About San Diego State University

Is San Diego State University the School for You?

San Diego State University is located just 10 miles from the downtown area of San Diego. It is the largest university in the city and one of the largest in the state. Categorized as a research school by the Carnegie Foundation, the school offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate programs and more than 20 doctoral programs. Read more to learn about what the school has to offer.


  • High number of academic programs
  • Student debt following graduation is $10,260 lower than the national average
  • There is a diverse student body
  • Located 10 miles from downtown San Diego and 15 miles from San Diego International Airport
  • Endowment has grown by 23.6% between 2010 and 2011


  • Total cost is $6,620 higher than the national average for in-state tuition, and total cost is $5,213 higher than the national average for out-of-state tuition
  • The acceptance rate is 35.5 percentile points lower than the national average
  • The student-faculty ratio is 27:1, which is higher than the national average.

About San Diego State University

With a lower than average admissions rate, the school seeks to set a standard of quality among its student body. In addition, higher tuition may serve as a roadblock to admissions. However, if you decide that SDSU is the school for you, you will be attending a school that has a reputation for diversity as well as ample student resources and programs to choose from. San Diego State University is known for its research programs and is second in the state for graduating Hispanics. There are more than 85 undergraduate majors to choose from, and you can take classes on the main campus or at one of two branches of the Imperial Valley Campus. Your classes may be more crowded than those at other schools, since SDSU's student-to-faculty ratio of 27:1 is significantly higher than the average ratio of 16:1.

Admissions & Financial Aid at San Diego State University

You will apply for admission using CSUMentor, the application form for the California State University System. You must choose a major when you apply to SDSU. The common admission exams are the ACT and the SAT, with the SAT being most popular. Upon acceptance, you will have to submit high school transcripts from the spring semester, so it's important to maintain your GPA even after initial acceptance.

FAFSA applications are accepted anytime between January 1 and March 2, and you must have all requested documentation by April 1st. You can apply for financial aid while waiting for an admissions letter. In addition to need-based financial aid, you can apply for scholarships based on academics, alumni affiliation, ROTC, athletics and other criteria. Many students receive some sort of financial aid. You can take advantage of tuition payment plans such as the installment plan, in which you can pay your tuition over three installments throughout the semester.

Application and Tuition Info
Regular Application Deadline (2013) November 30***
Financial Aid Application Deadline (2013) March 2***
Notification of Acceptance (2013) Mid-March***
Application Fee (2013) $55***
Acceptance Rate (2011-2012) 30%*
All Tuition & Living Expenses (2011-2012)' $23,756 (in-state), $34,916 (out-of-state)*
Average Financial Aid from Grants and Scholarships (2010-2011) $9,489*
Percent of Students with Need Met (2011) 9.1%**
Average Student Debt at Graduation (2011) $16,400**
Student Loan Default Rate (2009) 3.8%*

Student Life at San Diego State University

The school offers resources such as remedial services, academic and career counseling services, employment services, placement services and on-campus day care to help you adjust to student life. In addition, San Diego State University has more than 270 groups that you can join to find your place on campus - including NCAA Division 1 swimming, golf, lacrosse and water polo. You can also join one of 45 Greek organizations. More than half of freshmen live on campus, although only 15% of the entire student body lives on campus. You can take advantage of accessible transportation, including a trolley that takes you into the city where you can enjoy some of San Diego's popular attractions. You can study abroad in one of 360 programs in 55 countries.

Student Life Info
Campus Setting Large city
Student Population (2011) 30,541 students/25,796 undergrad*
Male-to-Female Student Ratio (2011) 44% to 56%*
% of Full Time Students (2011) 87%*
% of In-state Students (2011) 90%*
% of International Students (2011) 2%*
Retention Rate (2011) 89%*
Campus Housing Available Yes
% of Students Living on Campus (2011) 15%**
Number of Libraries 1 on each campus***
Extracurricular Activities More than 270***
Noteworthy San Diego's top-rated public broadcasting television and radio station is owned and operated by the university
The school has graduated more than 40 Fulbright Scholars over the last 8 years

Sources: * National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), **U.S. News and World Report, ***San Diego State University

School Contact Information

  • Address: Office of Admissions, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182-7455
  • Phone: In-state admissions: (855) 594-6336 (Toll Free); out-of-state admissions: (619) 594-3983; international admissions: (619) 594-0770