Off Campus Programs

Canberra Exchange Program


Contact People

Cal Poly Exchange Program Coordinator: Joe Ragsdale and Arlene Gomez
California Polytechnic State University, Cal Poly
Architecture Department
College of Architecture and Environmental Design
One Grand Avenue, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407-0282
Email: Ragsdale
Email: Gomez
Phone: 001 (805) 756-1316
Web page:


The University of Canberra in located in Australia’s national capital city. Canberra is home to many international Embassies and is the home of many of Australia’s federal government agencies. The city is in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), located approximately midway between Australia’s two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne.

The city of Canberra has a population of about 320,000 and has a relaxed café culture, but because of its international influences it is ethnically diverse and cosmopolitan for city of its size. Canberra is home to many galleries and museums that are national institutions, showcasing the culture of Australia. The city is built around Lake Burley Griffin, which is the heart of the original design for Canberra, designed by American architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahoney Griffin for the new Australian Capital in 1913. It is Australia’s eighth largest city, and Australia’s largest inland city. It is surrounded by a variety of parks and reserves, which allows access to the regions landscape and wildlife.

The University of Canberra campus is a haven of clean air, tall trees and native wildlife, including parrots, honeyeaters, cockatoos and a mob of resident kangaroos that live near the Student Residences. The campus is in Bruce, a north-western suburb of Canberra, well-served by public transport and within easy reach of shopping and entertainment venues in Belconnen Town Centre or in "Civic", the Canberra commercial business district. The 11,000 students on campus come from every state in Australia and many other countries. About 1500 students live on campus, the rest live in surrounding suburbs.

For additional information, please visit:


The Architecture Department is in the Faculty of Arts and Design which has almost twenty different course of study. The professional degree program is divided into a three-year Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and a two year Master of Architecture. Our students are able to join in the first year of the Master of Architecture program, as students with 4 years standing in five-year first professional degree program.

Unusual for Australia, the students have access to 24/7 studios, which is similar to their experiences at Cal Poly.

“The Master of Architecture has unique status as the only postgraduate architecture program in Australia’s National Capital Canberra, an internationally recognised model design city. The course has a strong design studio ethos complemented by and integrated with studies in technology, history and theory. Students engage in a range of discrete design electives that provide special opportunity for self-determined development including collaborative interdisciplinary studios, professional placements associated with design or research projects, overseas study programs, history, theory and curatorial studies and architecture master classes. Students are encouraged to take advantage of research opportunities including those that might align with the Canberra story.” -from the Master of Architecture course description:

All classes are taught in English.

Students participating in University of Canberra will take courses regularly offered at the host institution and shall enjoy the same rights and privileges granted to its own students. Exchange students shall be subject to the rules, regulations and discipline of the host institution.

At the completion of the program of study, exchange students will request form the host university a transcript of completed work to be sent to either the student or his/her home institution. All charges on an exchange student's account, if any, must be cleared before the host institution will be obligated to send a transcript. Any academic credit earned at the host institution will be transferred back to the home institution, in accordance with procedures determined by the latter, to be granted towards the appropriate degree for the subjects studied and successfully completed while on the exchange program.

The following Cal Poly Classes will be considered as substitutes for classes taken at University of Canberra:

ARCH 451/452/453 (5 units): Fourth year Design
ARCH 400 (3 units): Special Problems for Advance Undergraduates
ARCH 420 (4 units): Seminar in Architectural History
ARCH 445 (3 units): Urban Design in Architecture
ARCH 480 (4 units): Special Studies in Architecture
ARCH 400 (4 units(: Special Studies in Architecture

Because of the different calendar in Australia, the Cal Poly Fall Quarter will correspond to the University of Canberra Second Semester. This is the best opportunity for a one quarter exchange option.

Application process

Important information/procedures

  • Canberra Semester Calendar

    Since Australia is in the southern hemisphere, the academic calendar is different than in the northern hemisphere. The first 13 week semester starts at the beginning of February and ends in June. The second semester begins in August and ends in December. For our students a full years study would begin in August and end in June, spanning from second semester one year to first semester the following school year.

    The University of Canberra’s Academic Calendar has a 13-7-13 teaching pattern that also incorporates an intensive Winter Term of 7 weeks from June to August.

    Please see the University of Canberra Academic Calendar website for specific dates:

  • Application process

    To apply for this program, seek assistance at the College of Architecture Advising Center or Jim Doerfler. Be sure to plan wisely for the appropriate course credit you need. Application form may be found on the home page of the Off-Campus Programs web page.

    Once you are accepted, visit for a list of steps to prepare for your departure.

  • Entry Visa
    Please visit the Visas, Immigration and Citizenship web page of the Embassy of Australia in the United States of America.
  • Health Insurance
    The exchange student shall show that during his/her participation in an exchange program that he/she has health insurance coverage and that it be valid in the host country or countries. Travel assistance coverage shall be in accordance with the minimum requirements required by California State University International Programs. (CSU Executive Order 998).
    IMPORTANT NOTE: Outbound Cal Poly students participating on exchange are no longer required to purchase ACE USA health and travel insurance. They may purchase the Wells Fargo Outbound plan OR they may purchase any similar plan that meets the CSU requirements.
  • Cost of living and bank information
    Students should visit the Study in Australia website. This is the official Australian Government site about studying in Australia. It will give you up-to-date facts about living costs, money matters and other important information.
    For additional information, go to:
  • Students attending Canberra must complete the following documents that will be provided by the faculty coordinator:
    The following documents will be prepared by the Cal Poly Exchange Program Coordinator:
    a. Student Participant Agreement
    b. Medical Information & Authorization Form (The Department will not evaluate any health insurance plan.  Cal Poly's Risk Management has agreed that the burden is set on the student to be sure their plan provides sufficient coverage for them while they are abroad).
    c. Assumption of Risk and Release Form

Estimated Basic Program Costs to attend the Canberra Program

Note 1: Cal Poly tuition and fees are subject to University increases

Note 2: Please consult with your host institution to get an updated room & board, transportation, and books/supplies expenses.

Item Description (one quarter) Estimated Cost (Dollars) Estimated Cost (Australian Dollars)

Cal Poly Tuition & Fees. Pending CE Approval

Full-time fees x 2 quarters  

Travel Documents (Passport and passport photos)

$ 200.00  
ACE ISA FTIP $ 200.00  
Travel Health Insurance (Required) $11.75x20weeks (Wells Fargo)  
Meals/housing $ 7,000.00  
Airfare (from SLO to Australia) $ 1,500.00  
Personal Expenses including additional travel expenses (per students personal habits) $ 2,000.00