1 Harpst Street
Arcata, CA 95521-8299
p. 707-826-3011
w. www.humboldt.edu

Humboldt State University

Humboldt State University Rating: 4.0/5 (65 votes)

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Humboldt State University was founded in 1913 as a normal school and received university status in 1972. HSU is part of the California State University system and is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The university focuses on liberal arts, public service, and the environment, saying in its Vision Statement that “Humboldt State University is a progressive institution that instills learning to make a difference, and attracts students who are driven to improve society…The heart of our curriculum and programs is a commitment to a healthy planet.” It is classed as a Master’s College and University by the Carnegie Institute.


HSU makes no bones about being a progressive school, priding itself on its rural location, outdoor learning opportunities for students and emphasis on making a positive change in the world. Humboldt State has been recognized by the National Science Foundation as ranking #1 in the nation for public, non-PhD granting institutions for Biology/Agriculture, Earth and Ocean Sciences, Mathematics, and Physical Sciences, indicating the University’s emphasis on hands-on, out-of-classroom experiences for students. Humboldt offers nearly fifty undergraduate degrees and almost eighty minors as well as numerous credential and certification programs. The University is home to the largest greenhouse system in the California State system of universities and home to the Telonicher Marine Laboratory and the Coral Sea, a 91-foot research vessel. While the sciences have their place, Humboldt also encourages students who pursue the arts. Humboldt State employs only the best faculty, the majority of which hold the terminal degree in their field and the class size is small.

Humboldt State University has academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level. There are three main academic divisions including the College of Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences, the College of Professional Studies, and the College of Natural Resources and Sciences. There is also an Undergraduate Studies Office for interdisciplinary studies, liberal arts, and undecided majors, and a Graduate Studies program.

Bachelor’s degrees are offered in a variety of fields within the various academic colleges. Degrees at the bachelor’s level can be received in such areas as art, botany, business administration, computer science, forestry, industrial technology, liberal studies, Native American studies, nursing, rangeland resource science, wildlife, and zoology. Programs offered as minors or options include aquaculture, Chinese studies, environmental ethics, forest hydrology, health education, linguistics, social advocacy, and women’s studies.

Graduate programs are offered in more than twenty areas, some with several specializations or concentrations. These include master’s level programs in biology, business, education, English, environment & community, environmental systems, kinesiology, natural resources, psychology, social work, sociology, and theatre arts. There are no doctoral programs.

Most Popular Fields of Study

Unique Programs

The Bachelor of Arts program in Native American Studies leads students to discover the relationship between the United States and Indian Nations in the context of history, politics, sciences, and philosophy. Students acquire a familiarity with the strengths and weaknesses of these areas and an expertise in the various disciplines. The ultimate result is a critical knowledge of the different cultures that comprise Native American history.

Humboldt State University also ranks extremely highly on the list of four-year institutions for mentorship in the fields of Science and Engineering. Students excel particularly in the areas of natural science, including Western Wildlife, Forestry, and Modeling.

There is also a Freshman Interest Group program for new students, which puts small groups of students together for several thematically linked courses during the fall semester. Many of the groups also include a seminar related to the theme.

The Scientific, Recreational, and Leadership Dive program offers diver training programs. Students can take diving as a minor and dive in oceans, lakes, and river, explore kelp forest, and learn how to do scientific diving research.


Humboldt State University relies upon an “eligibility index” to determine if applicants are eligible for the unique education that HSU offers. This index calculates a score based on high school grade point average and test scores, either on the ACT or the SAT. High school grade point average is based on the final three years of high school work in approved college-preparatory courses. The index considers bonus points for a grade of C or better in approved honors courses taken during the junior and senior years of high school, with up to eight semesters of honors courses worth consideration. Applicants who have a minimum high school grade point average are not required to submit test scores, although they are encouraged to do so if they plan to apply to multiple universities.

Humboldt State University has an open undergraduate admissions deadline, and students should check with the school to see if applications are still being accepted. Applications and fees can be submitted on-line. Students who are enrolled in high school at the time of application will need to have their official final high school transcripts sent after graduation to the Admissions Office.

As part of their application, students should submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT test scores. To be admitted, students will need to satisfy the California Sate requirements: 4 units of English, 3 units of mathematics, 2 units of history and social studies, 2 units of science, 2 units of a foreign language, 1 year of visual or performing arts, and 1 year of electives. Students must have a GPA of 2.0 or better in these courses. Eligibility for admission is determined by a combination of test scores and GPA.

Transfer students and international students will have varying requirements depending upon their prior educational background.

