Stage 2: Master Plan / CEQA is the second step in a Self-Support ​Project. In this stage, you'll find information about the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and how it relates to your project-planning work. There are also resources to assist with the development of your campus Master Plan. After this, you'll move on to complete Stage 3: Programming.

A. The CEQA Process

California Environmental Quality Act

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires public agencies to disclose the environmental impacts of their projects to decision makers and the public and to avoid or mitigate such impacts when feasible.

The California State University is required to comply with CEQA for its projects. CEQA compliance must take place prior to the CSU taking irrevocable action on projects such as master plan revisions, schematic plans and ground leases.

The CSU complies with CEQA through an environmental review process that:

  • informs decision makers and the public about the potential significant effects of projects
  • ensures that environmental concerns are considered early in project development
  • identifies feasible ways and alternatives to avoid or reduce significant environmental effects
  • discloses significant and unavoidable effects


B. Master Plan Overview

A Master Plan is a document that illustrates existing and anticipated facilities necessary to accommodate a specified enrollment at an estimated target date or planning horizon. It is the physical representation of how a campus will implement its Academic and Strategic Plans. 

Each CSU campus master plan approved by the Board of Trustees is available here​

Determine What Type of Project You're Completing

There are four types of projects:

New Campus Master Plan
The Board of Trustees requires that every campus have a master plan showing existing and anticipated facilities necessary to accommodate a specified enrollment at an estimated target date or planning horizon, in accordance with approved educational policies and objectives. Each campus master plan reflects the ultimate physical requirements of academic programs and auxiliary activities during the planning horizon.

Review/revisions to the master plan should take place periodically, but not less than every 10 years. When developing a new master plan it is important to ensure that the goals and objectives of available campus planning tools are addressed. In addition to the Academic and Strategic Plans, the Infrastructure Master Plan and the Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Plan should be incorporated into the Master Plan. 

The process also requires close coordination with the Chancellor's Office and the University Planner assigned to the campus you're working with should be involved in the development of the master plan.

Minor Master Plan Revision
The authority to approve a Minor Master Plan Revision as defined below has been delegated to the Assistant Vice Chancellor, CPDC, to whom the request should be addressed. A Minor Master Plan Revision is defined as:

  1. A modification to the configuration of a future or existing building footprint (exterior building line at ground level)
  2. A siting of a new capital outlay project, provided the planned facility is consistent with the adopted campus architectural vocabulary and is not architecturally significant
  3. A siting of a relocatable and/or temporary facility
  4. A relocation of a maximum of three approved but yet to be constructed facilities to a more advantageous site, provided the overall utilization of the campus land area is not increased or the amount of open space decreased
  5. A vertical addition to an existing or yet to be constructed facility provided the addition is not determined to be architecturally significant; and
  6. Other criteria and parameters as the Board of Trustees may from time to time adopt through its standing orders or by resolution.

Major Master Plan Revision
A Major Master Plan Revision must be submitted for approval to the Board of Trustees. 

A change to a Master Plan that involves a project that is architecturally significant; results in a significant, unavoidable environmental impact; necessitates an EIR (Environmental Impact Report) Addendum; or is not included in the definition of a Minor Master Plan Revision (see above) is considered to be a Major Master Plan Revision.

Establishing an Off-campus Center
There are certain circumstances under which an off-campus center can be established; these are outlined in Executive Order No. 720 (PDF). The procedures for establishing an off-campus center are also outlined in EO 720. The procedures differ for off-campus centers serving under 500 FTE (in this case, approvals can be delegated to the Chancellor) and off-campus centers serving over 500 FTE (in this case, approval by the Board of Trustees is required).

While the process is more fully outlined in the Executive Order, issues for consideration include:

  • Enrollment and programs
  • Distance learning and alternative education delivery modes
  • Impact on other institutions
  • Academic and financial resources
  • Physical facility and operations
  • Community s​upport

Resources, Forms & Documents:

Board of Trustees Submittals Checklist (XL sheet)

Minor Master Plan Revision Checklist (XL sheet)


SUAM Section II: 9007-9014