Graduate and Postbaccalaureate Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements

Graduate and postbaccalaureate applicants may apply for a degree objective, a credential or certificate objective, or where approved, may have no program objective. Depending on the objective, the CSU will consider an application for admission as follows:

  • General Requirements — The minimum requirements for admission to graduate and postbaccalaureate studies at a CSU campus are in accordance with university regulations as well as Title 5, Chapter 1, Subchapter 3 of the California Code of Regulations.
  • Specifically, a student shall at the time of enrollment:
    1. Have completed a four-year college course of study and hold an acceptable baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association, or shall have completed equivalent academic preparation as determined by appropriate campus authorities;
    2. Be in good academic standing at the last college or university attended;
    3. Have earned a grade point average of at least 2.5 on the last degree completed by the candidate or have attained a grade point average of at least 2.5 (A=4.0) in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted; and
    4. Satisfactorily meet the professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards for graduate study, including qualifying examinations, as appropriate campus authorities may prescribe. In unusual circumstances, a campus may make exceptions to these criteria.

Individual programs may have special requirements beyond those listed above. Please review additional program requirements on the Graduate Program Requirements Page.

  • Students who meet the minimum requirements for graduate and postbaccalaureate studies may be considered for admission in one of the four following categories:
    1. Graduate Classified – To pursue a graduate degree, applicants are required to fulfill all of the professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards, including qualifying examinations, prescribed by the campus; or
    2. Graduate Conditionally Classified – Applicants may be admitted to a graduate degree program in this category if, in the opinion of appropriate campus authority, deficiencies may be remedied by additional preparation; or
    3. Postbaccalaureate Classified, e.g. admission to an education credential program – Persons wishing to enroll in a credential or certificate program, will be required to satisfy additional professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards, including qualifying examinations, prescribed by the campus; or
    4. Postbaccalaureate Unclassified – To enroll in undergraduate courses as preparation for advanced degree programs or to enroll in graduate courses for professional or personal growth, applicants must be admitted as postbaccalaureate unclassified students. By meeting the general requirements, applicants are eligible for admission as postbaccalaureate unclassified students. Admission in this status does not constitute admission to, or assurance of consideration for admission to, any graduate degree or credential program. (Most CSU campuses do not offer admission to unclassified postbaccalaureate students.)

Admission Notification

Graduate Studies officially notifies master's degree, certificate, and unclassified applicants of the admission decision. Credential applicants are notified of their admission to a particular credential program by the School of Education.

Admission to any of the above categories is limited to the specific semester for which you have applied and been accepted. If you do not enroll in courses during the semester for which you are admitted, you will not be automatically readmitted for a subsequent semester but must reapply during the designated application period. Applicants admitted to a graduate degree program or the credential program can request a deferment of your start term for one or two semesters. Deferment requests must be made before the beginning of the original term admitted for and are subject to the approval of the program admitted to.

If you do not hold a baccalaureate at the start of the semester for which you have been admitted, your postbaccalaureate admission will be canceled and your class level will be changed to senior. You must then reapply for postbaccalaureate admission if you wish to enroll after you receive the bachelor's degree.

Application Procedures

All graduate and postbaccalaureate applicants (e.g., EdD, joint PhD applicants, master’s degree applicants, those seeking educational credentials or certificates, and where permitted, holders of baccalaureate degrees interested in taking courses for personal or professional growth) must file a complete graduate application as described in the graduate and postbaccalaureate admission materials through Cal State Apply.

Applicants seeking a second bachelor’s degree should submit the undergraduate application for admission unless specifically requested to do otherwise. Applicants who completed undergraduate degree requirements and graduated the preceding term are also required to complete and submit an application and the $70 nonrefundable application fee. Since applicants for postbaccalaureate programs may be limited to the choice of a single campus on each application, re-routing to alternate campuses or later changes of campus choice are not guaranteed.

To be assured of initial consideration by more than one campus, it is necessary to submit separate applications (including fees) to each. Applications must be submitted electronically through Cal State Apply.

Credential applicants must also file a separate application for admission to their specific credential objective by the posted deadline. See the School of Education for additional information.

Admitted applicants must request that each postsecondary institution that they have previously attended send one official copy of their transcript before beginning their program. Official transcripts must be sent directly to Chico State as either paper or electronic documents.

