- Enrollment at a CSU campus no later than spring term prior to departure or eligibility to enter from a California community college by fall term of the program start date.
- A cumulative GPA of 3.00 for all higher education work by the application deadline. (Mandatory minimum; cannot be waived.)
- Sophomore, upper-division, or graduate standing by the end of spring term.
- Demonstrated academic background in Chinese studies (either two college-level courses in Mandarin Chinese; or one college-level course in Mandarin Chinese and one college-level course with a focus on Chinese civilization, history, society, politics, literature, geography, or philosophy).
- Only students with near native fluency in Mandarin Chinese are eligible for enrollment at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The "Learn Chinese" program is a Peking University.
- Applicants for Shanghai Jiao Tong University must demonstrate independence and maturity. The CSU Resident Director resides in Beijing and while there are host university representatives in Shanghai available to help, students must be able to handle day-to-day problems on their own.
- Students who are considered Chinese nationals (including holders of passports from Hong Kong, Macao, the Republic of China, and the People's Republic of China) are not eligible.
- Applicants must be above the age of 18 and under the age of 45, and must have completed at least one year of undergraduate study by the end of spring term.