May 21, 2024  
2023/2024 University Catalog 
2023/2024 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

About SDSU

smiling students with red Aztec shirts

At San Diego State University, we are dedicated to preparing global citizens, compassionate leaders, and ethical innovators who will help find solutions to the world’s greatest challenges.

When students work alongside our exceptional faculty, researchers and scholars, and have the opportunity to observe and practice purposeful innovation, we begin to achieve our collective vision to impact the world through our graduates.

SDSU is the oldest institution of higher education in the San Diego region, with locations microsites in San Diego, Imperial County, and in Tbilisi in the Republic of Georgia. Additional academic offerings are provided through SDSU Global Campus, which provides online training, certificates and degrees in various areas of study. With a range of access points, SDSU provides transformational academic and research experiences to meet the current and future needs of students everywhere.

In California, SDSU is situated on Kumeyaay land near the U.S.-Mexico border and is an academically rich, research-focused urban university. SDSU is known for its academic strength and affordability, and for its remarkable students, exceptional and dedicated faculty and staff, and innovative programs. We are a community committed to the ideals of diversity and equity and dedicated to human growth and development. We are committed to student success, transformative research, creative activities, and community engagement.

Together, we are making an impact on the future of San Diego, the binational community in which our campus sits, and other communities around the world.

Academic and Community Engagement

SDSU is a community of leaders committed to student success and life-changing opportunities for students, such as study abroad, undergraduate research, leadership training, and entrepreneurial experiences.

Our deep community roots and global connections provide access to internships, mentoring relationships, study abroad experiences, and volunteer opportunities that complement and enhance the classroom experience.

SDSU is an academically rich university that provides endless possibilities for students: bachelor’s degrees in 96 areas, master’s degrees in 84 fields and doctorates in 23 areas (Ph.D., Ed.D., Au.D., and D.P.T.), with additional certificates and programs at regional microsites. SDSU is a place for the best and brightest to dream of who they will become and to make those dreams a reality.

SDSU’S Values and Commitments

SDSU is committed to providing research oriented, high-quality education for undergraduate and graduate students. Through excellence and distinction in teaching, research, and service, the university’s community continually identifies and implements solutions to problems and challenges, locally and globally.

At SDSU, students, faculty, and staff strive to impart an appreciation and broad understanding of the human experience throughout the world and the ages. This education extends to diverse cultural legacies and accomplishments in many areas, that include: the arts and technology; the advancement of human thought through philosophy and science; the development and sustainability of economic, political, and social institutions; and the physical and biological evolution of humans and their environment.

Education and Global Perspectives

One of our goals at SDSU is to prepare global citizens. Whether curriculum content, cultural campus activities or international research and exchange programs, we are creating an experience that will be transformational for our students. SDSU ranks No. 3 in the nation for the number of students who study abroad. According to the Open Doors report, 162,633 U.S. students studied abroad for academic credit in 2019-20 and studied in countries that include Mexico, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and Indonesia. These transformational experiences help students to gain new perspectives and to grow personally and intellectually, and provide them with the very competencies and skills the workforce demands.

SDSU is also a popular destination for international students seeking to study in the U.S. More than 1,800 international students from more than 98 countries attended SDSU in fall 2021.

Our campus-based academic programs reinforce this global perspective. These programs include the Center for International Business Education and Research, the Center for Latin American Studies, the International Security and Conflict Resolution degree program, and the International Business program, which ranks No. 2 in the nation.

Principles of Community 

SDSU, a multi-campus, Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI) located on the lands of the Kumeyaay Nations and part of the U.S.-Mexico transborder region, is committed to advancing access, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in everything we do. Our community of students, staff, faculty, alumni, and family honors the inherent value of all individuals. We strive to foster a scholarly environment that supports and is enriched by our intersectionality, diverse traditions, cultures, languages, perspectives, and experiences. 

The SDSU Principles of Community is an aspirational statement that embodies this commitment, and reflects the ideals we seek to uphold. 

  • We promote a culture of inclusion in which all are valued and treated with respect, dignity, and fairness so that they may thrive.

  • We acknowledge that imbalances of power, accessibility, equity, and privilege persist in higher education and in society and are committed to addressing and dismantling these imbalances. 

  • We affirm that freedom of expression and academic freedom are integral to the mission of the university and to its students, faculty, and staff. 

  • We respect the right of every individual to think, speak, and discuss any idea in the spirit of advancing knowledge. We further affirm our commitment to conduct that respects dignity and decency towards all.

