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Welcome! Thank you for your interest in Sonoma State University. You are probably attracted to Sonoma because of our success in academic programs, the intellectual accomplishments of our students and faculty, our exciting curricula, or perhaps the location and beauty of the campus. Whatever spurred your interest, we are delighted you've taken the time to glance through our catalog. Here you will learn how to apply, what documents are needed, and the admission requirements.
Application Filing Periods, 2002-2004
For admission inPriority filingFile no later than
Fall Semester 2002November 2001January 31, 2002
Spring Semester 2003August 2002October 31, 2002
Fall Semester 2003November 2002January 31, 2003

How to Apply for Admission to Sonoma State University

It's easy. Fill out a CSU aplication and, with a $55 application fee, send it to:

Office of Admissions and Records
Sonoma State University
Rohnert Park, CA 94928-3609

Applications are available at the admissions office of any CSU campus or at any California high school or community college. Or you can apply on the web at: www.csumentor.edu/ Once we receive your application, we'll let you know when to send copies of your transcripts and other required documents.

The $55 nonrefundable application fee should be in the form of a check or money order payable to the California State University and may not be transferred or used to apply to another term. If you apply on the Web, you may pay by credit card. You may indicate an alternate major in case we are not able to accommodate your first choice. You may also indicate an alternate campus in case we cannot accommodate your application at Sonoma State University.

Application Filing Periods

The application filing period to Sonoma State University is limited. Applicants are strongly encouraged to file during the priority filing period applicable to each semester (please see above table). Be sure to contact us for an update on application deadlines for each semester.

Application Acknowledgment

Once you've submitted an application to Sonoma State, you will receive an acknowledgment within two weeks. It will include a request that you submit the records necessary for the campus to evaluate your qualifications if you have not already done so. If the evaluation of your qualifications indicates that you meet admission requirements, you may be assured of admission.

CSU Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Applicants

To be considered for admission, you must file a complete undergraduate application, which can be found in the undergraduate admission booklet or on the web at www.csumentor.edu/. Admission to Sonoma is competitive, so we use admission criteria supplemental to the basic CSU admission requirements. Please read Supplementary Admission Criteria on page 12 for the additional admission criteria specific to Sonoma State University. Sonoma utilizes a combination of the following basic admission requirements as well as the supplementary admission criteria. The basic requirements are that you have a qualifiable eligibility index, will have completed the comprehensive pattern of college preparatory subjects, and meet supplementary criteria. If you are a California high school graduate (or are a legal resident of California for tuition purposes), you need a minimum eligibility index of 2900 using the SAT I, or 694 using the ACT. If you neither graduated from a California high school nor are a resident of California for tuition purposes, you need a minimum index of 3502 (SAT I) or 842 (ACT). The complete Eligibility Index Table is on page 20.

First-Time Freshman Applicants Admissions Requirements

First-time freshman applicants qualify for regular admission if they:
1. Are a high school graduate;
2. Have a qualifiable eligibility index (see Eligibility Index on page 20); and
3. Have completed, with grades of C or better, the courses in the comprehensive pattern of college preparatory subject requirements (see Subject Requirements, this page). Courses must be completed prior to the first CSU enrollment.

Honors Courses

Up to eight courses of honors work taken in the last two years of high school can be accepted. An additional point will be given for grades A, B, and C. Each unit of A in an honors course will receive a total of 5 points; B, 4 points; and C, 3 points.

College Preparatory

Subject Requirements

The California State University requires that first-time freshman applicants complete, with grades of C or better, a comprehensive pattern of college preparatory study totaling 15 units:

Effective Fall 2003, these college preparatory requirements are:

Subject Requirement Substitution for Students with Disabilities Applicants with disabilities should complete college preparatory course requirements if at all possible. If you are unable to fulfill a specific course requirement because of your disability, alternative college preparatory courses may be substituted for specific subject requirements. Substitutions may be authorized on an individual basis after review and recommendation by the applicant's academic advisor or guidance counselor in consultation with the director of a CSU disabled student services program. Although the distribution may be slightly different from the course pattern required of other students, students qualifying for substitutions will still be held for 15 units of college preparatory study. Students should be aware that course substitutions may limit later enrollment in certain majors, particularly those involving mathematics. For information and substitution forms, call the disabled-student services director at your nearest CSU campus.

Foreign Language Subject Requirement

The foreign language subject requirement may be satisfied by applicants who demonstrate competence in a language other than English that is equivalent to or higher than that expected of students who complete two years of foreign language study. Consult with your school counselor or any CSU campus admissions office for information.

Test Scores

All lower-division undergraduate applicants must submit scores for either the Scholastic Assessment Test I (SAT I) or the American College Test Program (ACT). Sonoma uses test results for advising and placement purposes and as part of the admission criteria.