Official paper transcripts should be mailed to:
Graduate Studies
California State University, Chico
400 West First Street
Chico, CA 95929-0875

Official electronic transcripts must be sent directly from the campus of their clearinghouse to

Note: If you have attended Chico State in the past, either as a graduate or an undergraduate student, you do not need to obtain additional copies of transcripts you have already had sent to the institution. Neither will you need to provide a transcript of your Chico State record.

If applying to a master's degree program, you may also be required to successfully complete a nationally standardized qualifying examination (e.g., Graduate Record Examination, Graduate Management Admissions Test, Miller Analogies Test), fulfill other admission criteria specified by the department, or submit additional supplemental application materials. See Academic Programs or visit Graduate Programs and Coordinators for information on specific departmental requirements. Test scores and all supplemental materials must also be submitted by the application deadline.

The $70 nonrefundable application fee by credit card payment is required of all applicants, with the following exceptions:

  1. Those who were previously enrolled as postbaccalaureate students, have broken enrollment at Chico State only one semester, and have not attended any other schools in the interim;
  2. Applicants filing as auditors; and
  3. Applicants with an authorized application fee waiver.

Admission to Master's Degree Programs

Completed files for master's program applicants are forwarded to the department for review. The department may recommend that you be admitted to one of the following categories:

Graduate Conditionally Classified

You may be admitted to a graduate degree program in conditionally classified status if your graduate department determines that you can remedy deficiencies by additional preparation.

To be admitted as a conditionally classified master's degree student, you must meet the general requirements for admission to graduate and postbaccalaureate studies as specified in Admission Requirements above, as well as any specific requirements outlined by your major department for this category.

While enrolled as a conditionally classified student, you will be required to complete 12 qualifying, letter-graded units of 400/500/600-level work with at least a 3.0 GPA and satisfy any departmentally specified criteria for admission to classified standing. You must also maintain at least a 3.0 GPA in each of the following three categories: all coursework taken at any accredited institution subsequent to admission to conditionally classified status, all coursework taken at Chico State subsequent to admission to conditionally classified status, and all courses applied toward the degree requirements. Failure to meet these requirements may result in the termination of your enrollment in the master's degree program.

Graduate Classified

You are a classified master's degree student if you have been formally accepted by the department and Graduate Studies to pursue master's degree study.

In addition to satisfying the general requirements for admission to graduate and postbaccalaureate studies as specified in Admission Requirements above, and all professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards, including qualifying examinations prescribed by the department, you must meet the following minimum requirements:

  1. Satisfactory grade point average as follows:
    1. An undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 in the last 30 semester units and a 2.75 in the last 60 semester units, or
    2. A postbaccalaureate grade point average of at least 3.0 in a minimum of 12 departmentally specified units of letter-graded graduate-level coursework, and
    3. In addition to "a" or "b" above, a grade point average of at least 3.0 in all postbaccalaureate, graduate-level coursework taken within the five years prior to admission to classified status. This coursework includes all graduate-level transfer work and all graduate-level courses completed in excess of baccalaureate requirements that have been approved for postbaccalaureate credit, whether or not they are applied to the master's degree.
  2. Approval by the department and Graduate Studies.

You are required to maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA in each of the following three categories: all coursework taken at any accredited institution subsequent to admission to the master's program; all coursework taken at Chico State subsequent to admission to the program; and all courses applied towards the degree requirements.


While exceptional students may be granted candidacy immediately upon admission, master's degree students are normally advanced to candidacy after demonstrating ability and aptitude for the discipline as a classified master's degree student and meeting specific departmental requirements to become a candidate. Minimally, these will include:

  • Classified graduate standing and completion at Chico State of at least 9 units of the proposed program.
  • Completion of departmental examinations, such as diagnostic examinations.
  • A GPA of at least 3.0 in each of the following three categories: all coursework taken at any accredited institution subsequent to admission to the master's program; all coursework taken at Chico State subsequent to admission to the program; and all courses applied toward the degree requirements.
  • Approval by the department and Graduate Studies.

Use of Social Security Number

Applicants are required to include their correct Social Security numbers in designated places on applications for admission pursuant to the authority contained in Section 41201, Title 5, California Code of Regulations, and Section 6109 of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 6109).

