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Admission Requirements

Specialized MBA (SMBA) applications are processed on a rolling basis. A Faculty Admissions Committee makes admissions decisions, which will be done only with a complete application package.

The minimum requirements for admission are:

  1. Have completed a four-year college course of study or an appropriate baccalaureate degree (or equivalent preparation) from a regionally accredited institution or from an international institution that meets CSUSM accreditation standards.
  2. Be in good academic standing at the last college or university attended.
  3. A Grade Point Average (GPA) of “B” (3.0) or better in the last 60 graded semester units, from a WASC-equivalent university. Only regular courses from four-year colleges and/or universities will be used in calculating an applicant’s GPA—no extension courses or community college courses will be included.
  4. Provide two letters of recommendation.
  5. Provide a Personal Statement.
  6. Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) Official Score Report
    • Minimum score requirements:
      • Total score of 500
      • 30th percentile score in the Verbal and Quantitative sections
      • 4.0 in the Analytical Writing and Integrated Reasoning sections
      • The Faculty Admissions Committee will use the best GMAT score taken within the past five years.
    • If you hold a master or doctorate degree in a quantitative field you may be approved for a GMAT waiver, but you will still be required to satisfy the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) in the SMBA program.
    • GRE scores may be submitted in lieu of the GMAT. 
    • If you hold a master or doctorate degree in a quantitative field you may indicate on the SMBA application that you would like for your application to be reviewed for a GMAT waiver. 
    • GMAT fee waivers are available based on financial need and there are only 10 waivers granted per year.  Please email the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office at to request a fee waiver code.

      Please note: Exceptions may be made to the above GPA and GMAT requirements by the Faculty Admissions Committee. 
  7. All graduate applicants, regardless of citizenship, 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 satisfy the English Language Proficiency Requirement with one of the following:
    • TOEFL score of 80 iBT
    • IELTS overall band score of 6.0, writing score no lower than 6.0 and no section score below 5.5

Conditional Admission for English Language Proficiency

If you do not meet the English language proficiency requirement for graduate admission you may apply for conditional admission. The conditional admission requirements are as follows:

  • TOEFL score of 61 on the Internet based test with a score no lower than 19 on the writing section and no section score below 14 or IELTS overall band score of 5.5 and no section below 5.0.
  • Submit the American Language and Cultural Institute English Language Conditional Admission Application.