Eligibility Index

The eligibility index is the combination of your high school grade point average (GPA) and your score on either the American College Test (ACT) or the Scholastic Assessment Test I (SAT I). Your GPA is based on grades earned during the final three years of high school (excluding physical education and military science) and bonus points for approved honors courses. You can calculate your eligibility index by multiplying your high school GPA by 800 and adding the total score on the SAT I. Or, if you took the ACT, multiply your high school GPA by 200 and add 10 times the ACT composite score.

Provisional Admission

Sonoma State will provisionally admit first-time freshman applicants based on their academic preparation through the junior year of high school and planned for the senior year. The campus will monitor the senior year of study to ensure that those so admitted complete their senior year of studies satisfactorily, including the required college preparatory subjects, and graduate from high school.

SSU Admission Requirements

Admission to Sonoma State is competitive, since we receive more applications than we can accommodate. Under special provisions approved by the California State University, Sonoma utilizes a combination of the undergraduate admission requirements outlined in the CSU Admissions Requirements and Supplementary Admissions Criteria sections, below.

Supplementary Admission Criteria

Each year, Sonoma State attracts a talented pool of applicants. From this pool we use selective admissions standards to admit an academically talented and diverse entering class. Supplementary admission criteria for first-time freshmen include, but are not limited to, high school grade point averages, test scores (SAT I or ACT), and high school course preparation. For transfer applicants, supplemental admissions requirements may include transfer grade point average, grade point averages in specific courses, and course preparation. The specific criteria utilized depend on the number of applications received by each class level and major. To maximize your chance of admission, you are strongly urged to view the basic requirements outlined in the CSU Admission Requirements section above as just that: basic requirements. Higher grade point averages, submission of test scores, and completion of additional required course preparation increase your chances for admission.

High School Students and Early Entrants

Students still enrolled in high school will be considered for enrollment in certain special programs if recommended by their principal and the appropriate campus department chair and if preparation is equivalent to that required of eligible California high school graduates. Such admission is only for a given program and does not constitute the right to continued enrollment. For more information, please contact the Office of Admissions and Records at 707 664-2778.

Returning Students

If you were previously enrolled at Sonoma State University but have not registered for two or more semesters, you must file an application for readmission with the Office of Admissions and Records. If you missed only one semester, you need not reapply. If coursework was attempted at another college or university, two official transcripts reflecting this work must be filed with the Office of Admissions and Records. Previously enrolled students who are reapplying are subject to the same application dates and fees as new applicants. If you attended Sonoma State as a visitor, concurrent enrollee, or exchange student and you wish to continue your enrollment at Sonoma, you must file a new application for admission.

Former Students Who Were on Probation or Disqualified

Students who were not in good standing at the end of their last enrollment - on probation or disqualified - must also file a petition to be readmitted on probation and must have met any conditions. See page 384 for the official policy.

Adult Students

As an alternative to regular admission criteria, an applicant who is 25 years of age or older may be considered for admission as an adult student if he or she meets all of the following conditions:

1. Possesses a high school diploma (or has established equivalence through either the Tests of General Educational Development or the California High School Proficiency Examination).

2. Has not been enrolled in college as a full-time student for more than one term during the past five years, and will have completed fewer than 56 transferable semester units.

3. If there has been any college attendance in the past five years, has earned a C average or better.

Consideration will be based upon a judgment as to whether the applicant is as likely to succeed as a regularly admitted freshman or transfer student and will include an assessment of basic skills in the English language and mathematical computation.

Hardship Petitions

The campus has established procedures for consideration of qualified applicants who would be faced with extreme hardship if not admitted. Petitioners should write to Admissions and Records regarding specific policies governing hardship admission.

Other Undergraduate Applicants

Applicants not admissible under one of the above provisions should enroll in a community college or other appropriate institution. Only under the most unusual circumstances will such applicants be permitted to enroll in the University. Permission is granted only by special action.

Graduate and Postbaccalaureate Applicants

Graduate education at Sonoma State University provides opportunities for students to develop the ability to conduct independent study and research and enhance their professional competence in their field of interest. In order to accommodate students who are unable to pursue graduate work on a full-time basis, many master's programs at the University are scheduled to allow completion of degree requirements on a part-time basis over several semesters. Students interested in obtaining a second baccalaureate should see page 32 for information.

If you completed your undergraduate degree requirements and were graduated from Sonoma the preceding term, you must complete and submit an application and the $55 nonrefundable application fee. To be assured of initial consideration by more than one campus, it will be necessary to submit separate applications (including fees) to each. Remember that most graduate programs require that you apply not only to the university but to the department as well. Contact the department for further information.

Graduate applicants must submit the scores of any qualifying examinations required in their prospective programs of study. Applicants should consult the appropriate SSU academic department for further information. All graduate and postbaccalaureate applicants (e.g., master's degree applicants, those seeking credentials, and those interested in taking graduate level courses for personal or professional growth) must file a complete graduate application as described in the graduate and postbaccalaureate admission booklet. See page 15 for more information for graduate and postbaccalaureate applicants.

