2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog


California Lutheran University seeks students who possess qualities of intellect and character, which will enable them to benefit from and contribute to the university community. Each applicant is judged on individual merit without regard for race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, age or national or ethnic origin.

Cal Lutheran maintains an admission office staffed with trained, professional admission counselors who are available to assist students with the college application process. People seeking admission to Cal Lutheran should contact the Office of Undergraduate Admission.

Prospective students and their family members are invited and encouraged to visit the campus. Efforts are made to arrange a campus tour, class visitations and/or meetings with professors or coaches according to the interests of the visitor.

The Office of Undergraduate Admission is open, except during holidays, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m., and select Saturdays throughout the year by appointment only. Visitors should contact the Office of Undergraduate Admission at least two weeks prior to their visit so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

Application Procedures for First-Year and Transfer Students

International students should follow the procedures listed below. Any additional requirements are listed under the catalog section “Admission of International Students.”

1. Application for Admission
Students should complete an application for admission (including essay) through the Common Application with the nonrefundable $25 application fee. Fall application deadlines are as follows.

For First-Year Applicants:

Deadline to apply for Spring Semester Entry: October 15

Deadline to apply for Early Action: November 15

Deadline to apply for Regular Decision: January 15

For Transfer Applicants:
Priority Deadline for Fall semester admission: March 15

Regular Admission Deadline for Fall Semester: June 1        

Spring Application Deadline: October 1

2. Transcripts
An official transcript from the high school issuing the diploma is required of first-year applicants. First-Year applicants must have their most recent high school transcript sent, followed by a final transcript upon graduation. In addition, if a first-year applicant attended a college or university, all official transcripts must be submitted for review.

Transfer applicants must have a transcript sent from each college/university attended. Transfer applicants with fewer than 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours of transferable college credit must submit a high school transcript.

U.S. federal government regulations on financial aid awarding require that a transcript showing proof of high school graduation or the equivalent be sent to Cal Lutheran before enrolling.

3. Test Scores
Beginning with the cohort applying for Fall of 2021, California Lutheran University implemented a test-optional policy. First-Year students seeking undergraduate admission have the option to indicate if they wish for their test scores to be considered as part of their application.

First-Year applicants that indicate “No. I am applying test-optional,” will not will not have their ACT or SAT scores considered in the application review process, regardless of how they are reported. Once a student’s application is under review, no further changes can be made to their application regarding their test optional status.

Transfer applicants with fewer than 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours of transferable college credit may be asked to submit scores from the SAT or ACT if available. TOEFL or IELTS scores may be required of international transfer applicants (see “Admission of International Students”).

Arrangements to take any of these tests or order additional score reports can be made by contacting:  

SAT - www.collegeboard.org
(866) 630-9305

ACT - www.act.org
(319) 337-1000

TOEFL - www.toefl.org
IELTS - www.ielts.org

4. Recommendations
First-Year applicants must submit one letter of recommendation from a high school teacher, principal or guidance counselor.
Transfer applicants must submit a recommendation from a college professor.

5. Additional Information
In addition to the required essay, personal information (excluding information pertaining to certified learning, physical or other disabilities protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act) that may have affected the applicant’s previous academic performance may be included with the application or discussed personally with a Cal Lutheran admission counselor.

6. Notification of Admission Decisions
1st Year applicants: Cal Lutheran offers a nonbinding Early Action Plan whereby students completing applications by November 15 will be notified by mid-January. Students who have their application complete by the Regular Decision deadline of January 15 will be notified by April 1.  Students who complete their files after January 15 are reviewed on a space-available basis.

Transfer applicants: Transfer applicants who submit all required application materials by the Priority Transfer Deadline of March 15, will be notified by April 30. Transfer applications received between March 16 and the June 1 Transfer deadline will be notified within four weeks of submitting all required application materials. Students who complete their files after June 1 are reviewed on a space-available basis.

An initial review of the file may result in a request for additional information to be sent prior to a final decision being made. Accepted students are asked to submit a nonrefundable $450 enrollment deposit no later than May 1 to secure their place in the class. Extensions may be granted upon request to the Director of Undergraduate Admission. 

Right to Withdraw Offer of Admission

By applying for admission to California Lutheran University, applicants certify that the information they provide in their applications is their own work and, to the best of their knowledge, is complete and accurate. As also noted in the application materials, California Lutheran University reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission under certain circumstances, including but not limited to:

  1. If there is a significant drop in academic performance, a failure to graduate (in the applicant's current program), or a failure to satisfy a prerequisite or condition of admission;
  2. If there has been a misrepresentation in or a violation of any of the terms of the application process; or
  3. Discovery of prior conduct by the applicant that is inconsistent with California Lutheran University’s mission and values, including its commitment to build a nurturing and inclusive community.

