Mar 04, 2024  
2019-2020 University Catalog 
2019-2020 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements for First-Time Freshmen

High School Graduates

Generally, applicants will qualify for consideration for first-time freshman admission if they meet the following requirements: 

  1. Have graduated from high school, have earned a Certificate of General Education Development (GED) or have passed the California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE); 
  2. Have a qualifiable minimum eligibility index (see “Eligibility Index”); and 
  3. Have completed, with grades of C- or better, each of the courses in the comprehensive pattern of college preparatory subject requirements also known as the “a-g” pattern (see “Subject Requirements”).

The eligibility index is the combination of the high school GPA and scores on either the ACT or the SAT. GPA is based on grades earned in courses taken during the final three years of high school. Included in the calculation of GPA are grades earned in all college preparatory “a-g” subject requirements and bonus points for approved honors courses. Up to eight semesters of honors courses taken in the last three years of high school, including up to two approved courses taken in the 10th grade can be accepted. Each unit of A in an honors course will receive a total of 5 points; B, 4 points; and C, 3 points. 

The CSU eligibility index is subject to change on an annual basis. Admission as a first-time freshman may not be available for all semesters.

Cal State Fullerton is an impacted campus for all first-time freshmen. Impaction means that there are more eligible applications for a campus than can be accommodated. In order to ensure that capacity is not exceeded, more rigorous standards are applied to the freshman applicant pool. This means that all freshman applicants, whether in our local admissions area or outside of our local admissions area, must anticipate meeting higher levels of competition than the minimum eligibility index required by the non-impacted campuses of the CSU. The actual competition cannot be set until after the initial filing period has closed and we are able to assess the size and quality of the freshman pool.

Subject Requirements

The CSU requires that first-time freshman applicants complete, with grades of C- or better, a comprehensive pattern of college preparatory study totaling 15 units. A “unit” is one year of study in high school. 

  • two years of social science, including one year of U.S. history, or U.S. history and government 
  • four years of English 
  • three years of math (algebra, geometry and intermediate algebra; four years recommended) 
  • two years of laboratory science (one biological and one physical, both must have laboratory instruction) 
  • two years in the same foreign language (subject to waiver for applicants demonstrating equivalent competence) 
  • one year of visual and performing arts: art, dance, drama/theater or music 
  • one year of electives: selected from English, advanced mathematics, social science, history, laboratory science, foreign language, visual and performing arts or other courses approved and included on the UC/CSU “a-g” list

Substitutions for Students With Disabilities

Applicants with disabilities are encouraged to complete college preparatory course requirements. If a qualified applicant is judged unable to fulfill a specific course requirement because of a disability, alternative college preparatory courses may be substituted for specific subject requirements. Substitutions may be authorized on an individual basis after review and recommendation by an academic adviser or guidance counselor in consultation with the director of CSUF’s Disability Support Services. Failure to complete courses required for admission may limit a student’s later enrollment in certain majors, particularly those involving mathematics. For further information and substitution forms, contact the director of CSUF’s Disability Support Services.

Provisional Admission

Cal State Fullerton may provisionally admit first-time freshman applicants based on their academic preparation through the junior year of high school and planned coursework for the senior year. The campus will monitor the final terms of study to ensure that admitted students complete their secondary school studies satisfactorily, including the required college preparatory subjects, and graduate from high school. Students are required to submit an official transcript after graduation to certify that all coursework has been satisfactorily completed. Official high school transcripts must be received prior to the deadline set by the university. In no case may documentation of high school graduation be received any later than the census date for a student’s first term of CSU enrollment. A campus may rescind admission decisions, cancel financial aid awards, withdraw housing contracts and cancel any university registration for students who are found to be ineligible after the final transcript has been evaluated. 

Applicants will qualify for regular (non-provisional) admission when the university verifies that they have graduated and received a high school diploma, have earned a qualifiable minimum eligibility index, have completed the comprehensive pattern of college preparatory “a-g” subjects and, if applying to an impacted program or campus, have met all supplementary criteria.

The CSU uses only the ACT composite score, the Mathematics and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing scores on the new SAT in its admission eligibility equation. The SAT or ACT writing scores are not currently used by CSU campuses.

