CSU Transfer Requirements - General Education

As part of the requirements for a bachelor's degree, all CSU students must meet general education requirements. The California State University General Education-Breadth requirements includes a minimum of 48 semesters (72 quarter) units, which consist of 39 semester (58.5 quarter) units of lower division and at least 9 semester (12 quarter) units of upper division courses. Students can fulfill the lower division requirements at a community college prior to transferring to the CSU.

Transferring General Education (GE) Requirements

California community college students may complete all of the 30 semester (45 quarter) units of lower-division courses for CSU GE-Breadth Requirements (for CSU only) or the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (for both CSU and UC) at a California community college before transferring to a CSU campus. 

California Community Colleges and other qualified institutions can certify completion of up to 39 lower-division semester (58.5 quarter)units applicable to GE-Breadth requirements or a total package of 37 semester (58.5 quarter)units for IGETC.

The CSU GE- Breadth Requirements is a lower-division 39 semester(58.5 quarter) unit pattern. Transfer students must take specified courses in the areas of:

  • Area A — English Language Communication and Critical Thinking
  • Area B — Scientific Inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning
  • Area C — Arts and Humanities
  • Area D — Social Sciences
  • Area E — Lifelong Learning and Self-Development

Each California Community College has a list of courses that can be used in each of the areas. (The list is also available at www.assist.org.)

Each of the areas has a minimum number of units or courses. See the CSU Mentor Transfer Student Planner for more information about each of the areas.

Credit By Exam

Transfer students may earn general education or lower division major credits by taking a CSU accepted external examination in place of a course. The CSU faculties have determined the passing scores, minimum units of credit earned, and certification area (for General Education Breadth and/or U.S. History, Constitution, and American Ideals) of standardized external examinations, such as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and College-Level External Examinations CLEP. Each campus in the California State University system determines how it will apply credits earned by external examinations toward the degree major.

California community college can certify the acceptable external examination units in the General Education certification using the currently approved list AP, IB and CLEP exams list above. For students not already certified in GE and/or American Institutions, the CSU campus determines how to apply the credits earned from external exams toward the local degree requirements.

Approved General Education Courses at other Institutions:

(Click on each college's name to view a list of CSU GE approved courses)

Don Bosco Technical Institute (as of Summer 2006)
Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising
Heald Colleges (as of Summer 2010)
Humphreys College (as of Fall 2008)
Marymount California University
San Joaquin Valley College
University of Maryland University College

This information was reviewed and/or updated on 11/19/2015.