The California State University System

Learn About the 23 Schools That Make Up the California State University System

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Grove, Allen. "The California State University System." ThoughtCo, Mar. 12, 2017, thoughtco.com/the-california-state-university-system-786995. Grove, Allen. (2017, March 12). The California State University System. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/the-california-state-university-system-786995 Grove, Allen. "The California State University System." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/the-california-state-university-system-786995 (accessed October 18, 2017).
San Diego State University
San Diego State University. Geographer / Wikimedia Commons

The California State University system is made of up 23 public universities. With over 400,000 students, it is the largest system of four-year colleges in the country. The member universities vary greatly in size, academic strengths and selectivity. Be sure to click on a school's name to learn more about the university and what it takes to get accepted.

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The Cal State Bakersfield Mascot, Rowdy the Roadrunner
The Cal State Bakersfield Mascot, Rowdy the Roadrunner. John Gurzinski / Getty Images

Cal State Bakersfield is located on a 375-acre campus in the San Joaquin Valley, midway between Fresno and Los Angeles. The university offers 31 bachelor's degree programs and 17 graduate degree programs. Among undergraduates, business administration and the liberal arts and sciences are the most popular majors.

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The Bell Tower at CSUCI, Cal State University Channel Islands
The Bell Tower at CSUCI, Cal State University Channel Islands. Stephen Schafer / Wikimedia Commons

CSUCI, the California State University, Channel Islands, was founded in 2002 and is the youngest of the 23 universities in the Cal State system. The university is located northwest of Los Angeles. Among its 20 majors, business, social sciences and liberal arts are equally popular among undergraduates. The CSUCI curriculum emphasizes experiential and service learning.

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California State University Chico
California State University Chico. Alan Levine / Flickr

In national rankings, Chico frequently appears among the top master's level universities in the West. First opened in 1889, Chico State is the second oldest of the Cal State universities. Chico State offers over 150 undergraduate degree programs. High achieving students should look into the Chico State Honors Program for access to smaller classes and other perks.

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StubHub-Center-CSU-Dominguez-Hills.jpg
StubHub Center at CSUDH. Photo Credit: Marisa Benjamin

Cal State Dominguez Hills' 346-acre campus sits within minutes of downtown Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean. The school offers 45 bachelor's programs; business administration, liberal education and nursing are the most popular majors among undergraduates. CSUDH students represent 90 countries. Sports fans should note that the Home Depot Center is located on the campus.

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CSUEB, California State University East Bay
CSUEB, California State University East Bay. Josh Rodriguez / flickr

Cal State East Bay's main campus is located in the Hayward Hills with stunning views of San Francisco Bay. The university offers 49 bachelor's and 33 master's degree programs. Among undergraduates, business administration is by far the most popular major. The university has earned national recognition for its value and its Freshman Learning Communities.

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Fresno State Football Stadium
Fresno State Football Stadium. John Martinez Pavliga / Flickr

Fresno State occupies a 388-acre main campus at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains about midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Fresno State's well-respected Craig School of Business is popular among students, and business administration has the highest undergraduate enrollment of all majors. High achieving students should look into the Smittcamp Honors College which offers scholarships covering tuition, room and board.

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Student Recreation Center at CSUF
Student Recreation Center at CSUF, California State University Fullerton. Photo Credit: Marisa Benjamin

Cal State Fullerton is one of the largest universities in the California State University system. The school offers 55 bachelor's and 50 master's degree programs. Business is the most popular program among undergraduates. The university's 236-acre campus is located in Orange Country near Los Angeles.

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Humboldt State University
Humboldt State University. Cameron Photo / Flickr

Humboldt State University is the northernmost of the Cal State schools, and it sits alongside a redwood forest and overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Students have easy access to hiking, swimming, kayaking, camping and other outdoor activities in this ecologically rich corner of Northern California. The university offers its undergraduates 47 bachelor's degree programs.

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Student Recreation and Wellness Center at CSULB
Student Recreation and Wellness Center at CSULB. Photo Credit: Marisa Benjamin

Cal State Long Beach has grown to be one of the largest university in the CSU system. The 323 acre campus is located in Los Angeles Country and features impressive landscaping and a distinctive pyramid-shaped sporting complex. CSULB often wins high marks for its value, and the university was awarded a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for its strengths in the liberal arts and sciences. Business administration is the most popular major among undergraduates.

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California State University Los Angeles
CSULA, California State University Los Angeles. Justefrain / Wikimedia Commons

Cal State Los Angeles is located in the University Hills district of L.A. The university offers 59 undergraduate programs leading to a bachelor's degree, and 51 graduate degree programs. Among undergraduates, programs in business administration, education, criminal justice and social work are the most popular.