Admission of First-Year Students

Students accepted for admission to Cal Lutheran should have completed a college preparatory program with above-average achievement. The following high school course pattern is required as a minimum: four years of English, three of mathematics (through Algebra II), two of foreign language, two of social studies and two of lab science. Applications from promising students who have not completed such a college preparatory program will be reviewed on an individual basis by the Admission Committee.

In addition to the measurement of achievement and aptitude as indicated on transcripts and test scores, other factors considered in the admission process include: recommendations; excellence in co-curricular activities; high achievement in the visual or performing arts; and initiative and seriousness of purpose as evidenced through work, travel experiences or contributions to home, church, community and school.

Students who are denied admission as first-year students are encouraged to reapply  transfer admission. To apply as a transfer applicant, refer to the catalog section "Admission of Transfer Students."

Admission of Transfer Students

Cal Lutheran welcomes students who wish to transfer after completing work at other accredited colleges or universities. Admission will be based upon the quality of previous work attempted. The transfer applicant must also be in good standing at their previous college.

Transfer applicants will be required to attend another accredited two- or four-year post-secondary college or university, and successfully complete a minimum of two semesters of full-time academic study (30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours) with a minimum of a 2.75 transferable GPA. In addition, students must complete Freshman English Composition with a grade of C or better and complete Intermediate Algebra or higher to be eligible for admission.

If the transfer applicant’s record is deficient in meeting the admission requirements, the Admission Committee may require further evidence of the applicant’s ability to complete a program successfully.

Transfer applicants with fewer than 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours of credit will be evaluated under the requirements for 1st Year admission. Students interested in transferring with less than 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours must provide final high school transcripts and course registration at their current college or university.

Admission of International Students

The credentials of an international undergraduate applicant — any student who does not hold a U.S. passport or a permanent resident visa (green card) for the United States — are evaluated in accordance with the general regulations governing admission.

Each student is required to submit to the Office of Undergraduate Admission an application, official English certified transcripts, personal essay, letter of recommendation and proof of English proficiency. SAT/ACT examination results are optional. 

Applicants from countries whose primary language is not English are required to take any one of the following English language exams: Duolingo English Test with a minimum score of 110; Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum Internet-based score of 79; the International English Language test (IELTS) with a minimum score of 6.5, or the Pearson Test of English (PTE) with a minimum score of 54. 

Students who successfully complete the university's designated English language affiliate program, or students who have studied in a U.S. high school for four years or have completed two years of English composition at another accredited U.S. college or university may request a waiver of the proof of English proficiency requirement.

In addition, international students who have been admitted to Cal Lutheran must submit proof of sufficient funds to meet their educational expenses while studying at Cal Lutheran before a Form I-20 can be issued. The Certificate of Financial Support should be submitted, with appropriate financial documents, to meet both Cal Lutheran and U.S. federal government requirements of proof of financial status for international students.

Deferral Policy

Cal Lutheran does not allow students to defer admission. Previously admitted students have up to a year to reactivate their original application. If it has been more than a year the student will be required to complete a new application. Updated transcripts are required for new coursework that has been completed. Reactivated applications are considered with a new pool of applicants so a different admission decision could be reached. If admitted again, we will attempt to match the student's original financial aid offer.

Readmission of Former Cal Lutheran Students

A current Cal Lutheran student who has not been enrolled in classes for two or more consecutive semesters and who wishes to return must apply for readmission through the Registrar’s Office of Academic Services.

If the student has attended any other colleges or universities during the absence from Cal Lutheran, an official transcript (showing good standing) must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office for review, along with the Readmit Interest Form. A student’s financial aid package, including scholarships, is subject to review upon readmission to the university. 

Students readmitted to the university may complete requirements under the Cal Lutheran catalog in effect at the time of initial attendance if they have both criteria: 1) two or less courses to complete in their major and 2) the original start term is within 10 years of the readmit date. For separation of more than two years, the catalog in effect at the time of readmission will be applicable.

Readmission of Service Members  

As a Yellow Ribbon university, Cal Lutheran is committed to making a quality education possible for our military members. Cal Lutheran acknowledges that our students who are active duty U.S. Military service members may be required to take a leave of absence for military service. In accordance with federal regulations (CFR) 34, 668.18, California Education Code 66023 and the Federal Register CFR 34, section 668.18, Cal Lutheran will promptly readmit a service member to the academic program that was interrupted due to military service obligation.


