The main campus is located in a wooded area of 163 acres (0.7 km²) with several ponds and a beautiful lake in the north-central part of Clayton County in suburban south metro Atlanta. The campus is located fifteen minutes from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, with commuter bus directly to the campus and future commuter rail.
Clayton State maintains a satellite campus in Peachtree City. Since 1991, Clayton State’s Spivey Hall enjoys recognition as one of the world's best concert halls, presenting jazz, classical music and all manner of musical entertainment to Metro Atlanta and Central Georgia Audiences. Clayton State is a Division II NCAA Sports Powerhouse - In the fall of 2005, the Men and Women's Soccer teams swept the Peach Belt Conference Championships, possessing top-performing basketball, cross-country, tennis and additional sports programs.
CSU's Business and Nursing Schools, as well as the Professional College enjoy brilliant national and state-wide reputations. The Harry S. Downs Continuing Education Center is home to multiple language programs along with many personal growth programs and some technical education programs. The Downs Center, along with Spivey Hall, are superior venues for conferences and special events of all sorts, overlooking the main campus lake, where beautiful swans glide on the tranquil waters.
CSU was originally founded in 1969, and was originally known as Clayton Junior College. When the school became a four year institution in 1986, the institute took on the name Clayton State College. In 1996, the Georgia Board of Regents renamed many higher-ed institutions, with the institute becoming Clayton College and State University. In 2004, the go ahead for developing a masters program was given by the Board of Regents. In 2005, in anticipation of its first masters program, the name was changed to Clayton State University, reflecting both the masters program and eliminating the confusion of the prior name. This was the fourth name change in its forty year history with four presidents. The masters program was formally approved in November 2005 and is now part of the School of Graduate Studies that guides four masters programs including the MALS, an MBA, an MHA and an MSN.
In Fall of 2008, CSU opened their first on-campus housing named Laker Hall, with capacity for 451 beds.
While one-third of the students are under 22, the median age is 29 and the University is recognized for two-thirds of its students being non-traditional, adult learners.
The 2003 US News & World Report ranking of colleges identified Clayton State as having the most diverse student body population among comprehensive baccalaureate-level colleges and universities in the Southeastern United States.
All students are required to own or have access to a laptop computer, regardless of major or status.
One of the biggest concerns of this implementation was what it would do to enrollment, as to be able to provide a laptop computer to a student, the technology fee for the campus was increased from $38 to $300. Students were not thrilled about the $300 fee, however, they continued to come. In addition, it attracted other students just by the nature of the project.
The program was not without problems. The initial distribution of the notebooks was a trying experience, involving a line which stretched through most of one of the main campus buildings. Since the college only had enough notebooks for the students and faculty with a handful of spares, repairs relied upon students returning their laptops when they were no longer enrolled - which did not always happen. However, the bigger problem was financial on both the student and college side. As the laptops aged, their worth went down. Arsys, the chosen low-bidder, had not provided the greatest service making a refresh of the notebooks a costly and risky move. It did not take the students long to figure out that if they paid $300 a term, they would pay more in the fee than the machine was worth, and would not have a machine when they left the college.
The college worked with vendors to have "Preferred Vendors". These were vendors who authorized the campus help desk (The Hub) to work on the laptops. This allowed the students to have their problems resolved on campus instead of having to send a machine off for service. It also allowed The Hub to obtain parts on behalf of the students. This list originally included Compaq, Dell, Acer, and Gateway. Currently only Dell and Lenovo are still preferred vendors.