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CSU Admission Requirements

The CSU System
Extracted from the California Community College Transfer Counselor Website

The California State University is the country's largest four-year university system, its most diverse, and the most affordable. A leader in providing access to quality education, the CSU graduates 82,000 students each year. Preparing more students than any other university in the fields that make California work—agriculture, information technology, communications, business, tourism, life sciences, and education—the CSU is vital to California's economic growth and prosperity. Investing in the California State University is an investment in California.

The CSU system is a leader in high-quality, accessible, student-focused higher education. The CSU is now the largest university system in the country, with nearly 417,000 students and more than 46,000 faculty and staff members on 23 campuses.

"We attribute the success of the CSU to our superior faculty and staff members and their dedication to teaching, research and service.  The CSU system offers unlimited opportunities to help students achieve their goals. CSUs prepare graduates who go on to make a difference in the workforce. CSUs engage in research and creative activities leading to scientific, technical, artistic and social advances. CSUs play a vital role in the growth and development of California's communities and economy." (calstate.edu)

All the campuses of the California State University welcome applications from transfer students. If a student completes college units after the summer following graduation from high school, they are considered a transfer student. The majority of transfer students enter as upper-division transfers. Upper-division transfers must complete at least 60 semester or 90 quarter units before transfer. If CSU frosh eligibility has been established, some transfers enter as lower-division students. If a student has completed 59 or fewer semester or 89 or fewer quarter units, they are considered a lower-division transfer. Some CSU campuses do not accept lower-division transfers.

Admissions offices at the 23 campuses use a common set of factors to make admission decisions for both classes of transfer students. All campuses have higher standards for out-of-state students and international students. Some campuses have higher standards for particular majors. Finally, a few campuses have higher standards for all applicants.

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Academic Planning for Prospective Transfers: If a student is unsure of choosing a major, they should first concentrate on completing lower-division general education requirements. Of these requirements, the highest-priorities are the general education requirements in the English language, oral communications, English composition, and critical thinking - along with a general education course in mathematics. While completion of all general education requirements is not required for admission, it is important that students complete as many of the lower-division general education requirements as possible prior to transfer. If they are pursuing a high-unit major that requires extensive lower-division prerequisites, they may not be able to complete all lower-division general education requirements prior to transfer. 

CSU provides California Community College transfers with two options for fulfilling CSU lower-division general education requirements: CSU General Education Breadth and the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC). Most CSU intended students choose to fulfill the CSU General Education Breadth. The GE-Breadth Requirement is a lower division 39 semester unit pattern. Students must take specified courses in the areas of:

  • Area A - Communication in the English language and Critical Thinking
  • Area B - Physical Universe and Its Life Forms
  • Area C - Arts, Literature, Philosophy, and Foreign Language
  • Area D - Social, Political, and Economic Institutions
  • Area E - Lifelong Understanding and Self-Development

Each California Community College has a list of courses that can be used in each of the areas. The list is also available at www.assist.org. Each of the areas has a minimum number of units or courses.

Up to 39 lower-division GE-Breadth units required can be certified by a California Community College or other certifying institution. Students who are certified with 39 semester units of lower-division GE-Breadth units will not be required to complete any additional lower-division general education work after transfer. California Community Colleges can certify each subject area (Area A, B, C, D, E) or the whole pattern. It is highly recommended that students choosing the CSU GE Breadth Requirement (or corresponding IGETC) finish all of Area A and B4 the semester or term prior to transferring. Otherwise, their CSU campus options may be more limited. Generally, CSU campuses urge transfer students to complete all lower division general education and pre-major courses prior to transfer.

Graduation Requirement Notes: As part of the requirements for a bachelor's degree on all CSU campuses, students must meet general education requirements. A minimum of 48 semester units is required for GE-Breadth: 37-39 of lower-division and at least 9 upper division courses. All of the lower-division courses for GE-Breadth may be completed at a California Community College before you transfer to a CSU campus.

Please note that in addition to the GE Breadth, students are required one U.S. History course and one U.S. Government course (as listed under each articulated schools). Also, most CSUs will count the U.S. History course under the D Category. In other words, in most cases, the U.S. History course can double count as a GE Breadth course.

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