Public university system in California, United States
The California State University (Cal State or CSU) is a public university system in California. With 23 campuses and eight off-campus centers enrolling 484,300 students with 26,858 faculty and 25,305 staff, CSU is the largest four-year public university system in the United States. It is one of three public higher education systems in the state, with the other two being the University of California system and the California Community Colleges System. The CSU System is incorporated as The Trustees of the California State University. The California State University system headquarters are in Long Beach, California.
The California State University was created in 1960 under the California Master Plan for Higher Education, and it is a direct descendant of the system of California State Normal Schools. With nearly 100,000 graduates annually, the CSU is the country’s greatest producer of bachelor’s degrees. The university system collectively sustains more than 150,000 jobs within the state, and its related expenditures reach more than $17 billion annually.
In the 2011–12 academic year, CSU awarded 52 percent of newly issued California teaching credentials, 47 percent of the state’s engineering degrees, 28 percent of the state’s information technology bachelor’s degrees, and it had more graduates in business (50 percent), agriculture (72 percent), communication studies, health (53 percent), education, and public administration (52 percent) than all other universities and colleges in California combined. Altogether, about half of the bachelor’s degrees, one-third of the master’s degrees, and nearly two percent of the doctoral degrees awarded annually in California are from the CSU.
Furthermore, the CSU system is one of the top U.S. producers of graduates who move on to earn their Ph.D. degrees in a related field. The CSU has a total of 17 AACSB accredited graduate business schools which is over twice as many as any other collegiate system. Since 1961, nearly three million alumni have received their bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees from the CSU system. CSU offers more than 1,800 degree programs in some 240 subject areas. In fall of 2015, 9,282 (or 39 percent) of CSU’s 24,405 faculty were tenured or on the tenure track.
Today’s California State University system is the direct descendant of the Minns Evening Normal School, a normal school in San Francisco that educated the city’s future teachers in association with the high school system. The school was taken over by the state in 1862 and moved to San Jose and renamed the California State Normal School; it eventually evolved into San Jose State University. A southern branch of the California State Normal School was created in Los Angeles in 1882.
In 1887, the California State Legislature dropped the word “California” from the name of the San Jose and Los Angeles schools, renaming them “State Normal Schools.” Later Chico (1887), San Diego (1897), and other schools became part of the State Normal School system. However, these did not form a system in the modern sense, in that each normal school had its own board of trustees and all were governed independently from one another. In 1919, the State Normal School at Los Angeles became the Southern Branch of the University of California; in 1927, it became the University of California at Los Angeles (the “at” was later replaced with a comma in 1958). In May 1921, the legislature enacted a comprehensive reform package for the state’s educational system, which went into effect that July. The State Normal Schools were renamed State Teachers Colleges, their boards of trustees were dissolved, and they were brought under the supervision of the Division of Normal and Special Schools of the new California Department of Education located at the state capital in Sacramento. This meant that they were to be managed from Sacramento by the deputy director of the division, who in turn was under the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (the ex officio director of the Department of Education) and the State Board of Education. By this time it was already commonplace to refer to most of the campuses with their city names plus the word “state” (e.g., “San Jose State,” “San Diego State,” “San Francisco State”).
The resulting administrative situation from 1921 to 1960 was quite complicated. On the one hand, the Department of Education’s actual supervision of the presidents of the State Teachers Colleges was minimal, which translated into substantial autonomy when it came to day-to-day operations. According to Clark Kerr, J. Paul Leonard, the president of San Francisco State from 1945 to 1957, once boasted that “he had the best college presidency in the United States—no organized faculty, no organized student body, no organized alumni association, and…no board of trustees.” On the other hand, the State Teachers Colleges were treated under state law as ordinary state agencies, which meant their budgets were subject to the same stifling bureaucratic financial controls as all other state agencies (except the University of California). At least one president would depart his state college because of his express frustration over that issue: Leonard himself.
During the 1920s and 1930s, the State Teachers Colleges started to transition from normal schools (that is, vocational schools narrowly focused on training elementary school teachers in how to impart basic literacy to young children) into teachers colleges (that is, providing a full liberal arts education) whose graduates would be fully qualified to teach all K–12 grades. A leading proponent of this idea was Charles McLane, the first president of Fresno State, who was one of the earliest persons to argue that K–12 teachers must have a broad liberal arts education.
