California State University System (CSU System)

The California State University System (CSU) is the largest state university system in California and is the first choice of many international students for studying in California. Together with the universities of the University of California (UC) System, the universities of the CSU form the cornerstones of the Californian higher education landscape.

Facts about the California State University System

A look at the framework data and it becomes clear how versatile the California State University System is. The university network, also known as Cal State, has 23 locations with around 460,000 students and 47,000 employees.

The CSU is also diverse from an ethnic-cultural point of view: about 56% of the total student body belongs to an ethnic minority. Students at Cal State are thus guaranteed international study experience.

In addition, the diversity of subjects at the universities of the CSU system is enormous. Students can choose between more than 1,800 bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes from around 355 subject areas.

Approximately half of all bachelor’s degrees and one third of all master’s degrees in California are awarded by a university of the CSU system. Since 1961, almost 2.9 million bachelor’s and master’s degrees have been awarded, as well as joint degrees at doctoral level offered jointly with the University of California.

History of California State University

It all began with the 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education in California. The proposal contained the proposal to establish a fixed distribution of roles for the existing junior colleges, state colleges and the University of California within the Californian higher education system. Specific functions should be assigned to each system in order to better manage and coordinate them.

The Donahoe Higher Education Act implemented the proposals from the master plan in the same year. As a result, the state colleges that have been acting individually to date have now been merged into a common system: the California State Colleges. Since 1982, the association has been known under its current name: California State University.

With the founding of the CSU Channel Islands in 2002, the California State University System became its 23rd member. Today, the CSU unites full universities, polytechnic universities and one of the seven US-American Maritime Academies under one roof.

Special features of the California State University System

The California State University System is the central point of contact for students wishing to acquire a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in California or further their professional qualifications.

Compared to the research-oriented universities of the UC system, the universities of the California State University System are considered to be more practice-oriented. The main focus is on the provision of high-quality courses.

The high quality of studies and teaching at the universities of the CSU system is also confirmed by the regional accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Every year, the universities produce a large number of graduates who start their careers well prepared. Through the multinational learning environment at Cal States locations, students also learn how to integrate successfully into an international team.

Transfer agreement: From Community College to the CSU

Similar to the UC system, the California State University System also has a transfer agreement with California’s state community colleges. Students who successfully complete an Associate program with transfer option at a community college in California have the opportunity to transfer to a higher education institution of the CSU system. There, they can be assigned to the third year of a corresponding Bachelor’s degree programme and then complete the Bachelor’s degree.

Depending on the institution of higher education, students must meet different requirements in order to be able to use the transfer option for themselves. In any case, a close coordination with the contact persons of the Community College and the desired university is required.

Since studying at a community college is usually associated with lower tuition fees than studying at a four-year college or university in the USA, students can save a lot of money in the first two years. In addition, the Transfer Admissions Guarantee often proves to be a door-opener for international students. You don’t have to compete with the many other applicants for the coveted study places at a CSU campus. Instead, they are even guaranteed a place to study if the relevant requirements are met.

Universities of California State University Systems

The California State University System consists of 23 locations spread across the state of California. Nevertheless, each university is unique and has different strengths and characteristics. These must be presented below.

CSU Bakersfield

With just under 9000 students, the CSU Bakersfield is one of the smaller locations of the CSU system. The university promotes the idea of being able to offer students all the advantages that are normally reserved for private elite universities – at a much lower cost. This includes small course sizes, cutting-edge research and, last but not least, strong interaction between lecturers and students. In addition, many faculties of the CSU Bakersfield offer internships to enable students to gain practical work experience.

CSU Channel Islands

Located between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, in the tranquil little town of Camarillo, the CSU Channel Islands offers a quiet, ideal learning environment while still being right in the middle of the action.

The youngest of the 23 California State University System locations has a personal and familiar atmosphere thanks to the manageable number of students. On average, there are 13 students per teacher. This creates the conditions for each student to be able to receive individual attention.

Economics and psychology are among the CSUCI’s most popular subjects. The courses offered in the business administration area are broadly diversified and offer numerous options for specialisation.

CSU Chico

Small, but nice. The CSU Chico is also located in a real student city in Sacramento Valley in Northern California, where everything can be reached by bicycle.

As the second oldest campus of the California State University System, Chico State can look back on a long academic tradition.

The quality of higher education is repeatedly confirmed by national and international university rankings. In the U. S. News and World Report Best Colleges Rankings alone, the University has ranked among the top 10 best regional public universities in the West of the USA since 1998.

