Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Cal Poly Research via University Archives

Researching Cal Poly in the University Archives and beyond

Senior Projects

Many senior projects were written about Cal Poly, and can be useful as a primary source or a secondary source, depending on how you use the source. Senior projects date back to 1942, which is when our collections start. You can search senior projects in the library's catalog and access them either in the library or online. It was optional for students to submit senior projects to the library, so specific senior projects may not be included in the library's collections.

Locating Senior Projects in the library

You can search all senior projects submitted to the library on the library catalog OneSearch

Senior projects submitted 1942-2008 are only available physically in the library. Senior projects submitted after 2009 are available online at DigitalCommons.

Accessing Senior Project in print

Senior projects are located on the second floor of the Kennedy Library, adjacent to the microfilm readers near the Research Help Desk. 

Senior Projects created before 2009 are only on Microfiche.

From the catalog record for the senior project you'll need the Number that looks like XX-XXXX to find the project.

Tips for searching for Senior Projects

Senior projects are all cataloged in the library's catalog. However, it is important to know what exactly the catalog is searching. 

Senior projects are ONLY searchable by author name, author's department, and title. There are no subject headings, keywords, abstracts, or full-text searching of pre-2009 senior projects.

How to limit your search to just senior projects

Use the Advanced Search

Change "Any Field" to "Local Collections" and type "senior project"

Using wildcards to expand your search

Because a search will only search the title of the senior project, wildcards are a useful way to search more broadly. 

If you use an astrisk (*) at the end of a word or part of a word, anything starting with those letters will be included in your results.

For example: Poly* will search Poly AND Polytechnic (and polymers, polyhedron....etc)

Accessing pre-2009 Senior Projects on microfilm

Photo of the microfilm storage cabinets

Locate the senior project microfilm cabinets on the second floor of the library. Make sure to have the Senior Project number in order to locate and pull the microfilm you are looking for.

Inside view of a cabinet drawer of senior project microfiche

What the microfiche look like in the drawer. They are organized numerically by senior project number.

Close-up view of a senior project on microfilm

Close-up view of a senior project on microfilm.

researcher seated at microfilm reader looking at senior project

Bring the senior project microfiche to the readers to view. There are instructions for how to use the readers at the tables. If the research help desk is open, you can check to see if they can help troubleshoot issues.