Internal Applicants for Blended Program

The Blended program is an accelerated path for Cal Poly undergraduates who would like to graduate with both BS and MS degrees upon completion. In this program, students are able to double-count up to 8 units of 400 or 500 level Approved Engineering and/or Science electives for both their undergraduate and graduate requirements.

Eligibility: This program is only available to currently enrolled Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo Engineering undergraduates. Students who are not in an undergraduate Engineering program must have successfully completed the Department-approved prerequisites before applying to the Blended MS program.

Time to Apply: Interested students should apply in the last two quarters of their Senior year, that is, after completion of 165 units. All application materials are due at the end of the 2nd week of each quarter (Fall, Winter and Spring).

All industry sponsored projects start during Fall quarter; therefore, students applying for the Project Track should apply either Winter or Spring quarter to be matriculated into the Masters program before industry sponsored projects are launched.

Where to turn in your application: All Blended application packages should be filled out online using the links below. As stated above, all application packages are due the 2nd week of the quarter of application.

Directions and Forms:  Application to the Blended Masters Thesis and Project tracks.

When should I apply?  If you are interested in applying to the Blended MS program, you should apply two quarters before you are scheduled to graduate with your BS degree. (If you are applying in the quarter you graduate, please notify the Graduate Coordinator and the Department office.)

Blended applications are due the second full week of instruction of each quarter.

For the MS Project Track: Company sponsored projects start each Fall quarter. To optimize the time to degree, students applying to the MS Project Track are encouraged to apply in Winter and Spring.

What are the typical qualifications?  Typically, applicants with a GPA ≥  3.0 are eligible to be admitted to the program.

What can I do to enhance my chances of getting into the MS Program?  BMED Faculty members can give their recommendations to the admissions committee; therefore, if you know the kind of research you’d like to do, it is to your advantage to join and help in a faculty research group. Some call this “shadowing”. This applies to both the Thesis and Project tracks.

Do I need to take the GRE?  The GRE is not required for the Blended Program applicants.

For the Working Formal Study Plan “WFSP” what classes do I select?  Your WFSP should include the required courses listed in the Catalog. For the WFSP, 50% or more must be approved 500 level courses, the remainder being 400 level courses. Work with your advisor to determine a suitable course of study relevant to your thesis or project. You can double count 8.0 units between undergraduate and graduate requirements. If you’ve taken 400 or 500 level units that you have not used to fulfill undergraduate requirements, you can use them on your Formal Study Plan.

What are double count units?  You can count up to 8.0 units of 400 or 500 level courses that fulfill undergraduate requirements on your Formal Study Plan; hence, the units are double counted for both the undergraduate and graduate programs.

What if I took a 400 or 500 level course that I did not use to fulfill undergraduate requirements? Can I use those units on my Formal Study Plan?  Yes, you can include up to 12 units as long as 60% of your total units on your Formal Study Plan are approved 500 level courses. See the Graduate Handbook.

What is the Post Baccalaureate Change of Objective (PBCO) Form?  It is the form, if admitted, that the Administration/Records uses to change your status from undergraduate to graduate. The form is filled out on the GradEd website.

Important: You need to run your undergraduate Degree Progress (DPR) Report upon submitting this form. (You will lose access to your DPR report once you have achieved graduate status.)

On the Post Baccalaureate Change of Objective form, I am asked about (or asked to write) what quarter and year I would like to become a graduate student.  It appears as:

“I request that this change take effect starting: __________________________________(specify quarter and year) “

  • What do I put for quarter and year?  The ‘quarter and year’ you enter in this form should be the quarter that you need to or want to be a full time graduate student, i.e., have graduate student status at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
  • Please note: i) as a blended program applicant, you cannot graduate with your Bachelor’s degree before becoming a graduate student; ii) if you have financial aid as an undergraduate student, you will lose it when you become a graduate student and must re-apply as a graduate student; and iii) the cost per unit as a graduate student is $31 higher versus an undergraduate student.
  • If you are applying for the Blended Program in your last quarter as an undergraduate student, please notify the Graduate Coordinator and the Department Office.  If you apply in your last quarter in residence as an undergraduate and are admitted into the Blended Program, your paperwork must be expedited to ensure that you do not graduate with your BS degree and you are able to register as a graduate student for the following quarter.

For the personal statement, is there guidance?  The personal statement should be a page to a page and half and contain three main paragraphs.

  • Paragraph one: why did you get into Biomedical Engineering?
  • Paragraph two: while taking course work (or working in a research group) what did you most enjoy and/or excel in? If your overall GPA is not high, what is your GPA for your last 90 units?  You can include that information in this paragraph.
  • Paragraph three: what research are you interested in? List the relevant faculty that you’ve talked to about joining their group. Note: if you list a faculty member, please make sure you have discussed research opportunities and possibly secured a project.

What’s the eForm? Many of the forms required by Grad Ed are now eForms. Historically, this has referred to the Blended Programs Application Approval Form (E-Form).

As of Fall 2020, use the following email address on the E-form:

What is the Project Track?  The project track are MS level projects sponsored by both Industry and Faculty. Projects involve teams of 2 MS students. Team members periodically interact directly with the sponsor. Industry projects start each Fall quarter and are selected/assigned in BMED 591.

What’s the typical duration for a Thesis?  Theses generally take ~1.25 to 1.5 yrs.

What’s the typical duration for a Project?  Typically Project durations are designed for one calendar year, i.e., work through, defend, and graduate in summer (may or may not occur on campus).

How can I check on what courses will be offered in what quarter?  The proposed courses for the Academic Year are posted on the BMED website under Current Students > BMED Courses.  https://bmed.calpoly.edu/bmed-courses

Do I need to get signatures on my application materials?  During the application process, only the applicant needs to sign the application forms. The application package with all of the forms should be turned into the department office for evaluation and signature.

After I’m in the program, how do I go about getting the appropriate signatures?  Most forms are initiated online through the Grad Ed website.

What happens if I apply and later have an opportunity outside of Cal Poly that I would like to pursue?  If you have a new opportunity that you’d like to pursue, you need to file a Post Baccalaureate Change of Objective form.  For this one page form, select “Add” BS BMED and “Drop” MS BMED.

Is there financial assistance for Graduate Students?  There are a variety of funding opportunities offered or assisted through Graduate Education. Additionally, you can talk with the Department office or directly with the faculty member responsible for the course to get on the list of available Instructional Student Assistants, ISAs.

Can I walk at graduation as an undergraduate after entering the Blended Program?  Once you’ve transitioned from undergraduate to graduate status, your official commencement will be for your MS degree. If you would like to petition to walk as an undergraduate, you need to fill out the commencement petition form at the Commencement Office.

Graduate Student Funding Sources: (apply early)

  • Tuition Waivers (Residents and non-Residents)
  • State University Grants
  • Graduate Equity Fellowships
  • Diverse Education Scholarship
  • Funding to present research at a profession conference
  • And Graduate Assistantships

For more information, see the Graduate Education website, under “Financial Resources.”

Department Funding Opportunities: (apply early)  Instructional Student Assistantship (ISA). For this please visit the Department Office in person and request to be included on the list of available ISAs. Also, please be prepared to indicate for which courses you’d like to be considered.

External Funding Sources: (apply early)  There are funding opportunities offered by the major funding agencies, e.g., NSF Graduate Student FellowshipCSUPERB student grants. Locally, please consult the Dean of Research and Graduate Education. Also, please explore the websites for the various agencies for opportunities. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Ben Hawkins during Graduate Office Hours.