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Cal State System VS UC System

atse1910atse1910 Registered User Posts: 32 Junior Member
edited February 2006 in College Search & Selection
Hi, I am currently a senior in high school wondering which university system is better. I was wondering, what is the difference between the Cal State System and the UC System, and which has the better programs? Would it much of a difference to which school you go to when you apply for a job? I don't know, so I am here askin', which is better the Cal State System or the UC System and what is the difference between these two? Thanks.
Post edited by atse1910 on

Replies to: Cal State System VS UC System

  • nom de plumenom de plume Registered User Posts: 138 Junior Member
    Wikipedia Article:

    Differences between the CSU and UC systems

    Both university systems are California publicly funded higher education institutions.

    According to the California Master Plan for Higher Education (1960), both may confer Bachelors or Masters degrees as well as professional certifications, however only the University of California has the authority to issue Ph.D degree (Doctor of Philosophy) and professional degrees in the fields of law, medicine, veterinary, and dentistry. As a result of recent legislation (SB 724), the California State University may now offer the Ed.D degree (also known as the Doctor of Education or "education doctorate degree") to its graduate students as well as certain types of professional doctorate degrees (for instance, audiology, etc.). Additionally, the California State University offers Ph.D degree (Doctor of Philosophy) as a "joint degree" in combination with other institutions of higher education, including "joint degrees" with the University of California and accredited private universities. This is why, for instance, San Diego State can qualify as a "Research I University" by offering 16 doctoral degrees.

    The California State University (CSU) attempt to accept applicants from the top 1/3 of California high schools. The University of California (UC) attempts to accept the top 12.5%. In an effort to maintain a 60/40 ratio of upper division students to lower division students and to encourage students to attend a California community college first, both university systems give priority to California community college transfer students. The state, which funds all three institutions, encourages this because the cost of educating a student through a community college is less.

    While historicaly the requirements for admission to the CSU have been less stringent, due to changing demographics, campuses such as San Luis Obispo, San Diego State, CSU Long Beach, and Humboldt State have been forced to turn away students who would otherwise be CSU-eligible. Currently, Chico, Fullerton, Long Beach, Pomona, San Diego, San Marcos, and Sonoma are considered impacted. This means more students apply to these universities than the campuses can accommodate. Because of this these campuses have higher admission standards than the CSU minimum. Unlike UC, Cal State admissions are based more on GPA and SAT/ACT scores than other factors such as admission essays. In spite of the outline of the Donahue Higher Education Act many CSU campuses are in fact more selective than some UC campuses.

    There are 23 CSU campuses and 10 UC campuses representing 414,000 and 191,000 students respectively. The cost of CSU tuition is roughly half that of UC.

    "Would it much of a difference to which school you go to when you apply for a job?"


    "Which system is better?"

    The UC system. (Exceptions include engineering programs and architecture programs at places like Cal Poly when comparing this school to specific UCs.)
  • atse1910atse1910 Registered User Posts: 32 Junior Member
    But seeing how high school students demean the CSU system, why is it hard any harder to get into the UC system than the CSU system when both almost offer equal opportunities and academic prestigious, challenge and resources?
  • atse1910atse1910 Registered User Posts: 32 Junior Member
    And why is the CSU system demaned while the UCs offered the almost the same courses set in some of the CSU college? lol I am just look at my options.
  • nom de plumenom de plume Registered User Posts: 138 Junior Member
    They don't offer equal opportunities and academic prestige. You will find smarter students at the UCs (prepare for the flames) and you will definitely have more resources at UCs. Read over my citation. Thanks.
  • atse1910atse1910 Registered User Posts: 32 Junior Member
    Oh I see. Well thanks. : ]. But why is it the UCs are more expensive and does going to a CSU make you less of a educated person than one who went to a UC?
  • nom de plumenom de plume Registered User Posts: 138 Junior Member
    Read over the thread I linked - notably dufus's posts.

    Your education is what you make of it. If you didn't try hard in high school and barely managed to make it into college, your work habits will continue and your education "lessened" if you want it to.
  • atse1910atse1910 Registered User Posts: 32 Junior Member
    I am just looking at my options avaiable because the UCs seem pretty good, but I have to take finanical issues for my family into account, and that if I don't go to a UC and go CSU instead like Cal SLO, would it make me less of someone who just wen to a UC? Sorry, I don't mean to intend to offend anyone.
  • nom de plumenom de plume Registered User Posts: 138 Junior Member
    No. It doesn't. Cal SLO is a great school. It has better programs than some of the lower UC's.
  • nom de plumenom de plume Registered User Posts: 138 Junior Member
    History of the CSU System

    Today's California State University system is the direct descendent of the California State Normal School (now, San Jose State University) established by the California Legislature on May 2, 1862. A second California State Normal School campus was created in Los Angeles in 1882. In 1887, the California legislature inexplicably dropped the word "California" from the name of the San Jose and Los Angeles schools, renaming them "State Normal Schools". Later Chico (1887), San Diego (1897), and the others became part of the State Normal School system. In 1919, the State Normal School at Los Angeles became the Southern Branch of the University of California (now the University of California, Los Angeles). In 1921, the State Normal Schools became the State Teachers Colleges, but the loss of the word "California" had taken its toll and by this time most of the campuses became identified by their city names plus the word "state" (e.g, "San Jose State", "San Diego State", "San Francisco State").