Students are admitted for a specific term. If a student is unable to begin their studies that term, they will need to reapply for a future term by submitting a new admission application.

California Promise

The California Promise Program enables a specific number of CSU campuses to establish pledge programs for entering first-time students who are both interested and able to complete baccalaureate degrees in four years. All campuses have established programs for students with Associate Degrees for Transfer from any California Community College to complete their baccalaureate degrees in two years. The program is limited to students who are residents of California. 

Students who commit to enter either the four-year or two-year pledge will be given a priority registration appointment for each state-supported enrollment period and will be provided with routine and thorough academic advisement. In order to remain in the program, students must meet with their advisers as prescribed, develop an enrollment plan and complete 30 semester units or the quarter equivalent within each academic year, including summer. Participating campuses may stipulate other requirements as well. Interested students entering the CSU should contact campus offices or visit

High School Students

High school students may be considered for enrollment in certain special programs if recommended by the principal and the appropriate campus department chair and if preparation is equivalent to that required of eligible California high school graduates. Such admission is only for a given specific program and does not constitute a right to continued enrollment.

Adult Students

As an alternative to regular admission criteria, an applicant who is 25 years of age or older may be considered for admission as an adult student if he or she meets all of the following conditions: 

  1. Possesses a high school diploma (or has established equivalence through either the General Educational Development or California High School Proficiency Examinations). 
  2. Has not been enrolled in college as a full-time student for more than one term during the past five years. 
  3. If there has been any college attendance in the last five years, has earned a 2.0 GPA or better in all college work attempted.

Consideration will be based upon a judgment as to whether the applicant is as likely to succeed as a regularly admitted freshman or transfer student and will include an assessment of basic skills in the English language and mathematical computation.

Interested adults, who have been denied admission, should complete an official appeal available at, explain in full their personal circumstances, and document any extenuating circumstances that warrant special consideration.

The Adult Reentry Center at 657-278-3889 is aware of the unique needs experienced by reentry students, and offers support and services to foster and enhance students’ growth and success.

Transfer Policies of CSU campuses

Most commonly, college-level credits earned from an institution of higher education accredited by a regional accrediting agency are accepted for transfer to campuses of the CSU; however, authority for decisions regarding the transfer of undergraduate credits is delegated to each CSU campus. 

California Community Colleges and other authorized certifying institutions can certify up to 39 semester (58.5 quarter) units of General Education-Breadth (GE-Breadth) or 37 semester (55.5 quarter) units of the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) for transfer students to fulfill lower-division general education requirements for any CSU campus prior to transfer. 

“Certification” is the official notification from a California Community College or authorized institution that a transfer student has completed courses fulfilling lower-division general education requirements. The CSU GE-Breadth and the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) certification course lists for particular community colleges can be accessed at

CSU campuses may enter into course-to-course or program-to-program articulation agreements with other CSU campuses, any or all of the California community colleges and other regionally accredited institutions. Established CSU and CCC articulations may be found on Students may be permitted to transfer no more than 70 semester (105 quarter) units to a CSU campus from an institution which does not offer bachelor’s degrees or their equivalents, for example, community colleges. Given the university’s 30-semester (45-quarter) unit residency requirement, no more than a total of 90 semester (135 quarter) units may be transferred into the university from all sources.

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Transfer Students

Applicants who have completed fewer than 60 transferable semester college units (fewer than 90 quarter units) are considered lower-division transfer students. Applicants who have completed 60 or more transferable semester college units (90 or more quarter units) are considered upper-division transfer students. Applicants who complete college units during high school or through the summer immediately following high school graduation are considered first-time freshmen and must meet the CSU minimum eligibility requirements for first-time freshman admission. Transferable courses are those designated for baccalaureate credit by the college or university offering the courses and accepted as such by the campus to which the applicant seeks admission.

Lower-Division Transfer Requirements

Due to increased enrollment demands, most CSU campuses do not admit lower-division transfer applicants. 

An applicant who completes fewer than 60 semester (90 quarter) units of college credit is considered a lower-division transfer student. Due to enrollment pressures, most CSU campuses do not admit lower-division transfers so that more upper-division transfers can be accommodated. 

