California State University, Northridge

California State University, Northridge (also known as CSUN, Cal State Northridge) is a public university in the San Fernando Valley, within the city limits of Los Angeles, California, USA. Part of the California State University system, CSUN was founded in 1958 as San Fernando Valley State College and adopted its current name in 1972. It has become one of the largest universities in California.

CSUN offers a variety of programs leading to bachelor's degrees in 61 fields and master's degrees in 42 fields. The university has over 150,000 alumni. It's also home to a summer musical theater/theater program known as TADW (TeenAge Drama Workshop) that leads teenagers through an intensive 6-week training of the fine arts.

Cal State Northridge is home to the National Center on Deafness, and each year the university hosts the International Conference on Technology and Persons with Disabilities.


Instruction at CSUN is offered through nine colleges:

  • Mike Curb College of Arts, Media & Communication
  • College of Business & Economics
  • Michael D. Eisner College of Education
  • College of Engineering & Computer Science
  • College of Health & Human Development
  • College of Humanities
  • College of Science & Mathematics
  • College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
  • Roland Tseng College of Extended Learning

Cal State Northridge faculty have been recognized for their high quality. Eight faculty members have been awarded prestigious Guggenheim Fellowships for research and creative activity, while 59 have won Fulbright awards to conduct research or teach abroad.

The university draws its freshmen from the top one-third of California high school graduates. CSUN's admissions program is rated as "less selective" in most major fields, but admissions to "impacted" majors, such as accounting, finance, music, computer science and cinema and television are more selective. Nearly eight in 10 CSUN students rate the university's quality of instruction as good or excellent, and the same share say CSUN was their first choice of a university to attend.

The Roland Tseng College of Extended Learning is a division within the university aimed at addressing the educational needs of mid career professionals. The college develops and offers study opportunities which are designed to ensure that the individuals, communities and organizations served by the university achieve their lifelong learning goals.


Recent rankings

According to the National Science Foundation's June 2006 Survey, Cal State Northridge ranks second in the nation, only behind Cal State Long Beach, among more than 550 master's-level colleges and universities in graduating students who went on to earn doctoral degrees (according to data of 1995-2004).

In its May 9, 2006 issue, Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education featured CSUN in its list of the nation's top 100 universities for awarding bachelor's degrees. CSUN was in the top 10 with second in the nation for awarding bachelor's degrees to Hispanics in Hispanic studies; fourth in psychology and home economics; fifth in social services; sixth in area studies, visual and performing arts and communications; eighth in English literature; and ninth in business and marketing.

U.S. News and World Report's 2005 "America's Best Colleges" list ranked CSUN's College of Engineering and Computer Science among the nation's best undergraduate engineering programs at 39th, tied with seven out-of-state institutions. This is an improvement as the same list ranked the college in 40th place the previous year. Northridge is one of only six California State University programs in the top ranked tier of engineering programs accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

In recent times its college of business and economics was ranked a top tier business school ranked 31st between public institutions nationwide in the U.S. NEWS Nov. 2006 edition.

Open Doors 2006, an annual report on international educational exchange, records CSUN’s climb from sixth to second place among U.S. master’s level institutions hosting students from foreign countries.

The Music Department is ranked amongst the top 25 accredited university programs in the nation, boasting an array of options beyond the typical "music major", such as music therapy, music industry, music performance, and jazz studies. In June of 2003 the university's acclaimed choral group, the Northridge Singers, took the top prize in the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod and the title "Choir of the World

Past rankings

In 1997, the National Science Foundation ranked Cal State Northridge first in the nation among 529 master's colleges and universities for producing undergraduates who go on to obtain doctoral degrees in science and engineering fields.


The California State University, Northridge's Oviatt Library provides educational, cultural and information services and resources to the students and faculty. Its primary mission is to support and supplement classroom and independent learning; facilitate student and faculty research; and provide students with lifelong skills in identifying, locating, evaluating and synchronizing information.

