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Cal Poly Humboldt



  • CPH is ranked as the 12th top public school in the west and tied for 30th out of 126 public and private schools in the region, according to the 2022 Best Colleges annual ranking by U.S. News & World Report.
  • CPH was also recently named one of the 127 best colleges in the West, according to the Princeton Review. Students described CPH as “unique and conscientious,” with a “tight community,” “relaxed campus vibe,” and “chill environment.” CPH is “all about equality in diversity,” and students at Humboldt learn “to live with people of all different lifestyles in a socially responsible way.”
  • CPH is a Hispanic and Asian-Serving Institution (HAIS).
  • For the fourth year in a row, CPH has been named a “Cool School” by the Sierra Club magazine’s annual ranking of sustainability among North America’s greenest colleges and universities.


Cal Poly Humboldt, which overlooks Humboldt Bay, is surrounded by an amazing natural environment of redwood forests, pristine coastline, and wild rivers.  Located in the progressive city of Arcata, 270 miles north of San Francisco, CPH students live and learn in a setting that is free of smog, traffic jams, and overcrowding.


Most class sizes are small; typical undergraduate class size is 29 students, with a student-faculty ratio of 23:1.  At CPH, students have an opportunity to build one-on-one relationships with their professors, who are some of the leading educators and researchers in their fields, and with their guidance, can experience hands-on learning, develop critical thinking skills, and cultivate a passion for knowledge.  HSU students are part of a close-knit campus community that cares about their success, and which is committed to social justice, sustainability, and to protection of the environment.

In addition to being leaders in the sciences and humanities, CPH professors are committed to mentoring their students by including them in experiments, lab research, and field work.  At CPH, learning isn’t limited to sitting in a classroom and taking notes. CPH students take what they’ve learned and apply it in the real world by doing their own lab work, seismic readings, photography, wildlife studies, research, social work, and more.

The faculty at CPH has a strong commitment to fostering students’ inherent potential, working with them on research and scholarship. They guide, motivate, and inspire, students, to bring out their best.


Because of its mission and strengths, the California State University system has recognized CPH as the state’s third polytechnic institution. Polytechnic institutions traditionally feature hands-on and career-focused programs, an emphasis in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and applied science programs like health and agriculture, along with a strong liberal arts foundation.


CPH opened as Humboldt State Normal School on April 6, 1914, with 55 students training to be teachers, housed in a cabin-like building on 11th and M Streets in Arcata, California.  The first graduating class, comprised of 15 female students, received their degrees on May 26, 1915.  Founders Hall construction began in 1922.  The name was changed to Humboldt State College in 1935, and to Humboldt State University in 1974. Between the 1950s to early 1970s, the campus population grew to more than 6000.  The main Humboldt campus covers 144 acres, and multiple off-campus facilities include a marine lab, ocean-going research vessel, aquatics center, astronomy observatory, natural history museum, Wildlife Care Facility, 11,500- square-foot greenhouse, and demonstration tree forest.


Alumni believe that CPH prides itself on the applied nature of its academic programs. A 2009 survey of CPH Alumni indicated that three quarters of alumni claimed that attending CPH was a great decision, a vast majority agreed their education prepared them well for life-long learning, and they praised the campus for its quality academics and valuable relationships.  Former students talked about the importance of personal connections with faculty, hands-on learning opportunities, and the strong sense of community at their alma mater.

Cal Poly Humboldt Photo Gallery