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College of Business

Frequently Asked Questions

Navigating the MBA degree can come with a lot of questions. This page can help answer some of the common inquiries about the admission process and program. Although the campus based, in person MBA and the fully online MBA program are nearly identical programs, small difference do exist. The content shown below relates to the campus MBA program. For details related to the online MBA program, please refer to the online MBA program(opens in new window) pages. 

Program Details

Can I enroll in the campus-based program, but take some of the online courses that are part of the fully online program?

Is the MBA a STEM Degree?

Is your program cohort-based?

When are the courses offered?

Are courses offered online?

Are there any prerequisite courses for the MBA program?

How long will it take for me to complete my degree?

I don't have a business degree, what can I do to prepare?

Options in the Program

What options do you have in the MBA program? How many units are in each option?

When do I need to declare an option in the program?

Can I switch my option in the program?

In the general option, what courses can I take for my electives?

What is the difference between 400/500-level courses and-600 level?

Scholarships and Costs for the Program

How much does your program cost per semester?

What is the difference between part-time and full-time enrollment?

What other costs should I anticipate in the program?

Are there any scholarships or financial aid available?

When can/should I apply for scholarships?

What are the requirements to maintain an MBA Program-awarded scholarship?

How much are the MBA scholarship award amounts?

Do you offer any graduate assistantships, fellowships, or on-campus positions?

Application Process

What materials are needed to apply?

What can I do to prepare for the GRE or GMAT exam?

Do you prefer one exam to the other?

Are waivers for the GRE or GMAT available?

International students: I have not met/completed the English language proficiency requirements, can I still apply for admission?

Is work experience required?

Who should I ask to write me a letter of recommendation?

I am in progress of my undergraduate degree while I am applying, am I still eligible?

If I attended CSU, Chico for my undergraduate degree, do I need to request an official copy of my transcripts?

It is past the application deadline for the term I want to start, can I apply late?

Admission Process

How can I confirm my application is complete?

When will I hear about my application?

I have been offered admission, what do I do now?

I have already applied but have not heard anything, what is the delay?

I was not offered admission, what can I do now?

Program Details

Can I enroll in the campus-based program, but take some of the online courses that are part of the fully online program?

Generally students must to take courses in the program they were admitted to. Only in exceptional situations would a student be allowed to take a course from the online program. The online program has a different tuition structure and is not part of a student’s normal state tuition. Should a student be allowed to take a course from the online program, the student would need to pay the full tuition for the course, $1,000 per credit.

Is the MBA a STEM Degree?

Our EIS MBA option is a STEM degree, which provides graduates with a three year OPT experience. The Project Management MBA option and the General option are not STEM designated options.

Is your program cohort based?

No. We accept applications for both fall and spring terms and allow students to select the courses, timing, and schedule that best fits their needs.

When are the courses offered?

The core MBA courses are offered in the evenings, with most courses starting at 5 p.m. or later. Courses are offered either as one night a week or two night a week formats Monday-Thursday. One night a week courses last for two hours and fifty-minute blocks and start at either 6:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. Two days a week courses last for an hour and fifteen minutes each night and start at either 5 p.m. or 5:30 p.m.

MBA prerequisites or elective courses may fall outside of these standard MBA course hours.

Are courses offered online?

The MBA program has a campus-based program that is delivered in a face-to-face class environment, and a fully online MBA program. If you enroll in the campus-based program, courses are offered in person at the CSU, Chico campus. There may be elective courses offered online, but it is up to the class schedule and availability. You cannot complete the campus-based program online or at distant locations. 

Are there any prerequisite courses for the MBA program?

Yes, we have six prerequisite courses for the MBA program.  Students who have an undergraduate degree in business or closely related field will typically have most or all of the prerequisite courses completed.  

We require students to have a foundation in Financial Accounting (ACCT 201), Managerial Accounting (ACCT 202), Microeconomics (ECON 103), Statistics for Business and Economics (MATH 108) or Statistics (MATH 105), Finance (FINA 307) and Marketing (MKTG 305).  We offer online training modules through our partner Peregrine Academics for four out of these six prerequisites (Microeconomics, Statistics, Finance and Marketing).  ACCT 201 and ACCT 202 do not have online training modules and can be taken at CSU, Chico, Butte College, or other pre-approved institutions.  

In addition to these general MBA prerequisites, our EIS MBA option has two additional prerequisite requirements: Database Design (MINS 235) and Enterprise Technology Integration (BSIS 301).