In 1932, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching was asked by the state legislature and governor to perform a study of California higher education. The Foundation’s 1933 report sharply criticized the State Teachers Colleges for their intrusion upon UC’s liberal arts prerogative and recommended their transfer to the Regents of the University of California (who would be expected to put them back in their proper place). This recommendation spectacularly backfired when the faculties and administrations of the State Teachers Colleges rallied to protect their independence from the Regents. In 1935, the State Teachers Colleges were formally upgraded by the state legislature to State Colleges and were expressly authorized to offer a full four-year liberal arts curriculum, culminating in bachelor’s degrees, but they remained under the Department of Education.
During World War II, a group of local Santa Barbara leaders and business promoters (with the acquiescence of college administrators) were able to convince the state legislature and governor to transfer Santa Barbara State College to the University of California in 1944. After losing a second campus to UC, the state colleges’ supporters arranged for the California state constitution to be amended in 1946 to prevent it from happening again.
The period after World War II brought a great expansion in the number of colleges in the system. Campuses in Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Long Beach were added from 1947 through 1949. Next, seven more schools were authorized to be established between 1957 and 1960. Six more campuses joined the system after the enactment of the Donohoe Higher Education Act in 1960, bringing the total number to 23.
During this era, the state colleges’ peculiar mix of centralization and decentralization began to look rather incongruous in comparison to the highly centralized University of California and the highly decentralized local school districts around the state which operated K–12 schools and community colleges, all of which enjoyed much more autonomy from the rest of the state government than the state colleges. In 1960, the California Master Plan for Higher Education and the resulting Donahoe Act granted similar autonomy to the state college system. The Donahoe Act authorized the appointment of a Board of Trustees to govern the CSU system, as well as a systemwide Chancellor.
In 1972, the system became The California State University and Colleges, and all campuses were renamed to insert “California State University” into their names. This was unpopular at certain campuses, and as a result, former San Diego State University student body president Calvin Robinson wrote a bill (signed into law by Governor Ronald Reagan) that gave every CSU campus the option to revert to an older name: e.g., San Jose State, San Diego State, San Francisco State, etc. In 1982, the CSU system dropped the word “colleges” from its name.
Today the campuses of the CSU system include comprehensive universities and polytechnic universities along with the only maritime academy in the western United States—one that receives aid from the U.S. Maritime Administration.
In May 2020, it was announced that all 23 institutions within the CSU system would host majority-online courses in the Fall 2020 semester as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of the pandemic on education
The governance structure of the California State University is largely determined by state law. The California State University is ultimately administered by the 25 member (24 voting, one non-voting) Board of Trustees of the California State University. The Trustees appoint the Chancellor of the California State University, who is the chief executive officer of the system, and the Presidents of each campus, who are the chief executive officers of their respective campuses.
The Academic Senate of the California State University, made up of elected representatives of the faculty from each campus, recommends academic policy to the Board of Trustees through the Chancellor.
Board of Trustees
The California State University is administered by the 25 member Board of Trustees (BOT). Regulations of the BOT are codified in Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR). The BOT is composed of:
- 16 members that are appointed by the Governor of California with the consent of the Senate
- two students from the California State University appointed by the Governor
- a tenured faculty member appointed by the Governor selected from a list of names from the Academic Senate
- a representative of the alumni associations of the state university selected for a two-year term by the alumni council of the California State University
- 5 ex officio members:
- Lieutenant Governor
- Speaker of the Assembly
- State Superintendent of Public Instruction
- the CSU Chancellor
Ex officio trustees:
Appointed trustees: Silas Abrego, Jane W. Carney, Adam Day (Chair), Rebecca D. Eisen, Douglas Faigin, Debra S. Farar, Jean P. Firstenberg, Wenda Fong, Lillian Kimbell (Vice-chair), Jack McGrory, Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana, Hugo M. Moralas, John Nilon, J. Lawrence Norton, Romey Sabalius, Lateefah Simon, Christopher Steinhauser, Peter J. Taylor.
