Subject Requirements

The CSU requires first-time freshman applicants to complete, with a grade of C or better in each course, the following comprehensive pattern of college preparatory study totaling 15 units. A "unit" is one year of study in high school.

  • English, 4 years.
  • Mathematics, 3 years: algebra, geometry, and intermediate algebra. Alternatively, you may complete 3 years of college preparatory integrated math which includes components of both algebra and geometry.
  • U.S. history or US history and government, 1 year + 1 year social science (world history, geography, anthropology, economics, psychology, etc).
  • Laboratory science, 2 years including 1 year physical science (chemistry, physics, etc.) and 1 year biological science (biology, zoology, anatomy, etc.)
  • Language other than English, 2 years in the same language (subject to waiver for applicants demonstrating equivalent competence).
  • Visual and performing arts, 1 year: art, dance, drama/theatre, or music.
    • Fall 2014 applicants must complete a single year-long approved course.
  • Electives, 1 year: One extra course selected from the list above.

Fulfilling Subject Requirements In College

It is possible to take college courses to make up any missing high school courses. A college course must be at least 3 semester units or 4 quarter units and must be taken for a grade, not credit/no credit. One semester at the college level is considered equivalent to a full year at the high school level. It is also possible to take online college courses to make up missing subject requirements. Contact Admissions before you register, so we can confirm you're taking the proper course(s).

For the English high school subject requirement, we can count either a "general education" college English course (such a course would also count towards your bachelor's degree) or you may take an English course one level below the general education English course (such a course would improve your high school subject tally but would not count towards your bachelor's degree).

In the mathematics area, you may take intermediate algebra to satisfy Algebra I or Algebra II. Neither of these courses are considered "baccalaureate" level, so they would not count towards your eventual bachelor's degree, but they would count towards the high school subject requirement.

Feel free to call us in the Admissions Office at (866) 850-9556 if you have any questions about eligibility.