skip to main content
College Planning Center
Freshman Admission Requirements for California Residents

Freshman Admission Requirements for California Residents

Or through your 

RIGHT GOLD ARROW California Colleges Account


 It is easy to understand the California State University admission requirements for California residents. Admission offices at the 23 campuses use three factors to determine eligibility.


Most applicants who are admitted meet the standards in each of the following areas:


Many CSU campuses have higher standards for particular majors or for students who live outside the local admission area. Because of the number of students who apply, several campuses have higher standards (supplementary admission criteria) for all applicants. Many CSU campuses utilize local admission guarantee policies for students who graduate or transfer from high schools and community colleges that are historically served by a CSU campus in that region. 


RIGHT GOLD ARROW You may review the CSU Local Admission Areas for each campus here.


Course Requirements

The CSU requires a minimum 15-unit pattern of courses for admission as a first-time freshman. Each unit is equal to a year of study in a subject area. A grade of C or better is required for each course you use to meet any subject requirement.



a. History and Social Science (including 1 year of U.S. history or 1 semester of U.S. history and 1 semester of civics or American government AND 1 year of social science)

b. English (4 years of college preparatory English composition and literature)

c. Math (4 years recommended) including Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, or higher mathematics (take one each year)

d. Laboratory Science (including 1 biological science and 1 physical science)

e. Language Other than English (2 years of the same language; American Sign Language is applicable )

f. Visual and Performing Arts (dance, drama or theater, music, or visual art)

g. College Preparatory Elective (additional year chosen from the University of California "a-g" list)

Total Required Courses - 15


There are career and technical education (CTE) courses that can be used to meet any of the subject area requirements listed above. Please refer to RIGHT GOLD for the entire listing of approved courses.


RIGHT GOLD ARROW The CSU's Early Assessment Program (EAP) 

RIGHT GOLD ARROW"Post Admission" Competency Requirements (ELM & EPT)


Waiver of "Language Other than English" Requirement

If you can demonstrate competency in a language other than English that is equivalent to or higher than that expected of students who have completed two years of language other than English study, you may be allowed a waiver for this language requirement. For further information, contact the CSU campuses to which you are applying.


How to Make Up Missing Courses

If you didn't take all the required high school courses or earned D grades in some of them, you have several options to make up these courses and qualify for CSU admission. You can complete appropriate high school courses with a grade of C or better either in summer school or in adult school. Courses in this category must be those found on the high school or adult school UC "a-g" course lists. Some adult schools may not have a-g course lists.


You may also complete college courses with a grade of C or better in the missing subject areas. Finally, you can earn an acceptable score on examinations such as the SAT subject examinations, Advanced Placement examinations, or International Baccalaureate examinations.


If you are unable or do not choose to make up your subject deficiency, you may earn at least 60 units, including 30 semester units of general education from a California Community College or other college and transfer as an upper-division transfer student, where only your college performance is considered for admission.


Subject Requirement Substitution for Students with Disabilities

All freshman applicants are encouraged to complete 15 units of college preparatory subjects. If you are otherwise qualified, but unable to complete certain subjects because of your disability, you should contact the director of Services to Students with Disabilities at the CSU campus you wish to attend to receive further information.



The grades you earn in high school are the most important factor in CSU admission decisions. Your high school grade point average is calculated using your grades in all your college prep "a-g" classes completed after the 9th grade.