Reapplication for Subsequent Semesters

If you apply and are admitted to the University for a given semester but do not register, you will forfeit your admission. Should you later wish to undertake work at the University, you must file a new application, pay a new application fee, and meet all of the current requirements for admission. Materials supporting an application for admission, such as transcripts and entrance examination scores, will be held for one year only and may be used during this time to meet the requirements for admission. After one year, these materials will be destroyed.

Importance of Filing Complete, Accurate, and Authentic Application Documents

The California State University advises prospective students that they must supply complete and accurate information on the application for admission, residence questionnaire and financial aid forms. Further, applicants must submit authentic and official transcripts of all previous academic work attempted. Failure to file complete, accurate, and authentic application documents may result in denial of admission, cancellation of academic credit, suspension, or expulsion (Section 41301, Article 1.1, Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations).

Use of Social Security Number

Applicants are required to include their Social Security account number in designated places on applications for admission pursuant to the authority contained in Title 5, California Code of Regulations, Section 41201. The Social Security account number is used as a means of identifying records pertaining to the student as well as identifying the student 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 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. That 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.

Determination of Residence for Nonresident Tuition Fee

New and returning SSU students are classified for the purpose of determining the residence of each student for nonresident tuition purposes. The residence questionnaire and other evidence furnished by students are used in making these determinations. For more details, please see page 23.

Change in Choice of Campus

To change the choice of CSU campus after your application has been filed, get a Request for Transfer of Admission Application to Alternative Choice Campus form from the Office of Admissions and Records and follow the instructions provided. A change in choice of campus can only be made for the same term for which the applicant originally applied. There is no fee for this service.

Documents Needed for an Admissions Determination Transcripts

Transcripts reflect and represent your educational experience and as such provide insight into your abilities and aptitudes. For that reason, we need two official and complete transcripts, including in-progress transcripts, to be filed with us for you to be considered for admission. For freshmen and sophomores, transcripts of high school work, ACT or SAT I scores, and any college work completed are required. For juniors, seniors, and postbaccalaureate students, duplicate copies of college work are needed. The University has the right to determine whether a transcript can be accepted as official. All transcripts and records submitted for admission become the property of the University and cannot be returned to the applicant.

Tests

Undergraduate applicants who will not have completed 56 semester or 84 quarter units of transferable college work by the semester for which admission is sought are required to submit scores from either the SAT I or ACT before eligibility for admission to the University can be determined. This requirement does not affect undergraduate students who have previously attended Sonoma State and who submitted ACT or SAT I scores at the time of their first admission. Registration forms and test dates for either test may be obtained from school or college counselors or from the campus testing office, or you may write to:

The College Board (SAT I)

Registration Unit
Box 592
Princeton, NJ 08541
www.collegeboard.com
or
American College 2 Testing Program (ACT)
Registration Unit
P.O. Box 168
Iowa City, IA 52240
www.act.org

Determination and Notification of Admission

After applications for admission have been received in the Office of Admissions and Records, they are processed and matched with required transcripts and test scores. Evaluation of the records is made to determine whether applicants meet the admissions requirements. After you have submitted all of the required admission materials, you will receive notification of your acceptance or denial from the Office of Admissions and Records on a rolling basis.

Transfer Applicants Admission Requirements

You will qualify for admission as a transfer student if you have a grade point average of 2.00 (C) or better in all transferable units attempted, are in good standing at the last college or university attended, and meet any of the following standards:
1. You meet the freshman admissions requirements in effect for the term to which you are applying (please see the section on first-time freshman applicants admissions requirements, above).
2. You were eligible as a freshman at the time of high school graduation and have been in continuous attendance in an accredited college since high school graduation.
3. You were eligible as a freshman at the time of high school graduation except for the subject requirements, have made up the missing subjects, and have been in continuous attendance in an accredited college since high school graduation.
4. You have completed at least 56 transferable semester (84 quarter) units and have completed with grades of C or better 30 units of general education required subjects, including all of areas A and B4 (see Making Up Missing College Preparatory Subjects section). Nonresidents must have a 2.40 grade point average or better.

Applicants who graduated from high school 1988 or later

You will qualify for admission if:

1. You have completed all subject requirements in effect when you graduated from high school (you can use both high school and college coursework), or
2. You have completed at least 30 semester units of college coursework with a grade of C or better in each course, to be selected from courses in English, arts and humanities, social science, science, and mathematics, at a level at least equivalent to courses that meet general education requirements. The 30 units must include all the general education requirements in communication, in English language and critical thinking (at least nine semester units), and in the requirement in mathematics/quantitative reasoning (usually three semester units) or the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) requirements in English communication and mathematical concepts and quantitative reasoning.

Applicants who graduated from high school prior to 1988

You will qualify for admission if:

1. You have completed four years of high school English and two years of high school math, with grades of C or better, or
2. You have completed a baccalaureate course with a grade of C or better that meets the general educational requirements in written communication and a course with a grade of C or better that meets the general education requirement in mathematics/quantitative reasoning or IGETC requirements in English composition and mathematical concepts and quantitative reasoning. The course meeting the general education math requirement must be above the level of intermediate algebra.