Having fewer than 60 semester (90 quarter) units at the point of transfer may affect eligibility for registration priority at CSU campuses and may affect the student’s financial aid status. 

California resident transfer applicants with fewer than 60 semester or 90 quarter units must: 

  • Have a cumulative grade-point average of 2.0 (C) or better in all transferable units attempted; 
  • Have completed, with a grade of C- or better, a course in written communication and a course in mathematics or quantitative reasoning at a level satisfying CSU General Education Breadth Area A2 and B4 requirements, respectively; 
  • Be in good standing at the last institution attended; and 
  • Meet any one of the following eligibility standards. 

Transfer Based on Current Admission Criteria
The applicant meets the freshman admission requirements in effect for the term for which the application is filed; - OR - 

Transfer Based on High School Eligibility
The applicant was eligible as a freshman at the time of high school graduation and has been in continuous attendance in an accredited college since high school graduation; -OR -

Transfer Based on Making Up Missing Subjects 
The applicant had a qualifiable eligibility index at the time of high school graduation (combination of GPA and test scores if needed), has made up any missing college preparatory subject requirements with a grade of C- or better, and has been in continuous attendance in an accredited college since high school graduation. 

One baccalaureate-level course of at least three semester (four quarter) units is usually considered equivalent to one year of high school study. 

(Note: Some campuses may require lower-division transfer students to complete specific college coursework, for example the four basic skill courses, as part of their admission criteria.) 

Upper-Division Transfer Requirements

Generally, applicants will qualify for consideration for upper-division transfer admission if they meet all of the following requirements: 

  1. Cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.0 in all transferable units attempted; 
  2. In good standing at the last college or university attended; and 
  3. Completed at least 60 transferable semester (90 quarter) units of college level coursework with a grade-point average of 2.0 or higher and a grade of C- or better in each course used to meet the CSU general education requirements in written communication, oral communication, critical thinking and quantitative reasoning, e.g. mathematics. 

The 60 units must include at least 30 units of courses that meet CSU general education requirements, including all of the general education requirements in communication in the English language (both oral and written) and critical thinking and the requirement in mathematics/quantitative reasoning (usually three semester units) OR the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) requirements in English communication and mathematical concepts and quantitative reasoning. 

Cal State Fullerton is an impacted campus at the transfer level. Impaction means that there are more applications for a campus than can be accommodated. In order to ensure that capacity is not exceeded, more rigorous standards are applied to the transfer applicant pool, which may include a higher GPA above the CSU minimum. Impacted criteria may include local vs. out of local area and major program impaction.

The local area for Cal State Fullerton includes all Orange County community colleges. Students must have earned their majority of units from an Orange County community college to be considered a local applicant. The GPA requirement for local and out of local area (from other than Orange County community colleges) applicants will be determined based on the number and quality of applications received and will not be determined until after the initial filing period is over.

The major that an applicant applies and to which they are accepted must be their major for a minimum of two semesters. Applicants will be unable to move between majors without meeting the initial impacted major GPA requirement. Change of major is not permitted after an applicant submits an application for fall or spring consideration. Cal State Fullerton does not use alternative major for admission consideration.

CSU general education requirements (“Golden Four”) are designated as oral communication, written communication, critical thinking, and mathematics/quantitative reasoning. Transfer applicants applying for fall term must complete the Golden Four courses no later than the end of the spring term. Transfer applicants applying for the spring term must complete the Golden Four courses no later than the end of the summer term. Applicants applying to impacted majors will be considered for admission based on meeting minimum CSU criteria and the supplemental criteria for the specific major. Former CSU students who are seeking readmission after academic disqualification must meet the GPA standards in place for their major at the time of reapplication.

CSUF is an impacted campus both by major and location.

Students are admitted for a specific term. If a student is unable to begin their studies that term, they will need to reapply for a future term by submitting a new admission application.

Provisional Admission

Cal State Fullerton may provisionally or conditionally admit transfer applicants based on their academic preparation and courses planned for completion. The campus will monitor the final terms to ensure that those admitted complete all required courses satisfactorily. All accepted applicants are required to submit an official transcript of all college-level work completed. Campuses may rescind admission for any student who is found to be ineligible after the final transcript has been evaluated. In no case may such documents be received and validated by the university any later than a student’s registration for their second term of CSU enrollment.

