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California State University, San Marcos

Program Overview 

Location: San Marcos, California
Culture: Experiential, international
Neighborhood: Scenic, suburban
Housing: Homestay
English level: Beginner - advanced 

Founded in 1989, California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) opened its doors to students in Fall 1990 and became the 20th campus to be established in the 23-campus CSU system. Today, more than 14,000 students attend the 304-acre campus, which is located in the foothills of northern San Diego County, just a short distance from some of Southern California's best beaches and an hours from the U.S. - Mexico border. 

CSUSM is a dynamic university with global vision. A distinctive feature of the university curriculum is its emphasis on hands-on experiences. The campus's modern, state-of-the-art facilities provide SAF Scholars access to science and computer labs featuring some of the finest equipment available today. 

SAF Scholars who study language at CSUSM  are studying at an institution that has provided quality international education programs for more than 20 years.

California State University San Marcos prepares students to become life-long learners and productive contributors to a global society by helping them acquire knowledge and develop skills and values for an increasingly global world. CSUSM is one of 34 public universities in the U.S. recognized by the Carnegie Foundation in the Community Engagement Classification for both Curricular Engagement and Outreach & Partnerships.

Student Profile

The program is ideal for SAF Scholars who wish to improve their English language skills for academic purposes while exploring sun-drenched San Diego with international and local students.

Other Programs at University

This university also offers SAF Scholars Academic and Progression programs.

Other Comparable Programs

Program Details

Program Dates by Term Availability

Fall Semester (August to December)
Fall Semester + Spring Semester (August to May)
Spring Qtr + Summer (March to August)
Spring Qtr + Summer + Fall (March to December)

Program Strengths

Students in the University English Pathway (UEP) program may also qualify to take university classes for credit during their time in ALCI, while continuing to develop their English skills.

Number of Classroom Hours Per Week

24 hours per week

Number of Levels

Six proficiency levels

Elective Courses Offered

Academic courses in reading, vocabulary, academic writing, grammar, public speaking, study skills, test preparation and enrichment classes.

Progression or Concurrent Notes

SAF Scholars can be admitted to CSUSM upon successful completion of the UEP Program without needing a TOEFL or IELTS score. Many scholars with conditional admission have completed the University English Pathway program and continued their studies in the credit-bearing academic program.
There will be a placement test before the semester starts. Depending on the language placement test scores, students who wish to progress to academic in the next semester will be able to enroll in some academic courses along with language courses for the first semester. CSUSM will have the final decision.

Housing Type



10 meals per week (Breakfast and Lunch Monday - Friday)

Type of Room


Student Life

Co-/Extra-Curricular Opportunities or Programs

Students at CSUSM  can choose from more than 100 student organizations, Greek affiliations, and a variety of multicultural programs. Students have the opportunity to enjoy leadership development, build a support network, and plan activities. The diverse array of student organizations offers students numerous opportunities to enhance their academic and social life on campus. Every student who is motivated can take a leadership role in a student organization. 

Life on Campus

With more than a million square feet of facilities, all of which have been constructed since 1990, CSUSM offers the best amenities for life on campus. SAF Scholars can stay active at the fitness center (The Clarke), which includes indoor/outdoor basketball and volleyball courts, running track, soccer field and a wide variety of sporting equipment for rental. A new sports center is home to Division II NCAA basketball and volleyball teams.

Aside from housing, participating SAF Scholars would enjoy a fast developing city life off campus. Students often frequent affordable restaurants, hike scenic trails or go to rounds of bowling at the Urge Public House pub, adjacent to campus. 


Last Updated: 1/9/19