California State University, Sonoma

About the Institution

Sonoma State University is a member of the 23 campus California State University System. Sonoma State University occupies 269 acres in the beautiful wine county of Sonoma County, in Northern California. Sonoma State University is just a 60 minute drive north of San Francisco, 40 minutes from the Pacific Ocean and a 90 minute drive to Sacramento, the California State Capital. Our university is recognized for its beautiful and open space campus. SSU is known as a model for sustainability and has won several national awards for sustainable practices. The University manages 4,000 acres of wilderness preserve where students study sustainable practices.

Sonoma State has over 9,000 students and is recognized as a liberal arts and sciences university. Our medium sized university enrollment provides the means for Sonoma State to keep class sizes small. This translates into students who are well connected to faculty and opportunities to get involved in projects and research in small productive group settings.

The University is comprised of six schools: Arts and Humanities, Business and Economics, Education, Extended & International Education, Social Sciences and Science and Technology. Degrees are offered in 46 majors and 47 minors at the bachelor’s level and 15 at the master’s level. The University offers a joint master’s degree in mathematics with San Francisco State University and a joint doctorate in educational leadership with the University of California, Davis. There are nine credential programs and eight undergraduate and graduate certificate programs. SSU also offers one of the only Wine Business Institutes in the country.

Campus Life & Activities

Greek Life and Campus Clubs: There are currently 17 sororities and six fraternities on campus. Four new local and ethnic sororities were started in the recent years. More than 100 club and organizations are available to accommodate a wide range of interests.

The Jean and Charles Schulz Information Center is named after Peanuts cartoon creator Charles Schulz and his wife. It holds one of the largest libraries in the CSU system and the state of California with more than 400,000 volumes. A unique 750,000-volume automated-retrieval system is one of only four in the country. It also houses a valued collection of Jack London’s writings, original letters and memorabilia.

The 59,000 square foot Recreation Center, designed with high standards for sustainable building methods, houses state-of-the-art aerobic equipment, a climbing wall, exercise and dance studios, two gyms, a large weight lifting and machine area, locker rooms and a spa. Known as a “building that teaches,” the Environmental Technology Center is a demonstration of sustainable architecture and energy efficiency that results in it consuming only 50% of the energy of similar structures.

The 130,000 sq. ft. Student Center opened in November 2014 and on the first two floors houses areas and programs for students such as the Living Room; food venues including the Kitchens, Weyden + Brewster, The Café, and Lobo’s as well as the University store; the HUB; Student activities office; meeting and activity rooms; the Copy Center and the campus post office. The third floor is home to the ballroom, meeting and activity rooms, Overlook restaurant, and the Conference and Event Services, Housing, and Culinary Services office spaces.

The Green Music Center was designed to become one of the great concert halls of the world and is modeled after Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood in Massachusetts (the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra). With its outstanding acoustics and intimate feeling, it attracts well-known artists from all over the world, as well as providing an excellent space for our music majors.

The Cerent Engineering Science Laboratories  house state-of-the-art equipment for research and teaching in computer and engineering sciences and students have unique opportunities to work with high tech companies in the area.

The university also owns and operates the 3 Preserves including the 3,670-acre Galbreath Wildlands Preserve is in southern Mendocino County in the Outer Coast Range, the 450-acre Fairfield Osborn Preserve lies at the top of Sonoma Mountain and the 40-acreLos Guillicos Preserve located in the Valley of the Moon at the foot of Hood Mountain in the Mayacamas Mountain Range- all in Sonoma County.


Student Demographics (2014-2015)

Undergraduate & Graduate

Students Number Percent
Undergraduate 8,615 91%
Graduate 793 9%
Total 9,408 100%



Students Number Percent
Men 3,482 37%
Women 5,926 63%

Ethnic Group

Ethnicity Percent
American Indian or Alaskan Native 0.5%
Asian 4.9%
African American 2.2%
Caucasian 48.6%
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 0.2%
Hispanic 27.6%
Two or More Ethnicities 6.6%
Decline to State 7.3%
Nonresident Aliens 2%
Total 100%


Location Number Percent
California 9,317 99%
Other States 62 0.7%
Other Countries 29 0.3%

ESL Program and Support Programs

Sonoma State University brings together international students from over 40 countries around the world who attend as: English language learners through our SSALI (Sonoma State American Language Institute), exchange, degree seeking, and short term visiting students through Semester at Sonoma program.  Sonoma State University coordinates all programming, support, and advising services for international students as well as all outbound student programs and services, most notably, study abroad and National Student Exchange (domestic exchange program) as well as support and assistance for researching work, intern, and volunteer abroad program opportunities.

For international students currently studying at Sonoma State University, we offer advising and information on how to make their experience at SSU academically and culturally enjoyable! Professional staff and SSU students are here to provide information on the SSU community, American culture and assist international students with conversation, academic transition, and co-curricular exploration! Sonoma State University also partners closely with our internationally focused student club,International Education Exchange Council (IEEC), Sonoma State’s network for all students interested in studying away, currently studying away, or are international or NSE exchange students studying at SSU! IEEC is a student organization, which has regular meetings throughout the year and offers events, resources, and activities for all interested students. Students can “like” our Facebook page for more information and to stay informed about upcoming events and activities. Please

The Sonoma State American Language Institute (SSALI) is an Intensive English language program located on the Sonoma State University campus.

  • The academic program is a professionally designed curriculum for students from high beginning to advanced levels of English proficiency.
  • Students receive instruction in grammar, composition, oral communication, reading & vocabulary.
  • Every class prepares students for the TOEFL/IELTS exam and success in university life.
  • Class size averages 12-15 students. Students get a lot of individual attention.
  • Great diversity in student population.
  • Students study 20 – 25 hours/week. Classes are 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
  • Up-to-date textbooks and multi-media materials are used for instruction.
  • Reading and computer labs which provide opportunities for independent study.
  • Students can select from a variety of special elective classes such as TOEFL Preparation, American Culture & Conversation, Pronunciation, Listening, Idioms & Slang, English through Music.
  • The SSALI faculty are talented, dedicated professionals who really care about their students.
  • Homestay available.
  • Member of EnglishUSA/AAIEP. Accredited by WASC.

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Student Housing Options

With approximately 40 percent of our students living on campus in residence halls and suites, SSU is one of the most residential campuses within the California State University System. The residential community provides some of the most attractive suite-style housing in the area. Non-dormitory suites are served by a dining hall and are clustered in villages, offering students a similar experience to living off campus. Freshmen generally live in residential suites; sophomores and upper-level students in the apartments. Available to all are swimming pools, spas, computer labs, a convenience store, a pizzeria, and outdoor recreational areas. The newest complex, Tuscany Village, opened in Fall 2009.

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Admission requirements

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Cost of Attendance/Financial Assistance

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