Rose Murphy: California State University system prepares students for future career needs


California urgently needs a young workforce trained in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers. To the rescue comes the California State University (CSU) system! CSU Humboldt will now be officially considered California State Polytechnic University, informally known as Cal Poly Humboldt.

What’s so great about a Cal Poly? A polytechnic institution devotes the majority of its education to technical arts and applied sciences. They prepare students for the job market, provide hands-on learning and internship opportunities. CSU polytechnic universities offer majors in high-demand careers that provide solutions to the complex social and environmental issues we face today. Issues of social justice, closing equity gaps in higher education, and environmental stewardship will continue to play an important role across Cal Poly Humboldt’s expanding campus curriculum. For many years, Humboldt State was in the top three of CSUs for providing majors in STEM fields. Currently, California has a growing demand for professionals, leaders, and changemakers in programs that address areas of concern such as climate resilience, wildfire management, engineering, agriculture, and care. health.

California has two very well known CSU Cal Polys on the Central Coast and Southern California – Pomona and San Luis Obispo. Their STEM majors have remained impacted over the past few years. Pomona and San Luis Obispo have more selective acceptance rates due to more students applying than there is space available. However, with Humboldt’s acceptance rate of approximately 80% and their commitment to expansion, these new programs will be accessible to more students. Northern California will benefit from the additional high-demand college programs that will be offered beginning in fall 2023.

Cal Poly Humboldt will focus on meeting the needs of rural communities, with particular emphasis on underserved populations. Emphasis will be placed on genuine engagement and collaboration with Indigenous communities to leverage their expertise and practices. Many of the new programs will be highly interdisciplinary and will help the next generation meet the challenges of these changing times.

In January of this year, Governor Newsom and the state legislature approved one-time funding to help Cal Poly Humboldt become a polytechnic university. By 2023, Cal Poly Humboldt will launch 12 new STEM degree and certificate programs. Within seven years, Cal Poly Humboldt plans to have 28 new degree programs. Due to the growing demand for STEM-related careers and campus revitalization, Cal Poly’s student population at Humboldt is expected to double by 2029. To prepare for this transformation, new buildings will be constructed or renovated, including student accommodation, laboratories, and a renewable energy research center. A commitment to increased infrastructure will extend broadband to the entire northern coastal region.

Tuition at Cal Poly Humboldt is just under $8,000 per year. This value is greatly enhanced if students first attend a community college in California, many of which offer free tuition. Cal Poly Humboldt plans to increase its associate degree rates for transfer students.

A sample of bachelor’s degree programs to be implemented over the next seven years include: Energy Systems Engineering, Indigenous and Environmental Sciences, Software Engineering, Marine Sciences, Applied Fire Science and Management , Cannabis Studies, Health Promotion, Food Systems Science, and Digital Arts and Media. Certificate programs will be available in the areas of fair and sustainable future, cybersecurity, biotechnology and more. Masters programs are also being expanded, including STEM education, speech therapy, and MSN nursing.

To learn more about the opportunities offered by the new Cal Poly Humboldt, you can visit their website ( You can sign up for in-person campus tours, which take place several weekdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Virtual tours and descriptions of the 28 new majors and certificates, as well as current programs, can be found on Cal Poly Humboldt. website. Check them out and also take a look at job prospects in these fields, median salary, and job descriptions. Maybe there’s something right for you or someone you know. The education students receive at Cal Poly Humboldt will have a lasting impact on Northern California’s economy and environment.

Rose Murphy is a retired high school counselor who now works as a freelance educational consultant. She can be contacted at [email protected] or


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