California State University (CSU) Transfer Requirements

Quick Facts

Map of California showing the 23 California State Universities

There are 23 CSU (California State University) campuses which offers over 4,100 undergraduate and graduate degrees.

95% of the students who enter the CSU system are from the California Community Colleges, including Sacramento City College!

The CSU system gives admission priority to students who meet upper division transfer requirements.

Transfer Tip

Apply to 3 to 5 universities of interest; research universities based on availability of major, support services, location, housing, size of campus, and financial aid/scholarships.

Minimum Upper Division Requirements

You must have 60 transferable units completed to transfer as an upper division student.

Within Los Rios, transferable units are numbered 300 or higher.

Screenshot from catalog highlighting 300 to 499 course numbers

 Of the 60 transferable units, the following must be met:

  • one course each from Area A1, A2, A3, and B4 with “C” grades or better

(IMPORTANT: Below is a snapshot of the GE pattern for Sacramento City College. Each Los Rios college will have their own GE pattern which may list courses that are numbered differently or listed in another “Area.” Use the GE pattern for each Los Rios college that you plan to take classes.)

Screenshot of CSU GE with emphasis on Area A1, A2, A3, and B4

  • complete the 60 transferable units – including Area A1, A2, A3, and B4 – by the end of Spring (for Fall admission) and by the end of Summer (for Spring admission)
  • 30 units (of the 60 transferable units) must be from the General Education Breadth pattern
  • be in good standing at the last university or college attended
  • overall minimum GPA of 2.00* or higher

* = This is the minimum GPA; depending on your transfer campus and major, a higher GPA will be required.

Transfer Tip

Begin your Math and English sequences early; even during your first semester in college.  Some majors – such as engineering and science – will require additional math courses.

Impacted Majors

There are some majors at each CSU campus that are considered to be impacted. An impacted major means that there are more students who apply to the major than the spaces available.

In these instances, each CSU campus will determine how students will be selected and admitted to the major.

Screenshot of CSUS Business Administration official GPA cutoff


The Business Administration major at Sacramento State is impacted. Although the minimum GPA to be admitted to Sacramento State is a 2.00 GPA, a higher GPA is required to be admitted to the MAJOR.

The Business Administration major selects students based on their overall GPA and identifies a cut-off. The GPA fluctuates every semester based on the students who have applied. Students are ranked from the top GPA until the available seats are filled. This is a list of the previous GPA cut-offs.

Transfer Tip

Learn how to calculate your GPA.  Look for key phrases such as “overall transferable GPA” or “major specific GPA.”

General Education + Major + Electives (if needed)

Completing the entire CSU General Education Breadth pattern is 39 units (plus an additional unit for the science lab).   The remaining units should be focused on lower division major courses and transferable electives (if needed).

The ASSIST website lists courses for your major that can be completed at Sacramento City College prior to transfer.  This is called an “articulation agreement.”

This is an example of the articulation agreement with CSU East Bay for the major of International Studies.  The courses listed on the right side can be taken at Sacramento City College.

Screenshot of CSU East Bay articulation for International Studies major

Transfer Tip

If you are planning to apply to multiple universities, look up the articulation agreement for all universities since lower division courses will vary from one CSU to another.

Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT)

There are over 25 Associate Degrees for Transfer offered at Sacramento City College.  By completing an ADT, you are awarded an Associates Degree and will meet minimum eligibility requirements for guaranteed transfer* to a California State University.

* guaranteed admission to a CSU, but not necessarily to a particular campus or major; you must still meet the selection criteria (such as GPA) for impacted majors

An ADT requires 60 transferable units, including:
♦  completion of the major courses with “C” grades or better
♦  completion of the CSU General Education Breadth (or IGETC including Area 1C)
♦  minimum overall GPA of 2.00

If an ADT is not offered for your major, you will use the ASSIST website to determine lower division major courses that can be completed at Sacramento City College.

List of Associate Degrees for Transfer offered at Sacramento City College

Transfer Tip

An ADT is not required to transfer to a CSU, but if there is an ADT for your major, there are benefits to completing it.  For example, you may be given an extra GPA bump when applying to an impacted major.

Local Area Applicants

Some CSU campuses give preference to transfer students who are “local area” applicants. This means that the students attended a community college located within the area of the university.

For example, CSU Northridge has identified 18 California community colleges that are considered “local” – including Santa Monica College, Ventura College, and Antelope Valley College. If you did not attend one of the “local area” colleges, you can still apply as a transfer student to CSU Northridge, but you will be evaluated with a higher GPA requirement even with non-impacted majors.

Screenshot of CSUN local area and non-local area GPA

All of the Los Rios colleges are considered to be in the “local area” for Sacramento State. Although the minimum GPA to be admitted to the university is 2.00, you will still need to have a competitive GPA for impacted majors.

Screenshot of CSUS local admission area for freshmen and transfers

Transfer Tip

Keep your options open and apply to CSU campuses, even if you are outside of the local admission area.  Research the different GPA requirements for each CSU.