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Sonoma State University


Undergraduate Admission Requirements / Graduate and Postbaccalaureate Admission Requirements / International Students / Other Applicants / Admission and Evaluation of Academic Records / Determination of Residence for Nonresident Tuition

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, 2005-2006
For admission in Priority filing File no later than
Fall Semester 2005 October-November 2004 November 30, 2004
Spring Semester 2006 August 2005 August 30, 2005

Each campus accepts applications until capacities are reached. Many campuses limit undergraduate admission in an enrollment category because of overall enrollment limits. If applying after the initial filing period, consult the campus admission office for current information.

Admission Procedures and Policies

Requirements for admission to Sonoma State University are in accordance with Title 5, Chapter 1, Subchapter 3, of the California Code of Regulations. If you are not sure of these requirements, you should consult a high school or community college counselor or CSU campus admission office.

Electronic versions of the CSU undergraduate and graduate applications are accessible on the World Wide Web at The CSU Mentor system allows students to browse through general information about CSU's 23 campuses, view multimedia campus presentations, send and receive electronic responses to specific questions, and apply for admission and financial aid.

Applications may be obtained online or at any California high school or community college or from the Office of Admission at any of the campuses of the California State University.

Importance of Filing Complete, Accurate, and Authentic Application Documents

Sonoma 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, California Code of Regulations).

Undergraduate Application Procedures

Prospective students applying for part-time or full-time undergraduate programs of study in day or evening classes must file a complete undergraduate application. The $55 nonrefundable application fee should be in the form of a check or money order payable to "The California State University" or by credit card if submitting the online application, and may not be transferred or used to apply to another term. An alternate campus and major may be indicated on the application, but applicants should list as an alternate campus only a CSU campus that also offers the major. Generally, an alternate major will be considered at the first choice campus before an application is redirected to an alternate choice campus.

Impacted Programs

The CSU designates programs as impacted when more applications are received in the initial filing period (October and November for fall terms, June for winter terms, August for spring terms, February for summer terms) than can be accommodated. Some programs are impacted at every campus where they are offered; others are impacted only at some campuses. You must meet supplementary admission criteria if applying to an impacted program.

The CSU will announce during the fall filing period those programs that are impacted and the supplementary criteria campuses will use. That announcement will be published in the CSU Review, distributed to high school and college counselors, and available online at Information about the supplementary criteria also is sent to program applicants. Detailed impaction information is also available at

You must file your application for admission to an impacted program during the initial filing period. If you wish to be considered in impacted programs at more than one campus, you must file an application to each.

Supplementary Admission Criteria

Each CSU campus with impacted programs uses supplementary admission criteria in screening applicants. Supplementary criteria may include ranking on the freshman eligibility index, the overall transfer grade point average, completion of specified prerequisite courses, and a combination of campus-developed criteria. If you are required to submit scores on either the SAT I or the ACT and are applying for fall admission, you should take the test as early as possible and no later than October of the preceding year if applying for fall admission.

The supplementary admission criteria used by the individual CSU campuses to screen applicants appear periodically in the CSU Review and are sent by the campuses to all applicants seeking admission to an impacted program.

Unlike unaccommodated applicants to locally impacted programs who may be redirected to another campus in the same major, unaccommodated applicants to systemwide impacted programs may not be redirected in the same major but may choose an alternate major either at the first choice campus or another campus.

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), high school course preparation, and a supplemental questionnaire or essay. 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.

Graduate and Postbaccalaureate Application Procedures

All graduate and postbaccalaureate applicants (e.g., joint Ph.D. and Ed.D. applicants, master's degree applicants, those seeking credentials, and those interested in taking courses for personal or professional growth) must file a complete graduate application as described in the graduate and postbaccalaureate admission booklet. Applicants seeking a second bachelor's degree should submit the undergraduate application for admission. Applicants who completed undergraduate degree requirements and graduated the preceding term are also required to complete and submit an application and the $55 nonrefundable application fee. Since applicants for postbaccalaureate programs may be limited to the choice of a single campus on each application, redirection to alternate campuses or later changes of campus choice will be minimal. To be assured of initial consideration by more than one campus, it will be necessary to submit separate applications (including fees) to each. Applications may be obtained from the Graduate Studies Office or the Admissions Office of any California State University campus. An electronic version of the CSU graduate application is available on the World Wide Web at

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.

