Admission to the University

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. In order to be admitted to CSU San Marcos as either a postbaccalaureate student or as a Graduate student, students must meet the following requirements:

  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 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 determined by each graduate program.

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Application Procedures

All graduate and postbaccalaureate applicants (e.g., master's degree applicants, those seeking credentials, and those interested in taking courses for personal or professional growth) must file a completed graduate application as described in the California State University Graduate Application for Admission, or online at Applicants seeking a second bachelor's degree should submit the undergraduate application for admission. Applicants who completed undergraduate degree requirements and graduated from CSU San Marcos 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. Paper applications may be obtained from Admissions Office of any California State University campus.

Graduate and postbaccalaureate applicants are encouraged to submit applications to the university during the initial filing periods (November for fall semester admission and August for spring semester admission). Graduate applicants to masters and credential programs must apply to both the University and the program intended (see below for links to departments). Official transcripts from each college or university attended must be filed with both the Office of Admissions and the program office.

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Admission to the Department or Program

The applications of students meeting University requirements for admission and desiring admission to a master's program must also be reviewed in the appropriate department, to determine whether the student meets requirements for admission to its particular program. All programs require a separate application in addition to the university application. Students should contact the departments directly for information about departmental application forms, deadlines and procedures.

Students who meet both departmental/program and university requirements for a master's program will be admitted as either Graduate Conditionally Classified or Graduate Classified. Students seeking a teaching credential who meet both college and university requirements will be admitted as Classified Postbaccalaureate.

Graduate Classified--Students who meet all admission requirements to enroll in a graduate degree program may be accepted as Graduate Classified. Classified graduate students will be required to fulfill all of the professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards, including qualifying examinations, as the campus may prescribe.

Graduate Conditionally Classified--Students who do not meet all requirements to enroll in a graduate degree program may, nevertheless, be accepted as Conditionally Classified. This classification will be granted if, in the opinion of appropriate campus authority, the student can remedy any deficiencies by additional preparation.

Postbaccalaureate Classified--To enroll in a credential program or certificate program, students must satisfy the additional professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards, including qualifying examinations, as the campus may prescribe.  Contact the College of Education for more information.

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Admission as an Unclassified Postbaccalaureate Student

Postbaccalaureate Unclassified--To enroll in graduate courses for professional or personal growth, students must be admitted as a postbaccalaureate unclassified student. By meeting the general requirements, students are eligible for admission as a post-baccalaureate 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. International (F-1 visa) students are not eligible for postbaccalaureate unclassified status.  (This option is currently not available at Cal State San Marcos)

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GRE information

Some programs require that students submit GRE scores (others consider them optional); check individual programs for specific GRE requirements. Information on the GRE test and scheduled testing dates can be found at

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