  • We condemn racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism and other forms of discrimination across all our campus communities and extend the critical notion of inclusivity towards all cultures and identities.

  • We honor shared governance among students, faculty, staff and administration as a foundational element to our university – a forum where justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion allow us to meet challenges with innovative solutions, educate and learn with curiosity and compassion, promote respectful dialogue, and make meaningful discoveries. 

  • We value our differences, and take pride in the impact of our educational, research, and scholarly mission. 

  • We appreciate the service of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni to our campus, region, state, country, and global community. 

  • We embrace a culture of excellence and promote the success, growth, safety, and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and the broader community. 

We recognize our individual responsibilities to the university community and the principles that advance it in everything we do. We will each commit to positive actions that affirm learning and growth for all members of the community.

SDSU’s Principles of Community statement was developed out of the university’s strategic planning process and through a collaborative process involving students, faculty, staff and administrators. Its intent is to serve as an affirmation of the unique value each member of the SDSU community holds, and as a guide for our personal and collective behavior. The principles of community are not official SDSU policy; nor do they replace existing policies, procedures or codes of conduct. Learn more online:

Diversity and Inclusive Excellence

SDSU deeply values diversity and inclusion. The university’s community strives to maintain an environment where students from all backgrounds achieve excellence and success. The university has been recognized nationally for significant increases in student success rates, including graduation rates, and for nearly eliminating achievement gaps among ethnic and racial groups.

SDSU’s campus reflects the diversity of our region and the world. Students from more than 90 nations contribute to SDSU’s dynamic mix of ethnic, racial, and social backgrounds.

In 2021, SDSU was named among the 10 universities to receive this year’s Seal of Excelencia granted by Excelencia in Education, an organization dedicated to closing the education equity gap and increasing Latinx degree holders. SDSU has also been ranked highly for its ethnic and racial diversity, has received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award across multiple years, as well as being named a 2022 Diversity Champion, the only institution in California to receive both awards and is one of the top universities in economic diversity. More than half of our students and 43 percent of our tenure- track faculty members are women.

We are a national model for educating military veterans and offer Army, Navy, and Air Force ROTC programs. Also, SDSU ranks as one of the most LGBTQ+-friendly campuses in the nation.

Through our “One SDSU Community” initiative, our campus fosters shared experiences, values, and aspirations that embrace our unique identities, respect our diversity, and recognize our common humanity.

Student Life

SDSU students study hard, but they also know how to have fun outside of the classroom. You can join an intramural sports team or an honor society, join one of more than 300 recognized student clubs and organizations on campus, lead a community service project or live on our lively campus or fraternity row. SDSU’s Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union - given LEED Double Platinum status as one of the most energy-efficient facilities in the world - is a hub for student activities with its Commuter Resource Center, restaurants, bowling alley and game room, meeting spaces and theatre.

You can cheer on 17 NCAA Division I athletics teams, which are setting new standards for success. A record number of Aztec teams are qualifying for post-season competition, and both our men’s and women’s basketball teams have advanced to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. 

Research and Creative Endeavors

SDSU is a leading public research university with a thriving research agenda and competitive awards totaling $164.5 million in 2022, including funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the California Department of Health Services. Also, to date, 39 SDSU faculty members have received the highly competitive National Science Foundation CAREER award since 1998, with the majority granted within just the last three years.

Undergraduate research and entrepreneurship are hallmarks of SDSU. Students collaborate with faculty and staff in on-campus laboratories to address national and global challenges, and they create new companies and social enterprises in our entrepreneurship and innovation centers.

To date, 100 SDSU students have earned prestigious Fulbright awards since 2005-06, while other students have received Gilman International Scholarships, Boren Awards for International Study, the Udall Scholarship for environmental work, and Gates Cambridge Scholarships.

A Global Network of Leaders and Mentors

SDSU’s legacy of leadership is found in research and innovation, entrepreneurship, community engagement, and global competition.

Our alumni base is is nearing 500,000 strong, meaning you will find fellow Aztecs all over the world. SDSU also maintains the Aztec Mentor Program, which pairs current students with supportive and experienced professionals who serve as their mentors. Since its inception in 2013, the program has matched more than 16,000 students with mentors. SDSU alumni lead governments, businesses and organizations throughout the world. They are legislators, CEOs, company presidents and founders, renowned artists and filmmakers, school administrators, and engineers. Aztecs run biotech companies, accounting firms, restaurant chains, and hospitals and have also been to space, just to name a few contributions and industries.