Application Acknowledgment

You may expect to receive an acknowledgment from your first choice campus within two to four weeks of filing the application. The notice may also include a request that you submit additional records necessary for the campus to evaluate your qualifications. You may be assured of admission if the evaluation of your qualifications indicates that you meet CSU admission requirements and campus requirements for admission to an impacted program. An offer of admission is not transferable to another term or to another campus.

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.

Undergraduate Admission Requirements

Freshman Requirements

Generally, first-time freshman applicants will qualify for regular admission if they

  1. graduated high school,
  2. have a qualifiable eligibility index (see section on Eligibility Index), and
  3. have completed with grades of C or better each of the courses in the comprehensive pattern of college preparatory subject requirements (see "Subject Requirements").

Eligibility Index - The eligibility index is the combination of your high school grade point average and your score on either the ACT or the SAT. Beginning with admission for Fall 2004, your grade point average is based on grades earned in courses taken during your final three years of high school that are college preparatory "a-g" subject requirements, and bonus points for approved honors courses (excluding physical education and military science).

Up to eight semesters of honors courses taken in the last two years of high school, including up to two approved courses taken in the tenth grade, can be accepted. Each unit of A in an honors course will receive a total of 5 points; B, 4 points; and C, 3 points.

You can calculate the index by multiplying your grade point average by 800 and adding your total score on the SAT I. If you took the ACT, multiply your grade point average by 200 and add ten times the ACT composite score. If you are a California high school graduate (or a resident of California for tuition purposes), you need a minimum index of 2900 using the SAT I or 694 using the ACT; the Eligibility Index Table illustrates several combinations of required test scores and averages.

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). Graduates of secondary schools in foreign countries must be judged to have academic preparation and abilities equivalent to applicants eligible under this section.

You will qualify for regular admission when the university verifies that you have graduated from high school, have a qualifiable eligibility index, have completed the comprehensive pattern of college preparatory "a-g" subjects, and, if applying to an impacted program, have met all supplementary criteria.

Provisional Admission

Sonoma State University may 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. Students are required to submit an official transcript after graduation to certify that all coursework has been satisfactorily completed. A campus may rescind admission decisions for students who are found not to be eligible after the final transcript has been evaluated.

Eligibility Index Table for California High School Graduates or
Residents of California
GPA ACT Score SAT I Score GPA ACT Score SAT I Score GPA ACT Score SAT I Score GPA ACT Score SAT I Score GPA ACT Score SAT I Score
3.00 and above qualifies with any score 2.81 14 660 2.60 18 820 2.39 22 990 2.18 26 1160
2.80 14 660 2.59 18 830 2.38 22 1000 2.17 26 1170
2.79 14 670 2.58 18 840 2.37 22 1010 2.16 27 1180
2.99 10 510 2.78 14 680 2.57 18 850 2.36 23 1020 2.15 27 1180
2.98 10 520 2.77 14 690 2.56 19 860 2.35 23 1020 2.14 27 1190
2.97 10 530 2.76 15 700 2.55 19 860 2.34 23 1030 2.13 27 1200
2.96 11 540 2.75 15 700 2.54 19 870 2.33 23 1040 2.12 27 1210
2.95 11 540 2.74 15 710 2.53 19 880 2.32 23 1050 2.11 28 1220
2.94 11 550 2.73 15 720 2.52 19 890 2.31 24 1060 2.10 28 1220
2.93 11 560 2.72 15 730 2.51 20 900 2.30 24 1060 2.09 28 1230
2.92 11 570 2.71 16 740 2.50 20 900 2.29 24 1070 2.08 28 1240
2.91 12 580 2.70 16 740 2.49 20 910 2.28 24 1080 2.07 28 1250
2.90 12 580 2.69 16 750 2.48 20 920 2.27 24 1090 2.06 29 1260
2.89 12 590 2.68 16 760 2.47 20 930 2.26 25 1100 2.05 29 1260
2.88 12 600 2.67 16 770 2.46 21 940 2.25 25 1100 2.04 29 1270
2.87 12 610 2.66 17 780 2.45 21 940 2.24 25 1110 2.03 29 1280
2.86 13 620 2.65 17 780 2.44 21 950 2.23 25 1120 2.02 29 1290
2.85 13 620 2.64 17 790 2.43 21 960 2.22 25 1130 2.01 30 1300
2.84 13 630 2.63 17 800 2.42 21 970 2.21 26 1140 2.00 30 1300
2.83 13 640 2.62 17 810 2.41 22 980 2.20 26 1140 Below 2.00 does not qualify for regular admission
2.82 13 650 2.61 18 820 2.40 22 980 2.19 26 1150

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. A "unit" is one year of study in high school.

