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San Diego State University is a publicly funded, four-year university in California's beautiful southern region. With over 30,000 undergraduate students, SDSU can accommodate nearly any academic, social, or cultural passion. SDSU has eight colleges that cover fields such as arts and letters, engineering, education, health and human services, business, and fine arts. In fact, the institution provides students with 197 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees. Of those, undergraduate students have 96 bachelor's degree options.

Overview of San Diego State University

On top of the traditional academic fields, SDSU also provides students the option to complete a preprofessional program. Ambitious undergraduate students who are eager to prepare for a career can enroll in programs such as: pre-dental, pre-legal, pre-medical, and pre-physician assistant, among others. Once they have their diplomas, students find that SDSU offers graduate programs to help them complete their professional training and launch the career of their dreams.

When SDSU students aren't buried in their books, they can engage with a social group, such as a Greek society, athletics, or a club that caters to a special interest or passion. There is also the Aztec Recreation Center where students can drop in for a fitness class, climb the Arc wall, lift weights, or elevate their heart rates on a spin bike or another cardio machine.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting City: Large
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 27:1
Graduation Rate 73%
Year Founded 1897

Student Enrollment

Total Students35,544


Undergraduate Student

Male 13,882
Female 16,966

Graduate Student

Male 2,113
Female 2,583

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Male 29,050
Female 40,998


Male 9,587
Female 14,349

Acceptance Rate34%

Male 33%
Female 35%

Enrollment 5,240

Male 2,096
Female 3,144
Application Fee $70
High School GPA Required
High School Rank NA
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Required
Recommendations NA
SAT/ACT Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) NA
Application Deadline November 10
Common Application Accepted No

Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

Educational costs are almost always in the news these days, and for good reason. Families need to know what their initial financial burden for college will be before the student leaves home. Since San Diego State University is a state-run institution of higher education, California residents can attend for a lower rate than those from out of state, or out of the Western Undergraduate Exchange. In fact, residents see a gross tuition cost of only $7,500, while the gross price for non-California residents is closer to $19,000. Once room and board are tallied, Californians pay around $26,000 to live off campus and $30,000 for the convenience of campus living. Meanwhile out-of-state students pay $39,000 to live off campus and $42,000 to live in campus housing.

The net cost is another matter, however. Once financial aid enters the picture, the average net price for a year at SDSU is $15,000. For the lowest earning households, that number falls to $8,800, including room and board. The top income bracket still only pays the net price of $22,000. Given SDSU's strong academic programs, this is a terrific bargain.

Average net price 2018-2019
Net Price $14,499
Average Total Aid $8,507
Students Receiving Financial Aid 60%
Room & Board $17,752

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $7,510
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $19,390
  • Books and Supplies - $1,969
  • Room & Board - $17,752
  • Other - $3,291


San Diego State University is a member of the California State University system. As such, it enjoys a strong academic reputation which is supported by educational statistics that include its retention rate, graduation rate, and student-to-faculty ratio. These numbers provide an objective measure with which students and their families can assess the institution. There are surely other personal factors that enter into one's educational decisions.

SDSU officials report that for their first-time, full-time students, 89% return to campus for a second year. This is nearly matched by their first-time, part-time students, who post a retention rate of 82%. That statistic reflects that students and their families are satisfied with their professors, curriculum, and the overall campus resources. In fact, most students stick around, work hard, and 73% graduate within six years. Around 40% receive diplomas in four years and a total of 77% complete degrees within eight years.

These terrific numbers can be attributed to many factors. However, one of the chief indicators of a strong, satisfactory educational experience is the student-to-faculty ratio. SDSU posts a ratio of 27 students for every one faculty member. Given that SDSU is home to 30,000 undergraduates, this is quite a feat.

Student Population Total

Student Population 35,544

Evening Classes : Yes
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Business Majors 1,756 Total Graduates / 22%
Business Administration and Management, General 1,579 Graduates
International Business/Trade/Commerce 97 Graduates
Hospitality Administration/Management, General 80 Graduates
All Engineering Majors 714 Total Graduates / 9%
Mechanical Engineering 264 Graduates
Civil Engineering, General 137 Graduates
Electrical and Electronics Engineering 106 Graduates
Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical/Space Engineering 87 Graduates
All Social Sciences Majors 712 Total Graduates / 9%
Economics, General 202 Graduates
Sociology 137 Graduates
Political Science and Government, General 110 Graduates
International Relations and National Security Studies, Other 94 Graduates
All Psychology Majors 531 Total Graduates / 6%
Psychology, General 531 Graduates
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs 476 Total Graduates / 6%
Speech Communication and Rhetoric 238 Graduates
Journalism 116 Graduates
Radio and Television 87 Graduates
Health Communication 35 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 47%

Outcome & Salary

Not only do students and their families need to understand the financial cost of a SDSU education but they need some assurance that their investment will pay off. While the value of an education encompasses many subjective factors that change even over the course of a single lifetime, entry-level salaries are always a point of interest. SDSU students do quite well in this regard. Of the top-ten earning majors from the university, the registered nurses do the best, reporting a median salary of $85,000. Rounding out the top ten are the international business majors, who start their careers with a median salary of $42,000. The remaining, top-earning majors tend to be either from the engineering departments or the business school.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $55,100
College Grads Average Salary $73,051
College Grads Mid Career Salary $102,800
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $730,510
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,758,510
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $57,996
10 Year Projected ROI $672,514
20 Year Projected ROI $1,700,514
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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