Lower-Division Transfer

Who is a Lower-Division Transfer Student (LDT)?

Please note: Due to enrollment demands, most CSU campuses restrict or prohibit the admission of lower-division transfer (LDT) students who have earned fewer than 60 transferable semester units (90 quarter units).

If you have completed 59 or fewer transferable semester units, or 89 or fewer transferable quarter units, by the time you plan to enter a CSU, you are considered a lower-division transfer (LDT) applicant. Please check with the campus before applying.

Admission Requirements for LDT Students

To be admitted to the California State University as a lower-division transfer (LDT) student, you must:

  • have completed "a-g" course requirements in high school;
  • have graduated from high school (received a high school diploma or General Educational Development, or GED, certificate);
  • minimum CSU admission eligibility requirements of a first-time freshman;​
  • have achieved an overall college GPA of at least 2.00 (This GPA is calculated using all your transfer units attempted. In case of high-demand majors and campuses, a GPA of 2.00 may not be sufficient to be admitted);
  • be in good standing at the last college or university you attended. (In simple terms, “good standing” means you are eligible to re-enroll at your last college or university); and
  • have completed, with a grade of C- or better, a course in GE Section A2 in written communication and a course in GE section B4 in mathematics or quantitative reasoning.


  • All undergraduate applicants, regardless of citizenship, whose native language is not English or who have not attended schools at the secondary level or above for at least three years of full-time study at an institution where English is the principal language of instruction, must demonstrate English competency by receiving a minimum score on an approved English proficiency exam or must present a score of 500 or above on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Approved exams may vary by campus, but some examples are the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic), International Test of English Proficiency (iTEP), and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The CSU minimum score for the internet (iBT) version of the TOEFL is 61; some campuses may require a higher score. Contact the CSU campus for the most current minimum score requirements.
  • Transfer students may earn general education or lower-division major credits by taking a CSU-accepted external examination in place of a course. The CSU faculties have determined the passing scores, minimum units of credit earned, and certification area (for General Education Breadth and/or U.S. History, Constitution, and American Ideals) of standardized external examinations, such as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and College-Level Examination Program (CLEP​). Each campus in the California State University system determines how it will apply credits earned by external examinations toward the degree major.
  • Lower-division transfer students who have not completed an appropriate English composition course and college-level mathematics course with grades of C or better, and who are not exempt based on their SAT scores, ACT scores, or AP credit, will be required to take placement tests after acceptance to the CSU.

If You're Not a California Resident and Want to Transfer

Many CSU campuses have higher admission standards for nonresident students (out-of-state and international students). For more information, consult the Nonresident Eligibility Index. Some campuses also have higher standards for particular majors.

If you’re a nonresident or private school transfer student, it’s recommended that you complete at least 60 semester units or 90 quarter units before applying to transfer.

It’s recommended, too, that at least 30 semester units (45 quarter units) of general education requirements in written communications, critical thinking, speech, and quantitative analysis (mathematics) are completed.

You can contact the CSU campus to which you are applying and request an evaluation of your transferable coursework.

For help answering questions about residency, or to complete the reclassification form, go to Determining California Residency.

Completing Your Studies at Your Community College

If you’re a lower-division student and do not meet the Eligibility Index for admission to the CSU (a calculation of your GPA and ACT/SAT test scores), the CSU recommends that you continue your education at a California Community College and complete the upper-division transfer requirements of 60 or more transferable semester units (90 or more quarter units) before attempting to transfer to a CSU campus.

Generally, CSU campuses urge transfer students to complete all lower-division general education and pre-major courses prior to transferring.