All library materials are housed in the Delmar T. Oviatt Library, a state-of-the-art facility. There are over 1,600 seats for in-house study. Of note are the Collaboratory with its 170 multipurpose computer workstations, 3 computer equipped library instruction labs, and 200 computer workstations devoted to library information resources. Specially equipped computer workstations are located throughout the Library for individuals with disabilities, including four assistive technology equipped study rooms for students. During Fall and Spring semesters, the building is open 90 hours a week. The Library maintains its own server and web pages providing access to electronic information 24 hours a day. The library also maintains its own AS/RS (Automatic Storage and Retrieval System).

The Oviatt Library has a physical collection containing 1.3 million volumes, of which over one million are books, and over 245,000 bound periodical volumes. The Library subscribes to 25,000 online journals, 1,779 print journals, 200 online databases and more than 13,000 ebooks. The microform collection contains 3.1 million pieces. There are over 12,500 sound recordings, 10,000 film and video recordings and nearly 60,000 pictures and other graphic materials. The Special Collections & Archives' holdings exceed 4,000 linear feet of materials. The library also has a large collection of materials on Human Sexuality. In addition, the Teacher's Curriculum Center provides a circulating collection of curricular materials for education students and local educators.

The Library is heavily used with 8.2 million uses of its web pages annually, an annual gate count of 1.4 million, and over a half a million interactions per year with Library personnel.

Other campus departments and centers with collections:

  • The Aronstam Library, devoted to communication studies research and scholarship for Communication Studies Department undergraduate, graduate, and faculty members
  • The National Center on Deafness Library, housed in Chisolm Hall
  • The Geography Department's Map Library, housed in Sierra Hall

Groups and Organizations

Living Learning Communities

CSUN dorms are divided into several fields of related student's interests. These dorm buildings are called Living Learning Communities. One of the most prominent LLC is the Cinema and Television Arts (CTVA) located at Bayberry Building 8. In these LLC's students can learn together and create their own projects. They were recently rebuilt for more stability.

United Campus Ministries

United Campus Ministries (UCM) is a governing body over other campus ministries on the CSUN campus. The groups include Campus Crusade for Christ, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and Hope Fellowship, among others.

Every spring the UCM and the other Christian ministries host Jesus Week on the campus. These ministries are on campus to allow for students on campus to come together in fellowship as well as to spread the gospel to the campus.

Traditional festivities

Native Americans have used the campus to converge on for ceremonies, on a yearly basis.

The drama department celebrates year-end by staging the local version of Yosemite's Bracebridge Dinner. The artistic events that occur on the campus are often very distinguished and popular. Also, the university has a highly regarded music department with an assortment of acclaimed performance ensembles, among which notably is the jazz band. "Matador Nights" are hosted throughout the school year, during this event there is music, food and games. The Associated Students holds an annual full-scale headlining concert known as the Big Show. The headlining acts have been as follows:

2008 - Ludacris - 2007 - Neyo 2006 - Common 2005 - Jimmy Eat World 2004 - The Ataris 2003 - Unwritten Law 2002 - 2001 -

CSUN Jazz Studies

As part of its Jazz Studies curriculum, CSUN's Department of Music features a world-class jazz band. The Jazz 'A' Band has garnered a reputation as one of the more prominent university jazz bands in the country. In recent years, the Jazz 'A' Band has made several overseas tours, including appearances in Europe and China, and has built an eclectic international following.

Alex Iles was the jazz and trombone instructor in this department but retired the beginning of the 2007 fall semester. He was replaced with Bob McChesney who also plays trombone and is the author of the most popular exercise book to learn the technique of "doodle tonging."

Community services

  • KCSN radio
  • Daily Sundial - college newspaper

The Daily Sundial is the university's financially independent and student-run newspaper publication. Staff writers and editors of the 8,000-circulation daily publication are typically juniors and seniors in the school's Journalism Department, and the staff is generally around 50 people during the fall and spring semesters. There is also a weekly summer edition published between June and August.