Transferable courses are those designated for that purpose by the college or university offering the courses.

Making Up Missing College Preparatory Subject Requirements

Lower-division undergraduate transfer applicants who did not complete subject requirements while in high school may make up missing subjects in any of the following ways. One college course of at least 3 semester or 4 quarter units will be considered equivalent to one year of high school study.
1. Complete appropriate courses with a C or better in adult school or high school summer sessions.
2. Complete appropriate college courses with a C or better.
3. Earn acceptable scores on specified examinations.

Please consult with any CSU admissions office for more information about alternate ways to satisfy the subject requirements.

CSU Admission Requirements for Graduate and Postbaccalaureate Applicants 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 the California Code of Regulations. Specifically, you must:
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 attained a grade point average of at least 2.50 (A = 4.00) 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, exceptions may be made to these criteria.

If you meet the minimum requirements for graduate and postbaccalaureate studies, you will be considered for admission in one of the four following categories:
1. Postbaccalaureate Unclassified. The University accepts only unclassified graduates who have been approved to complete the prerequisites for future degree programs. To enroll in courses for a certificate program, apply to Sonoma as a postbaccalaureate unclassified student. Admission in this status does not constitute admission to, or assurance of consideration for admission to, any graduate degree or credential program.
2. Postbaccalaureate Classified. If you wish to enroll in a credential or certificate program, you will be required to satisfy additional professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards, including qualifying examinations, prescribed by the department or program. 3. Graduate Conditionally Classified. You may be admitted to a graduate degree program in this category if, in the opinion of the appropriate campus authority, you can remedy deficiencies by additional preparation. 4. Graduate Classified. To pursue a graduate degree, you will be required to fulfill all of the professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards, including qualifying examinations, prescribed by the department or program.

System-wide Tests Required of Most New Students

The CSU requires new students to be tested in English and mathematics as soon as possible after they are admitted and before enrollment. These are not admission tests, but a way to determine whether you are prepared for college work and, if not, to counsel you on how to strengthen your preparation. You might be exempted from one or both of the tests if you have scored well on other specified tests or completed appropriate courses.

English Placement Test (EPT)

The CSU English Placement Test (EPT) must be completed by all new non-exempt undergraduates prior to placement in appropriate university English coursework. Exemptions from the test are given only to those who present proof of one of the following:

    A score of 550 or above on the Verbal section of the College Board SAT I* Reasoning Test taken on or after April 1, 1995.
  • A score of 470 or above on the Verbal section of the College Board SAT I* Reasoning Test taken between March 1994 and March 1995. A score of 470 or above on the Verbal section of the College Board Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) taken prior to March 1994.
  • A score of 24 or above on the enhanced ACT English Test taken October 1989 or later.
  • A score of 22 or above on the American College Testing (ACT) English Usage Test taken prior to October 1989.
  • A score of 680 or above on the re-centered and adjusted College Board SAT II: Writing Test taken May 1998 or after.*
  • A score of 660 or above on the College Board SAT II* in English Composition with essay taken prior to January 1994.
  • A score of 3, 4, or 5 on either the Language and Composition or the Composition and Literature examination of the College Board Scholastic Advanced Placement program.
  • A score on the CSU English Equivalency Examination that qualifies the student for “Pass for Credit” or “Exemption.”
  • Completion and transfer of a course that satisfies the General Education-Breadth or Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) written communication requirement, provided such course was completed with a grade of C or better.

* NOTE: The College Board SAT and Achievement Tests were replaced by SAT I and SAT II, respectively, beginning March 1994. Since April 1, 1995, the SAT I and SAT II exams have been scored on a new scale.

Entry-Level Mathematics (ELM) Exam

The ELM examination tests for entry level mathematics skills acquired through three years of rigorous college preparatory mathematics coursework (normally Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry). All undergraduate students must take the test or be exempted from it prior to placement in appropriate university mathematics coursework. Specific policies regarding retesting and placement will be determined by the campus. Exemptions from the test are given only to those students who can present proof of one of the following:

  • A score of 550 or above on the mathematics section of the College Board SAT I Reasoning Test or on the College Board SAT II Mathematics Tests Level I, IC (Calculator), II, or IIC (Calculator).
  • A score of 23 or above on the American College Testing Mathematics Test.
  • A score of 3 or above on the College Board Advanced Placement mathematics examination (AB or BC).
  • A score of 3 or above on the College Board Advanced Placement Statistics examination.
  • Completion and transfer of a course that satisfies the General Education-Breadth or Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) quantitative reasoning requirement, provided such course was completed with a grade of C or better.

These tests should be taken at the next opportunity after admission or as soon as possible thereafter.

Nonbaccalaureate Courses in English and Math (courses with numbers lower than 100)

The University offers courses in English and mathematics for students who need to improve their proficiency in these areas. These classes carry units of credit that apply to students' unit load for a given semester but do not apply toward graduation.

CSU systemwide and SSU policy require that all entering students needing remediation take and complete all remedial courses within their first year of enrollment. Failure to do so results in administrative academic disqualification from the University.