  • 2 years of social science, including 1 year of U.S. history, or US history and government.
  • 4 years of English
  • 3 years of math (algebra, geometry, and intermediate algebra).
  • 2 years of laboratory science (l biological and 1 physical, both with labs).
  • 2 years in the same language foreign language (subject to waiver for applicants demonstrating equivalent competence).
  • 1 year of visual and performing arts: art, dance, drama/theater, or music.
  • 1 year of electives: selected from English, advanced mathematics, social science, history, laboratory science, foreign language, and visual and performing arts.

High School Students

Students still enrolled in high school will be considered for enrollment in certain special programs if recommended by the 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.

Transfer Requirements

Students who have completed fewer than 60 transferable semester college units (fewer than 90 quarter units) are considered lower-division transfer students. Student who have completed 60 or more transferable semester college units (90 or more quarter units) are considered upper-division transfer students. Students who complete college units during high school or through the summer immediately following high school graduation are considered first-time freshmen and must meet those admission requirements. Transferable courses are those designated for baccalaureate credit by the college or university offering the courses.

Lower-Division Transfer Requirements

Visit the SSU Admissions Web site to find out if Sonoma State is taking applications from Lower Division transfer students:
Generally, applicants will qualify for admission as a lower division transfer student if they have a grade point average of at least 2.0 (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. Will meet the freshman admission requirements (grade point average and subject requirements) in effect for the term to which they are applying (see "Freshman Requirements" section); or
  2. Were eligible as a freshman at the time of high school graduation except for the subject requirements, and have been in continuous attendance in an accredited college since high school graduation, and have made up the missing subjects.

Applicants who graduated from high school prior to 1988 should contact the Admissions Office to inquire about alternative admission programs.

Making Up Missing College Preparatory Subject Requirements

Lower division applicants who did not complete subject requirements while in high school may make up missing subjects in any of the following ways.

  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. One college course of at least three semester or four quarter units will be considered equivalent to one year of high school study.
  3. Earn acceptable scores on specified examinations.

Please consult with any CSU Admissions Office for further information about alternative ways to satisfy the subject requirements.

Upper-Division Transfer Requirements

Generally, applicants will qualify for admission as an upper-division transfer student if:

  1. They have a grade point average of at least 2.0 (C or better) in all transferable units attempted; and
  2. They have completed 60 or more transferable semester college units (90 quarter units); and
  3. They are in good standing at the last college or university attended; and they have completed at least 39 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 39 units must include all of the general education requirements in communication in the English language and critical thinking (at least 9 semester units) and the requirement in mathematics/quantitative reasoning (usually 3 semester units) OR the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) requirements in English communication and mathematical concepts and quantitative reasoning.

Sonoma State has high-demand majors which require higher GPA requirements. See the SSU Admissions Web site for more information:

Provisional Admission

Sonoma State University may provisionally admit transfer applicants based on their academic preparation and courses planned for completion. The campus will monitor the final terms to ensure that those admitted complete all required courses satisfactorily. All accepted applicants are required to submit an official transcript of all college level work completed. Campuses will rescind admission for all students who are found not to be eligible after the final transcript has been evaluated.

Test Requirements

Freshman and transfer applicants who have fewer that 60 semester or 90 quarter units of transferable college credit must submit scores, unless exempt (see "Eligibility Index"), from either the ACT or the SAT I of the College Board. If you are applying to an impacted program on campus and are required to submit test scores, you should take the test no later than October or November. Test scores also are used for advising and placement purposes. Registration forms and dates for the SAT I or ACT are available from school or college counselors or from a CSU campus testing office. Or students may write to or call:

The College Board (SAT I)
Registration Unit, Box 6200
Princeton, New Jersey
(609) 771-7588
ACT Registration Unit
P.O. Box 414
Iowa City, Iowa
(319) 337-1270

TOEFL Requirement

All undergraduate applicants whose native language is not English and who have not attended schools at the secondary level or above for at least three years full time where English is the principal language of instruction must present a score of 173 or higher on the computerized Test of English as a Foreign Language (500 on the paper form). Some majors may require a higher score.