    In 1935, the State Teachers Colleges became the California State Colleges, administered by the California State Department of Education in Sacramento. The Donahoe Higher Education Act of 1960 gave the system greater autonomy from the State of California. In 1972 the system became The California State University and Colleges, and all of the campuses were renamed with the words "California State University" in their names. Despite the fact that this was a restoration of schools original [California] State Normal School identities, at certain of the older campuses, alumni successfully lobbied the California Legislature to revert the schools back to their pre-1972 names: San Jose State, San Diego State, San Francisco State, etc. In 1982, the CSU system dropped the word "colleges" from its name.

    In 2003, a movement developed at the oldest CSU, San Jose State, to restore the school's original "California State" name and its status as the founding campus and flagship of the entire CSU system. See California State University (1862).

    Today the campuses of the CSU include comprehensive and polytechnic universities and the only Maritime Academy in the western United States that receives aid from the federal Maritime Administration.

    History of the UC System

    When the State of California ratified its first constitution in 1849, it stipulated for an educational system complete with a university. Taking advantage of the Morrill Land Grant Act, the California Legislature established an Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College in 1866. Although this institution was provided with sufficient funds, it lacked land.

    Beforehand, Congregational minister Henry Durant had established the College of California in Oakland, California in 1855. With an eye for expansion, the college's trustees purchased 160 acres (650,000 m²) of land in what is now Berkeley in 1866. But unlike the state's Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College, it lacked the funds to operate.

    The trustees offered to merge with the state college to their mutual advantage, but under one condition — that there not be simply a "Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College," but a "a complete university." Accordingly, the Organic Act, establishing the University of California, was signed into law on March 23, 1868.

    The University opened its first medical school on February 20, 1873 in San Francisco. In 1908, a "University Farm" for the College of Agriculture was established at Davis, which became UC Davis in 1959. In 1919, the Legislature arranged for an existing normal school in Los Angeles to become the University's "Southern Branch." In turn, the Southern Branch became UCLA in 1927.

    The Riverside campus was founded as the Citrus Experiment Station in 1907 and was elevated to campus status in 1954. The San Diego campus was founded as a marine station in 1912 and became UCSD in 1959. Campuses were established in Santa Barbara in 1958, and in both Santa Cruz and Irvine in 1965. UC Merced opened in Fall 2005.

    The California Master Plan for Higher Education of 1960 established that the top 12.5% (1/8th) of graduating high school seniors in California would be guaranteed a place in one of the UC campuses. Previously, the top 15% were accepted.
    *The systems were founded for different reasons and under different circumstances.
  • atse1910atse1910 Registered User Posts: 32 Junior Member
    Thanks... : ).
  • CorbettCorbett Registered User Posts: 2,658 Senior Member
    In *general*, an undergraduate degree from a UC school will be regarded as more prestigious than than one from a CSU school. CSU degrees are perfectly good, but a UC degree is generally perceived as better.

    But this is a sweeping generalization. We are talking about two systems that collectively have dozens of campuses, hundreds of degree programs, and hundreds of thousands of students. It would be foolish to assume that UC programs are always superior; in some cases, CSU programs may be as selective and prestigious as their UC counterparts. The best known examples are probably the engineering and agriculture programs at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. The Cal Poly programs in these fields are very well regarded, and compete effectively for top students with UC programs. There are doubtless other examples as well.

    So the best CSU degrees are comparable to UC degrees. It's probably true that most CSU degrees aren't perceived that way, but any CSU degree is still respectable.
  • sneezysneezy Registered User Posts: 274 Junior Member
    From what I gather from my HS counselors and teachers, CSUs prepare you for the workforce whereas the UCs, more oriented with research, prepare you for grad school.
  • GentlemanandScholarGentlemanandScholar Registered User Posts: 1,228 Senior Member
    atse1910, is silly to ask if going to one school rather than the other makes you a better person. For the most part, the UCs will give you more opportunities than the CSUs. They have higher standards for their students, better faculty members, and a broader range of studies. You seem to be saying, "you can study the same thing at both schools, so why is one better than the other?" Well, you can also study engineering at both the university of Montana as well as MIT, but I dont think anyone would be foolish enough to say that its the same education at both schools.
  • Giants8307Giants8307 Registered User Posts: 505 Member
    CSU's are generally more teaching oriented, where UC's specialize in research. This makes the UC perfect for grad school, but also implies the CSU may be the way to go for undergrad. The professors at CSUs are focused on teaching undergrads, and that's a bonus in my book.
  • HannaHanna Registered User Posts: 14,214 Senior Member
    >The professors at CSUs are focused on teaching undergrads

    I don't believe that this kind of statement has any meaning. As a general rule, the professors at CSU's (with the exception of those specialized fields like engineering & architecture at the Cal Polys) will have inferior credentials and fewer publications as compared to professors in the same field at a UC. This does NOT mean that the CSU profs care more about teaching, are better teachers, or are under reduced pressure to publish. You'll find good and bad, caring and cold, professors in both systems; teaching ability is not correlated with weaker academic credentials. Furthermore, most CSU's DO have plenty of grad students; they're just working on masters instead of PhDs. Because of budget constraints, CSU faculty often have to teach many courses per term, which reduces the amount of time/attention they can give to any one student. Most of them would take a UC job if they could get it, not least because UC professors are better paid.
This discussion has been closed.