California State University Fullerton

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Updated August 6, 2020

California State University Fullerton was founded in 1957 as Orange County State College with an inaugural class of 452. After two subsequent name changes, CSUF was born as a public, four-year research university endowed for $51.9 million. Named both a Hispanic-serving and Asian American-Native American-Pacific Islander-serving institution, Cal State Fullerton educates a diverse population of over 38,900 students. On a 236-acre urban campus bounded by citrus groves, CSUF is located in Fullerton just 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles. California State University Fullerton is split into eight colleges for over 240 academic programs, which have an average retention rate of 87 percent.

According to the U.S. News, CSUF is the 37th best regional university and 7th top public school in the West. In particular, the College of Engineering and Computer Science is lauded for America's 16th best online graduate engineering degrees. Forbes ranked Cal State Fullerton as the 71st top Western university. The Washington Monthly crowned CSUF the 7th best bang for the buck in the Western United States. It was also named the 21st best master's-level institution for "contribution to the public good." Cal State Fullerton placed fifth nationally for graduating minorities in Diversity Issues in Higher Education magazine. TFE Times recognized CSUF for America's 202nd best computer science programs too.

Accreditation Details

Continuously since 1961, California State University Fullerton has been regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission. This agency is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The College of Engineering and Computer Science has discipline-specific approval from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Online master's engineering programs align with the Engineering Accrediting Commission (EAC). Cal State Fullerton has accreditation from the American Chemical Society (ACS). Management electives will also meet the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business' (AACSB) guidelines.

Application Requirements

Selectivity is high at California State University Fullerton with the average acceptance rate of 44 percent. Applicants interested in the online Master's in Engineering programs must already hold a four-year baccalaureate degree. Undergraduates degree must be from regionally accredited colleges. Preference is given to engineering majors from ABET-accredited bachelor's programs. Master's in Engineering programs mandate a minimum 2.5 GPA in the last 60 semester credits taken. Non-engineering students must have a 3.0 GPA or higher. Curriculum prerequisites include engineering, calculus, algebra, statistics, and computer science. Equivalent work experience may satisfy these credits. For foreign learners on F-1 visa, submitting a minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper-based) is mandatory.

Graduate application submission periods end on October 1st, June 1st, August 1st, and February 1st. Before these dates, prospective engineering students can submit the following:

  • Online CSUMentor application form
  • Official transcripts from every college
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores
  • Proof of English language proficiency
  • Payment for the $55 application fee

Tuition and Financial Aid

Full-time graduate students from California will pay $3,853.46 per semester for seven or more units. Non-resident graduates must add the $372 out-of-state fee per unit. On average, graduate students enrolled full-time pay $6,738 (in-state) or $15,666 (out-of-state) each year. Part-time California residents will be charged a flat-rate tuition of $1,842. Non-residents also add the $372 per unit here. Online students avoid paying the $119 student success, $80 health center, and $134 campus union fees. However, there's a Cal State Online Program fee for $500 per unit due upon registration.

Approximately 67 percent of beginning, full-time CSUF students obtain tuition assistance. The NCES reports that the average financial aid package is worth $9,959. After filing the FAFSA form, students could borrow low-interest Federal Perkins, Federal Direct Subsidized, Federal Direct Unsubsidized, or Grad PLUS loans. In-state residents should complete the California Dream Act (CDA) application. The Cal Grant, Chafee Grant for Foster Youth, and Law Enforcement Personnel Dependents (LEPD) Grant are available. Military could earn tuition benefits via the Yellow Ribbon Program and/or California National Guard Education Assistance Program. Off-campus jobs may earn online engineering students employer tuition reimbursement or Federal Work-Study (FWS). Nearly $2 million in institutional awards are offered, including the Boeing Next Generation Scholarship, ECS Academic Catalyst Scholarship, Lucas Aerospace Scholarship, and Floyd M. Thomas Memorial Scholarship.

Online Degree(s) Available

California State University Fullerton has an online division that makes the same high-quality, accredited curriculum accessible 24/7 from anywhere. Currently, online students can pursue two bachelor's, nine master's, and 16 certificate programs. The College of Engineering and Computer Science runs two of the master's degrees for flexible, technical training. CSUF has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, but one-fourth of classes have under 20 students. Online learners benefit from virtual advising, tech support, and Pollak Library's databases. Engineers should consider the online:

M.S. in Environmental Engineering

Using a cohort model, the online M.S. in Environmental Engineering program at Cal State Fullerton introduces engineers to contemporary environmental issues to enter the sustainability industry. Online students complete four 16-week semesters and one eight-week summer session. Coursework will delve into topics like hazardous waste management, global warming, air pollution control, groundwater remediation, and runoff management. The NCEES-aligned curriculum utilizes case studies and team projects to qualify students for professional exams in environmental engineering.

M.S. in Software Engineering

Consisting of 10 online courses, the M.S. in Software Engineering program takes 22 months to prepare CSUF students with the principles and techniques to design computer applications. After an orientation seminar, online learners progress through the 30-unit curriculum as cohorts until an applied capstone project. Coursework will explore key content in software design, computer architecture, software maintenance, project management, software validation, and engineering ethics. Valuable hands-on experience is offered with tools like Rational, Parasoft, and Coverity to produce qualified computing professionals.

Related Resource: 30 Most Affordable Top Online Master's Degree Programs in Engineering

Other on-campus programs include the B.S. in Civil Engineering, B.S. in Electrical Engineering, M.S. in Computer Engineering, and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering. California State University Fullerton also has a summer "Engineering Innovation" program for high school seniors.

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