Student Trustees (also appointed): Emily F. Hinton (voting) and Juan Garcia (non-voting).
The position of the Chancellor is declared by statute and is defined by resolutions of the BOT. The delegation of authority from the BOT to the Chancellor has historically been controlled by a BOT resolution titled “Statement of General Principles in the Delegation of Authority and Responsibility” of August 4, 1961, and is now controlled by the Standing Orders of the Board of Trustees of the California State University. The Chancellor is the chief executive officer, and all Presidents report directly to the Chancellor.
All 23 campuses have mandatory student body organizations with mandatory fees, all with the “Associated Students” moniker, and are all members of the California State Student Association (CSSA). California Education Code § 89300 allows for the creation of student body organizations at any state university for the purpose of providing essential activities closely related to, but not normally included as a part of, the regular instructional program. A vote approved by two-thirds of all students causes the Trustees to fix a membership fee required of all regular, limited, and special session students attending the university such that all fee increases must be approved by the Trustees and a referendum approved by a majority of voters. Mandatory fee elections are called by the president of the university, and the membership fees are fixed by the Chancellor. All fees are collected by the university at the time of registration except where a student loan or grant from a recognized training program or student aid program has been delayed and there is reasonable proof that the funds will be forthcoming. The Gloria Romero Open Meetings Act of 2000 mandates that the legislative body of a student body organization conduct its business in public meetings.
Student body organization funds obtained from mandatory fees may be expended for:
- Programs of cultural and educational enrichment and community service.
- Recreational and social activities.
- Support of student unions.
- Scholarships, stipends, and grants-in-aid for only currently admitted students.
- Tutorial programs.
- Athletic programs, both intramural and intercollegiate.
- Student publications.
- Assistance to recognized student organizations.
- Student travel insurance.
- Administration of student fee program.
- Student government-scholarship stipends, grants-in-aid, and reimbursements to student officers for service to student government. Before such scholarship stipends, grants-in-aid, and reimbursements are established by a student body association, the principle of establishing such payments shall be approved by a student referendum.
- Student employment to provide payment for services in connection with the general administration of student fee.
- Augmentation of counseling services, including draft information, to be performed by the campus. Such counseling may also include counseling on legal matters to the extent of helping the student to determine whether he should retain legal counsel, and of referring him to legal counsel through a bar association, legal aid foundation or similar body.
- Transportation services.
- Child day care centers for children of students and employees of the campus.
- Augmentation of campus health services. Additional programs may be added by appropriate amendment to this section by the Board.
The CSU confers over 70,000 degrees each year, awarding 46% of the state’s bachelor’s degrees and 32% of the state’s master’s degrees. The entire 23 campus system sustains nearly 150,000 jobs statewide, generating nearly $1 billion in tax revenue. Total CSU related-expenditures equate to nearly $17 billion,
The CSU produces 62% of the bachelor’s degrees awarded in agriculture, 54% in business, 44% in health and medicine, 64% in hospitality and tourism, 45% in engineering, and 44% of those in media, culture and design.[clarification needed] The CSU is the state’s largest source of educators, with more than half of the state’s newly credentialed teachers coming from the CSU, expanding the state’s rank of teachers by nearly 12,500 per year.
Over the last 10 years, the CSU has significantly enhanced programs towards the underserved. 56% of bachelor’s degrees granted to Latinos in the state are from the CSU, while 60% of bachelor’s awarded to Filipinos were from the CSU. In the Fall of 2008, 42% of incoming students were from California Community Colleges.
Compensation and hiring
During the recession years (December 2007 – June 2009), the CSU lost 1/3 of its revenue – roughly $1 billion – and 4,000 employees. With the state’s reinvestment in higher education, the CSU is restoring its employee ranks and currently employs a record number of instructional faculty. Between 2010 and 2015, the number of CSU faculty increased by 3,500, but the number of tenure track faculty declined by 150, leaving the CSU system with its lowest percentage of tenure track faculty (39%) in the schools’ history. In the two years (2013–14, 2014–15) through the state’s reinvestment, the CSU has directed $129.6 million to enhance employee compensation. Another $65.5 million in slated in the 2015–16 operating budget for employee compensation. However, according to the California Faculty Association (CFA) report, “Race to the Bottom: CSU’s 10-Year Failure to Fund Its Core Mission”, written in 2015, “Over the past decade— in good times and bad, whether state funding was up or down, when tuition was raised and when it wasn’t— CSU expenditures on faculty salaries have remained essentially flat… When compared to other university systems around the country, and to every education segment in California, the CSU stands out for its unparalleled failure to improve faculty salaries or even to protect them from the ravages of inflation.”
