Semester at CSU San Marcos

The ALCI offers semester-long and year-long study-abroad programs for international university students. As a Semester at CSU San Marcos student, you may take university classes without applying to the university. 

As a Semester at CSU San Marcos student, you may take between one and four university classes for credit (12 units maximum), per semester depending on your English level. If you have a TOEFL score of 61, with a minimum score of 19 on the writing and 14 on the other sections, an IELTS score of 5.5 with a 5.5 in the Writing section, a DAAD Level B, or an equivalent measure of English proficiency, you may be eligible to take four university classes without enrolling in ALCI's English classes.

We highly recommend you take one of the approved English proficiency tests prior to arriving.  If you do not have a TOEFL or IELTS score, you will take the ALCI's English placement test on the first day of New Student Orientation.  If you feel that your English skill is higher than your TOEFL or IELTS score indicates, you may also take the ALCI English placement test on the first day of New Student Orientation.   Taking our English placement test will not delay your enrollment in university classes, but it may limit your choices of open classes.  If you do not score into the required level you may be required to take English classes along with a part-time university course load.  You will pay tuition and fees to the ALCI.  

Plan to arrive in San Marcos at least five days before the semester start date. You must meet with the ALCI Academic Coordinator during New Student Orientation to select your university courses.  You will enroll in university courses on a space-available basis during the first week of university classes.  You will receive specific instructions about getting professor approval and enrolling in university classes during ALCI New Student Orientation.

You should make arrangements to stay in San Marcos for at least two weeks after the ALCI program end date in order to complete university courses and take final exams.

To apply for Semester at CSU San Marcos, send:

*Use Application Checklist to make sure everything is complete.

  • A Semester at CSU San Marcos application form.
  • An original bank statement dated within the past six months or a scholarship or sponsor letter.
  • A photocopy of your passport.
  • A $150 application fee (non-refundable) payable by credit card or check to "CSUSM." This includes the express mail fee.
  • ALCI Tuition Fee made payable to “CSUSM” (refundable if you cannot receive a Visa) or a Financial Guarantee must be submitted (Sponsored or scholarship students, e.g., SACM, BAfoeG, CAPES/IIE, etc).
  • Transcripts in English and list of courses you are currently taking.
  • Unofficial TOEFL, IELTS, or DAAD score, if you have one. If you have not taken TOEFL, IELTS, DAAD or equivalent measure of English proficiency.
  • You will be asked to submit a list of 10 Open University courses you wish to take at a later date. To find classes, use:, and select your semester of study.

As a Semester at CSU San Marcos student, you are part of California State University San Marcos campus life. You have a student identification card and full access to:

  • Computer and language labs
  • The library and media center
  • The Student Health and Counseling Center
  • Student clubs
  • Intramural sports teams
  • Field House gym and weight room membership (extra fee required)
  • Campus cultural activities
  • Student services assistance (academic advising, housing, banking, immigration, and health care)
  • ALCI trips and events

two female students smiling

male student in class

two female students on campus

four students at the international coffee hour

three semester abroad students at the international coffee hour

photo exhibit