A Complete Guide to Campus Housing in California

Learn all about the various housing options at UC and CSU schools.

By Ashley Henshaw | February 17, 2017

UCLA's undergraduate students live in 22 buildings on a ridge at the northwest edge of campus. The ridge is called "the Hill."

With a total of 33 campuses between them, the University of California (UC) system and California State University (CSU) system offer plenty of options for students wanting to attend a public university in this coastal state. Each campus has its own unique housing options, making the choice a little more complicated for students looking to find the right fit. We’ve summarized the housing information for each school to help you decide which one is best for you.

With so many housing options available at California colleges, most students are able to find a residential community that meets their needs.

UC Housing

Each UC campus offers residence halls for students. In addition, some students live off-campus in private homes, apartments or rooming houses. Students need to apply for housing since it is not guaranteed with admission. Here’s an overview of the housing options on each campus.

1. UC Berkeley: This campus has seven residence halls, including one all-male and one all-female hall. There are five university-run apartment complexes available. The Berkeley Student Cooperative also offers affordable housing in houses and apartments.

2. UC Davis: UC Davis has 17 residence halls for freshmen and six apartment facilities for incoming transfer students. There are two university-run apartment complexes intended for families. UC Davis is another one of the few UC campuses to offer cooperative living.

3. UC Irvine: UC Irvine has two residence halls, two undergraduate apartment buildings and four graduate apartment buildings. In addition, there are a number of theme houses where students share a space with those who share a major, or with other members of their sororities or fraternities.

4. UC Los Angeles: UCLA has eight residence halls and two residential suites buildings. In addition, there are undergrad university apartments available to non-freshman undergraduates as well as several graduate and post-doctorate apartment buildings. University Village is an apartment complex reserved for married students, students with same-sex domestic partners and single parents.

5. UC Merced: UC Merced has four residence halls and nine apartment-style suites. Several themed living programs are offered, including the Academic Excellence program (with longer quiet hours and study groups) and the Gender Inclusive program (where students may live together regardless of gender identity). An off-campus housing database is provided for students who want to live in privatized housing.

6. UC Riverside: UC Riverside has three residence halls. There are numerous special interest housing options with academic or cultural themes, such as gender-inclusive housing and pre-business housing. University-run two- and three-bedroom homes are available for students with spouses and/or children.

7. UC San Diego: UC San Diego has residence halls at each of its six colleges. There are also apartments for undergraduate couples with or without children, as well as an international house for students from across the globe.

8. UC San Francisco: This graduate school offers on- and off-campus housing options for students, post-docs, residents and clinical fellows. There are also special housing arrangements for international students.

9. UC Santa Barbara: UCSB has eight residence halls, four undergraduate apartment buildings and apartments reserved for graduate students and students with families. This campus places an emphasis on earth-friendly living with features like efficient lighting and solar water-heating systems.

10. UC Santa Cruz: Students can live in residence halls, apartments or houses. The college offers many themed living arrangements, including all-female, co-ed, gender-neutral and academic-focused housing.

CSU Housing

Each of Cal State’s 23 campuses offers residential options for students. Most freshmen are required to live on campus (space permitting). Find out more about housing on each CSU campus:

In addition to residence halls, San Diego State University also owns two apartment buildings adjacent to campus.

1. CSU Bakersfield: This college has six residential halls. Students can apply to be part of a Living Learning Community with a focus on certain experiences or academic pursuits, like nursing, wellness or sustainability.

2. CSU Channel Islands: This college has one suite-style hall for freshmen and sophomores and one apartment complex for upperclassmen.

3. CSU Chico: Chico has six residence halls and a university-run apartment complex. Theme housing is available for several groups, including honors students, international students and students with an interest in recreational sports.

4. CSU Dominguez Hills: This college has a 22-building apartment complex, 17 of which have special facilities to accommodate students with disabilities.

5. CSU East Bay: CSU East Bay has residential halls for freshmen and apartment buildings for non-freshmen and upperclassmen.

6. CSU Fresno: Students here can live at University Courtyard, which has community-style and suite-style rooms.

7. CSU Fullerton: Fullerton has residence halls along with double- and single-occupancy apartments on campus. Several themed communities are available, including leadership, sustainability and multicultural perspectives.

8. Humboldt State University: Humboldt State has several residence halls and campus apartments. Themed housing is available for Native American students, LGBTQ students and more.

9. CSU Long Beach: This college has 20 residence halls, several of which have Living Learning Communities.

10. CSU Los Angeles: Housing on this campus includes two- and four-bedroom apartments as well as single-occupancy rooms for students with disabilities.

11. California Maritime Academy: All unmarried undergraduates have to live on campus in a residence hall. Some students live aboard a training ship for one semester.

12. CSU Monterey Bay: The campus has traditional residence halls, suite-style halls and apartment buildings. Themed housing is available.

13. CSU Northridge: Students at Northridge choose a Living Learning Community that meets their needs. Family housing in apartments is available as well.

14. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona: Cal Poly Pomona has residence halls and apartments. The Center for Regenerative Studies offers housing geared towards environmental design students.

15. CSU Sacramento: This school offers five residence halls, two of which are available to upperclassmen. The Upper Eastside Lofts offer convenient off-campus housing.

16. CSU San Bernardino: San Bernardino has one residence hall and two apartment facilities. One of the apartment buildings features all private bedrooms.

17. San Diego State University: SDSU has several residence halls, many of which feature themed housing arrangements, including lifestyle housing for extended quiet hours or housing over breaks.

18. San Francisco State University: SFSU has two residence halls and four apartment complexes. Themed communities are available.

19. San Jose State University: This college has several residence halls and an international house. Several sororities and frats also offer housing options.

20. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo: Students at Cal Poly SLO can live in residence halls or apartments. An excellent online resource is also available for students who want to live off campus.

21. CSU San Marcos: This campus has apartment-style living available on campus. There are also affiliated housing options for conveniently located off-campus housing.

22. Sonoma State University: Sonoma State has only suite- and apartment-style facilities, including special residences just for transfer and international students.

23. CSU Stanislaus: This college has residential halls for freshmen and apartments for upperclassmen. Special-interest communities include sports and fitness, music and media and outdoor adventure.

Visit the individual campus links provided here to get more information. With so many housing options available at California colleges, most students are able to find a residential community that meets their needs.

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

A Complete Guide to Navigating the UC Application Process
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Everything You Need to Know About UC Eligibility
5 California Colleges for Computer Science Careers

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