Intrasystem and Intersystem Enrollment Programs

Fully matriculated students enrolled at any CSU campus have access to courses at other CSU campuses on a space available basis unless those campuses/programs are impacted. This access is offered without students being required to be admitted formally to the host campus and in most cases without paying additional fees. Students should consult their home campus academic advisers to determine how such courses may apply to their specific degree programs before enrolling at the host campus. 

There are two programs for enrollment within the CSU and one for enrollment between CSU and the University of California or California Community Colleges. Additional information about these programs is available from the Office of Admissions.

CSU Fully Online Courses – Matriculated students in good standing may request enrollment in one course per term, offered by a CSU host campus. Enrollment requests will be granted based on available space, as well as completion of any stated prerequisites. Credit earned at the host campus is electronically reported to the student’s home campus to be included on the student’s transcript at the home campus. 

CSU Visitor Enrollment – Matriculated students in good standing enrolled at one CSU campus may enroll at another CSU campus for one term. Credit earned at the host campus is reported at the student’s request to the home campus to be included on the student’s transcript at the home campus. 

Intersystem Cross Enrollment – Matriculated CSU, UC or community college students may enroll on a “space available” basis for one course per term at another CSU, UC or community college and request that a transcript of record be sent to the home campus.

Admission Requirements for International Students

The university is pleased to accept applications from international students. The CSU must assess the academic preparation of foreign students. For this purpose, “foreign students” include those who hold U.S. temporary visas as students, exchange visitors or in other nonimmigrant classifications.

The CSU uses separate requirements and application filing dates in the admission of foreign students. Verification of English proficiency (see the section on the English Language Requirement for undergraduate applicants), financial resources and academic performance are each important considerations for admission. Academic records from foreign institutions must be on file at least by the dates listed below for the first term and, if not in English, must be accompanied by certified English translations.

Applicants who are graduates of foreign secondary schools must have preparation equivalent to that required of eligible California high school graduates. The university will carefully review the previous record of all such applicants and only those with promise of academic success equivalent to that of eligible California high school graduates will be admitted. Upper-division transfers, who have completed a two-year program in an accredited institution of higher education, with a good academic record and satisfactory TOEFL or IELTS scores, will be admitted.

Post-baccalaureate applicants who have completed a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, with a strong academic record, and satisfactory TOEFL or IELTS scores from an accredited institution may be considered for admission as graduate students.

The university has established deadlines to insure the timely processing of all applications and to enable admitted applicants to make arrangements to reach the U.S. and the campus prior to orientation and registration. Early application is strongly advised due to strong demand for programs. Newly admitted students are required to take an English Placement Examination prior to enrollment in classes (mid-August for fall semester and mid-January for spring semester).

Applications may be submitted according to the following schedule:

For Fall Semester

Apply beginning Oct. 1 of the preceding year. Application must be completed with supporting documents by March. Completion dates may be changed at any time due to enrollment constraints.

For Spring Semester

Apply beginning Aug. 1 of preceding year. Application must be completed with supporting documents by October. Completion dates may be changed at any time due to enrollment constraints. All international student applicants must declare a major field of study when the application is filed.

TOEFL Requirement

All applicants, regardless of citizenship, whose native language is other than English are required to present scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) before they can be admitted to the university unless they have attended for at least three years, full-time, an educational institution at the secondary level or above where English is the principal language of instruction. Undergraduate applicants must achieve a score of 500 on the paper-based TOEFL exam or 61 on the internet TOEFL; graduate applicants or second B.A. degree applicants a score of 550 on the paper-based exam or 80 on the internet TOEFL; graduate music applicants 560 or 83, respectively; MBA applicants 570 or 88, respectively; and graduate TESOL applicants a score of 573 or 89, respectively. Adequate performance on the TOEFL is mandatory for admission. We accept test results from the IELTS exam. The minimum score for undergraduate applicants is 5.5; most graduate applicant programs have minimum requirements ranging between 6.5 and 7.0.