  • If you’re unsure of your major, concentrate first on completing lower-division general education requirements. These courses are transferable and meet admission requirements. Taking general education courses is a good way to learn about various disciplines and will help you decide on a major.
  • As a lower-division transfer student, you should concentrate on meeting the four basic skills course requirements, which include courses in English (oral and written communications) and Critical Thinking and Quantitative Reasoning (Mathematics). It’s recommended that you take as many general education courses as possible, but these types of courses should be your first priority. Every California Community College (CCC) has a list of courses that can be used to meet CSU lower-division general education requirements. Go to ASSIST.org to obtain a list of courses at the CCC campus you’re attending.
  • If you’re pursuing a high-unit major that requires extensive lower-division prerequisites, you may be eligible to follow the GE Breadth for STEM pattern, deferring two lower-division GE courses until after transfer, or the IGETC (Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum) for STEM Majors. Talk to your community college transfer counselor to learn whether you’re following one of the majors approved for the GE Breadth for STEM pattern or the IGETC for STEM Majors, and which classes you should take.
  • Elective courses are those that count toward total transfer units needed for admission, but are not used to fulfill lower-division admission, pre-major, general education, or graduation requirements. If you haven’t chosen a major, taking elective courses in different fields is a good way to explore your career interests and aptitudes. Check your California Community College catalog carefully to be sure these courses are transferable to the CSU for at least elective credit.
  • Many transfer students report that the biggest difference between their classes at a California Community College and those at the university is the amount of writing required at the CSU. While you’re taking courses to prepare you to transfer, you should also work on continued improvement of your reading and writing skills. Obtaining assistance with writing while you’re at a California Community College will prepare you for the demands of university study and help you prepare to satisfy the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement for the baccalaureate degree.
CSU Transfer Planner

The CSU Transfer Planner is an online tool that empowers California Community College students to explore and plan a successful transfer to any of the 23 California State Universities. With the CSU Transfer Planner, you can:

  • Learn more about any of the 23 California State Universities, their programs and transfer-admission requirements.
  • Save degree programs of interest to your online account so you can access all of them in one place.
  • Log your community college coursework to track general education progress and compare your current GPA against the transfer-admission requirements.
  • Receive helpful tips about how to successfully transfer to your chosen CSU campus as efficiently as possible.

Whether you’re already on track to transfer to a California State University or just thinking about transferring in the future, don’t wait! Create an​ account or log in to your CSU Transfer Planner account now!

Graduation Requirements

To graduate from the CSU with a baccalaureate (bachelor’s) degree, you will need to meet the following requirements:


The California State University requires every student receiving a baccalaureate degree to be knowledgeable about the Constitution of the United States, American history, and state and local government. This requirement is generally known as the American Institutions and Ideals Requirement.

You can even complete this requirement while at a community college. All California Community Colleges (CCC) have designated courses that satisfy the CSU's American Institutions and Ideals Requirement.

Most CSU campuses permit courses that meet this requirement to satisfy General Education-Breadth requirements providing a CCC certifies your General Education-Breadth and American Institutions and Ideals requirement.


All CSU students must meet the minimum of 48 semester units of General Education (GE)-breadth requirements in order to earn the bachelor's degree. The GE requirement includes 39 semester units of lower-division coursework and at least nine semester units of upper-division coursework.

The CSU GE-Breadth Requirements is a lower-division 39-semester/58.5-quarter unit pattern with specified courses in the areas of:

  • Area A — English Language Communication and Critical Thinking
  • Area B — Scientific Inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning
  • Area C — Arts and Humanities
  • Area D — Social Sciences
  • Area E — Lifelong Learning and Self-Development

Some majors include courses that meet both GE and major requirements. This is referred to as “double-counting.” It’s recommended that students work with their academic advisor or transfer counselors to identify which courses can satisfy both GE and lower-division major course requirements.

Transfer students can complete up to 39 semester units of lower-division coursework prior to transferring to the CSU.


IGETC is another pattern that California Community College students can use to fulfill all lower-division general education requirements at any CSU or University of California campus.

The IGETC pattern requires completion of a minimum of 37 semester/49 quarter units of lower-division work with a C grade or better in each course (C- is not allowed).

Requirements of the IGETC are as follows:

  • Area 1 - English Communication
  • Area 2 - Mathematical Concepts and Quantitative Reasoning
  • Area 3 - Arts and Humanities
  • Area 4 - Social and Behavior Sciences
  • Area 5 - Physical and Biological Sciences

Because the IGETC pattern is accepted by both the CSU and University of California, with minor differences, it’s a good option if you’re undecided about the system to which you will transfer.

If you’re enrolled in a major that requires extensive lower-division preparation, you may not be able to complete all the coursework for the IGETC pattern prior to transfer.

You should consult with your community college counselor to determine which general education program is most appropriate for you.

Besides requirements for the major and general education, CSU campuses may require other courses for a bachelor’s degree. Read the catalogs of the CSU campuses you’re considering transferring to to familiarize yourself with their graduation requirements. For example, some campuses require foreign language study as a part of the preparation for certain majors or for graduation.

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