San Diego State University


San Diego State University (SDSU) is a public university in San Diego, California. It is one of the 23 campuses of the California State University System and has its own branch campus in the Imperial Valley. The university awards bachelor’s and master’s degrees and participates in a joint doctoral program with the University of California. Its Carnegie classification is as a Doctoral/Research-Intensive institution. It is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

San Diego State University defines its mission as “to provide a well-balanced, high-quality education for undergraduate and graduate students and to contribute to knowledge in the solution of problems are excellent and distinction in teaching, research, and service.” SDSU is known for its outdoor art, bell tower, and the historical Scripps Colleges on the campus grounds.


Information Summary

Ranks 32nd in California and 407th overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 88.2
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $29,318
Admission Success rate N/A
ACT / SAT 75%ile scores 28 / 1310
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 33 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 89% / 80%
Enrollment Total (all students) 35,303


The university is composed of seven distinct colleges: the College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business Administration, the College of Engineering, the College of Education, the College of Health and Human Services, the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, and the College of Sciences.

Bachelor’s degrees are awarded in over 80 disciplines, including such diverse options as Chicano and Chicana studies, history, international security and conflict resolution, accounting, hospitality and tourism management, marketing, vocational education, engineering, nursing, art, dance, urban studies, astronomy, mathematics, statistics, and interdisciplinary studies.

Master’s degrees are awarded in over 75 fields and doctorates in nearly 20, including several dual degree programs, and credential programs in education.

Library Resources

The SDSU library system offers a wide range electronic catalogs and on-line databases, in additional to an appreciable print collection. Special collections include an Asian collection, government publications, the university archives, San Diego history, and photographs, postcards, oral histories, and other materials.

Most Popular Fields of Study


San Diego State University 2 San Diego State University
SDSU :: San Diego State University

Unique Programs

Chicana and Chicano Studies

Reflecting San Diego’s proximity to the Mexico border and the large number of Mexican American immigrants in the area, the College of Arts and Letters is home to the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies, dedicated to the study of the Chicano/Latino culture, politics, economics, and society. Chicana and Chicano Studies is provided as a minor and the Department also offers a Border Studies Minor and Certificate program.

Nurses Now

SDSU is known for their community engagement through SDSU Nurses Now, a program which partners nearly a dozen local health organizations and hospitals with student nurses—both providing a wealth and diversity of practicum experiences for student nurses and going far to address a nursing shortage in the San Diego area. Hundreds of student nurses have participated in this program, to the mutual benefit of all involved.


Admissions to SDSU are competitive. SDSU uses an eligibility index to determine if applicants meet admissions requirements. This index is a combination of high school GPA and either the SAT or the ACT test score. The admissions website offers an electronic Eligibility Calculator to assist in determining the eligibility index. The average high school GPA of incoming first year students is 3.63, the average SAT score is 1144, and the average ACT score is 24.

Applications to the undergraduate programs for the fall are accepted through October through November of the prior year. In addition to the application form and a modest fee, students must provide high school transcripts and test scores. Applications can be submitted on-line. Students are evaluated for admissions based on where they live; there are three different geographical areas with different criteria.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available at SDSU through a combination of grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study programs. Subsidized loans are awarded based on financial need, while unsubsidized loans are not. SDSU also accepts the in-state Cal Grant for residents of California. The university also offers a number of scholarship opportunities, including University Scholarships, Future Scholars Awards for underrepresented groups, and the Byrd Honors Scholarship and McNair Scholars Program, both government-administered aid programs.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 3865th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in California.


SDSU is home to a large number of living learning communities (LLCs). These communities combine students’ academic life with their social life in multiple ways. Students in specific LLCs are enrolled in the same classes as other community members and spend time together engaged in extracurricular field trips, meals, dormitory environments, and recreational events. Specific LLC areas include social justice and multiculturalism, service, and career exploration. Spaces are limited and students are encouraged to apply early.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


The Aztecs compete in Division I of NCAA intercollegiate athletics, with baseball, basketball, football, golf, soccer, and tennis for men and basketball, cross-country, diving, golf, rowing (crew), soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field, volleyball, and water polo for women. Prospective students who are interested in competing can submit their athletic profile on-line.

The Aztecs’ all-black uniforms are one of the most recognized traditions at SDSU. Don Coryell—who is also credited with introducing modern passing to college football—originally devised the outfits. Coryell felt the all-black uniforms would be mysterious and menacing, especially during night games. The Aztecs’ mascot is Montezuma, or “Monty,” and is based upon Montezuma II, the ruler of all Aztecs during the early 16th century.

Local Community

The city of San Diego is located in Southern California and is home to professional sports teams, the famous San Diego Zoo, and numerous other metropolitan attractions. San Diego’s weather has been deemed the finest in the country, and the recreational opportunities reflect that status. The surf and sand of San Diego’s beaches is unparalleled, whether you are a swimmer or a sunbather. The Parks department offers an aquatics program to all visitors as well. The West Coast’s largest aquatic park, Mission Bay Park, is located in San Diego and covers over 4,000 acres. Complimenting Mission Bay is the massive Mission Trails Regional Park that offers 5,800 acres of hiking and camping facilities.


  • Academic Programs. San Diego State University. Web. 19 June 2011.
  • Fiske, Edward B. Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011. Chicago: Sourcebooks, 2010. Print.
  • Nurses Now. San Diego State University. Web. 19 June 2011.
  • Pope, Loren. Looking Beyond the Ivy League: Finding the College That’s Right for You. New York: Penguin. 2007. Print.

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