Enrollment in nonbaccalaureate classes, as appropriate, is thus required during the first semester of enrollment. Students who fail any of these courses must repeat them in the next semester of enrollment. Failure to pass after the second attempt will result in administrative academic disqualification. Students who pass these courses must take the next appropriate course in their next semester of enrollment.

Students who fail to complete remediation within the first year of enrollment will be place on administrative academic disqualification and will be required to complete remediation at a community college or other university before they will be allowed to return to SSU.

Evaluation of Transfer Credit Community College Credit

A maximum of 70 semester (105 quarter) units of community college credit can be credited toward the units required for a baccalaureate. However, excess units of transferable work will be computed in the grade point average and credited toward satisfaction of specific requirements such as general education-breadth requirements. Please see page 32 for list of general education requirements.

Credit Earned at Accredited Colleges

Credit toward fulfillment of graduation requirements will be allowed only insofar as courses satisfactorily completed meet the standards and requirements of Sonoma State University.

Credit for Extension and Correspondence Courses

A maximum of 24 units of credit earned in correspondence and extension courses may be allowed for the bachelor's degree. Nine units may be applied toward the master's degree. Such course credit does not apply toward the residence requirements at Sonoma State University.

Credit for Military Service

Students who have an honorable discharge and have completed one year or more of active military service will be granted 6 units of lower-division elective credit. To be eligible for such credit, the student must submit a copy of their DD 214 Form. Credit for service schools will be allowed only insofar as such training is recommended by the American Council on Education Guide and the courses are comparable to courses offered on most CSU campuses. Sonoma State University does not give credit for military occupation specialists (MOS).

Credit for Instruction in Noncollegiate Settings

Sonoma State University grants undergraduate degree credit for successful completion of noncollegiate instruction, either military or civilian, appropriate to the baccalaureate, that has been recommended by the Commission on Educational Credit and Credentials of the American Council on Education. The number of units allowed are those recommended in the Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experience in the Armed Services and the National Guide to Educational Credit for Training Programs.

Credit by the Advanced Placement Program

Sonoma State University grants credit toward its undergraduate degrees for successful completion of examinations of the Advanced Placement Program of the College Board. Students who present scores of 3 or better will be granted up to 6 semester units of university credit.

Credit by the English Equivalency Examination

In addition to units gained through the College Level Examination Program, students may earn credit toward the baccalaureate by passing the CSU English Equivalency Examination (EEE). Students passing the EEE earn up to 6 units of course credit toward basic composition and ENGL 214. Inquire at the University testing office for registration fees and deadlines. During the spring semester, registration materials are available in California high schools.

Credit by Challenge Examinations

You may earn unit credit for an SSU course that you successfully challenge by examination. The University, in the interest of accelerating the academic progress of capable students with special interests and experience, encourages the earning of such credit. The following regulations govern the challenging of courses:

1. Students may challenge only those courses that are listed in the SSU catalog and for which the challenger has not otherwise received credit. A course may be challenged only during the semester in which it is regularly offered.

2. Only students in resident study may challenge a course.

3. Examinations are set and administered by the instructor of the course challenged or by a faculty designee of the appropriate department chair. Completed examinations are filed in the department offices.

4. Application for Unit Credit by Challenge Examination must be approved by the appropriate department chair.

5. For summer sessions only, challenge examinations must be taken within the first two weeks of the Six Week Summer Session.

6. When students pass the examination for credit, a CR will be recorded on their permanent record but will not be posted to the students' record until 30 units have been earned in residence. No resident credit is earned, and units graded CR do not affect the grade point average. Forms for Application for Unit Credit by Challenge Examination are available in department offices.

Credit by the College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

The University allows students to earn credit toward the baccalaureate through the College Level Examination Program. Students may earn up to 6 units per examination passed and up to a maximum of 30 units. Passing scores for the CLEP exams are established by the participating academic departments and the California university and college system. Students may not be credited for CLEP results that duplicate course work previously noted on their transcript, nor will they receive credit for CLEP examinations repeated within a 12-month period. CLEP credit may be applied toward major requirements at the discretion of the department. CLEP tests are administered on a regularly scheduled basis. Interested students are advised to consult with the Office of Testing Services. Please see the table on the following page for course equivalencies. Some CLEP examinations satisfy GE requirements. To find which courses are waived, consult the department that offers the examination. Students may earn up to 6 units per examination passed and up to a maximum of 30 units total.

Credit for Faculty-Evaluated Prior Learning (FEPL)


FEPL Office
332 Nichols Hall, 707 664-2882
FEPL Coordinator
J. J. Wilson

Sonoma State University grants credit for learning, knowledge or skills-based experience that has been documented and evaluated according to campus policy. Sonoma State University subscribes to the principles recognized by the California State University and by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, as follows:

  • Undergraduate learning takes place in a variety of ways and settings and covers a broad spectrum of ages and experience.
  • College-level learning, judged by recognized academic criteria, but based on experiences other than those that occur in an academic setting, may be educationally creditable. Appropriate past learning from specific experiences can be used to undergird or supplement present and future learning beyond the secondary school, provided that such learning is relevant to the goals of the student's education and compatible with the purposes and stated objectives of the institution and its specific programs and curricula. (Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Handbook of Accreditation, March 1982, p. 114.)

