International (Foreign) Student Admission Requirements


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

The CSU uses separate requirements and application filing dates in the admission of “foreign students.” Verification of English proficiency (see “English Language Requirement” for undergraduate and graduate applicants in this section), financial resources and academic performance are each important considerations for admission. Academic records from foreign institutions must be on file for the first term (see the document submission deadlines published by International Admissions) and, if not in English, must be accompanied by certified English translations.

Application Forms and Deadlines

The University has established deadlines to insure the timely processing of all application materials, receipt of academic records, test scores, financial affidavit and other documents so that there will be adequate time for the admitted applicant to make the necessary passport, visa and travel arrangements to reach the U.S. and the campus prior to the start of each semester.

Each applicant must have a declared educational objective (major) when the application is filed. The acceptability of any foreign work will be determined by the University. The U.S. Immigration Service requires F-1 and J-1 visa students to enroll full-time, defined as a minimum of 12 semester units for undergraduate students and 8 semester units for graduate students. International students must comply with all University and U.S. Immigration Service regulations.

Academic Records

Undergraduate Applicants

Either official, original documents or certified photocopies of original documents of previous international school records are acceptable. Transfer students from U.S. institutions should request that official transcripts be mailed directly to the CSUN International Admissions Office. Students with foreign academic work are required to submit official copies of academic records in their original language of issue, along with a certified English translation. Please do not fax academic records or translations.

Academic records should include all final and official:

  1. Secondary school records;
  2. Yearly records from each post-secondary college or university attended (if any), indicating the number of hours per semester or per year devoted to each course and the grades received; and
  3. Documents that confirm awarding of the Degree, Certificate or Diploma with the title and date. The CSUN International Admissions Office will examine all records to determine if they are adequate and will inform applicants if additional records are required.

The evaluation of all documents is made in the CSUN International Admissions Office to determine that applicants have had an education comparable to that required of California high school graduates or students transferring to the University from other institutions of higher education in the U.S.

Graduate/Post-Baccalaureate Applicants

Graduate or post-baccalaureate applicants must furnish the same materials as those required of undergraduate applicants, described above. Admission of foreign graduate students will involve consultation with the graduate advisor from the Department or College to which the student is applying for study. Scholastically eligible foreign graduate students may be admitted, dependent upon the preparation of the student as assessed by the CSUN International Admissions Office and the graduate advisor of the appropriate College or Department. For further information, visit the International Admissions website and the Graduate Programs section of this Catalog.

English Language Requirement

All undergraduate international applicants, regardless of citizenship, 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 61 or above on the Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Some majors and some campuses may require a higher score.

All graduate and post-baccalaureate international 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 79/80 on the Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or a score of 213 or above on the computer-based TOEFL. Some Departments or Programs require a higher score for admission.

Some CSU campuses also may use alternative methods of assessing English fluency, including Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), and the International Test of English Proficiency (ITEP). Each campus will post the tests it accepts on its website and will notify students after they apply about the tests accepted and when to submit scores.

CSU minimum TOEFL standards are:

Level Internet Paper
Undergraduate 61 500
Graduate 80 550

For alternative tests of English proficiency accepted by CSUN, see the International Admissions website.

Finances, International Students

CSUN has no financial aid for international students. For this reason, foreign students must detail precisely how they intend to finance their studies. If an applicant expects to receive financial support from his/her government or other sponsoring agencies, he/she is required to fully document these facts by completing the Affidavit of Financial Support.

Part-time employment opportunities, although not plentiful, are available on campus. International visa students may receive on-campus work clearance in the CSUN International and Exchange Student Center at the start of their first semester of study. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services regulations prohibit off-campus employment of international students in the U.S. without prior permission.

Related Topics

Admissions Procedures and Policies

Undergraduate Admission Requirements

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate Admission Requirements