California State University-Chico


Chico State was founded in 1887 as a result of legislative action founding the Northern Branch State Normal School of California in Chico, California. General John Bidwell donated 8 acres of his cherry orchard to house the school. The Bidwell family turned out to contribute more land and, eventually, their mansion, which was turned into a female dormitory in 1922. The wildcat was chosen as the mascot in 1924. Chico State was officially named California State University—Chico in 1972.

Information Summary

Ranks 43rd in California and 581st overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 85.6
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $24,624
Admission Success rate N/A
ACT / SAT 75%ile scores 24 / 1190
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 29 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 85% / 50%
Enrollment Total (all students) 17,578


Chico State offers over 100 undergraduate majors, concentrations, and degree options. It is ranked in the top 4 public regional universities in the west. The university is divided into two broad categories: the humanities (liberal arts and sciences) and professional studies. Liberal arts colleges include Behavioral & Social Sciences, Humanities & Fine Arts, and Natural Sciences. Professional studies colleges include Agriculture, Business, Communication & Education, and Engineering, Computer Science, & Technology.

Chico State University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. It is classed as a Master’s College and University I by the Carnegie Institute. The university has academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level. There are 9 colleges: the College of Agriculture, the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Communication and Education, the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology, the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, the School of Graduate, International, and Sponsored Programs, and the College of Regional and Continuing Education.

Bachelor’s degrees are offered in a variety of fields within the various academic colleges. Degrees at the bachelor’s level can be received in the liberal arts and in professional and technical areas such as agriculture, art, business administration, chemistry, economics, French, kinesiology, multicultural& gender studies, music, nursing, recreation administration, education, and social work. Minors and certificate programs are also available.

Graduate programs are offered at the master’s level in the humanities and technical programs. Degrees are available in art, communication studies, education, business administration, electrical engineering, history, nursing, and social work, among others. Some programs have more than one concentration or area of study. There are no doctoral level or professional programs such as law or medicine at Chico State.

Most Popular Fields of Study


California State University-Chico
California State University-Chico 2

Unique Programs

Chico State offers a BA and a minor in American Studies. The degree requires six units in each Cultural Diversity and American Institutions and includes studies of American writers, popular culture, folklore, society, and history. Students can also work with an advisor to design their American Studies degree plan around their plans for the future or an intended profession.

The BS in Mechatronic Engineering revolves around the study of intelligent systems and resulting products of mechanized systems, including sensing, acquisition, and computation for improved performance. The Mechatronic Engineering major is founded in traditional engineering curriculum, but encourages students to explore the possibilities of this emergent discipline.

The College of Behavioral and Social Sciences offers a minor in Career and Life Planning that can be combined with other social science disciplines to enhance a students preparedness for counseling or therapeutic work.

One of Chico State’s special programs is the Technology and Learning Program, which works with faculty on integrating technology into the classroom. It provides both teaching and instruction on software and pedagogical resources for the implementation of computers in the teaching environment.


Chico State (California State University, Chico) is considered an “impacted campus,” meaning that applications for admission are increasing and admissions are increasingly competitive. For that reason, applicants can expect that meeting the bare minimum requirements may not be sufficient to secure admission. Chico State requires a core curriculum of college preparatory classes be completed prior to admission, including four years of English, three years of mathematics, two years each of social science, laboratory science, and foreign language, and one year each of arts and electives. Applicants to Chico State are “rank ordered” according to their “eligibility index,” a quantifiable score used by all California State universities in determining an applicant’s eligibility for admission. The eligibility index is a sum of grade point average and test scores, and can be calculated in one of two ways: multiply grade point average by 800 and add to SAT score, or multiply grade point average by 200 and add ten times the ACT score. Ninth grade, physical education, and military science (ROTC) scores are not included in grade point average calculations. The characteristics of each separate applicant pool determine the eligibility index required for admission each application period.

Chico State University has an open admissions deadline, and students should check the university website to see if applications are still being accepted at the time they wish to apply. The application fee is $55. Applications can be submitted on-line. Students who are enrolled in high school at the time of application will need to have their official final high school transcripts sent after graduation to the Admissions Office.

As part of their application, students should submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT test scores. Students should have completed high school courses as follows: 4 units of English, 3 units of mathematics, 2 units of history and social studies, 2 units of science, 2 units of a foreign language, 1 year of a visual or performing art, and 1 year of a college preparatory elective. Students must generally meet the following minimum requirements: high school GPA of 2.0. Eligibility for admissions will be determined by a combination of high school GPA and test scores, and applicants will be rank-ordered.

Transfer students and international students will have varying requirements depending upon their prior educational background.

Students applying to the graduate programs at Chico State University should consult the individual department and/or school to which they are applying. Applications can be submitted on-line, and the application fee is $55. General requirements include the GRE or other appropriate test scores (such as the GMAT) and a bachelor’s degree with a grade point average of 2.75. The graduate application deadline is March 1 for the fall semester.

