Graduate Studies

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California Pre-Doctoral Program

If you’re still weighing in on if graduate school is right for you or certain you want to go, you should consider applying to the California Pre-Doctoral Program. The California Pre-Doctoral Program is designed to increase the diversity of the pool from which the California State University draws its faculty. It does so by supporting the doctoral aspirations of CSU students who have experienced economic and educational disadvantages. A special emphasis is placed on increasing the number of CSU students who enter graduate programs at one of the University of California campuses.

Each of the applicants selected will be designated a Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholar and will work closely with a CSU faculty sponsor to develop an overall plan which leads ultimately to enrollment in a doctoral program. The plan should be tailored to the specific goals and career objectives of the student.

Program Provides

  • Travel Funds for the student to visit U.S. doctoral-granting institutions and/or to attend a professional meeting appropriate to the student's development.
  • Funds for other related activities, such as student membership in professional organizations and subscriptions to journals, graduate school application and test fees, GRE preparation, and the cost of minor research materials.
  • A Summer Research experience at a University of California campus or other major research university, fully funded by the Pre-Doctoral Program, so that the Scholar can participate in doctoral-level research.

Special Note: The following states are currently subject to California’s ban on state-funded and state-sponsored travel, see website for more information

(Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas).

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

  • Eligibility is limited to junior, senior and graduate students who are enrolled in a degree-seeking program at any one of the CSU campuses at the time of application. At the time of award, applicants must be matriculated into a degree program and be enrolled in one semester or two quarters during the award year.
  • Awards are based on competitive review of student applications and given to current upper-division or graduate students who, in the judgment of the review panel, demonstrate academic excellence while experiencing economic or educational disadvantage, as well as committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level.
  • Each applicant must have a faculty sponsor who will be available for the duration of the plan specified in the application.

Not Eligible

  • International students
  • Current or previous California Pre-Doctoral Scholars

Students interested in obtaining professional degrees (law, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, or an MBA degree) are not eligible.

Information Workshop

Information workshops will be available in December and January. 

Additional Information

For more information about the program, please visit