|2018 Total Employees by Occupational Group|
|Professional and Technical||14,886||28.2%|
|Office and Administrative Support||4,643||8.8%|
|Construction, Maintenance, and Transportation||1,765||3.3%|
(For data definitions and additional statistics, please see the CSU Employee Profile at www.calstate.edu/hr/employee-profile/.)
The CSU is composed of the following 23 campuses listed here by order of the year founded:
(Fiscal year 2017-2018)
|San Jose||1857||154||33,282||$239.16||$150.1||NCAA Div. I
|Chico||1887||119||17,019||$145.76||$64.7||NCAA Div. II||Wildcats
|San Diego||1897||283||35,081||$281.24||$293.0||NCAA Div. I
|San Francisco||1899||141||28,880||$240.64||$90.8||NCAA Div. II||Gators
|San Luis Obispo||1901||9,678||21,242||$211.80||$220.5||NCAA Div. I
|Fresno||1911||1,399||24,139||$183.53||$161.6||NCAA Div. I
|Humboldt||1913||144||6,983||$92.87||$30.1||NCAA Div. II||Lumberjacks
|Pomona||1938||1,438||27,914||$178.82||$99.7||NCAA Div. II||Broncos
|Los Angeles||1947||175||26,361||$177.77||$40.1||NCAA Div. II||Golden Eagles
|Sacramento||1947||300||31,156||$209.53||$48.0||NCAA Div. I
|Long Beach||1949||330||38,074||$277.02||$77.2||NCAA Div. I
|Fullerton||1957||236||39,868||$268.77||$65.0||NCAA Div. I
|Stanislaus||1957||220||10,614||$77.43||$16.4||NCAA Div. II||Warriors
|East Bay||1957||341||14,705||$135.46||$17.1||NCAA Div. II||Pioneers
|Northridge||1958||353||38,391||$278.31||$110.7||NCAA Div. I
|Dominguez Hills||1960||346||17,027||$93.67||$10.4||NCAA Div. II||Toros
|Sonoma||1960||269||8,649||$81.50||$49.1||NCAA Div. II||Seawolves
|San Bernardino||1965||409||20,311||$146.27||$37.7||NCAA Div. II||Coyotes
|Bakersfield||1965||375||11,199||$74.81||$25.7||NCAA Div. I
|San Marcos||1989||304||14,519||$89.54||$24.9||NCAA Div. II||Cougars
|Monterey Bay||1994||1,365||7,123||$66.62||$23.9||NCAA Div. II||Otters
- Long Beach State brands some teams simply as “The Beach”, and baseball as “Dirtbags”.
- CSU Bakersfield joins the Big West Conference on July 1, 2020.
* U.S. News & World Report ranks San Diego State and Fresno State in the National Universities category as they offer several Ph.D programs. The other universities in the California State University system are ranked in the Regional Universities (West) category as they offer few or no Ph.D programs.
^ Cal Maritime only awards undergraduate degrees and therefore is ranked separately from the other campuses of the California State University. It is ranked in the “Regional Colleges” category.