The first edition of the Daily Sundial begin in 1958 just as the university was established and had recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.

The Sundial competes annually in the Society of Professional Journalists and Hearst journalism award competitions, where it has won several awards. The newspaper is criticized by some members of the campus population, and one of the school's most famous professors once called it the "Scumdial" — and the name stuck (missing citation, not verifiable). An underground paper, "The Moondial", circulated briefly in 1995.

  • Matador TV - college Television station

Matador TV is broadcasted throughout the CSUN dorms on channel 6.

The Communicating Common Ground project is designed to alleviate tensions between the Latino and Armenian student populations. The community service learning project represents a coordinated effort between CSUN's Communication Studies department and Grant High School.

CSUN Model United Nations

The Political Science Department's Model United Nations received first-place honors at the National Model United Nations Conference of 2000, 2007, and 2008 in New York. The CSUN Model United Nations Program is one of the best in the nation.

CSUN Speech & Debate

The CSUN Speech and Debate Society is an intercollegiate forensics program committed to excellence. The team consists of both Inter-Collegiate policy debate and individual events and travels throughout the state and country.


CSUN fields 18 sports at the NCAA Division I level. The mascot for CSUN is the Matador, which was suggested in 1958 by student submissions. The Matador was chosen over the other four finalists, the Apollos, Falcons, Rancheros and Titans. The Matador is said to reflect the region's Hispanic heritage. CSUN fields both men's and women's teams in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming, track and field, and volleyball. CSUN has a men's baseball team, and women's softball, tennis, and water polo teams. Currently, Men's Soccer is the powerhouse of the school, reaching the NCAA 3rd Round in the 2005-2006 season, knocking out Big West Conference rival UC Santa Barbara in the 2nd Round. However, both the men's and women's Track & Field teams won Big West titles in 2007. In 1978, 1979 and 1980, the women's outdoor track and field team won AIAW national championships.

The University was a significant contender in west coast collegiate fencing during the 1970s under the guidance of head coach Muriel Bower, first woman fencing master in the United States. She has been inducted into CSUN's Hall of Fame

CSUN was a member of the Big Sky Conference until 2001. The men's basketball team won the Big Sky in its final season. there. CSUN joined the Big West Conference in 2001. It also dropped football in 2001. The football team played at the North Campus Stadium. The Matadome, which has a capacity of 1,600 seats, is where the men's and women's basketball and volleyball teams play. CSUN has several sports clubs including ice hockey, water skiing, karate,Hip Hop Dance Team,and cheerleading squad which placed 2nd in the small co-ed cheer division at the United Spirit Association Nationals in February 2008. The hockey team is emerging as a popular team on campus, being the only contact sport at the University and offering exciting and fun games to watch to the non-traditional hockey locale.

Student Organizations

CSUN is a very multicultural university, which is evident in the multitude of ethnic and cultural student organizations that have formed root nearly a quarter century ago. Some of them are the CSUN Armenian Student Association, founded in 1976; CSUN Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlan, founded in 1968; and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Alliance (LGBTA), founded in 1972.

The University is also home to many fraternal organizations including eleven North-American Interfraternity Conference members and six National Panhellenic Conference members. The campus also has seven United Sorority and Fraternity Council members, two Armenian Greek Council members, seven National Pan-Hellenic Council members, and two Christian fraternal organizations Alpha Lambda Mu Lambda Psi.

The eleven North-American Interfraternity Conference houses at CSUN are**:

The six National Panhellenic Conference houses at CSUN are:

United Sorority & Fraternity Council

Christian Fraternities & Sororities

There are also many independent fraternities, such as Beta Gamma Nu, which was founded at CSUN in 1998.

In addition, there are two main 'Deaf Greeks' on campus - Alpha Sigma Theta sorority, and Lambda Sigma Pi fraternity. Both organizations are always actively recruiting new members, as long as the person is willing to have American Sign Language as the primary mode of communication within the organization. Both organizations have been active for more than 15 years at CSUN.