CSU Dominguez Hills

The CSU Dominguez Hills is located in the greater Los Angeles area. The range of courses offered by the university is as varied as LA, ranging from A for African Studies to W for Women’s Studies. CSUDH is at the cutting edge of research and teaching. For example, the African American Political and Economic Institute is conducting research on the African American community in California. In addition, CSUDH also has a number of service facilities such as a Career Center, the Loker Student Union and an International Student Services Office.

CSU East Bay

If you want to meet people from all over the world, you’ve come to the right place at CSU East Bay in the San Francisco East Bay Area. Young people from more than 80 countries are studying at the Californian university. The CSU East Bay also scores well in academic terms. The prestigious Princeton Review has selected her as one of the „Best in the West“ universities and awarded her the „Best Business School“ award.

Another advantage of studying at the CSUEB is that students are also asked to pay the least amount of tuition fees.

California State University Fresno

Go dogs! Sports enthusiasts are in good hands at California State University Fresno, which offers one of the best university sports programs in California. When the „Bulldogs“, the sports teams of Fresno State, step on the plan, there is no stopping. The „Red Wave“ counts more than 40,000 people and is regarded as a particularly loyal fan community.

At Fresno State there are courses and programmes to suit all tastes. Especially in the field of agricultural sciences, the university is a showpiece. On the campus there is even an own wine cellar, where the students produce high quality wines.

CSU Fullerton

BWL students watch out: CSU Fullerton has the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, the largest accredited business school in the West of the USA.

But students from other fields of study also find what they are looking for at the University of California, such as biology students. They find a beautiful eleven-hectare botanical garden at the university.

In keeping with its location, some 40 km from Los Angeles, the CSU Fullerton is very internationally oriented and cooperates with companies and universities around the world.

Good ranking results are not uncommon at the university. In the U. S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, for example, it ranked 7th among the Top Public Regional Universities.

Humboldt State University

Humboldt State University is located in one of the world’s most scenic areas: Arcata in Northern California, surrounded by ancient redwoods, pristine beaches and wild rivers. Accordingly, the university demonstrates a high level of environmental awareness. The university even has its own „green scene“, which is committed to protecting the environment.

The Humboldt City is also proud of its courses of study in the field of marine sciences.

A special feature is the bachelor’s degree in oceanography, which does not exist in this form at any other university in California. Here, students have the opportunity to carry out their own research on the university’s own research vessel and get to know the university’s marine laboratory.

CSU Long Beach

With nearly 37,000 students, CSU Long Beach is one of the largest universities in the network. The 130 hectare campus was designed with great attention to detail. The thousands of peach trees alone are a highlight in their own right.

Hot Spots @ The Beach offers everything from an exclusive Student Recreation and Wellness Center to state-of-the-art facilities such as the Hall of Science. The latter includes the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, which leads the way in undergraduate and graduate level student research.

Cal State L. A.

It is hardly possible to get closer to the „City of Angels“: The California State University of Los Angeles is only about eight kilometres away from the city centre of LA. And Hollywood is also around the corner. At Cal State L. A., students can study at six colleges. The most popular subjects include business, marketing, health and social sciences.

The university has first-class facilities such as the Television Film & Media Center, the Herzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center and the NASA University Research Center. Incidentally, the latter is the only center within the California State University System to offer studies in aerospace engineering.

California Maritime Academy

Cal Maritime is one out of seven Maritime Academies in the USA and the only institution of its kind on the west coast of the United States. The university is located in a scenic location, directly at a harbour area in San Francisco Bay. Here students are trained for civil navigation.

The cadets gain the necessary practical experience on board the Golden Bear, the training ship of the Californian university. There, students apply the theory of maritime transport and their engineering knowledge in practice.

CSU Monterey Bay

If there is a role model for a living sense of community, then it is the CSU Monterey Bay. The university is one of the newer institutions of the California State University System. With almost 7000 students, the number of students is quite manageable.

All the more reason to be together in everyday study. The CSUMB is not interested in offering the largest lecture halls. Instead, the focus is on joint learning, problem solving and networking. Therefore, the courses are rather small so that each student can be supervised personally.

CSU Northridge

The CSU Northridge is not only one of the oldest universities in the CSU system, but also one of the 50 largest universities in the USA. Almost 40,000 students study at the university. With its nine colleges, CSUN has a very good technical position. It is regarded as a top location for business administration, but subjects such as languages and engineering are also in great demand.

The CSU Northridge impresses with its favourable location. Only half an hour away are beautiful beaches, the cities of Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles, and Hollywood is just a stone’s throw away.