Off campus branches
A handful of universities have off campus branches that make education accessible in a large state. Unlike the typical university extension courses, they are degree-granting and students have the same status as other California State University students. The newest campus, the California State University, Channel Islands, was formerly an off campus branch of CSU Northridge. Riverside County and Contra Costa County, which have three million residents between them, have lobbied for their off campus branches to be free-standing California State University campuses. The total enrollment for all off campus branches of the CSU system in Fall 2005 was 9,163 students, the equivalent of 2.2 percent of the systemwide enrollment. The following are schools and their respective off campus branches:
- California State University, Bakersfield
- California State University, Chico
- Redding (affiliated with Shasta College)
- California State University, Fullerton
- California State University, East Bay
- Oakland (Professional & Conference Center)
- California State University, Fresno
- California State University, Los Angeles
- California State University, Monterey Bay
- Salinas (Professional & Conference Center)
- California State University, San Bernardino
- California State University, San Marcos
- Southwest Riverside County
- San Diego State University
- San Francisco State University
- California State University, Stanislaus
- Sonoma State University
Laboratories and observatories
Research facilities owned and operated by units of the CSU:
Former campuses of the CSU system:
Differences between the CSU and UC systems
Both California public university systems are publicly funded higher education institutions. Despite having fewer students, some individual UC campuses, as a result of their research emphasis and medical centers, have larger budgets than the entire CSU system. According to a 2002 study, faculty at the CSU spend about 30 hours a week teaching and advising students and about 10 hours a week on research/creative activities, while a 1984 study reports faculty at the UC spend about 26 hours a week teaching and advising students and about 23 hours a week on research/creative activities. CSU’s Chancellor, Dr. Charles B. Reed, pointed out when delivering his Pullias Lecture at the University of Southern California, that California was big enough to afford two world-class systems of public higher education, one that supports research (UC) and one that supports teaching (CSU). However, student per capita spending is lower at CSU, and that, together with the lack of a research mission or independent doctoral programs under the California Master Plan, has led some in American higher education to develop the perception that the CSU system is less prestigious than the UC system.Kevin Starr, the seventh State Librarian of California, stated that the “University of California drew from the top ten percent of the state’s high school graduates” while “the CSU system was expected to draw its students from the top 33 percent of each graduating high school class.” However, per the California Master Plan, the UC draws from the top 12.5 percent of California’s public high school graduates.
For many of the CSU system’s early formative years, the more powerful UC system was able to delay or prevent the CSU schools from gaining the right to grant certain types of degrees. At present, certain types of doctorates are the only degree types that CSU schools do not grant. Thus, while similar campuses in other states (e.g., Illinois State University) eventually grew into research-oriented state universities, the UC system’s powerful research university monopoly has successfully prevented the CSU as a system from experiencing a similar development, although some individual CSU campuses have become more research-oriented.
According to the California Master Plan for Higher Education (1960), both university systems may confer bachelors or master’s degrees as well as professional certifications, however only the University of California has the authority to issue Ph.D degrees (Doctor of Philosophy) and professional degrees in the fields of law, medicine, veterinary, and dentistry. As a result of recent legislation (SB 724 and AB 2382), the California State University may now offer the Ed.D (also known as the Doctor of Education or “education doctorate degree”) and DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy) degrees to its graduate students. Additionally, the California State University (CSU) offers Ph.D degrees and some professional doctorates (for instance, audiology, Au.D) as a “joint degree” in combination with other institutions of higher education, including “joint degrees” with the University of California (UC) and accredited private universities. This is why, for instance, San Diego State can qualify as a “Research University with high research activity” by offering some 22 doctoral degrees.
There are 23 CSU campuses and 10 UC campuses representing approximately 437,000 and 237,000 students respectively. The cost of CSU tuition is approximately half that of UC. Thus, the CSU system has been referred to by former California State University authorities as “The People’s University.”
CSU and UC use the terms “president” and “chancellor” internally in opposite ways: At CSU, the campuses are headed by presidents who report to a systemwide chancellor; but at UC, they are headed by chancellors who report to a systemwide president.
CSU has traditionally been more accommodating to the older student than UC, by offering more degree programs in the evenings and, more recently, online. In addition, CSU schools, especially in more urban areas, have traditionally catered to the commuter, enrolling most of its students from the surrounding area. This has changed as CSU schools increase enrollment and some of the more prestigious urban campuses attract a wider demographic.
The majority of CSU campuses operate on the semester system while UC campuses operate on the quarter system (with the exception of UC Berkeley, UC Merced, the UCLA medical school, and all UC law schools). As of Fall 2014, the CSU began converting its six remaining quarter campuses to the semester calendar. Cal State LA and Cal State Bakersfield converted in Fall 2016, while Cal State East Bay and Cal Poly Pomona transitioned to semesters in Fall 2018. Cal State San Bernardino is planning to make the conversion in Fall 2020, while Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has not announced a date for conversion to semesters.