Students applying to the graduate programs at Humboldt State University should consult the individual department and/or school to which they are applying. Applications and application fees can be submitted on-line. General requirements include the GRE or other appropriate test scores (such as the GMAT) and a bachelor’s degree; most programs also require three letters of recommendation. The graduate application deadline varies with the program with most applications being accepted beginning October 1 of the previous year for the fall term.

Financial Aid

Humboldt State provides the traditional four types of financial aid awards: grants, loans, scholarships, and student work-study. Most aid awards include a package of awards from the different types. The financial aid office recognizes that a significant portion of awards come from areas where demand exceeds the amount of available funds, and therefore encourages applicants to submit their FAFSA and admissions applications as soon as possible. Humboldt also targets those students with the greatest financial need. To begin the financial aid process, applicants need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that is available online starting in January. Financial information for both the student and family is required.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 4489th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in California.


Student life at Humboldt State University includes opportunities in a diverse range of activities and organizations. Among the academic and professional groups, sports groups, political and religious organizations, cultural groups and other groups are the American Indian Alliance, the Astronomy Club, the Culinary Arts Club, the Juggling Society, the Wilderness Club, and the Zen Meditation Group. There are a few fraternities and sororities.

Students can also attend the Art & Music festival, participate in intramural sports, write for the student newspaper, work at the college radio station, or view exhibits at the Natural History Museum.

Humboldt is home to more than 200 student clubs and organizations. Most majors have organizations associated with them, and there are a number of social clubs available, also. The University Center is a lively place to meet and mingle, Figueiredo’s features independent and popular films, and the Humboldt Bay has a fun and scenic bike trail for cycling enthusiasts. Humboldt is also host to or at least nearby such events as the Arcata Bay Oyster Festival, Humboldt County Fair, and the Humboldt Juggling and Unicycle Festival.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


The Humboldt State University Lumberjacks compete in men’s and women’s cross country, soccer, basketball and track and field. Men may also choose to play football while women have the additional options of rowing, volleyball and softball. The Lumberjacks compete in the NCAA’s Division II and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Student athletes include majors from all of Humboldt’s colleges and the retention rate for student athletes tends to be higher than the overall student average at Humboldt. Student athletes are also very active in the local community, including regular events like the Food & Shoe Drive, Blood/Bone Marrow Drive, Holiday Food Drive, and the California Teachers Association reading program. Humboldt State recently renovated many of its facilities, including improvements to the women’s locker rooms, a new boathouse and dock system on the waterfront, and a new softball facility that opened in February 2003.

Among the championships and awards that Humboldt State University has received are first place NCAA finishes in rowing, numerous conference championships, and national championships throughout the program. Student athletes volunteer in such activities as reading, youth sports clinics, and participating in blood drives. Admission to athletic events is free for HSU students, and they are well-attended.

Local Community

Humboldt State University is located in Arcata, California on the Pacific coast. The surrounding environment is rural and forested with redwoods. It is 275 miles north of San Francisco and 90 mile south of the Oregon border. Nearby attractions are largely outdoor, including a community forest and the Arcata Mash and Wildlife Sanctuary.

Arcata is located in some of the nation’s most beautiful countryside, nestled between the redwood coast and sitting on Humboldt Bay. The weather is mild, cool, and often wet with an average year-round temperature of 59 degrees. Arcata is home to plentiful wildlife and protected acreage, including the Arcata Community Forest and the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary which allows for numerous outdoor activities such as camping, hiking and swimming.


  • Humboldt State University. Humboldt State University. 2011. Web. 21 June 2011.
  • Humboldt State Jacks. Humboldt State University. 2011. Web. 21 June 2011.

Information Summary

Ranks 62nd in California and 848th overall
See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list

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Humboldt State University Humboldt State University 2 GO JACKS!!!!!!!!! :: Humboldt State University

Campus Crime Statistics

Ranks 0th in California and 392nd overall on StateUniversity.com‘s Safe School Index
  Incidents per 100 Students
Aggravated assault N/A N/A
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter N/A N/A
Rape 1 0.01
Robbery 1 0.01
Arson N/A N/A
Burglary 3 0.04
Larceny N/A N/A
Vehicle theft 6 0.07
Arrest 4 0.05

Local Crime Statistics

  Incidents per 100 People
Aggravated assault 31 0.18
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter N/A N/A
Forcible Rape 5 0.03
Robbery 12 0.07
Arson N/A N/A
Burglary 74 0.42
Larceny 499 2.86
Vehicle theft 51 0.29

