktops/Laptops/Tablets Hardware Specs

  • Intel i5 or i7 Processor
  • AMD Athlon or Ryzen Processors
  • 8 GB of Memory (or more)
  • 500GB SSD storage drive (or more)
  • 802.11ac integrated WiFi

Windows & Mac Desktops/Laptops/Tablets OS & Software

  • Microsoft Windows 10
  • Apple Mavericks (or newer) macOS
  • Microsoft Office 2016 (or newer)
  • An Anti-virus application
    • Can be your own choice or you can use the one provided free through the software store link in the student portal.

*Other software to be made available by course/instructors.

(updated 7/2020)

Contact the CPE Office, and ask the CPE Administrative Assistant to schedule an appointment for you with the Director. 

Information about software you can get access to is often found through your My Cal Poly Portal via the Technology tab. Other software is available through the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department’s lab technicians.

The program does make some funds available for student projects during the year. Information about funding is sent to students via email.

Take a look at the student clubs listed on our site and attend one of the meetings. You should be able to reach one of the club members or officers who can tell you about days and times. Some club activities and events are included in the CPE Weekly email.

A faculty advisor is a professor in the CPE Program with whom you can speak with about your academic courses and progress at Cal Poly.

Students can choose any CPE faculty member to be their faculty advisor. However, if a student is unsure who to speak with, she can refer to the faculty advisor roster.

The current Faculty Advisor Roster can be found on the Student Forms section of our website. 

You can check on your AP and/or IB scores via your My Cal Poly Portal.

There’s no real right answer to this question. Students who have eligible credits can certainly apply them. However, each person should be honest with themselves about how well they actually know the material. Will you be prepared to take the courses that follow the classes you’ve received AP credit? Or will you be doing yourself a disservice because you won’t be fully prepared? It’s a personal choice for each student.

You can start by looking up courses at, but it’s a good idea to also speak with someone in the Engineering Advising Center to verify that the course will matriculate properly.

For more information about transfer credits from California colleges and universities, see

Cal Poly Engineering Student Services – Advising:


You do not need to know a programming language prior to coming to Cal Poly. However, having a familiarity with them is certainly beneficial. For incoming freshman, learning about Python and Java would be helpful since CPE 101 uses Python and CPE 102/103 uses Java.

Registration issues come up from time to time. Read through the most common registration issues below to troubleshoot your situation.

Class has available seats, but you are restricted from registering:

  • You haven’t met course requisites: Be sure you’ve taken all the prerequisites prior to enrolling. If you are certain that you are eligible to enroll, but the system isn’t recognizing that you’ve met course requisites, contact the department/program offering the course for instructions on how to proceed.
  • You are taking the course off-flow chart: You will need to fill out an off-quarter enrollment form at the Electrical Engineering Department Office to request a permission number to enroll.
  • Your registration rotation is passed: If your rotation has passed, you will have to wait until the Open Enrollment period begins to register.

Class is full and you cannot register:

  • Get on the wait list: You will need to get on the wait list if the course is full. Departments use wait list information to determine if there’s a need to open an extra section or create additional seats in a class.
  • Email the instructor or the department/program offering the course: You can contact the instructor of the class directly to inquire about seating availability.
  • Come see the CPE director: If you cannot enroll in a class that will delay your graduation, come into the CPE Office asap to make an appointment with the CPE Director.

Other technical issue with registration:

  • If you are having a technical issue with registration it’s best to contact the Office of the Registrar directly.

Taking courses in order on the flowchart is ideal, but sometimes not possible. The impact of missing a class depends on which course it is and if it affects the prerequisite chain to EE 306. Students who are concerned about missing a course should make an appointment to see the CPE director as soon as possible.

EE 306 is a class CPE students take in their junior year. Every class up to that course is a prerequisite. To ensure you’ll hit graduation in a timely manner, be sure that you are planning to take EE 306 fall of your junior year. 

Depending on the course, you may need to check with the Office of the Registrar or Engineering Advising Center.

  • Is the course listed on your curriculum sheet or as an approved technical elective? For instance, you took CPE 123 but it doesn’t appear in your progress toward degree. For courses like this you need to check with the Office of the Registrar.
  • Did you take a course that was a substitution for another course? For example, you took CPE 400 to satisfy a technical elective credit. Or because you were a transfer student, you are applying units you took previously to satisfy one of the CPE required courses. In this instance, you need to go to the Engineering Advising Center and pick up a Substitution Form. Fill out the form and have the advising center route it for signature.

If you need help with registration through Schedule Builder (formerly PASS) please visit the Cal Poly Schedule Builder page.

Schedule Builder

Your source for the permission number depends on the course.

CPE Courses taught through the CSC Department: Contact the professor teaching the course.

CPE Courses taught through the EE Department: Contact the Electrical Engineering Department.

CPE 200 & 400 | Follow the process outlined in the Special Problems section.

CPE 461 & 462 (Senior Project) | Follow the process outlined in the Senior Project section.

CPE 493, 494 or 495 (COOP) | After consultation with the CPE Department Chair, fill out the CPE Supervisory Course Form, which can be found on the Student Forms section.

To find out which CPE classes are taught through the EE or CSC Departments, you can refer to the most current flow chart or the List of Courses by Scheduling Department sheet. Both resources are available under Forms on the Current Students section of our website.

See the Special Problems – CPE 400 section under Current Students on our website for more information.

See the Co-op section of our web site for more information.

See the Senior Project section of our web site for more information. 

You can learn about senior project ideas at a senior project info session (held in the fall) or take a look at our CPE Senior Project Opportunities Page.

Senior Project Opportunities

See the Senior Project section of our web site for more information. 

See the Senior Project section of our web site for more information. 

See the Tutoring section of our website for more information. 

You have a couple of options available to you if you do not pass a class. If you are meet the university guidelines, you would be able to repeat the course

See the Repeating a Course section of the Office of the Registrar website for more information.

Refer to the individual course guidelines on passing grades to help you make the best determination repeating a course. Also keep in mind that the CPE Office and Engineering Advising Center have available resources to assist you. You are welcome to stop by either office to get more information on your options and/or make an appointment to speak to someone.