Historically the requirements for admission to the CSU have been less stringent than the UC system. However, both systems require completion of the A-G requirements in high school as part of admission. The CSU attempts to accept applicants from the top one-third of California high school graduates. In contrast, the UC attempts to accept the top one-eighth. In an effort to maintain a 60/40 ratio of upper division students to lower division students and to encourage students to attend a California community college first, both university systems give priority to California community college transfer students.
However, the following 17 CSU campuses use higher standards than the basic admission standards due to the number of qualified students who apply which makes admissions at these schools more competitive:
- Humboldt (freshmen)
- Long Beach
- Los Angeles
- Monterey Bay (freshmen)
- San Bernardino
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- San Luis Obispo
- San Marcos
Furthermore, seven California State University campuses are fully impacted for both freshmen and transfers, meaning in addition to admission into the school, admission into all majors is also impacted for the academic 2020-2021 program. The seven campuses that are fully impacted are Los Angeles, Fresno, Fullerton, Long Beach, San Diego, San Jose, and San Luis Obispo.
Campus naming conventions
The UC system follows a consistent style in the naming of campuses, using the words “University of California” followed by the name of its declared home city, with a comma as the separator. Most CSU campuses follow a similar pattern, though several are named only for their home city or county, such as San Francisco State University, San Jose State University, San Diego State University, or Sonoma State University.
Some of the colleges follow neither pattern. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona use the word “polytechnic” in both their full names (but in different word orders) per California Education Code section 89000. and section 89005.5 CSU’s editorial style guide refers to the same formal names while they also refer to the abbreviated forms “Cal Poly San Luis Obispo” and “Cal Poly Pomona” respectively, but not the name “Cal Poly” by itself. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo unilaterally claims the “Cal Poly” name per its own marketing brand guides and, since the 1980s, the CSU Chancellor’s Office has taken numerous small and medium-sized businesses to court on Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s behalf for not having a licensing agreement to sell merchandise with the words “Cal Poly”.
In addition, the California Maritime Academy (Cal Maritime) is the only campus whose official name does not refer to its location in California. Both Channel Islands and San Marcos campuses’ official names do not include a comma, unlike the typical style of the CSU naming convention, and instead follow California State University San Marcos, or Channel Islands. Some critics, including Donald Gerth (former President of Sacramento State), have claimed that the weak California State University identity has contributed to the CSU’s perceived lack of prestige when compared to the University of California.
Fall 2018 enrolled freshmen profile
|San Luis Obispo||54,663||16,491||30.2%||2.3%|
An impacted campus or major is one which has more CSU-qualified students than capacity permits. As of 2012[update], 16 out of the 23 campuses are impacted including Chico, Fresno, Fullerton, Humboldt, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Northridge, Pomona, San Bernardino, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Sonoma, San Marcos, and San Luis Obispo. Some programs at other campuses are similarly impacted. Despite this, CSU undergraduate admissions are quantitatively based and generally do not include items such as personal statements, SAT Subject Test scores, letters of recommendation, or portfolios. In addition, there is geographic preference given to those residing within the commuting areas of the colleges.
Special admissions process for the California Maritime Academy
The Maritime Academy uses a different admissions process from other CSU schools. Because of the nature of its programs, the Maritime Academy requires all applicants to pass a standard physical examination prior to enrollment.
Research and academics
AAU, AASCU and APLU
The University of California and most of its campuses are members of the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).
The California State University (CSU) and most of its campuses are members of APLU and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).
ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc.) is the recognized U.S. accreditor of college and university programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology. The California State University has 18 colleges with ABET-accredited programs.
- Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Poly Pomona College of Engineering
- Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, College of Engineering
- CSU Maritime Academy, School of Engineering
- CSU Bakersfield, School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering
- CSU Chico, College of Engineering, Computer Science, & Construction Management
- CSU Dominguez Hills, College of Natural & Behavioral Sciences
- CSU East Bay, College of Science
- CSU Fresno, Lyles College of Engineering
- CSU Fullerton, College of Engineering & Computer Science
- CSU Long Beach, College of Engineering
- CSU Los Angeles, College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology
- CSU Northridge, College of Engineering & Computer Science
- CSU Sacramento, College of Engineering & Computer Science
- CSU San Bernardino, College of Natural Sciences
- Humboldt State University, College of Natural Resources & Sciences
- San Diego State University, College of Engineering
- San Francisco State University, College Science & Engineering
- CSU San José State University, Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering
The CSU is a founding and charter member of CENIC, the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California, the nonprofit organization which provides extremely high-performance Internet-based networking to California’s K–20 research and education community.
Statewide university programs
Agricultural Research Initiative
A comprehensive applied agricultural and environmental research program joining the CSU’s four colleges of agriculture (at San Luis Obispo, Pomona, Chico and Fresno) and the state’s agriculture and natural resources industries and allied business communities.
- Cal Poly Pomona
- Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
- Chico State
- Fresno State
The California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB) mission is to develop a professional biotechnology workforce. CSUPERB provides grant funding, organizes an annual symposium, sponsors industry-responsive curriculum, and serves as a liaison for the CSU with government, philanthropic, educational, and biotechnology industry partners. The program involves students and faculty from Life, Physical, Computer and Clinical Science, Engineering, Agriculture, Math and Business departments at all 23 CSU campuses.
Coastal Research and Management
The CSU Council on Ocean Affairs, Science & Technology (CSU COAST) affinity group is the umbrella organization for marine, coastal, and coastal watershed-related activities. A highly effective CSU affinity group with active faculty and administration members across each of the systems’s 23 campuses, CSU COAST functions primarily as a coordinating force to stimulate new research, teaching, and policy tools via administrative support, robust networking opportunities, and by providing small incubator/accelerator funding to students and faculty.
Graduation Initiative 2025
The Graduation Initiative 2025 is a plan to increase graduation rates, eliminate equity gaps in degree completion and meet California’s workforce needs. The initiative organizes an annual symposium with keynote speakers such as, California Governor Gavin Newsom. The initiative focuses mainly on enhancing guidance and academic planning for first generation and transfer students. The initiative has resulted in a six percentage point increase in the four-year graduation rate of first-time freshman over three years, from 19.2 percent in 2015 to 25.4 percent in 2018 and an increase in the six-year graduation by four percentage points, from 57 percent in 2015 to 61.1 percent in 2018.
The Hospitality Management Education Initiative (HMEI) was formed in 2008 to address the shortage of hospitality leaders in California. HMEI is a collaboration between the 14 CSU campuses that have hospitality-related degrees and industry executives. CSU awarded 95% of hospitality bachelor’s degrees in the state in 2011.
Headquartered and administered at the Dominguez Hills campus, the CSU Statewide Nursing Program offers registered nurses courses available throughout California that lead to Bachelors, Masters of Science, and a Doctoral degree in Nursing (awarded by the closest participating CSU campus). The campuses that award a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) are:
- Long Beach
- Los Angeles
- San Jose
Online Education and Concurrent Enrollment
Beginning in 2013, the CSU made a radical change in the way it delivered online education. The university approved more than 30 courses for system-wide consumption, meaning any student attending one of the 23 campuses will be able to enroll in an online course offered at another campus, concurrently. The new online education delivery method is part of $17 million additional funding from the state to improve online education, and ultimately improve graduation rates and access to “bottleneck courses” across the 23 campuses. Courses offered include biology, business finance, chemistry, and microeconomics.
California Pre-Doctoral Program is designed to increase the pool of potential faculty by supporting the doctoral aspirations of California State University students who have experienced economic and educational disadvantages.
The Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program provides financial and other assistance to individuals pursuing doctoral degrees. The program seeks to provide loans to doctoral students who are interested in applying and competing for California State University instructional faculty positions after completion of the doctoral degree.
Professional Science Master’s Degrees
The CSU intends to expand its post-graduate education focus to establish and encourage Professional Science master’s degree (PSM) programs using the Sloan model.
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- As planned for 20171-8 “2017-18 Support Budget” (PDF). The California State University. p. 9.
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