The readmission policy applies to servicemembers who perform service in the uniformed services, whether voluntary or involuntary, in the Armed Forces, including service as a member of the National Guard or Reserve, on active duty, active duty for training, or full-time National Guard duty under Federal authority (but not State authority), for a period of more than 30 consecutive days under a call or order to active duty of more than 30 consecutive days. The cumulative length of absence due to military service may not exceed five years.

Tuition and Fees

A returning student who is eligible for service member readmission will be charged the same tuition and fees that were in effect during the academic year that the student last attended, unless veteran or military education benefits will pay the higher tuition and fees that other students in the program are paying in the current academic year. In subsequent years or for a different program, tuition and fees will be assessed at the same rate that other students in the program are charged.

Procedures and Requirements

An eligible service member must submit a leave of absence form with documentation verifying active service in advance as possible to the Registrar’s Office. Notification to the Veteran Resource Office is recommended.

Returning students who have been in absence for greater than one year should contact the Graduate Admission Office to complete a readmission application. Students returning from a leave of absence of less than one year are not required to submit a readmission application but will need to contact the Registrar’s Office to reactivate their student status. After reactivation, students should contact their program director or specialist for course registration advisement, and contact the Veteran Resource Office to complete benefits certification.

Readmission will apply to the next available class(es) for the program in which the service member was originally admitted to. Some circumstances may require Cal Lutheran to admit the service member at a later date. Cal Lutheran will make all reasonable efforts to admit and prepare the servicemember to resume the program at the next available term. 

The service member will be readmitted with the same academic status as they had when last attending the university to the program under which he/she was originally admitted unless the program is no longer offered. In such cases, Cal Lutheran will make every reasonable effort to admit the student into the most similar program.

Per federal regulations, the readmission of service members policy does not apply to returning students who have been discharged from the Armed Forces, including National Guard or Reserve, due to dishonorable or bad conduct. Service members who have received a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge and have not been actively enrolled for more than a year may apply for readmission to the university without the benefits outlined in this policy.

Minimum Age Requirement

Any student seeking admission to the institution must possess a high school diploma, or equivalent, and meet a minimum age of 16 by the time of enrollment at the institution. 

In cases where an applicant is or will be age 16 at the time of enrollment, the Admission Committee reserves the right to require an admission interview, as well as request three (3) Letters of Recommendation in total from academic sources. 

Consideration is based upon the judgment of the Admission Committee as to the likelihood of academic preparedness and success for undergraduate study at the institution.

Admission as a Non-degree Student

Individuals not interested in pursuing a degree may be admitted as non-degree-seeking students. This student is not a candidate for a degree from Cal Lutheran but may enroll in courses for credit. They may subsequently become a candidate for a degree by successfully completing the standard undergraduate admission process. Non-degree students are not eligible for Cal Lutheran financial assistance and must submit payment for the class (on a per-credit basis) prior to registering for their class(es). A maximum of 12 units may be taken at Cal Lutheran under this status. Non-degree students may not enroll in an Independent Study or Internship.

(International non-degree students may not attend Cal Lutheran for more than two semesters and must be full-time students.) 

An inquiry form for non-degree status is available on the Registrar website.

Admission of High School Students

High school students of superior ability may apply for enrollment into selected courses. Students must submit an inquiry form for non-degree status along with consent and recommendation of the high school counselor or teacher.  Course availability for high school students will be determined by the Registrar's Office through instructor approval. 

Admission of Re-entry Students

Applicants who have not been enrolled in a college/university for five or more years may be considered for admission on a case by case basis. Each application will be reviewed by the Admission Committee and evaluated in light of the alternate supplementary material that is made available.

Admission of Homeschooled Students

The academic potential of homeschooled students is evaluated the same as applicants from public or private schools. Students who are homeschooled must complete the following requirements to be considered for admission:

  • Students are encouraged to submit external assessments including, but not limited to, standardized testing, AP/IB scores, university level course work.
  • Homeschooled students are encouraged to submit passing test scores on the GED (General Equivalency Diploma). The GED test results determine core course units. Exam results must be sent to the Office of Undergraduate Admission, directly from the GED test center.
  • Homeschooled students are also encouraged to complete an interview with a Cal Lutheran admission counselor prior to submitting his or her application.
  • The primary teacher/administrator of the home school may be asked to provide:
    • A typed transcript (semester format) of the courses the student completed in the home school environment. Grades or averages earned in each course must be included on the transcript. A curriculum synopsis of the courses that parallel Cal Lutheran’s core course requirements may be requested. The synopsis should include a brief description (paragraph) of each of these courses.
    • Textbook information listed by course (including titles and authors). Students who have taken courses in foreign language must include a description of how they learned the verbal component of the language (i.e., tutor, tapes). The home school administrator also should provide a detailed description of how the applicant fulfilled the natural science laboratory requirement.
    • Students who completed courses in a school other than their home school (traditional high school and/or college) must also submit an official copy of their academic transcript from this school.

