2018-2019 Catalog

CSU Historical Milestones

The individual California State Colleges were established as a system with a Board of Trustees and a Chancellor in 1960 by the Donahoe Higher Education Act. In 1972, the system was designated as the California State University and Colleges, and in 1982 the system became the California State University. Today, the CSU is comprised of 23 campuses, including comprehensive and polytechnic universities and, since July 1995, the California Maritime Academy, a specialized campus.

The oldest campus—San José State University—was founded in 1857 and became the first institution of public higher education in California. The newest—CSU Channel Islands—opened in fall 2002, with freshmen arriving in fall 2003.

In 1963, the State Academic Senate CSU was established to act as the official voice of CSU faculty in systemwide matters. Also, the California State College Student Presidents Association—which was later renamed the California State Student Association—was founded to represent each campus student association on issues affecting students.

Through its many decades of service, the CSU has continued to adapt to address societal changes, student needs and workforce trends. While the CSU’s core mission has always focused on providing high-quality, affordable bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, over time the university has added a wide range of services and programs to support student success – from adding health centers and special programs for veterans to building student residential facilities to provide a comprehensive educational experience.

To improve degree completion and accommodate students working full- or part-time, the educational paradigm was expanded to give students the ability to complete upper-division and graduate requirements through part-time, late afternoon, and evening study. The university also expanded its programs to include a variety of teaching and school service credential programs, specially designed for working professionals.

The CSU marked another significant educational milestone when it broadened its degree offerings to include doctoral degrees. The CSU independently offers Doctor of Education

(Ed.D.), Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), Doctor of Audiology (AuD) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree programs. A limited number of other doctoral degrees are offered jointly with the University of California and private institutions in California.

In 2010, in an effort to accommodate community college transfer students, the CSU, in concert with the California Community Colleges (CCC) , launched the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT), which guarantees CCC transfer students with an ADT admission to the CSU with junior status.

Always adapting to changes in technology and societal trends to support student learning and degree completion, the CSU achieved another milestone in 2013, when it launched Cal State Online, a systemwide collection of services that support the delivery of fully online programs from campuses.  Now, full-time students also have access to fully online courses offered at other CSU campuses.

By providing an accessible, hands-on education that prepares graduates for career success, the CSU has created a network of alumni that is so extensive and renowned that it spans across the globe.

As of 2016-17, more than 3.4 million CSU alumni are making a difference in the lives of the people of California and the world. 

The CSU strives to continually develop innovative programs, services and opportunities that will give students the tools they need to meet their full potential. In 2016, the university launched Graduation Initiative 2025, a bold plan to support students, increase the number of California’s graduates earning high-quality degrees and eliminate achievement and equity gaps for all students. Through this initiative, the CSU is ensuring that all students have the opportunity to graduate according to their personal goals, positively impacting their lives, families and communities.

The CSU is committed to providing a quality higher education that prepare students to become leaders in the changing workforce.