Scope and Mission
The California State University is indispensable
to California’s economic prosperity and diverse communities. It is the nation’s largest
university system, with 23 campuses and seven off-campus centers, 417,000 students,
and 46,000 faculty and staff. The CSU, stretching from Humboldt in the north to San
Diego in the south, is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for its
Each CSU campus has its own identity, with distinct student populations and programs.
Yet all share the same mission—to provide high-quality, affordable higher education to meet
the changing workforce needs of the people of California.
The CSU offers more than 1,800 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in some 240 subject
areas, as well as teaching credential programs. Many programs and courses are available
online. A select number of doctoral degrees are offered jointly with the University of
California or with private universities in California. The CSU is currently launching its
own independent education doctorate program.
Master Plan for Higher Education
The CSU system was created in 1961 under the state Master Plan for Higher Education. The CSU
draws its students from the top third of California’s high school graduates and is the state’s
primary undergraduate teaching institution. Continuing to expand its educational scope, seven
CSU campuses will offer educational doctorate programs in fall 2007, and six more campuses will
launch programs in 2008. The Ed.D. programs will meet workforce demands for advanced training
for administrators in California’s public K-12 school systems and community colleges.
Working For California
The CSU plays a critical role in preparing outstanding candidates for the job market. With 88,000
annual graduates, the CSU is the state’s greatest producer of bachelor’s degrees and drives
California’s economy in information technology, life sciences, agriculture, business, education,
international trade, public administration, entertainment and multimedia industries.
- For every $1 the state invests in the CSU, the CSU returns $4.41.
- The CSU sustains more than 200,000 jobs in the state.
- CSU-related expenditures create $13.6 billion in economic activity.
The CSU also reaches out to California’s growing, underserved communities, offering affordable
opportunities to pursue a college degree that enables students from every culture to succeed in a
range of industries and occupations. The CSU prides itself on providing more than half of all
undergraduate degrees granted to the state’s Latino, African American and Native American students.
The CSU is comprehensive in its outreach:
- The CSU Early Assessment Program (EAP) provides opportunities for
students to measure their readiness for college-level English and mathematics in their
junior year of high school, allowing them to improve their skills during their senior
year to successfully enter college.
- The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) is an educational access
and retention program that provides support services to low-income, educationally
disadvantaged students, the majority of whom are first-generation college students.
EOP plays a critical role in providing access to the university by helping students
prepare for CSU admission.
- In an effort to increase the number of African American students eligible to attend college,
the CSU has partnered with churches throughout the state to bring awareness to students, parents
and families about the importance of early preparation for college.