Demographics – Main Campus and Surrounding Areas

Reported area around or near Arcata, CA 95521-8299
Surrounding communityRemote town (over 35 mi. away from an urban cluster)
Total Population19,585 (17,677 urban / 1,908 rural)
Households8,209 (2.21 people per house)
Median Household Income$24,346
Families3,522 (2.84 people per family)

Carnegie Foundation Classification

Master's Colleges and Universities (medium programs)
UndergraduateArts & sciences plus professions, some graduate coexistence
GraduatePostbaccalaureate comprehensive
Undergraduate PopulationFull-time four-year, selective, higher transfer-in
EnrollmentVery high undergraduate
Size & SettingMedium four-year, primarily nonresidential

General Characteristics

Title IV EligibilityParticipates in Title IV federal financial aid programs
Highest offeringMaster's degree
Calendar SystemSemester
Years of college work requiredN/A
Variable Tuition
Religious AffiliationN/A
Congressional District602

Special Learning Opportunities

Distance LearningN/A
ROTC — Army / Navy / Air Force  —   /   / 
Study Abroad
Weekend College
Teacher Certification

Student Tuition Costs and Fees

Ranks 1046th for total cost of attendance
  In District In State Out of State
Effective as of 2014-09-19
FT Undergraduate Tuition $5,472 $5,472 $16,632
FT Undergraduate Required Fees $1,672 $1,672 $1,672
PT Undergraduate per Credit Hour N/A N/A $372
FT Graduate Tuition $6,738 $6,738 $17,898
FT Graduate Required Fees $1,672 $1,672 $1,672
PT Graduate per Credit Hour N/A N/A $372
Total Cost of Attendance — On-Campus $22,556 $22,556 $33,716
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus w/out Family $22,556 $22,556 $33,716
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus with Family $11,116 $11,116 $22,276

Student Tuition Cost History and Trends

Prior year cost comparison
  In District In State Out of State
Published Tuition & Fees $7,062 $7,135 $7,062 $7,135 $18,222 $18,295
  Cost (regardless of residency)
Effective as of 2014-09-19
Books & Supplies $1,544(N/C)
On-Campus – Room & Board $10,486 $10,948
On-Campus – Other Expenses $3,764(N/C)
Off-Campus w/out Family – Room & Board $10,060 $10,948
Off-Campus w/out Family – Other Expenses $4,190 $3,764
Off-Campus with Family – Room & Board $4,190 $3,764

Admission Details

Effective as of 2014-09-19
Application Fee RequiredN/A
Undergraduate Application Fee$55
Graduate Application Fee$55
First Professional Application FeeN/A
Applicants 9,978 (4,237 male / 5,741 female)
Admitted 8,000 (3,309 male / 4,691 female)
Admission rate 80%
First-time Enrollment 1,237 (552 male / 685 female)
FT Enrollment 1,199 (534 male / 665 female)
PT Enrollment 38 (18 male / 20 female)
Total Enrollment8,293

Admission Criteria

 = Required,   = Recommended,   = Neither required nor recommended
Open Admissions
Secondary School GPA / Rank / Record  /  N/A / 
College Prep. Completion
Formal competency demoN/A
Admission test scores
Other testsN/A

Admission Credits Accepted

Dual Credit
Life Experience
Advanced Placement (AP)

Athletics - Association Memberships

Sports / Athletic Conference Memberships NCAA
NCAA Football Conference Great Northwest Athletic Conference
NCAA Basketball Conference California Collegiate Athletic Assoc
NCAA Track & Field Conference California Collegiate Athletic Assoc

ACT Test Admission

813th for 75pctl scores
Applicants submitting ACT results 37%
Verbal scores (25/75 %ile) 17 / 24
Math scores (25/75 %ile) 18 / 24
Cumulative scores (25/75 %ile) 18 / 24

SAT Test Admission

667th for 75pctl scores
Applicants submitting SAT results 93%
Verbal scores (25/75 %ile) 450 / 580
Math scores (25/75 %ile) 440 / 560
Cumulative scores (25/75 %ile) 890 / 1140

Student Services

Remedial Services
Academic / Career Counseling
PT Cost-defraying Employment
Career Placement
On-Campus Day Care
Library Facility

Student Living

First-time Room / Board Required
Dorm Capacity2,023
Meals per WeekN/A
Room Fee$5,700
Board Fee$5,848

Faculty Compensation / Salaries

Ranks 1095th for the average full-time faculty salary.
Effective as of 2014-09-20
Tenure system N/A
Average FT Salary $73,509 ($75,292 male / $72,499 female)
Number of FT Faculty 281 (157 male / 124 female)
Number of PT Faculty 519
FT Faculty Ratio 0.5 : 1
Total Benefits $12,382,895

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