Systemwide Placement Test Requirements

The California State University requires each entering undergraduate, except those who qualify for an exemption, to take the CSU Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) examination and the CSU English Placement Test (EPT) prior to enrollment. These placement tests are not a condition for admission to the CSU, but they are a condition of enrollment. They are designed to identify entering students who may need additional support in acquiring basic English and mathematics skills necessary to succeed in CSU baccalaureate-level courses. Undergraduate students who do not demonstrate college-level skills both in English and in mathematics will be placed in appropriate remedial programs and activities during the first term of their enrollment. Students placed in remedial programs in either English or mathematics must complete all remediation in their first year of enrollment. Failure to complete remediation by the end of the first year may result in denial of enrollment for future terms.

Students register for the EPT and/or ELM at their local CSU campus. Questions about test dates and registration materials may be addressed to Testing Services, (707) 664-2947, Ruben Salazar Hall 1070.

English Placement Test

The CSU English Placement Test (EPT) is designed to assess the level of reading and writing skills of entering undergraduate students so that they can be placed in appropriate baccalaureate-level courses. The CSU EPT must be competed by all entering undergraduates, with the exception of those who present proof of one of the following:

  • A score of "Exempt" on the augmented English CST taken in grade 11.
  • A score of 550 or above on the verbal section of the College Board SAT I Reasoning Test taken April 1995 or later.
  • A score of 24 or above on the enhanced ACT English Test taken October 1989 or later.
  • A score of 680 or above on the recentered and adjusted College Board SAT II: Writing Test taken May 1998 or later.
  • 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.
  • Completion and transfer or 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.

Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) Placement Examination

The Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) Placement Examination is designed to assess the skill levels of entering CSU students in the areas of mathematics typically covered in three years of rigorous college preparatory mathematics courses in high school (Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry). The CSU ELM must be completed by all entering undergraduates, with the exception of those who present proof of one of the following:

  • A score of "Exempt" on the augmented mathematics CST taken in grade 11.
  • 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) or 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.

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.

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

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.

Graduation Requirement in Writing Proficiency

All students must demonstrate competency in writing skills as a requirement for graduation. Information on currently available ways to meet this graduation requirement may be obtained from the SSU Writing Center, (707) 664-2058, or at Sonoma State University on the web at See also the section under Degree Requirements titled "Completion of the Written English Proficiency Requirement (WEPT)."

Graduate and Postbaccalaureate Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements

Graduate and postbaccalaureate applicants may apply for a degree objective, a credential or certificate objective, or may have no program objective. Depending on the objective, the CSU will consider an application for admission as follows:

  • General Requirements - The minimum requirements for admission to graduate and postbaccalaureate studies at a California State University campus are in accordance with university regulations as well as Title 5, Chapter 1, Subchapter 3 of the California Code of Regulations. Specifically, a student shall: (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 2.5 (A=4.0) 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, a campus may make exceptions 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:

  • Postbaccalaureate Unclassified - To enroll in graduate courses for professional or personal growth, you must be admitted as a postbaccalaureate unclassified student. By meeting the general requirements, you are eligible for admission as a postbaccalaureate unclassified student. Some departments may restrict enrollment of unclassified students because of heavy enrollment pressure. Admission in this status does not constitute admission to, or assurance of consideration for admission to, any graduate degree or credential program; or
  • 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 campus; or
  • Graduate Conditionally Classified - You may be admitted to a graduate degree program in this category if, in the opinion of appropriate campus authority, you can remedy deficiencies by additional preparation; or
  • 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 campus.

Graduate-Postbaccalaureate TOEFL Requirement

All graduate and postbaccalaureate applicants, regardless of citizenship, whose native language is not English and whose preparatory education was principally in a language other than English must demonstrate competence in English. Those who do not possess a bachelor's degree from a postsecondary institution where English is the principal language of instruction must receive a minimum score of 213 or higher on the computerized Test of English as a Foreign Language (550 on the paper form). Some programs require a higher score. Some programs may require a higher score.

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 on line at and submit the application to Sonoma State University. 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 at and submit the application to Sonoma State University.

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 (Foreign) Student Admission Requirements

The CSU must assess the academic preparation of foreign students. For this purpose, "foreign students" include those who hold US visas as students, exchange visitors, or in other nonimmigrant classifications.

Priority in admission is given to residents of California. There is little likelihood of nonresident applicants, including international students, being admitted either to impacted majors or to those majors or programs with limited openings.

The CSU uses separate requirements and application filing dates in the admission of foreign students. Verification of English proficiency (see the section on TOEFL Requirements for Undergraduate Applicants), financial resources, and academic performance are all important considerations for admission. Academic records from foreign institutions must be on file by the close of the application period for the semester for which entry is desired and, if not in English, must be accompanied by certified English translations.

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.

Sonoma State University International Student Application forms and University information are available on the internet at

If you are unable to access this information, please contact us

  • By e-mail at;


  • By mail at:

    Sonoma State University
    International Admissions
    Salazar 1010A
    1801 East Cotati Avenue
    Rohnert Park, California 94928
    United States of America

It is likely by October 1, 2005 that all applicants will be required to submit an electronic application. A link will be available on the Sonoma State international Web site, connecting to this electronic application. Students who are unable to access this application should contact us at the numbers listed above.

SSU admits international students twice a year for entry into either the fall or spring semesters. Application periods are as follows:

For fall semester entry

October 1 through May 31

For spring semester entry

August 1 through October 30

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 the University and to each SSU graduate program as indicated elsewhere in this catalog.


International students who file complete applications (including transcripts and financial affidavits) prior to the end dates of the respective application periods should be able to obtain on-campus housing. It should be noted, however, that housing can fill up fast and applicants who file towards the end of the application period may have more difficulty obtaining on-campus housing.

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 3006.00
Non-Resident Tuition (based on $282/unit X 30 units) 8460.00
Food and Housing 8600.00
Books and Supplies 1224.00
SSU Health Insurance 622.00
Personal Expenses 3000.00
TOTAL:   24912.00

Other Applicants

Intrasystem and Intersystem Enrollment Programs

Students enrolled at any CSU campus will have access to courses at other CSU campuses on a space available basis unless those campuses or programs are impacted. This access is offered without students being required to be admitted formally to the host campus and sometimes without paying additional fees. Although courses taken on any CSU campus will transfer to the student's home CSU campus as at least elective credit, students should consult their home campus academic advisors to determine how such courses may apply to their degree programs before enrolling at the host campus.

There are two programs for enrollment within the CSU and one for enrollment between CSU and the University of California or California Community Colleges. Additional information about these programs is available from the Office of Admissions and Records, (707) 664-2778, Ruben Salazar Hall 2030, and in the "Regulations and Policies" section of this catalog.

CSU Concurrent Enrollment - Matriculated students in good standing may enroll at both their home CSU campus and a host CSU campus during the same term. Credit earned at the host campus is automatically reported to the home campus to be included on the student’s transcript at the home campus.

CSU Visitor Enrollment - Matriculated students in good standing enrolled at one CSU campus may enroll at another CSU campus for one term. Credit earned at the host campus is reported automatically to the home campus to be included on the student’s transcript at the home campus.

Intersystem Cross Enrollment - Matriculated CSU, UC, or community college students may enroll for one course per term at another CSU, UC, or community college and request that a transcript of record be sent to the home campus.

Health Screening

Entering CSU students are required to present proof of the following immunizations to the CSU campus they will be attending before the beginning of their first term of enrollment. Measles and Rubella: All new and readmitted students born after January 1, 1957 must provide proof of full immunization against measles and rubella prior to enrollment. Hepatitis B: All new students who will be 18 years of age or younger at the start of their first term at a CSU campus must provide proof of full immunization against Hepatitis B before enrolling. Full immunization against Hepatitis B consists of three timed doses of vaccine over a minimum 4 to 6 months period. If you need further details or have special circumstances, please consult [name of office or campus personnel]. Each incoming freshman who will be residing in on-campus housing will be required to return a form indicating that they have received information about meningococcal disease and the availability of the vaccine to prevent one from contracting the disease and whether or not he or she has chosen to receive the vaccination. These are not admission requirements, but shall be required of students as conditions of enrollment in CSU.


The University reserves the right to select its students and deny admission to the University or any of its programs as the University, in its sole discretion, determines appropriate based on an applicant's suitability and the best interests of the University.

General Information About Admission and Evaluation of Academic Records

Advanced Placement

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 three or better will be granted up to six semester units (nine quarter units) of college credit.

Credit by Examination

Students may challenge courses by taking examinations developed at Sonoma State University. Credit shall be awarded to those who pass them successfully.

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 for Noncollegiate Instruction

Sonoma State University grants undergraduate degree credit for successful completion of noncollegiate instruction, either military or civilian, appropriate to the baccalaureate degree, 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 for Prior Learning

Sonoma State University grants up to 30 units of credit for learning, knowledge, or skills-based experience that has been documented and evaluated according to campus policy. Students should be aware, however, that policies for earning credit for prior learning vary from campus to campus in the CSU.

Credit for Faculty-Evaluated Prior Learning (FEPL)

FEPL Office
Rachel Carson Hall 62, 707 664-2273
FEPL Coordinator
Barbara Lesch McCaffry

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 and 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.

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 law governing residence for tuition purposes at the California State University is California Education Code sections 68000-68090, 68120-68134, and 89705-89707.5, and California Code of Regulations, Title 5, sections 41900-41916. This material can be viewed on the Internet by accessing the California State University's Web site at

Each campus's Admissions Office is responsible for determining the residence status of all new and returning students based on the Application for Admission, Residency Questionnaire, Reclassification Request Form, and, as necessary, other evidence furnished by the student. A student who fails to submit adequate information to establish eligibility for resident classification will be classified as a nonresident.

Generally, establishing California residence for tuition purposes requires a combination of physical presence and intent to remain indefinitely. An adult who, at least one full year prior to the residence determination date for the term in which enrollment is contemplated, can demonstrate both physical presence in the state combined with evidence of intent to remain in California indefinitely may establish California residence for tuition purposes. A minor normally derives residence from the parent(s) they reside with or most recently resided with.

Evidence demonstrating intent may vary from case to case but will include, and is not limited to, the absence of residential ties to any other state, California voter registration and voting in California elections, maintaining California registration and driver’s license, maintaining active California bank accounts, filing California income tax returns and listing a California address on federal tax returns, owning residential property or occupying or renting an apartment where permanent belongings are kept, maintaining active memberships in California professional or social organizations, and maintaining a permanent military address and home of record in California.

Adult noncitizens establish residence in the same manner as citizens, unless precluded by the Immigration and Nationality Act from establishing domicile in the United States. Unmarried minor noncitizens derive their residence in the same manner as unmarried minor citizens except that both parent and minor must have an immigration status consistent with establishing domicile in the United States.

Exceptions to the general residence requirements are contained in California Education Code sections 68070-68084 and Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, sections 41900-41916, and include, but are not limited to, members of the military and their dependents, certain credentialed employees of school districts and most students who have attended high school in California and graduated or attained the equivalent. Whether an exception applies to a particular student cannot be determined before the submission of an application for admission and, as necessary, additional supporting documentation. Because neither campus nor Chancellor's Office staff may give advice on the application of these laws, applicants are strongly urged to review the material for themselves and consult with a legal advisor.

Nonresident students seeking reclassification are required to complete a supplemental questionnaire including questions concerning their financial dependence, which will be considered along with physical presence and intent in determining reclassification.

Residence determination dates are set each term. They are:

Semester Term Campuses


September 20


January 25

The residence determination dates for the four stages of CalStateTEACH are as follows:

Stage 1 September 20
Stage 2 January 5
Stage 3 June 1
Stage 4 September 20

Students classified as nonresidents may appeal a final campus decision within 120 days of notification by the campus. A campus residence classification appeal must be in writing and submitted to:

The California State University
Office of General Counsel
401 Golden Shore, 4th Floor
Long Beach, California 90802-4210

The Office of General Counsel can either decide the appeal or send the matter back to the campus for further review.

Students incorrectly classified 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 or who no longer meet the criteria for an exception must immediately notify the Admissions Office.

Changes may have been made in the rate of nonresident tuition and in the statutes and regulations governing residence for tuition purposes in California between the time this information is published and the relevant residence determination date. Students are urged to review the statutes and regulations stated above.

Immigration Requirements for Licensure

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-193), also known as the Welfare Reform Act, includes provisions to eliminate eligibility for federal and state public benefits for certain categories of lawful immigrants as well as benefits for all illegal immigrants.

Students who will require a professional or commercial license provided by a local, state, or federal government agency in order to engage in an occupation for which the CSU may be training them must meet the immigration requirements of the new Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act to achieve licensure. Information concerning the regulation is available from International Student Services.

Use of Social Security Number

Applicants are required to include their correct social security numbers in designated places on applications for admission pursuant to the authority contained in Section 41201, Title 5, California Code of Regulations, and Section 6109 of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 6109). The University uses the social security number to identify students and their records including use to identify 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. This 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.