Please note: Additional supporting documents may be requested by the university to assist officials in making an admission decision.

Placement and Advanced Credit Standing

Students may petition for placement or credit in subjects in which they may have established college-level competence. Methods of challenging include end-of-course examinations, College Level Examination Program (CLEP), standardized tests approved by individual departments, GCR A-Level Examinations, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate examinations.

Cal Lutheran recognizes the quality of A-Level courses and examinations. Transfer credits may be awarded based on a review of the student's official score report.

A maximum of 32 credits by exam may be applied to the degree; eight upper-division units can be included in this total.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

Cal Lutheran recognizes the quality of the International Baccalaureate program and awards up to four semester hours of credit for each Higher Level examination score of 4 or higher. Subsidiary Level examinations will not be considered for credit.

Advanced Placement (AP)

Students who have taken an advanced placement course of the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) in their secondary school and who have taken the Advanced Placement Examination of CEEB may receive credit. The credit awarded depends on the score a student receives and the subject in which the exam was taken. When official scores are received by the University directly from CEEB, credit is awarded as indicated in the shaded AP area.

Advanced Placement Credit

AP Examination Grade Units (credit in appropriate courses) Course Equivalents
Art: 2D Design Studio (General) 3,4,5 3 Art Elective (major) & IDEAS Creative Arts
Art: Studio-Drawing 3,4,5 3 ART 160
Art: History of Art 3,4,5 3 ART 111
Biology 3 0 Exempt from IDEAS - Natural Science
Biology 4 4 BIOL 111 or Biol 121
Biology 5 6 BIOL 120, BIOL 121
Chemistry 3 0 Exempt from IDEAS - Natural Science
Chemistry 4 4 CHEM 151, CHEM 151L
Chemistry 5 4 CHEM 151, CHEM 151L
Computer Science A 3 4 CSC 110
Computer Science A 4,5 4 CSC 210
Computer Science AB 3 4 CSC 110
Computer Science AB 4,5 4 CSC 210
Economics: Mic 4,5 3 ECON 200
Economics: Mac. 4,5 3 ECON 201
English: Lang & Comp 3 0 ENGL 110
English: Lang & Comp 4,5 3 ENGL 111
English: Lit & Comp 3 0 ENGL 110
English: Lit & Comp 4 3 IDEAS Humanities - English
English: Lit & Comp 5 4 IDEAS Humanities - English
Environmental Science 4,5 4 EES 152, EES 152L
Foreign Language: French 3 0 Exempt from Fren 101
Foreign Language: French 4,5 4 FREN 101
Foreign Language: Spanish 3 0 Exempt from Span 101
Foreign Language: Spanish 4,5 4 SPAN 101
Foreign Language: German 3 0 Exempt from For. Lang. req.
Foreign Language: German 4 4 Exempt from For. Lang. req. & credit in 201
Foreign Language: German 5 8 GERM 101, GERM 102
Foreign Language: Other Lang. 3 0 Exempt from 1st semester
Foreign Language: Other Lang. 4,5 4 1st semester language
Government & Politics 4,5 4 POLS 102 or Pols 222 (major)
History: American 4 0 Exempt from 1 IDEAS Humanities in History
History: American 5 3 HIST 121 or Hist 122
History: European 4 0 Exempt from 1 IDEAS Humanities in History
History: European 5 3 HIST 102
Human Geography 3 0 Exempt from IDEAS social science
Human Geography 4,5 3 IDEAS Social Science
Latin 4,5 4 Exempt from IDEAS Foreign Language
Math (Calculus AB or BC only) 3 0 Exempt from IDEAS Math
Math: Calculus AB 4,5 4 MATH 251
Math: Calculus BC 4,5 8 MATH 251, MATH 252
Math: Statistics 4,5 4 IDEAS - Math
Music: Listening & Lit. 4,5 3 MUS 101
Physics: B (non-calc) 4,5 8 PHYS 201 & PHYS 201L, PHYS 202 & PHYS 202L
Physics: C (Mechanics) 4,5 4 PHYS 211 & PHYS 211L
Physics: C (E&M) 4,5 4 PHYS 212 & PHYS 212L
Psychology 3 0 Exempt from Psyc 200 and IDEAS - Social Science
Psychology 4,5 4 PSYC 200