First-Time First-Year Subject Requirements


The California State University requires that first-time first-year applicants 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.

students outside library

Basic CSU College Preparatory Subject Requirements
Area Subject Years
A U.S. History/Social Science: 2 years including 1 year US History/Government and 1 year social science (world history, geography, etc.) 2
B English: 4 years (8 semesters) of college preparatory English composition and literature 4

Math: Courses may be part of a traditional sequence (Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2) or an integrated sequence (Mathematics I, II, and III). In addition, acceptable courses may be combinations of algebra, geometry, probability, statistics, trigonometry or other higher level math courses.

3 (4 years Recommended)
D Laboratory Science: 2 years including 1 year physical science (chemistry, physics, etc.) and 1 year biological science (biology, zoology, anatomy, etc.) 2
E Language Other than English: 2 years in the same language (subject to waiver for applicants demonstrating equivalent competence) 2
F Visual and Performing Arts: 1 year: art, dance, drama/theatre, or music 1
G College Preparatory Elective: One more year of any college preparatory subject 1

Complete above courses with a C or better. We do not accept summer work after graduation to meet admission requirements. A course must be identified by your high school as meeting a University of California A-G subject requirement to be considered college preparatory.

The CSU has temporarily suspended the letter grade requirements for “a-g” courses completed in the winter, spring, summer and fall 2020 terms and winter, spring, and summer 2021 terms. This means that for Fall 2022 and future admission cycles, for courses you took in high school during these terms, Pass and Credit grades will satisfy completion of “a-g” requirements. Pass (Credit) grade will meet the A-G subject requirements but will not be calculated in the GPA. The CSU will continue to calculate the GPA for admission purposes using all “a-g” courses that have letter grades in grades 10 and 11.

The final GPA is based on grades earned in all approved college preparatory “a-g” courses taken after 9th grade through graduation..

Fulfilling Subject Requirements in College prior to High School Graduation

College courses can be taken to make up any missing high school courses, as long as it is at least 3 semester units or 4 quarter units and 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. 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 or geometry. Neither of these course 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 (707) 664-2778 if you have any questions about eligibility.

Subject Requirement Substitution for Students with Disabilities

Applicants with disabilities are strongly encouraged to complete college preparatory course requirements if at all possible. If an applicant is judged unable to fulfill a specific course requirement because of his or her disability, alternative college preparatory courses may be substituted for specific subject requirements. Students who are deaf or hearing impaired, are blind or visually impaired, or have learning disabilities may in certain circumstances qualify for substitutions for the foreign language, laboratory science, and mathematics subject requirements. Substitutions may be authorized on an individual basis after review and recommendation by the applicant's academic advisor or guidance counselor in consultation with the director of a CSU disabled-student services program. Although the distribution may be slightly different from the course pattern required of other students, students qualifying for substitutions will still be held for 15 units of college preparatory study. Students should be aware that course substitutions may limit later enrollment in certain majors, particularly those involving mathematics. For further information and substitution forms, please contact the director of Disability Services for Students at SSU

Waiver of Foreign Language Requirement

The official high school transcript is the primary document for certification of a student's academic record. Therefore, the CSU recommends a notation on the high school transcript as evidence of the high school's determination of a student's eligibility of college preparatory language other than English requirement.

The notation on the transcript should specify the provision under which the student qualifies. For example, a notation might read "CSU Language other than English requirement met through schooling in Spanish." Other proper notations might include "Limited English Proficiency - Vietnamese," or "Tutor/Interpreter Mandarin" or "H.S. Assessment Russian." It is not necessary for the high school to submit the documents used to establish eligibility.

If not noted on the high school transcript, a letter from the school representative to the SSU admission office verifying that the student meets the requirement will also be accepted. It is not necessary for the high school to submit the documents used to establish eligibility.

Students applying to the CSU should indicate the specific language in the “High School Preparation” section of the application for admission. In the application, students should indicate completion of two years of one language with a grade of credit.

Domestic & International Coursework

First-time first-year applicants that have taken both international and domestic coursework while in high school (secondary school) can appeal for case-by-case review of admissions requirements by filling out and submitting the form found here:  Admissions Reconsideration