As circumstances warrant, minimum requirements for TOEFL scores may be changed.

Applicants should obtain the TOEFL Bulletin of Information and registration forms well in advance. Copies of this bulletin and registration forms are often available at American embassies and consulates, offices of the United States Information Service, United States educational commissions and foundations abroad, bi-national centers, and several private organizations. Those who cannot obtain locally a TOEFL Bulletin of Information should write to: Test of English as a Foreign Language, Educational Testing Services, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, New Jersey, USA, 08541-6151, or go to


International student applicants must include a statement of financial support accompanied by a bank statement from their sponsor. Students sponsored by an international organization or home government agency must include a letter of scholarship support specifying this university and the student’s proposed degree and program of study.


Transcripts of all educational documents in languages other than English must be accompanied by translation into English certified by independent agencies. All academic records must be received directly from the issuing institutions and become official records of the university.

Student Visas

International student applicants who are admitted by the university will be issued Form I-20 which is used to obtain an F-1 student visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate overseas. Students transferring from a U.S. institution will use Form I-20 to apply for transfer authorization through the Department of Homeland Security. Arrival, orientation and registration information from Extension and International Programs (College Park 200) will accompany the admission materials mailed to new students.

Insurance Requirement

Effective Aug. 1, 1995, as a condition of receiving an I-20 or DS-2019 Form, all F-1 and J-1 visa applicants must agree to obtain and maintain health insurance as a condition of registration and continued enrollment in the California State University. Such insurance must be in amounts as specified by the Department of State and NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The campus president or designee shall determine which insurance policies meet these criteria. Further information may be obtained from Extension and International Programs (College Park 200).

Admission Requirements for Post-Baccalaureate and Graduate Students

See admission information in the “Graduate Regulations ” section of this catalog.

Appeal of Admission Decision

Section 89030.7 of the California Education Code requires that the CSU establishes specific requirements for appeal procedures for a denial of admission. Each CSU campus must publish appeal procedures for applicants denied admission to the university. The procedure is limited to addressing campus decisions to deny an applicant admission to the university. 

Admission appeal procedures must address the basis for appeals, provide 15 business days for an applicant to submit an appeal, stipulate a maximum of one appeal per academic term, provide specific contact information for the individual or office to which the appeal should be submitted and indicate a time estimate for when the campus expects to respond to an appeal. The appeal procedures must be included in all denial of admission notifications to students, and must also be published on the campus website.

Visit for CSUF’s appeal form and procedures. Students receive decisions within three to four weeks of appeal submission.


The university reserves the right to select its students and deny admission to the university or any of its programs as the university, in its sole discretion, determines appropriate based on an applicant’s suitability and the best interests of the university.

Cancellation of Admission

A student admitted to the university for a given semester but who does not register in the specified semester will have the admission canceled. The student must file a new application form when again seeking admission and must follow the complete application procedure and meet the current admission requirements.

Readmission of Former Students

A student previously enrolled in the university, planning to return after an absence of more than one semester, must file a new application for admission and meet academic standards for the term applied. Unless a leave of absence was granted, catalog requirements at the time of readmission will apply. See “Stop-Out Policy” in the “University Regulations ” section of this catalog for further information on applications for readmission.

Former Students in Good Standing

A student who left the university in good standing will be readmitted provided any academic work attempted elsewhere since the last attendance does not change his or her scholastic status.

Additionally, students may be required, prior to readmission, to have fulfilled the basic subjects of general education. Transcripts of the record of any work attempted in the interim are required.

Former Students Who Were on Probation

Students on probation at the close of the last enrollment will be readmitted on probation provided they are otherwise eligible. They must furnish transcripts of any college work taken during the absence.

Former Students Who Were Disqualified

The readmission of a previously disqualified student is by special action only. Consideration for readmission is primarily based on evidence that the student has significantly raised the CSUF grade-point average through grades in CSUF’s Extension program. Any work since disqualification at other accredited institutions affects the cumulative grade-point average but not the CSUF grade-point average.

Please note that former CSU students who are seeking readmission after academic disqualification must meet the GPA standards in place for their major at the time of reapplication.