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The Intellectual, Economic, and Cultural Heart of the San Fernando Valley and Beyond

In the fall of 1956, the San Fernando Valley Campus of the Los Angeles State College of Applied Arts and Sciences was established on the present site of the University. Soon afterward the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill No. 971, which provided that the campus would separate from its parent college July 1, 1958—the founding date of the present University—to become San Fernando Valley State College.

At that time it had an enrollment of about 3,300 students with a faculty of 104. On June 1, 1972, the college was renamed California State University, Northridge, by action of the Legislature and the Board of Trustees of The California State University.

As part of the 23-campus California State University system, Cal State Northridge (CSUN) is one of the largest institutions of higher learning in the nation and the third largest public university in Los Angeles County. Cal State Northridge is the intellectual, economic and cultural heart of the San Fernando Valley and beyond. In Fall 2007, student enrollment was 35,446 served by about 2,000 faculty members and nearly 2,000 staff.

During the 2006–2007 academic year, 5,682 students graduated with bachelor’s degrees in 63 disciplines, and 1,623 students graduated with master’s degrees in 45 disciplines.

University Mission, Values and Vision

Mission: California State University, Northridge exists to enable students to realize their educational goals. The University’s first priority is to promote the welfare and intellectual progress of students. To fulfill this mission, we design programs and activities to help students develop the academic competencies, professional skills, critical and creative abilities, and ethical values of learned persons who live in a democratic society, an interdependent world, and a technological age; we seek to foster a rigorous and contemporary understanding of the liberal arts, sciences, and professional disciplines, and we 
believe in the following values:

  1. 1. Commitment to Teaching, Scholarship, and Active Learning: We demonstrate excellence in teaching. We honor and reward high performance in learning, teaching, scholarship, research, service, and creative activity. Because the quality of our academic programs is central to our mission, we encourage intellectual curiosity and protect the multiple expressions of academic freedom.
  2. 2. Commitment to Excellence: We set the highest standards for ourselves in all of our actions and activities and support the professional development of faculty, staff and administrators. We assess our performance so that every area of university life will be 
continually improved and renewed. We recognize and reward our efforts of greatest distinction and through them provide state and national leadership.
  3. 3. Respect for All People: We aspire to behave as an inclusive, cooperative community. Our behaviors, policies, and programs affirm the worth and personal dignity of every member of the university community and contribute to a campus climate of civility, collegiality, tolerance, and reasoned debate.
  4. 4. Alliances with the Community: We seek partnerships with local schools, community colleges, businesses, government and social agencies to advance the educational, intellectual, artistic, civic, cultural and economic aspirations of our surrounding communities.
  5. 5. Encouragement of Innovation, Experimentation, and Creativity: We seek to provide an environment conducive to innovation, experimentation, and creativity. We encourage all members of 
our community to take intellectual and creative risks and to embrace changes that will enhance the fulfillment of the 
University’s mission.

Vision: California State University, Northridge is inspired by the belief that our commitment to educational opportunity, inclusion and excellence will extend the promise of America to succeeding generations. Our graduates will be the vanguard of leaders for this century—committed to sustaining a democracy in which diverse people share in the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, proficient in applying technology to wise purposes, and dedicated to securing a humane world community and sustaining the bounty of the earth. As an institution of higher learning,

The California State University

Home pages for all CSU campuses can be found at

The individual California State Colleges were brought together as a system by the Donahoe Higher Education Act of 1960. In 1972, the system became the California State University and Colleges, and in 1982 the system became the California State University. Today, the campuses of the CSU include comprehensive and polytechnic universities and, since July 1995, the California Maritime Academy, a specialized campus.

The oldest campus—San José State University—was founded in 1857 and became the first institution of public higher education in California. The newest--CSU Channel Islands--opened in fall 2002, with freshmen arriving in fall 2003.

Responsibility for the California State University is vested in the Board of Trustees, whose members are appointed by the Governor. The Trustees appoint the Chancellor, who is the chief executive officer of the system, and the Presidents, who are the chief executive officers of the respective campuses.

The Trustees, the Chancellor, and the Presidents develop systemwide policy, with implementation at the campus level taking place through broadly based consultative procedures. The Academic Senate of the California State University, made up of elected representatives of the faculty from each campus, recommends academic policy to the Board of Trustees through the Chancellor.

Academic excellence has been achieved by the California State University through a distinguished faculty whose primary responsibility is superior teaching. While each campus in the system has its own unique geographic and curricular character, all campuses, as multipurpose institutions, offer undergraduate and graduate instruction for professional and occupational goals as well as broad liberal education. All campuses require for graduation a basic program of “General Education Requirements” regardless of the type of bachelor’s degree or major field selected by the student.

The CSU offers more than 1,800 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in some 357 subject areas. Many of these programs are offered so that students can complete all upper division and graduate requirements by part-time, late afternoon, and evening study. In addition, a variety of teaching and school service credential programs are available. A limited number of doctoral degrees are offered jointly with the University of California and with private institutions in California. In 2005, the CSU was authorized to independently offer educational doctorate (Ed.D.) programs, and a total of 10 CSU campuses currently have Ed.D. programs.

Enrollment in fall 2008 totaled almost 450,000 students, who were taught by some 24,000 faculty. The system awards about half of the bachelor’s degrees and a third of the master’s degrees granted in California. Nearly 2.5 million students have graduated from CSU campuses since 1961.