In the spirit of these principles, Sonoma State University offers its Faculty-Evaluated Prior Learning (FEPL) Program in order to serve highly motivated students with substantial prior learning experience. For the student who decides to apply for FEPL, the Reentry Orientation Seminar (UNIV 310) and subsequent stages of the actual assessment will be in themselves educational. The portfolio product will, in addition, be useful in future educational and career planning.

In defining creditable prior learning, it is perhaps easier to begin with what it is not. It is not giving credit for “living.” Everyone has lived and has had experience, but not everyone's life and experience produce learning equivalent to portions of a prescribed college curriculum. The credit is not awarded for raw experience, but rather for significant learning experiences that result in a blend of practical and theoretical understanding applicable to other situations. The learning must be demonstrable and demonstrated, according to the policies and procedures outlined below (and in more detail in the handbooks available from the FEPL coordinator).

FEPL Policies and Procedures

To apply for FEPL, the student must:

1. have applied and been admitted to an undergraduate degree program in Sonoma State University (FEPL credit is not available at the graduate level;

2. be enrolled in coursework in the semester in which the actual evaluation of prior learning takes place;

3. be applying for college-level credit in areas where Sonoma State University has degree programs and faculty expertise;

4. be applying for credit applicable to an approved degree program; and

5. follow the procedures outlined below.

Orientation and Advising

This step is accomplished by enrolling in UNIV 310 Reentry Orientation Seminar. In this seminar, a FEPL advisor will help the student assess the appropriateness of the prior learning experience as a basis for attempting to earn credit through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), challenge exams, or Faculty Evaluation of Prior Learning. As a part of the seminar, the student will develop a portfolio that is used as a source of information in the evaluation program (see page 350 for a description of UNIV 310).

Payment of User Fee

If the student, the seminar instructor, and the FEPL coordinator agree that the portfolio warrants formal application for award of credit, the next step is payment of a one-time nonrefundable fee, based partly upon the complexity of the portfolio (please see FEPL brochure for details). The fee is assessed to cover the cost of faculty evaluation of the portfolio and does not guarantee the award of credit.

Faculty Evaluation

The FEPL coordinator forwards the completed portfolio to appropriate faculty evaluators who consider whether the learning demonstrated in the portfolio meets the criteria for college-level learning in their disciplines, whether it is upper- or lower-division level, and whether it is appropriate for credit in general education, electives, or the major. Recommendations for award of credit for GE are reviewed according to standard university procedures. The evaluators also recommend the exact titling of the credit to be awarded and the number of units to be awarded in each category. The evaluators' recommendations and the portfolio are then returned to the FEPL coordinator. The timeline for this process is one semester.

Posting of FEPL Credit

The final recommendations, including units to be awarded and specific descriptive titles, are forwarded by the FEPL coordinator to Admissions and Records for transcription. Units earned through FEPL are graded Cr/NC and are clearly identified on the transcript as based on Faculty Evaluation of Prior Learning.

Transfer of FEPL units, even after official transcription, is up to the recipient institution and cannot be guaranteed by Sonoma State University. However, the FEPL coordinator will, at the request of any institution or agency, furnish full documentation showing how such learning was evaluated and the basis upon which units were awarded.

Limitation on Units Possible Through FEPL

In accordance with WASC guidelines and University policy, no more than 30 units may be earned through a combination of examination and FEPL.

Determination of Residence for Nonresident Tuition Purposes

The campus admissions office determines the residence status of all new and returning students for nonresident tuition purposes. Responses to the Application for Admission and, if necessary, other evidence furnished by the student are used in making this determination. A student who fails to submit adequate information to establish a right to classification as a California resident will be classified as a nonresident.

The time students attend Sonoma under the National Student Exchange program does not count toward meeting the requirements of resident status for tuition purposes or toward meeting graduation requirements.

The following statement of the rules regarding residency determination for nonresident tuition purposes is not a complete discussion of the law, but a summary of the principal rules and their exceptions. The law governing residence determination for tuition purposes by The CSU is found in Education Code Sections 68000-68090, 68121, 68123,68124, and 89705-89707.5, and in Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, Sections 41900-41912.

Legal residence may be established by an adult who is physically present in the state and who, at the same time, intends to make California his or her permanent home. Steps must be taken at least one year before the residence determination date to show an intent to make California the permanent home with concurrent relinquishment of the prior legal residence. The steps necessary to show residency intent will vary from case to case. Included among the steps may be registering to vote and voting in California elections; filing resident California state income tax forms on total income; ownership of residential property or continuous occupancy or renting of an apartment on a lease basis where one's permanent belongings are kept; maintaining active resident memberships in California professional or social organizations; maintaining California vehicle plates and operator's license; maintaining active savings and checking accounts in California banks; maintaining permanent military address and home of record in California if one is in the military service. The student who is within the state for educational purposes only does not gain the status of resident regardless of the length of the student's stay in California.

