Graduate Programs

Considering Graduate School: Plan Ahead

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Student walking with seeing-eye dog

Your education is an investment in your future. There are compelling reasons to consider graduate school as a next step toward fulfilling your educational, professional, and personal goals. Explore the educational opportunities and environments that are available by gathering information about graduate programs that could help you achieve your goals.

It is important to plan ahead and set aside enough time to complete the application process.

1. Talk to Faculty, Advisors, Graduate Students,
and Professionals

  • Talk to faculty and graduate students in the field you are considering.
  • Discuss your interests with academic advisors on campus.
  • Talk to professionals in the field about educational paths.

2. Obtain Information About Graduate Programs

  • Catalogs and other publications cover program and course descriptions, academic requirements, and admissions procedures.
  • Obtain information on the Internet about the programs that interest you.
  • The Choosing a Program and Campus Profiles sections on this site may assist you in your research.

3. Contact a CSU Campus

  • Contact the graduate studies office at any of the CSU campuses

4. Pay Attention to Deadlines for Admissions and Financial Aid

  • Begin the application process as soon as possible, as many programs reach their maximum capacity quickly.
  • Obtain and follow the instructions and deadlines required by the specific university, department, and program you would like to attend.
  • The preferred method of application to CSU campuses is through the CSUMentor website. If you cannot apply online, you should contact the campus graduate admissions office to make special arrangements to apply electronically with campus assistance.

5. Find Out About Fees

  • Fees are required when you submit graduate and professional school applications.
  • The California State University requires an application fee for each CSU campus to which you apply.

6. Register and Take Required Tests

Find out whether the graduate program requires applicants to take examinations as a condition for admission. Information regarding which examinations, if any, are required may be obtained from the department. Required tests may include one or more of the following:

  • Aptitude, advanced, or area tests of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT)
  • Graduation Writing Exam (GWE)
  • California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) or California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET)

Applicants are responsible for having the required examination results forwarded directly to the department involved.

7. Find Out Whether Supplemental Materials Will Be Required

Departments and programs may have additional application requirements. Please consult directly with the major department or program for information about department requirements. Supplemental materials may include:

  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume
  • Writing samples

8. Start Researching Funding Resources and Financial Aid

The CSU offers many resources to assist the funding of your education. Access the Financial Resources section for more information.

Students seeking assistance should also contact the campus financial aid office.

Content Contact:
Tarita Varner

Technical Contact:
Last Update: June 06, 2016