The university uses the Social Security number to identify students and their records including identification for purposes of financial aid eligibility and disbursement and the repayment of financial aid and other debts payable to the institution. Also, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires the university to file information returns that include the student’s Social Security number and other information such as the amount paid for qualified tuition, related expenses, and interest on educational loans. This information is used by the IRS to help determine whether a student, or a person claiming a student as a dependent, may take a credit or deduction to reduce federal income taxes. The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office will also use it to report Federal Work-Study earnings to the Federal Department of Education.

Once you have applied, you will be assigned a nine-digit Chico State ID number which will be used as the identifier for all of your University records.

Enrollment in Distance & Online Education Courses

Chico Distance & Online Education offers a variety of courses via the Internet using various web-based applications. For information on current course offerings, contact Professional & Continuing Education. Students who are regularly enrolled in Chico Distance & Online Education courses receive resident credit and are held to the same application, transcript, and fee requirements as on-campus students.

International (Foreign) Student Admission Requirements

The CSU must assess the academic preparation of international students. For this purpose, "international students" include those who hold U.S. temporary visas as students, exchange visitors, or other nonimmigrant classifications.

The CSU uses separate requirements and application filing dates in the admission of international students. At Chico State the graduate international application period for the fall semester is from October 1 to April 1. For the spring semester, the application period is from August 1 to September 30.

(Certain graduate programs have admission only for the fall. Other programs have earlier closing dates. Details can be obtained from Graduate Programs and Coordinators.)

Priority in admission is given to residents of California. There is little likelihood of nonresident applicants, including international students, being admitted either to impacted majors or to those majors or programs with limited openings.

Academic Requirements

Verification of English proficiency (see International Admissions website) and academic performance are both important considerations for admission. 

Official academic records from foreign institutions must be on file within one month of the application deadline. If an applicant’s records are not in English, they must be accompanied by certified word-for-word English translations.

Applicants who have attended a recognized foreign institution and have received a degree deemed equivalent to the U.S. baccalaureate may be eligible for admission as a graduate student. Prior university-level preparation should be appropriate to the graduate degree objective, and superior undergraduate grades are essential.

Financial Support Requirement

Financial documents and a copy of a passport bio page are required for I-20 issuance. More specific information for prospective students can be obtained through International Admissions

Required Health Insurance

All admitted international students on F-1 and J-1 visas must obtain and maintain health insurance as a condition of registration and continued enrollment in the California State University. Details about minimum coverage requirements are available from International Student and Scholar Services

Graduate-Postbaccalaureate English Language Requirement

All graduate and postbaccalaureate applicants, regardless of citizenship, whose native language is not English and whose preparatory education was principally in a language other than English must demonstrate competence in English. Those who do not possess a bachelor’s degree from a postsecondary institution where English is the principal language of instruction must provide proof of English language proficiency by receiving a qualifying score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic), or the International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS).

Chico State interprets “where English is the principal language of instruction” to mean that a school is located in a country where English is the native language (the daily medium of communication of the majority of residents is English), and that the students received academic instruction in all subjects (except foreign language courses) at all levels of education in English. For a list of countries where Chico State considers English to be the principle language of instruction see the International Admissions website.

Though some programs may require a higher score, Chico State minimum English Proficiency Test standards for graduate admission are:

    Band Score—6.5
  • PTE Academic

Admission as an Auditor

An auditor is a student who enrolls in a course for informational purposes only. An auditor attends class sessions regularly but does not participate in the class, take examinations, or receive credit for the course. To qualify as an auditor, you must apply for admission (without paying the application processing fee required of credit students) and submit such transcripts as are necessary to show that you hold a baccalaureate. In addition, you must obtain permission from the instructor to register as an auditor in any course. Auditors pay the same registration fees as credit students.

Transcript Retention

If you submit transcripts to Graduate Studies at Chico State and then fail to submit an application, the transcripts will be retained for two years and will then be destroyed. If you submit an application but do not enroll for the semester for which you have been accepted, your transcripts will also be retained for two years and then destroyed.

These and other CSU admissions requirements are subject to change as policies are revised and laws are amended. The CSU website and the CSU admissions portal Cal State Apply are good sources of the most up-to-date information.