College Portrait

Academics

How do you pick a major, decide on classes and stay on the right track? Select the topics below to find answers.

Academic support services

University life will probably be a lot different from anything you've experienced in the past. You'll be expected to think and act independently, but that doesn't mean you'll be in it all alone. CSUN will connect you to the resources, people and skills needed for success on and off campus.

Before your first semester, you'll attend New Student Orientation. At this all-day event, you'll learn the nitty-gritty details about student life, such as registering for classes and obtaining a student ID. You'll also learn about the academic, social and cultural climate at CSUN.

Those coming directly from high school will want to check out the Freshman Connection learning communities. A learning community is a close-knit group of students who forge personal bonds and work toward academic success under the guidance of caring faculty members. The Freshman Connection groups students together to fulfill their general education requirements for one semester. This includes University 100: The Freshman Seminar, where you'll learn how to study effectively, manage your time, set goals, think critically, and express yourself orally and in writing.

Freshmen who plan on taking developmental math or reading can take University 100 as part of a six-week summer program called Early Start. Participants in this program tend to do better academically than their peers because they get a jump-start on the fall semester.

If you are a first-time freshman entering through the Educational Opportunity Program, CSUN offers transitional programs to help you adjust to university life. One such program is an intensive, six-week summer experience that prepares you for the demands of college life.

Learning facilities

CSUN's facilities, equipment and instructional technologies are in line with the needs of the 21st century scholar. Our students enjoy campus-wide wireless connections, smart classrooms, an expansive research library and a number of specialty facilities.

The intellectual heart of our 356-acre campus is the Delmar T. Oviatt Library, a local landmark known for its grand staircase and towering columns. The Oviatt Library's collection exceeds 1.4 million volumes. Students may consult a reference librarian online 24 hours a day, seven days a week or seek in-person advice from a subject specialist. The library offers immediate access to the latest research with subscriptions to 53,000 online journals, 275,000 e-books, and more than 200 online databases. In fall 2013, the library opened its brand new Learning Commons, a tech-friendly study area that includes ergonomically designed individual seating, charging stations for portable devices and a coffee house to get you through those long hours of studying. Many of our buildings have smart classrooms that enable interactive instruction and learning.

Our specialty facilities include the 105-seat Donald E. Bianchi Planetarium, which recreates the night sky on a dome ceiling. The National Center on Deafness offers services to CSUN's large population of deaf and hard-of-hearing students, and contains one of the nation's largest collections of books, journals, and other materials on the history and education of the deaf. Disability Resources and Educational Services offers a range of accommodations, from note-takers to adaptive technology, for CSUN students with visible and hidden disabilities. The Department of Kinesiology's Center of Achievement, through adapted physical activity, is an internationally recognized teaching and therapeutic facility. The center offers aquatic and land-based programs for people with chronic or temporary disabilities and serves as a training environment for students.

In January 2011, the campus community welcomed the grand opening of the Valley Performing Arts Center. Located on Nordhoff Street near the main campus entrance, the contemporary structure is the largest performing arts center in the San Fernando Valley. It features a 1,700-seat performance space, a black-box theater, rehearsal rooms and labs. 

Sign up for a campus tour to check us out in person.

Majors

CSUN offers more than 60 undergraduate programs. If you don't know what to major in, don't fret — you may remain undeclared until you earn 60 units and reach junior status. Until then, we have plenty of resources to guide you toward the appropriate major.

If you're a first-time freshman, a one-on-one academic advisement session is mandatory. You can discuss how to select a major, what classes to take and how to stay on track toward graduation. The sooner you meet with an advisor, the better. You may do so as early as the spring prior to your fall enrollment but definitely no later than the start of the fall semester in August. Undecided students see advisors in the Advising Resource Center/Educational Opportunity Program; those with declared majors see advisors in their college or department.

You can also research majors on your own. The University Catalog has information about each major, including prerequisites, requirements and career options. You may want to talk to advisors in the department you're interested in, or visit the Career Center. CSUN also has peer advisor mentors — friendly juniors and seniors ready to offer academic advice.

Even though you don't have to declare a major until you reach 60 units, delaying the decision too long can have negative consequences. With some majors, you need to begin as early as possible in order to graduate on time. Regardless of your decision, keep in mind that advisement is an ongoing process. See your advisor early and often!

Professors

CSUN has approximately 1,930 faculty members, nearly half of whom hold permanent tenured or tenure-track positions. Most members of the permanent faculty have doctorates or the equivalent terminal degrees in their fields. 

Our faculty members are experienced scholars and researchers — they include winners of Guggenheim fellowships and Fulbright awards. Many are also practicing professionals who bring real-life experience to the classroom. 

CSUN is a teaching university, meaning professors (not their teaching assistants) teach classes. Classroom sizes average 30 students, and the low student-teacher ratios lend to individualized instruction.

You may even be asked to work alongside your professor on a research project. 

Even though they have fancy letters after their names, there isn't any reason to feel intimidated by your professors. If you're uncertain about something or have trouble keeping up, make an appointment to see your instructor during office hours.