High School Course Requirements (“a-g” courses)

The CSU requires a minimum 15-unit pattern of courses for admission as a first-time freshman. Each unit is equal to a year of study in a subject area. A grade of C or better is required for each course you use to meet any subject requirement.

a.History and Social Science (including 1 year of U.S. history or 1 semester of U.S. history and 1 semester of civics or American government AND 1 year of social science)2
b.English (4 years of college preparatory English composition and literature)4
c.Math (4 years recommended) of college preparatory math including or integrating topics covered in algebra, geometry, and intermediate algebra.3
d.Laboratory Science (2 years of college preparatory science required with laboratory [1 biological and 1 physical]. Integrated science and interdisciplinary courses can meet this requirement.)2
e.Language Other Than English (2 years or through the second level of high school instruction in the same language; American Sign Language and classical languages such as Latin and Greek are acceptable – See below about a possible waiver of this requirement).2
f.Visual and Performing Arts (1 year or 2 semester courses from the same discipline required including dance, music, theatre, visual arts or interdisciplinary arts.)​1
g.College Preparatory Elective (additional year chosen from the University of California “a-g” list)1
Total Required Courses15

The grades you earn in high school are the most important factor in CSU admission decisions. Your high school grade point average is calculated using your grades in all your college prep “a-g” classes completed after the 9th grade.

First-time freshmen must meet the following eligibility requirements: be a high school graduate or equivalent; complete the 15-unit comprehensive “a-g” pattern of college preparatory course; and earn a qualifying “a-g” grade point average (GPA) as described below.

  • California residents and graduates of California high schools will be eligible for admission by earning a 2.50 or greater “a-g” GPA.
  • Any California high school graduate or resident of California earning a GPA between 2.00 and 2.49 may be evaluated for admission based upon supplemental factors.
  • Non-California residents may be eligible for admission to the CSU by earning a 3.00 or greater “a-g” GPA along with other supplemental factors utilized by the individual campus, including those outlined by impacted campuses and programs.
  • Any Non-California resident of California earning a GPA between 2.47 and 2.99 may be evaluated for admission based upon supplemental factors.


Campuses will use a combination of students’ “a-g” GPA and supplemental factors to determine admission eligibility. Supplemental Factors that campuses may use include:

  • Number of courses exceeding minimum “a-g” requirements, 
  • GPA in math and or science courses,
  • Household income, 
  • Extracurricular and leadership involvement, 
  • Educational program participation in high school
  • Other available information that would inform the campus admission decision. 

Each CSU campus will determine the supplemental factors used with GPA to determine eligibility. 

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