After the Free Public Schools Act, California University of Pennsylvania was initially opened by Job Johnson and George Hornbake in 1852 as an academy for kindergarten to college students. By 1874, it was chartered as the SouthWestern Normal School for teachers. Three subsequent name changes followed until the public, co-educational PASSHE member of today was born in 1983. Led by Chancellor Frank T. Brogan, CalU educates 7,553 Vulcans and employs 296 full-time faculty. In addition to its 294-acre rural campus in Washington County just 36 miles south of Pittsburgh, California offers courses in Canonsburg and online. CalU reports a 77 percent retention rate with notable alums like Shaka Smart and Bruce Foster Sterling.

The U.S. News and World Report recognized California University of Pennsylvania for awarding America’s sixth best online bachelor’s, 20th top online criminal justice, and 77th best graduate online teaching degrees. On Niche, CalU stands as Pennsylvania’s 79th most diverse college and 98th top value. Given 4.1 stars on, CalU was applauded in Philadelphia Business Journal for the Keystone State’s #2 best online school. Victory Media has crowned California University a “Military Friendly STEM Jobs Approved College” twice. In 2015, CalU obtained the American Society of Registered Nurses’ Diamond Award for great online MSN degrees. Out of 206 U.S. public institutions, Eduventures also placed California University of Pennsylvania 16th for best student success outcomes.

California University of Pennsylvania Accreditation Details

Reaffirmed in 2015 under President Geraldine M. Jones, California University of Pennsylvania holds decade-long regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE), one of six agencies identified by the U.S. Department of Education for excellence. Online CalU degrees also feature programmatic approval from the following:

  • Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE)
  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP)
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
  • National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA)

California University of Pennsylvania Application Requirements

With a Fall 2015 acceptance rate of 83 percent, California University of Pennsylvania is classified as “less selective.” However, CalU Global Online undergrads will still have to hold at least a high school diploma or GED. Vigorous curricula with three or more years of English, math, science, and social studies is prerequisite. On average, admitted undergrads had a 3.1 GPA, 1000 SAT score, and 20 ACT score. Online bachelor’s degrees give preference to CalU applicants with transfer credits graded “C” or better from accredited schools. Military transfer credits are also accepted from the Armed Forces’ Joint Services Transcript (JST).

The School of Graduate Studies and Research at CalU requires finishing an accredited four-year bachelor’s before entering its 100 percent online degrees. Undergraduate work must be completed with a cumulative GPA above 3.0 to avoid conditional admission. Foundation courses required by each degree will vary. For instance, the MBA in Entrepreneurship mandates credits for financial accounting, college algebra, statistics, and economics. Admitted post-grads achieve an average GRE score of 149 (verbal) and 146 (quantitative). Non-U.S. citizens can prove English fluency with a minimum TOEFL paper score of 550 or equivalent.

California University of Pennsylvania has rolling admission taking place every two weeks, but don’t miss the May 1st deadline for FAFSA. Certain online programs like the Doctorate in Health Sciences have established an October 1st deadline though. In addition to the online application, please submit the following virtually or by mail to 250 University Avenue in California, PA 15419:

  • $25 non-refundable application fee
  • Official academic records
  • Entrance exams (SAT, ACT or GRE)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Resume or CV (post-grad only)
  • Typed response to the essay prompt

Tuition and Financial Aid

Traditional tuition at California University of Pennsylvania costs $3,746 in-state and $5,619 out-of-state each term. Yet, Global Online programs at CalU follow a different pay schedule. Online undergrad degrees charge $365 for Pennsylvania residents and $382 for non-residents. This figure includes the $30 PASSHE tech fee. Graduate programs online will bill $606 in-state and $628 out-of-state per credit. For instance, the 36-credit Master of Science in Homeland Security would cost $21,816 for Pennsylvanians and $22,608 for non-residents total.

According to the NCES, 90 percent of starting, full-time CalU Vulcans receive average financial aid amounts of $6,441. Global Online students can qualify for institutional awards, including the Balsano Family Scholarship, Susan Brooks Scholarship, Alan Ayoub Scholarship, Richard Dishong Memorial Scholarship, and John Bitonti Memorial Award. The PHEAA offers Keystone State residents the Pennsylvania State Grant, Ready to Succeed Scholarship, and NETS Scholarship. Federal financial aid options include the Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, Work-Study Program, Stafford Loan, and Grad PLUS loan. Out-of-state waiver grants exist for several states, such as Massachusetts and West Virginia. Veterans, spouses, and dependents also reap the Military Tuition Discount Program online.

Online Degrees Available

At California University of Pennsylvania, Vulcans can access the same high-quality, accredited courses online via Desire2Learn anytime. Admitting cohorts each of the three semesters, CalU offers two associate, 12 bachelor’s, 45 master’s, and two doctoral programs online. Asynchronous online courses hold an average student-professor ratio of 21:1 for close interaction, including with several C.B. Wilson Distinguished Faculty Award winners. Students also receive guidance from the Global Online Program Coordinators and 24/7 Helpdesk. Two CalU online degrees are:

Bachelor of Arts in Land Management

Granting five $2,000 stipends from the Chevron Community Fund yearly, the Bachelor of Arts in Land Management at California takes four to six semesters based on transfer credits to develop skills for the oil and gas industry. The 60-credit online degree completion program concentrates on jurisprudence, industry ethics, geographic information systems, and subsurface geology. Expect 15-week online courses ranging from spatial land data analysis to real estate law.

Master of Science in Exercise Science and Health Promotion

Satisfying NASM certification requirements, California’s Master of Science in Exercise Science and Health Promotion accepts fitness professionals full- or part-time to research current issues affecting human health online. The 36-credit online degree provides five emphases: Rehabilitation Sciences, Sport Psychology, Wellness and Fitness, Wellness Coaching, or Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention. After orientation, post-grads spend 12-17 months in courses like corporate wellness before a capstone project.

Related Resource: 50 Great Scholarships for Online Students

Other available online degrees at California University of Pennsylvania include the Associate’s in Liberal Studies, RN-BSN, Bachelor’s in Arabic Language and Culture, MBA in Business Analytics, Master’s in Applied Mathematics, Master of Education in Technology Education, and Doctor of Criminal Justice.