California State University

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Seal of the California State University

The California State University or CSU, is one of three public higher education systems in the state of California. (The others being the University of California and the California Community College System). It is composed of 23 campuses and has 414,000 students supported by 44,000 faculty members and staff. It is the largest university system in the United States.

The CSU prepares about 60 percent of the teachers in the state, 40 percent of the engineering graduates, and more graduates in business, agriculture, communications, health, education and public administration than all other California universities and colleges combined. Altogether, about half the bachelors degrees and a third of the masters degrees awarded annually in California are from the CSU.

Since 1961 more then 2 million alumni have received a bachelor's, master's or joint doctoral degrees from the university system. It offers more than 1,800 bachelors and masters degree programs in some 240-subject areas.

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Pyramid at CSU Long Beach

California State University, Long Beach is it's largest campus in terms of student body population.



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San Jose State University

The individual California State Colleges were brought together as a system by the Donahoe Higher Education Act of 1960. In 1972 the system became The California State University and Colleges. In 1982, it dropped the word "colleges" from it's name.

Today the campuses of the CSU include comprehensive and polytechnic universities and the only Maritime Academy in the western United States.

The CSU's oldest campus, San Jose State University was founded in 1857, and is the oldest public university on the Western coast of North America.


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Cal Poly Pomona

Responsibility for the California State University is vested in the Board of Trustees, whose members are appointed by the Governor. The Trustees appoint the Chancellor, who is the chief executive officer of the system, and the Presidents, who are the chief executive officers on the respective campuses.

The Academic Senate of the California State University, made up of elected representatives of the faculty from each campus, recommends academic policy to the Board of Trustees through the Chancellor.

Chancelors of the CSU

  • Buell Gallagher (1961-1962)
  • Glenn S. Dumke (1962-1982)
  • W. Ann Reynolds (1982-1990)
  • Ellis E. McCune [Acting] (1990-1991)
  • Barry Munitz (1991-1998)
  • Charles B. Reed (1998- )


The CSU is composed of the following 23 campuses listed here by order of the year founded:


Differences between the CSU and UC systems

Both university systems are California publicly funded institutions.

According to the California Master Plan for Higher Education (1960), Both may confer Bachelors or Masters degrees as well as professional certifications, however only the University of California has the authority to issue doctorate degrees and professional degrees in the fields of law, medicine, veterinary, and dentistry. The two university systems do award joint doctorate degrees in some subjects.

The CSU accepts applicants from the top 1/3 of California high schools. The UC accepts the top 12.5%. In an effort to maintain a 60/40 ratio of upper division students to lower division students and to encourage students to attend a California community college first, both university systems give priority to California community college transfer students. The state, which funds all three institutions, encourages this because the cost of educating a student through a community college is less.

There are 23 CSU campuses and 10 UC campuses representing 414,000 and 191,000 students respectively.

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