Financial Aid

Chico State supports the Federal Pell Grant, SEOG, Educational Opportunity Grant Program, California Student Aid Commission awards, and State University Grant. In addition, Chico State offers numerous scholarship opportunities. Deserving, meritorious students may receive between $100 and $3,000 in merit-based Chico Scholarships. The President’s Scholarship, one of the more prestigious institutional aid programs, is an invitation-only scholarship competition based on admissions applications. There are also athletic scholarships and aid awards based in specific departments. Students are encouraged to contact the specific departments about these particular awards.

The registration fee at Chico State University is $1,685 per semester for the 2005-2006 academic year for in-state, undergraduate students attending full-time. Students applying from out of state and graduate students have higher costs.

Financial aid is available in the form of grants, scholarships, and loans. Work-study programs are also available for interested students with financial need. Students who seek financial aid will need to fill out the Federal Student Financial Aid Form, available on-line.

Graduate students may also receive financial aid in the form of teaching or research assistantships, including a stipend and a waiver of some or all of the tuition and other fees. Graduate students should consult with their individual department about what sort of assistantships or fellowships are available and about the details of the application process.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 5124th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in California.


Chico State has dozens of student organizations for different cultures, political affiliations, academic and recreational interests, and services. There are also a number of fraternities and sororities for students to choose from. The Greek system is currently undergoing a massive overhaul in response to a challenge from the University’s President to clean up their image and undertake their intended leaderships roles on campus. Chico State offers students a Campus Alcohol and Drug Education Center, Leadership Program, and advisory services to assist them with any needs they may have.

Student life at Chico State University includes opportunities in a diverse range of activities and organizations. Organizations include Greek life, academic-related organizations, religious organizations, political groups, and recreational activities. Many services exists for helping students out with personal, academic, and financial needs. Art exhibitions and performances take place on campus throughout the year. There are two museums, a student-run radio station and a public radio station, a planetarium, and athletic facilities for recreation. There is a weekly student newspaper.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


The Chico State Wildcats compete in the NCAA Division II and the California Collegiate Athletic Association. Sports include cross country, volleyball, baseball, softball, track & field, and men’s and women’s soccer, basketball, and golf. Most recently, the Chico State athletics program finished third in the 2004-2005 Sports Academy Division II Directors’ Cup standings, which included a field of more than 280 similar programs. This year, two Chico State baseball players were chosen in the Major League Baseball draft, one in the 12th round and the other in the 28th round. In 2004, the Wildcat baseball team finished with a record of 42 and 21, and were the CCAA and West Region champions. The men’s cross country team and women’s cross country team both finished first in the CCAA. The women’s soccer team finished first in the CCAA North Division. Chico State’s athletic facilities include two gymnasiums (including four basketball courts), six racquetball courts, two swimming pools, an all-weather stadium and track, baseball and softball diamonds, putting greens and sand traps, weight training facilities, a climbing wall, and dance and athletic training rooms.

Chico State University is an NCAA Division II School. Teams compete in the California Collegiate Athletic Association. Men’s sports include cross country, soccer, basketball, golf, and track & field. Women’s sports include cross country, soccer, volleyball, basketball, golf, softball, and track & field. The sports teams are supported by a cheerleading team. The team nick-name is the Wildcats.

Athletic facilities at Chico State University include two gymnasiums; a track; stadiums or fields for soccer, baseball, and softball; and facilities for students who are not competing intercollegiately: racquetball courts, swimming pools, putting greens, dance studios, and a climbing wall, among others.

The athletic program received a big boost when it joined the CCAA in 1998 and was able to offer athletic scholarships. Among the championships and awards that Chico State University has received are a third-place finish in the 2004-2005 Directors’ Cup for best overall athletic NCAA II program and the National NCAA Division II championship in baseball in 2005.


Much of the University’s history involves the main campus, which was originally a cherry orchard. The Bidwell family owned that orchard, and donated portions of it to the school as it grew, ultimately contributing their own home to Chico State. That building served as a dorm, a gymnasium, and a recreation center. Where the “Normal Building” once stood, a new administration building was constructed, after the original facility was destroyed by a fire. In fact, the original cornerstone was used from the old structure to lay the foundation for the new.

Local Community

Chico has a population of nearly 60,000 and was founded by General John Bidwell in 1860. Chico can be considered a “baseball town,” because in addition to Chico State’s baseball team, it is home to the Chico Outlaws (Golden Baseball League) and the Chico Heat (Western Baseball League). Bidwell Park is the seventh-largest municipal park in the country. In addition to it, Chico is also home to the Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park, Chico University Arboretum, and the tallest building between Sacramento and Portland.

Chico State University is located in Chico, California, in the northern Sacramento Valley. The urban area has a population of approximately 100,000. The city of Chico has a large municipal park with biking, hiking, and equestrian trails. Butte County extends to the foothills of the Sierra and Cascade mountains, and has many outdoor activities.

This website and its associated pages are not affiliated with, endorsed by, or sponsored by this school. has no official or unofficial affiliation with California State University-Chico.