Frequently Asked Questions



Does an established and respected accreditation body accredit the institution or program?
The regional accounting body Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredits California State University, Chico. This includes online degree programs. WASC is one of six regional associations that accredit public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the United States.


What are the age, experience, academic qualifications, skills, or knowledge prerequisites?
Chico offers several programs online. Please check the information page for the program in which you are interested. All current programs are listed in the box to the right.

Are there any language prerequisites for international students?
International applicants interested in distance education must meet the TOEFL requirement and demonstrate proof of adequate financial resources. Information regarding current TOEFL requirements can be found at the International Student Services website.

When is the next opportunity to apply?

The fall application period is usually October 1 through July 1st of the next year. Spring applications are accepted August 1-September 30th of the same year.  For information about how to apply, please go to our Admissions Information web page. The entire application process goes through the Admissions Office, not Professional & Continuing Education.

What is the online registration process?

We have created step-by-step registration process instructions. Distance education students interested in registering for an online course must follow the procedures outlined at Course Registration Procedures (continuing state-support), Course Registration Procedures (re-admit state-support students) or Open University (Open University is for students who have not been admitted to Chico State, or who have been denied admission or academically disqualified, to enroll in state-support courses).


Is the program lock-step (fixed curriculum and set cohort with a prescribed course progression)?
The online degree programs allow new students to enter at the start of either spring or fall semester. Depending on the program, there is flexibility in when you my take various courses. You should discuss your academic plan with your advisor.

Are there opportunities for electives?
Yes, electives are available in some degree programs.

Are there opportunities to exit and re-enter the program?
Students who temporarily need to exit the program can apply for a Planned Educational Leave (PEL). Courses are offered on a rotating cycle.

Students who were previously admitted to Chico State but did not register for the previous semester need to complete another University application to be readmitted. This does not apply to undergraduate students who were on a Planned Educational Leave (PEL). Once the application has been processed by either Admissions or the Graduate School, and the student is officially readmitted, the student can then use the portal to register.


Is the program designed and delivered by regular faculty members of the institution?
Chico State's online courses are taught by Chico State faculty and created with the assistance of the University's instructional designers and the support of the entire institution.

What is the availability of academic support services, such as counseling, advising, tutoring, and placement?
Many academic support services are available online or are a telephone call away. Please see our Current Students web page for a complete listing. In addition, we have recorded on-campus workshops on such topics as time management, test preparation, and study skills. These recordings include streaming video of the speaker(s) and PowerPoint slides, and can be accessed here, 24/7.

Is there some form of help-desk/help-line facility available to distance learners?
Technical support from IT Support Services (ITSS) is available by telephone at (530) 898-4357.  You can also contact us by email:

What access to library materials and databases is provided by Chico State?
Distance and Online students have the same full access to online library resources as students on campus do. For instructions on how to set up your computer to access these resources, visit the library's web page, "For Off Campus Users".

For books and journal articles, students who are eligible may request materials not available in their area from Chico State. For eligibility requirements and instructions, see the web page on requesting materials.

Is all required software provided?
Many of the required Web browser plug-ins are free.  Your computer will also need to have word processing, a Web browser and email software.


What performance expectations are placed upon students concerning deadlines for assessment, study time requirements, and active participation?
Off-campus students are expected to meet the same academic requirements as on-campus students. It is important to note online students are expected to keep up with the course on a weekly basis starting with the first week of the semester. The courses are not self-paced.


When, where, and how do student-to-student and student-to-faculty interactions occur?
Most online courses are designed to accommodate a student's busy schedule. Students are expected to complete weekly assignments and take tests as scheduled. Class sessions can be either synchronous or asynchronous or a combination of both. Individual professors decide how their course will be delivered. Communication between students and faculty can occur during the live class session in a discussion window and outside of class via email, threaded discussion groups, and by telephone.

What is the mix between face-to-face and electronic interaction?
None of the courses in the program require students to meet in person or face-to-face with an instructor. Many courses utilize audio and videostreaming class lectures. Some students report this is very similar to attending the class live in person.


How long does it take to complete the program?
It depends upon which program you decide to complete. Certificates can be completed in two years or less. Degree completion programs can take as little as two years or as much as four years or more to complete. It really depends on how many courses you take each semester.

Is there a time limit to complete the program?
There is currently no time limit on completing an undergraduate program. Please refer to the Election of Graduation Requirements And Your Catalog Rights in the University Catalog.


What are the technical support resources available (initial/ongoing)?
You first might want to try some Quick Start Guide. IT Support Services is available to assist you.

What prior technical competencies are needed?
A good working knowledge of your computer and its software is essential to your success in this program. Before enrolling in a Chico State online course you need to verify that you have loaded the necessary plug-ins for your Web browser.


What is the expected payment schedule?
Once you are admitted to the University and have selected your courses, you will be expected to pay your fees by the University deadlines, which vary from semester to semester.

What is the school's policy for reimbursement of fees upon withdrawal?
See the University's refund policy.

What is the availability of financial aid/scholarships?
Financial aid is available for our degree programs. Online students have the same financial aid opportunities as they would have if they were enrolled in on-campus programs.


How much experience does the University have in offering distance learning programs?
California State University, Chico has been offering distance education courses for more than 46 years: first via ITFS microwave link, then via satellite, and now online. Educational institutions from around the world have used our program as a model. Our first online course was offered in 1993.


I have heard courses offered via distance education are easy. Is that true?
Courses offered at Chico State through distance education are equivalent to courses offered on campus. Distance education students are expected to complete the same coursework as on-campus students.

I would prefer to speak by telephone to someone concerning distance education at Chico State.
Professional & Continuing Education provides administrative support for Chico Distance & Online Education. Our staff is available Monday - Friday from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm (Pacific Time). Our telephone number is 530-898-6105.

What qualities does it take to be successful in a distance education course? How do I know if I'm ready to be a distance education student?
Persistence and self-motivation are important. Of course there are many other factors involved. Check out our "Keys to Succeeding as an Online Student " section for useful tips on making the most of your online degree program. 

I formerly attended Chico State. Can I complete my degree through distance education?
It depends on your previous degree program and the amount of time since you last completed coursework at Chico. Contact the academic advisor for the major in which you are interested.

What are the admission requirements?
Admission requirements for distance education programs are exactly the same as they are for on-campus students. Check the Office of Admissions website for details.

Can I transfer completed units at Chico State to another institution?
In most situations, transferring Chico State units to another institution is not a problem. Before you enroll, we strongly suggest that you check with your advisor at your home campus to confirm that the course(s) will apply to your degree.

Can I enroll in a course without being admitted to the University?
Yes, on a space-available basis, with faculty permission. Non-admitted students may enroll through Open University.

What steps must I take to be admitted to the University?
Details are provided at the Admissions/Registration Procedures web page.

Can I enroll in a course at any time?
Online courses follow the University's Academic Calendar. Chico State is on a semester system. Chico does not utilize revolving enrollment.

When do classes start?
Online courses follow the regular University Schedule. The fall semester begins in late August and the spring semester begins in late January. Professional & Continuing Education administers Winter Session and Summer Session - there are often online courses on the schedule for those sessions that fulfill online degree program requirements, especially during Summer Session.

Accessibility Accommodations: If you need special disability accommodations for accessing any information on this website, please contact Professional & Continuing Education. For accommodations for an event, workshop, or online or on-campus class, please contact the Accessibility Resource Center.