Quick Facts

At San Diego State University,

Leadership Starts Here is a bold statement of our ethos. It is a fundamental principle that guides our actions and an enduring promise fulfilled through the lives of our students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Each year, SDSU provides 36,000 students with the opportunity to participate in an academic curriculum distinguished by direct contact with faculty and an increasing international emphasis that prepares them for a global future.

The university is strong and getting stronger. United by pride in our Aztec roots, the SDSU community is committed to improving student success, advancing research and creative endeavors, contributing to the community and building our culture of philanthropy.

grad student
The Education Trust has applauded SDSU as a national leader for improving graduation rates, especially among students of color.
San Diego State University continues to gain recognition as a leader in higher education. It is currently ranked in the top 140 national universities and in the top 70 public universities in U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking of America's Best Colleges.

SDSU's undergraduate international business program is ranked No. 12 in the nation. The undergraduate business and engineering programs rank in the top 100, and several graduate programs are standouts in their fields, according to U.S. News and World Report. These graduate programs include clinical psychology, public health, audiology, rehabilitation counseling and speech language pathology.

SDSU is a hub of student invention and innovation, led by the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center and the Zahn Innovation Platform. FORBES magazine ranked SDSU No. 23 on its list of America's Most Entrepreneurial Universities, while U.S. News and World Report ranked SDSU’s entrepreneurship program No. 21 among the nation’s public universities and Fortune ranked the university among the top 25 most entrepreneurial in the nation.

SDSU's diverse campus includes more than 1,200 students enrolled in the Susan and Stephen Weber Honors College and a growing number of Merit Scholars—students with a minimum high school GPA of 4.0 and SAT scores of at least 1400.

flux tower
Photo courtesy of Salvatore Losacco

Climate scientists at SDSU have discovered that far more methane escapes from the Arctic’s frozen tundra during cold months than previously believed, suggesting a new baseline for global climate modeling.

San Diego State University faculty continue to win significant research funding. In fiscal 2016-17, they secured $134 million in public and private funding—a total of 783 awards—up from $130 million the previous year and $120.6 million in 2014-15.

To further support research, SDSU has built an Engineering and Interdisciplinary Science Complex, where researchers are developing collaborative projects to turn discoveries into real-world applications. The EIS Complex enhances the university’s teaching and research capacities and help attract the best and brightest faculty, graduate and undergraduate students.

SDSU's Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering, funded by the National Science Foundation, is partnering with MIT and the University of Washington in an $18.5-million project to perfect brain-controlled robotic devices that interact seamlessly with the human body to improve and restore muscle function and movement.

The Student Research Symposium is an annual forum for SDSU's graduate and undergraduate students to present their faculty-mentored research. More than 500 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students across 70 majors and disciplines participated in 2018.

SDSU Campaign Logo
San Diego State University is one of only a handful of universities nationwide to be recognized for five consecutive years by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for the sustained excellence of its fundraising program.

More than 74,000 alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends—including 53,000 first-time donors—contributed to The Campaign for SDSU. The university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign raised $815 million to support the growth and development of San Diego State University. More than 10 percent of the total came from faculty and staff gifts.

Fiscal 2016 and 2017 were the most successful year of private giving in SDSU history with more than $100 million raised each year to support students, faculty, programs and research.

“Building on Excellence” is SDSU's broadly consultative strategic plan establishing the direction and priorities of the university and focusing on three areas: student success, research and creative endeavors, and community and communication.

SDSU engages its alumni and encourages them to share their professional expertise and experience with current students through programs such as the Aztec Mentor Program and Aztecs Hiring Aztecs.

student veterans
Consistently ranked by the Military Times as a top school for veterans, SDSU serves nearly 3,700 student-veterans, active duty, reservists and dependents each year through the Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center and academic programs such as Troops to Engineers.
SDSU was selected for the fifth consecutive year as a recipient of the INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award. The national honor recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.

U.S. News and World Report has ranked SDSU in the nation’s top 25 for ethnic diversity—a point of pride for the university, where students from all backgrounds are achieving academic excellence.

Arts Alive SDSU integrates arts events and arts practices into the university’s curriculum and recognizes art as a campus-wide value on par with research and international study. With nearly 300 events scheduled each year, Arts Alive reaches an audience of more than 125,000 annually.

SDSU was ranked by CampusPride.org among the top 25 LGBT-friendly campuses in the nation. Our Pride Center, an inclusive, safe and affirming gathering space, facilitates education, awareness and research on issues related to sexuality and gender.

international students
Eighty-eight SDSU students have received Fulbright awards since 2005, including nine in 2016.
San Diego State University ranked No. 8 nationally for the number of students studying abroad in the latest Institute for International Education's Open Doors report. More than 3,000 students have international experiences each year, choosing from nearly 400 programs in 65 countries.

The J. Keith Behner and Catherine M. Stiefel Program on Brazil is SDSU's first endowed academic program with an international focus. Over the next five years, through research collaborations with major Brazilian universities, SDSU will strengthen its global leadership in public health, environmental sciences, international business and urban development.

San Diego State University has been named a Gilman International Scholarship Top Producing Institution by the U.S. Department of State. The university tied for 14th in the nation among large colleges and universities for the number of students sent abroad through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program.

Each year, SDSU welcomes more than 2,300 international students from dozens of countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. They are enrolled as fully matriculated students or as part of the American Language Institute (ALI), of which SDSU’s affiliate is one of the largest in the country.

Graduate School of Public Health
Each year, SDSU partners with one of 23 local governments in a university initiative known as the Sage Project, through which students engage in real-world urban planning that contributes to the sustainability and quality of life in the San Diego region.
The Price Community Scholars program provides financial support for local, first-generation students with track records of strong academic achievement and leadership in high school. They, in turn, mentor neighborhood middle school students who aspire to earn college degrees.

Associated Students confronted the significant challenges of hunger and food insecurity in our community by raising nearly 590,000 pounds of food in the Aztecs Rock Hunger drive during fall 2017. AS and SDSU also support the College Area Community Garden, which unites the university and its neighbors in cultivating an urban space for growing fruits and vegetables.

SDSU's Guardian Scholars program is a unique opportunity for students leaving the foster care system. Young men and women accepted into the program receive full scholarships, year-round housing and academic mentoring to support them in becoming active community members.

SDSU has enjoyed unprecedented success in athletics during the last five years, particularly in football. Head Coach Rocky Long guided the Mountain West-champion Aztecs to their fourth 11-win campaign in 2016, and a 10-win season in 2017. The Aztec men’s basketball team under Coach Brian Ducher won the 2018 Mountain West Conference and played in the NCAA Tournament in 2018. Additionally, SDSU recognized 337 scholar-athletes in the 2017-18 academic year, and 145 Aztec student athletes were named “Academic All-Conference” for their performance in the classroom during 2016-17.

Prominent Alumni

While there are many ways to measure San Diego State University's progress and achievements, the foundational issue is who we can be and what we can accomplish as a leading public university.

Moving forward, we will continue to establish ourselves as a university of the highest quality where all students achieve success, where faculty, staff and student researchers address pressing societal challenges, where we come together to experience the beauty and power of the arts, and where we harness our knowledge and our talents to serve our community and the broader society.