Cal Poly Pomona vs UCSC for Computer Engineering

Can anyone offer a comparison of programs?
My son has been admitted to both.
We are familiar with both campuses, but don’t know much about instruction, class size, employment opportunities after
Also, if anyone has info about off campus housing in Pomona that would be awesome!

academically, they are both great - i’d prefer the student experience at UCSC but, you can’t go wrong with either.

congrats and good luck!

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I would suggest visiting on admit student days if you haven’t already been to campus, also look for webinars they offer for admitted students (or for general interested students).

Both schools are fine academically, a student that works hard will learn the material and since CS/CE is currently in high demand finding a job or internship shouldn’t be hard. I don’t have a crystal ball to see what demand will be 5 years from now, but probably still pretty good. There are plenty of tech employers in both regions, and with Zoom its easier to do screening interviews remotely than it was back in the day of us dinosaurs. With Silicon Valley and SF in driving distance it might be somewhat easier for the tech giants to interview on-campus at UCSC.

Your son would need to talk to advisors at each school for further info but the program at UCSC seems to offer the choice of emphasis to a student ranging from software to networking to traditional HW design. At CPP there are only 12 units of electives in engineering which may may give less flexibility. He’ll have to dig deeper for details (and IMHO he should be doing this, not you). See and

CSU schools tend to have surprisingly small classes at all levels, while intro classes at UCs can have hundreds of students in them. Go to and search for classes for spring term for CS and MAT and all the classes are around 35 students. Then go to UC Santa Cruz - Schedule of Classes and look at CS and math classes for spring and they are all in the hundreds for lower division (course numbers below 100) and near 100 students for upper division. The flip side, though, is I don’t know how much difference smaller class size makes for STEM subjects compared to the liberal arts.

As for getting classes, my guess is it isn’t too hard for CE students. A CE major is going to be pretty structured for what you take each year. The CE classes are going to have prereqs or be restricted to majors-only so the demand is limited. The dept knows how many majors they have and can supply enough seats.

The feeling of being a student is going to be quite different at both. CPP is primarily a commuter school with limited on-campus housing (although frosh from outside the local service area are required to live on-campus first year, Covid may affect this rule). UCSC has a very liberal reputation; if your son has conservative views he might not be comfortable there.

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Wow, I would’ve expected the reverse. Why do you think this is so?

My daughter is also considering CS at UCSC and CSU’s so I’m following this thread and will have her check the class sizes too. I didn’t realize we could view class capacities for all the schools. Thanks for the links and insights!

Good luck @nashakat your son has great options!

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CSU and UC appear to have different approaches to class size. At UC the plan for many popular classes is a lecture 3x/wk by a dept professor and then 1x/wk discussion section of about 30 students with a TA (usually a grad student). The “discussion” ranges from an actual discussion to answering questions to a review of the previous weeks homework depending on the class and probably what the prof wants.

It looks like CSU instead has small classes but the tradeoff is they aren’t necessarily taught by fulltime faculty. The page Part-time Faculty shows significant part-time faculty in the math dept for example. I’m leery of making blanket statements about whether this is always good or bad. One article about adjuncts at CSU is Adjunct faculty have become an issue nationwide. But I know a few people who went to CSU and were very happy with their education.

UC can use adjuncts too but in my time I only had them 2 times. It might be more common now.

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Ah, hadn’t thought about adjuncts that’s very interesting and probably a whole thread by itself. Thank you!