California State Polytechnic University of Pomona

The Ponoma State has a special position within the California State University System. It is one of two Polytechnic Universities in California. The study programmes at Cal Poly Pomona include technology-related content and are specifically interdisciplinary.

In addition, Ponoma State acts according to the motto „Theory through application„. During the course of their studies, students should be given as much opportunity as possible to gain practical experience.

CSU Sacramento

The CSU Sacramento is located in the heart of the Californian capital and thus in the political, economic and cultural center of the state. The capital’s university is also known as the „Tree Campus USA“. No wonder, as there are over 400 different tree species on the campus. The classrooms, laboratories and other institutions of higher education are located in a woodland environment.

Also worth mentioning: The CSU Sacramento has the second largest study program in the field of criminal justice in the country.

Cal State of San Bernardino

The Cal State San Bernardino is one of the most prominent centers of intellectual and cultural activity in the interior of Southern California. Situated at the foot of the San Bernardino Mountains, it is an ideal place to study, not only for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking or snowboarding in the mountains, camping in the national park or kayaking on the river – there are no limits to the possibilities.

The Cal State San Bernardino also has more than 70 bachelor and master programmes. Your International Extensions Programs also offers international students a wide range of study opportunities, from full studies and semesters abroad to language courses.

San Diego State University

Founded in 1897, the SDSU is one of the oldest universities in the CSU system and one of the largest in the network. The university is first-class in all respects. According to the U. S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, it is one of the 80 best public universities in the country. The range of courses on offer is very extensive. Semester students can take over 3000 courses in more than 80 subjects.

San Diego State University offers an impressive Spanish-style campus that can be considered a city in its own right. Only eight kilometres from downtown San Diego, the campus is also the perfect starting point for excursions. It is not without reason that the sunny university location is also known as the gateway to the Pacific and Latin America.

San Francisco State University

The Pacific Ocean at your doorstep, the city centre of San Francisco within reach – that’s only available at San Francisco State University. The university is a pioneer in the field of international higher education. Study programmes with an international perspective and international activities on campus are not uncommon. No wonder that the university is one of the top goals for international students.

San Francisco State offers first-class study programs at Bachelor, Master and PhD levels. The humanities courses of study at the university in particular have a good reputation, but other faculties such as the School of Engineering have also received several awards.

San José State University

San José State University is the university within the California State University System, which can look back on the longest tradition. The university opened its doors in 1857. This makes it the oldest university on the west coast of the USA. High quality teaching and small class sizes have high priority at San José State.

Because of its proximity to Silicon Valley, the university maintains close links with many companies and offers students the opportunity to make important contacts in business and industry. It is not surprising that the university has the highest number of engineering, computer science, education and business graduates in Silicon Valley.

California Polytechnic State University of San Luis Obispo

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is located in a typical Californian coastal town with just under 45,000 inhabitants. The university is located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It is only a few minutes away from beautiful beaches and parks and is located in a well-known wine-growing region.

The Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is, as the university’s name suggests, well positioned, especially in the fields of agricultural sciences, engineering and architecture. It explicitly pursues the „learning by doing“ approach. The practical part of the studies is correspondingly high.

CSU San Marcos

The CSU San Marcos is one of the newer universities of the California State University System and has a modern, spacious campus. LEED-certified buildings, state-of-the-art research laboratories and an excellently equipped library are spread across the campus.

The most popular courses of study at the university include subjects such as Business Administration, Liberal Studies, Psychology, Nursing and Communication.

The CSU San Marcos is a comparatively small location, but nevertheless makes it its task to train the „leaders of tomorrow“.

In addition, the university attaches particular importance to „Community Engagement“, which is also reflected in the family atmosphere on campus.

Sonoma State University

There are many reasons for studying at Sonoma State University: the friendly atmosphere on campus, the consistently good ranking results of the university or the idyllic location in the middle of Sonoma County.

Also noteworthy is the fact that Sonoma State is the only university in California to be a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. Only 25 universities and colleges in the United States belong to this prestigious association. All of them are committed to providing students with a particularly high-quality academic education in liberal arts and the natural sciences.

CSU Stanislaus

At the CSU Stanislaus, modern facilities meet rural charm. The picturesque brooks, ponds and waterfalls on the university grounds are reminiscent of a park landscape.

Stanislaus State is one of the smaller locations of the CSU system with 9000 students. Nevertheless, the range of courses on offer is very varied. While subjects such as business administration and psychology are very popular with bachelor students, courses of study such as social work and public administration are particularly popular at the master’s level.

The CSU Stanislaus also has a good international reputation. According to the U. S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, it is ranked among the best universities in the western United States and, according to the Princeton Review, among the best universities in the country.