In general, the unmarried minor (a person under 18 years of age) derives legal residence from the parent with whom the minor maintains or last maintained his or her place of abode. The residence of a minor cannot be changed by the minor or the appointment of a guardian for the minor, so long as the minor's parents are living.

A married person may establish residence independent of his or her spouse. A noncitizen may establish his or her residence, unless precluded by the Immigration and Nationality Act from establishing domicile in the United States. An unmarried minor alien derives his or her residence from the parent with whom the minor maintains or last maintained his or her place of abode. Nonresident students seeking reclassification are required by law to complete a supplemental questionnaire concerning financial independence. The general rule is that a student must have been a California resident for at least one year immediately preceding the residence determination date in order to qualify as a “resident student” for tuition purposes. A residence determination date is set for each academic term and is the date from which residence is determined for that term. The residence determination dates are:


Fall: September 20
Spring: January 25

Questions about residence determination dates should be directed to the campus admissions office, which can give you the residence determination date for the term for which you are registering.

There are exceptions from nonresident tuition, including:

1. Persons below age 19 whose parents were residents of California but who left the state while the student, who remained, was still a minor. When the minor reaches age 18, the exception continues for one year to enable the student to qualify as a resident student.

2. Minors who have been present in California with the intent of acquiring residence for more than a year before the residence determination date, and are entirely self-supporting for that period of time.

3. Persons below age 19 who have lived with and been under the continuous direct care and control of an adult or adults, not a parent, for the two years immediately preceding the residence determination date. Such adult must have been a California resident for the most recent year.

4. Dependent children and spouses of persons in active military service stationed in California on the residence determination date. The exception, once attained, is not affected by retirement or transfer of the military person outside the state.

5. Military personnel in active service stationed in California on the residence determination date for purposes other than education at state-supported institutions of higher education. This exception continues until the military personnel has resided in the state the minimum time necessary to become a resident.

6. Effective January 1, 1996, military personnel in active service in California for more than one year immediately prior to being discharged from the military. Eligibility for this exception runs from the date the student is discharged from the military until the student has resided in state the minimum time necessary to become a resident.

7. Dependent children of a parent who has been a California resident for the most recent year. This exception continues until the student has resided in the state the minimum time necessary to become a resident, so long as continuous residence is maintained at an institution.

8. Graduates of any school located in California that is operated by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, including, but not limited to, the Sherman Indian High School. The exception continues so long as continuous attendance is maintained by the student at an institution.

9. Certain credentialed, full-time employees of California school districts. 10. Full-time state university employees and their children and spouses; state employees assigned to work outside the state and their children and spouses. This exception applies only for the minimum time required for the student to obtain California residence and maintain that residence for one year.

11. Certain exchange students.

12. Children of deceased public law enforcement or fire suppression employees who were California residents and who were killed in the course of law enforcement or fire suppression duties.

13. Effective January 1, 2002, nonresident students who have attended a California high school full time for three or more years and who have graduated from a California high school or have attained the equivalent thereof (e.g., a High School Equivalency Certificate issued by the California Department of Education). Undocumented aliens must also file an Affidavit with the college indicating the student has applied for legal immigration status or will do so as soon as the student is eligible to do so. Student Affidavits for Exemption from Nonresident Tuition are available in the Office of Admissions and Records, in Stevenson Hall, Room 1088. Students who are non-immigrant aliens are not eligible for this exemption.

Any student, following a final campus decision on his or her residence classification only, may make written appeal to:

The California State University
Office of General Counsel
401 Golden Shore, Fourth Floor
Long Beach, CA 90802-4210

The appeal must be made within 120 calendar days of notification of the final decision by the campus that made the original classification. The Office of General Counsel may make a decision on the issue, or it may send the matter back to the campus for further review. Students classified incorrectly as residents or incorrectly granted an exception from nonresident tuition are subject to reclassification as nonresidents and payment of nonresident tuition in arrears.

If incorrect classification results from false or concealed facts, the student is subject to discipline pursuant to Section 41301 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations. Resident students who become nonresidents, and nonresident students qualifying for exceptions whose basis for so qualifying changes, must immediately notify the admissions office. Applications for a change in classification with respect to a previous term are not accepted. The student is cautioned that this summation of rules regarding residency determination is by no means a complete explanation of their meaning. The student should also note that changes may have been made in the rate of

Information for International Students

Students now entering or enrolled in higher education will be the leaders of industry, commerce, government, education and the arts in the 21st century. The global marketplace, affordable air travel, extraordinary levels of human migration, and the rise of transnational communications systems dictate that the valuable university graduates will be those who are prepared to live and work in an international setting in a rapidly changing world. Sonoma State University recognizes its responsibility to be an active part of this new, international reality and to ensure that its graduates are prepared to meet the challenges of a new century.