The campus includes some points of interest.

  • California State University Northridge Botanic Garden
  • One of the few remaining orange groves in the San Fernando Valley is found on campus. The large eucalyptus trees at the edge of the campus have survived development attempts by campus designers.
  • The Robotics program features a FIRST robot designed by Team 599, the Robot Doctors or RoboDox of nearby Granada Hills High School known as the D.O.C.T.O.R.
  • The CSUN sculpture was designed by John Banks while attending the school in 1976. It was designed so that travelers approaching the campus from the east, (via the San Diego (405) Freeway, for example) will see an abstract sculpture at the edge of the orange grove at the northwest corner of Nordhoff St. and Zelzah Ave, which can be read from several directions as an acronym for the university. This sculpture is an impossible shape, and does not read as CSUN from a northwest view, although that area is covered with trees and is not often walked upon.

National Center on Deafness

The National Center on Deafness was established in 1978 as a way to serve students with hearing loss at the university. Support services such as sign language interpreters, real-time captioners, and notetakers are coordinated from this center, as well as serving as a location of academic advisement and gathering of hearing impaired students. For the 2008 Fall semster, approximately 200 students with hearing loss are served by the National Center on Deafness.

Northridge earthquake

The campus was heavily damaged by the 1994 earthquake, including entire sections of the main library, art building, etc., but classes continued in alternative structures. The art courtyard survived. Among the structures that were considered too heavily damaged for repair were the Fine Arts building, which was designed by Richard Neutra, and the South Library, which was the oldest permanent building on campus. The parking structure next to the Matadome was completely destroyed, and is currently a grass field used for kinesiology instruction, though the driveway formerly used to enter the structure is still visible from Zelzah Avenue. As of August 22, 2007, the University has completed the rebuilding project.

In the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge earthquake, CSUN civil engineering faculty and students enthusiastically took part in the research of earthquake and wind protection of building structures , in particular, in the field of seismic performance, vibration control, base isolation and Earthquake Protector.

Envision 2035

California State University trustees on March 15, 2006 voted their unanimous approval of Envision 2035, the Cal State Northridge planning initiative that will help frame the university’s physical development for the next several decades. The vote approved the revised master plan as well as an increase in the campus’ master plan enrollment capacity from 25,000 to 35,000 fulltime equivalent students (FTEs). That growth is equivalent to 1.6 percent annual growth over 30 years. The trustees also certified the final environmental impact report on the plan.

Specifically, the plan defines sites for about of future campus academic and support facilities to accommodate the increased FTE enrollment. Near-term projects will include a 1,700-seat performing arts center; a arts, media and communications complex; a parking structure for nearly 2,000 spaces and a centrally located mass transit hub for students, faculty, staff and community members. It also proposes the development of about 600 on-campus faculty/staff housing units, mostly on the North Campus, and allows for student housing, parking and transportation sufficient to handle enrollment growth while maintaining desirable open space.

Film and television shoots

Because of its proximity to Hollywood, the campus has been featured in dozens of films and television shows, including CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Commander in Chief, Van Wilder, Six Feet Under, The Karate Kid, Battlestar Galactica, The Office, McMillan and Wife, Son In Law, Bring It On Again, The Glass Bottom Boat, Legally Blonde 2, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Roswell, The Nick Cannon Show, Quincy, M.E., Georgia Rule, and Sky High (where the Oviatt Library is prominently featured). Recently, the Barry Levinson directed What Just Happened (2008) filmed at the Oviatt Library and featured Robert DeNiro and Sean Penn. The pilot of the remake of the television series "Knight Rider" (2008) filmed a car chase on campus, acting as Stanford University. During spring break 2008, the library acted as Starfleet Academy for Star Trek (film) (2009).

Notable alumni and former students



External links

Search another word or see semsteron Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature