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The California State University system, or CSU for short, is one of the largest public university school systems in the country with over twenty undergraduate campuses. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about CSU schools, including what they are, a list of all the schools in the system, their history, and the application process.

What are CSU Schools?

CSU schools are public universities located throughout California. They offer a range of undergraduate and graduate programs, including degrees in business, engineering, education, health sciences, and more. With 23 campuses located throughout the state, there is a CSU school within driving distance for most California residents.

List of CSU Schools

Here is a list of all the schools in the CSU system, organized by their founding year:

San Jose State University (1857)

California State University, Chico (1887)

San Diego State University (1897)

San Francisco State University (1899)

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (1901)

California State University, Fresno (1911)

Humboldt State University (1913)

California State University, Maritime Academy (1929)

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (1938)

California State University, Los Angeles (1947)

California State University, Sacramento (1947)

California State University, Long Beach (1949)

California State University, Fullerton (1957)

California State University, East Bay (1957)

California State University, Stanislaus (1957)

California State University, Northridge (1958)

California State University, Dominguez Hills (1960)

Sonoma State University (1961)

California State University, Bakersfield (1965)

California State University, San Bernardino (1965)

California State University, San Marcos (1989)

California State University, Monterey Bay (1994)

California State University, Channel Islands (2002)

History of CSU Schools

The CSU system was established in 1960, when the California State College system merged with the University of California system. The goal was to create a separate system of public universities that would focus on providing affordable higher education for Californians. Since then, the CSU system has grown to become the largest four-year public university system in the United States, serving over 480,000 students each year.

Application Process

To apply to a CSU school, students must first complete the online application on the CSU website. The application typically opens in October and closes in November. Students can apply to multiple CSU schools at once, and there is no application fee for California residents. However, there is a fee for out-of-state and international students.

Once the application is submitted, students must also submit official transcripts from their high school and any colleges they have attended. Some CSU schools also require letters of recommendation, essays, and other materials. Students should check the admissions requirements for each school they are interested in applying to.

For more information on applying to college, check out our Guide to College Applications.


CSU schools are an excellent option for students looking for an affordable, high-quality education in California. With 23 campuses throughout the state, there is a CSU school for every student. By following the application process and reviewing the admissions requirements for each school, students can find the right CSU school for their academic goals and career aspirations. To apply to a CSU school, visit their website:

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