International students are central to Sonoma State University's outreach to the world. They bring to our campus and to its surrounding communities new perspectives and invaluable experiences to share with California students. At the same time, they take home with them, at the end of their studies, a deep understanding of America and its people. Sonoma State University has welcomed students from more than 50 countries, representing virtually every continent and island area in the world. These students come here to experience a traditional American liberal arts education, but in an untraditional academic setting, where teachers are guides to learning. They want to live in a beautiful and safe environment, and they also want a challenging, intellectually stimulating academic program taught by a distinguished faculty.

International Student Admissions

Sonoma State University welcomes applications from qualified international students. The application and admissions process for international students is distinct from the process for domestic students. Please read the following information carefully.

Application Materials and Deadlines for International Students

Sonoma State University International Student Application forms and University information are available through the following means:

  • Contact SSU by e-mail at international@sonoma.edu;
  • Call the SSU Office of International Services at (707) 664-2582, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; or
  • Write to:
    Sonoma State University
    Office of International Services
    (Village 200)
    1801 East Cotati Avenue
    Rohnert Park, California 94928
    United States of America
SSU admits international students twice a year for entry into either the fall or spring semesters. Application periods are as follows:

Fall Semester Entry

November 1 through June 30

Spring Semester Entry

July 1 through October 30 Applications must be submitted by the end date of each filing period to be considered for admission. The SSU International Student Application Packet has detailed information on academic and other documentation required for admission and travel document issuance.

Academic Qualification

Undergraduate applicants must provide evidence of graduation from an appropriate secondary educational institution or successful study at a recognized institution of higher education with a minimum cumulative grade point average of at least 2.50 on a 4.00 scale, or the equivalent. Admissions to some fields of study may be competitive. Graduate applicants must meet the standards applicable to each SSU graduate program as indicated elsewhere in this catalog.

English Language Proficiency

Sonoma State University employs the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) as its primary tool in determining the English language skills of international students whose principal language of instruction in high school was not English. SSU offers a range of programs and services to accommodate students at various levels of proficiency as determined by the TOEFL:

International students who achieve a score of 173 or higher on the computerized TOEFL (500 on the paper form) are admitted to regular academic studies. Special instruction in university language skills is provided for those students who meet these requirements, but who need additional help to make the transition into an English-only learning environment;

International students who achieve a computerized TOEFL score of 163 to 172 (or 487 to 499 on the paper form) may be admitted to the SSU Language and Culture Bridge program. This program permits students to co-enroll in approved regular university instruction and in required intensive English language development instruction offered through the Sonoma State University American Language Institute (SSALI);

International students who score below 163 (or 487) on the TOEFL, and who are otherwise qualified for admission, are invited to enroll as full-time students in the Sonoma State University American Language Institute for an appropriate period of intensive English study. During their enrollment in SSALI, these students will bring their English language skills up to University standards prior to beginning their full-time regular university coursework or as a student in the Language and Culture Bridge program described above;

International students who possess the bachelor's degree, or its equivalent, and who are applying for admission to a postgraduate program at SSU must achieve a TOEFL score of at least 213 on the computerized version (or 550 on the paper version) of the examination. Postgraduate students are not eligible for the Language and Culture Bridge Program, though they may participate in supplementary English language instruction offered by SSU or may enroll on a part-time basis at SSALI to build university-relevant skills.

Guaranteed Housing and the SSU International House

International students who file complete applications (including transcripts and financial affidavits) prior to the end dates of the respective application periods are guaranteed a place in on-campus housing. International students arriving in the United States for the first time are especially encouraged to apply for admission to the SSU International House, an international living and study component of SSU's residential life community. The SSU International House combines American and international students in a unique setting designed to encourage close interpersonal relationships and full inclusion in student life at SSU.

International Services and Activities at SSU

The Office of International Services provides essential support for international students to ensure that they make a quick and successful adaptation to university studies and to the student community at SSU. International Services provides administrative support, cultural adjustment support, academic advising, personal counseling, and assistance with all issues relating to university life. In addition, International Services is the home base for the SSU International Student Association, one of the largest and most active student clubs on the campus, which offers on-campus and off-campus activities, trips, and community volunteer programs. With a relatively small international student group, Sonoma State University puts the emphasis on the quality of the student's experience first.

International Student Fees and Expenses (Academic Year):

Sonoma State University offers international students an outstanding education at a very attractive price; however, it does not, in general, offer them financial assistance. For this reason, applicants must describe their plans for financing their studies in some detail. Instructions on financial certifications are in the application packet. There are limited opportunities to apply for small scholarship awards. Part-time employment on campus is permitted, but work opportunities are very limited. Off-campus employment is generally not permitted under United States immigration statutes. Having a good financial plan is, therefore, extremely important. Fees and tuition amounts are subject to change.

Registration Fees $2,032.00
Non-Resident Tuition 7,380.00 ($246/unit X 30 units)
SSU Health Insurance 498.00
Books and Supplies



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1801 East Cotati Avenue
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
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