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The Cal Maritime Training Ship, the Golden Bear
The Cal Maritime Training Ship, the Golden Bear. US Embassy / Flickr

Cal Maritime is the only degree-granting maritime academy on the West Coast. The curriculum combines traditional classroom instruction with professional training and experiential learning. A unique feature of a Cal Maritime education is a two-month international training cruise on the university's ship, the Golden Bear. The school is the smallest and most specialized of the Cal State system.

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CSUMB Library
CSUMB Library. CSU Monterey Bay / Flickr

Founded in 1994, the California State University at Monterey Bay is the second youngest school in the Cal State system. The school's stunning coastal setting is a big draw. The CSUMB experience begins with a first-year seminar and concludes with a senior capstone project. The university owns two research boats for studying Monterey Bay, and service learning and undergraduate research projects are common.

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CSUN, California State University Northridge
CSUN, California State University Northridge. Cbl62 / Wikimedia Commons

Cal State Northridge's 365-acre campus is located in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley. The university is made up of nine colleges that offer a total of 64 bachelor's and 52 master's degree programs. Business administration and psychology are the most popular majors among CSUN undergraduates. The university has earned high marks for its programs in music, engineering and business.

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Cal Poly Pomona Library Entrance
Cal Poly Pomona Library Entrance. Victorrocha / Wikimedia Commons

Cal Poly Pomona's 1,438-acre campus sits on the eastern edge of Los Angeles Country. The university is made up of eight academic colleges with business being the most popular program among undergraduates. The guiding principle of Cal Poly's curriculum is that students learn by doing, and the university emphasizes problem solving, student research, internships and service learning. With over 280 clubs and organizations, students at Cal Poly are highly engaged in campus life.

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Sacramento State University Sign
Sacramento State University Sign (click image to enlarge). Photo Credit: Marisa Benjamin

Sacramento State takes pride in its multicultural student body. The school's 300-acre campus provides students with easy access to trails along the American River Parkway as well as Folsom Lake and Old Sacramento recreation areas. The university offers 60 undergraduate degree programs. High achieving students should look into the Sac State Honors Program.

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The College of Education at CSUSB, the California State University San Bernardino
The College of Education at CSUSB, the California State University San Bernardino. Amerique / Wikimedia Commons

Cal State San Bernardino offers over 70 bachelor's and master's degree programs with business administration being the most popular among undergraduates. The university prides itself on the diversity of its student body and the fact that there is no majority ethnic group on campus.

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San Diego State University
San Diego State University. Geographer / Wikimedia Commons

San Diego State University ranks highly for study abroad -- SDSU students have a choice of 190 study abroad programs. The university has an active Greek system with over 50 fraternities and sororities. Business management is the most popular major at SDSU, but the school's strengths in the liberal arts and sciences earned it a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society.

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San Francisco State University Quad
San Francisco State University Quad. Michael Ocampo / Flickr

San Francisco State University takes pride in the diversity of its student body -- 67% of undergraduates are students of color, and students come from 94 countries. The school enrolls more international students than any other master's degree-granting university in the country. San Francisco State offers 115 bachelor's degree programs and 95 master's programs.

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San Jose State University
San Jose State University. Nick Kinkaid

San Jose State University's 154-acre campus is located on 19 city blocks in downtown San Jose. The university offers bachelor's and master's degree programs in 134 fields. Business administration is the most popular major among undergraduates, but the university has many other strong programs including communications studies, engineering and art.

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Center for Science and Mathematics at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Center for Science and Mathematics at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. John Loo / Flickr

Cal Poly, the California Polytechnic Institute at San Luis Obispo, is consistently ranked as one of the top science and engineering schools at the undergraduate level. Its schools of architecture and agriculture are also ranked highly. Cal Poly has a "learn by doing" philosophy of education, and students do just that on the sprawling campus of just under 10,000 acres that includes a ranch and vineyard.

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Cal State San Marcos
Cal State San Marcos. Eamuscatuli / Wikimedia Commons

Established in 1989, Cal State San Marcos is one of the younger schools in the Cal State system. The university offers undergraduates the choice of 44 programs in a spectrum of subjects in the arts, humanities, social sciences, sciences and professional fields. Business administration is the most popular major among undergraduates while education is the largest master's program.

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Sonoma State University Schultz Library
Sonoma State University Schultz Library. Stepheng3 / Wikimedia Commons

Sonoma State University's 269-acre campus is located 50 miles north of San Francisco in some of California's best wine country. The school also owns two nature preserves that provide research opportunities for students in the natural sciences. Sonoma State's schools of Arts and Humanities, Business and Economics, and Social Sciences are all extremely popular among undergraduates.

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California State University Stanislaus
California State University Stanislaus. Chad King / Flickr

CSU Stanislaus is located in the San Joaquin Valley east of San Jose. The university has been recognized for its value, academic quality, community service initiatives and green efforts. Among undergraduates, business administration is the most popular major. The 228-acre park-like campus features a new $16 million athletic complex for students.

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