We are willing to waive any prerequisites requirements if you have recent related courses and/or industry experience in these areas.  

How long will it take for me to complete my degree?

There are a few factors that go into this answer.

First, are you required to complete any prerequisite courses? This can add time to your program, but our online training modules are designed to help you quickly and efficiently satisfy most of our prerequisite requirements.

Second, what option are you planning to pursue in our program? The General MBA program is 30 units and our specializations (MBA option in Project Management or MBA Option in Enterprise Information Systems) are 33 units.

Third, how many courses are you planning to take every semester? For students that work full-time they typically opt for a lighter course load (one to two courses) over those that are attending school full-time (three to four courses).

Typically, it takes students three to six semesters to complete our program.  There is a Graduate School requirement to complete a master's program in a five year window, though extensions are possible. Review the Graduate School policies page for more information.   

I don't have a business degree, what can I do to prepare?

Completing the online course modules and any necessary prerequisites prior to applying, throughout the process of admission or early into your program helps to prepare you for 600-level MBA coursework. Further, professional work experience can benefit a student that may not have an undergraduate degree in business.

Options in the Program

What options do you have in the MBA program? How many units are in each option?

We have three options in our program. The General option (GEN) is 30 units. The Project Management option(PRMG) is 33 units. The Enterprise Information Systems (EIS) option is 33 units. This does not include any required prerequisites (if applicable) to the program. The EIS option is STEM-designated. 

When do I need to declare an option in the program?

When you apply, you will have to choose an option in order to submit your application.

Can I switch my option in the program?

Yes, you can switch your option at any point, even after starting the program. If you are interested in multiple options, or have not yet decided, working with the MBA advisor is very important for class planning strategies, prerequisite needs (if applicable), and graduation timeframe planning.

In the general option, what courses can I take for my electives?

Courses numbered 400-, 500- or 600-level within the College of Business are typically allowed. There are some courses that require specific prerequisites that cannot be waived. The preference is that you select 600-level electives as they are graduate level, but they are not always feasible or of interest to your program goals. You will work with the MBA advisor to go over your course options for electives.

What is the difference between 400/500-level courses and-600 level?

If you choose a 400-or 500-level course those are technically undergraduate courses. We require that you identify yourself as a graduate student when you attend the course the first week and work with the instructor to create a portfolio of “additional work” to simulate a graduate-level experience. This may mean additional assignments, longer papers, exams, higher expectations, or whatever you and your instructor arrange for the course. These courses tend to fall into more traditional undergraduate course times, so there is less flexibility in the timing for when they are offered. 

Costs for the Program

How much does your program cost per semester?

Review the breakdown chart for spring 2020 (PDF) tuition and registration fees (PDF). Tuition and registration fees depend on how many units taken per term and residency status (California resident or out-of-state/international student). The base graduate school fees are based on part-time (1-6 units) or full-time enrollment (7+ units).  In addition, there is a Professional MBA fee of $270 per unit assessed to every course used to fulfill requirements in the program (including applicable prerequisites taken at CSU, Chico). Further, if you are an international or non-resident of California, there is a $396 per unit non-resident tuition fee. Visit Student Financial Services to see more about current fees for graduate students. 

The online MBA program is not a state-side program. The program is called a self-support program and does not rely on any state support. The online MBA program has a different tuition structure. The online MBA program is priced at $1,000 per unit.

What is the difference between part-time and full-time enrollment?

For tuition and registration fee purposes, part-time is 1-6 units per term. Full-time is seven units and above. All courses in the MBA program are three units each. Note: part-time and full-time units for financial aid differs for graduate students. For part-time financial aid, students need to be enrolled in at least 4 units. For full-time financial aid, students need to be enrolled in at least 8 units. 

What other costs should I anticipate in the program?

Textbooks or other readings will be required for each course in the program. Laptop usage is prevalent or required in some courses. Some courses require iClickers, financial calculators, course packs (simulations or deliverables), scantrons/grademaster forms for exams. More information about additional materials will be communicated in the course syllabus or prior to the start of the first class session through Blackboard Learn. Also note the professional MBA and non-resident fees (if applicable) referenced in the sections above.

Are there any scholarships or financial aid available?

Scholarships and financial aid are available for qualifying students. The MBA program offers scholarships as a means to attract high quality graduate school applicants to our program so it is important to apply for these MBA Scholarships when submitting your application and materials to the MBA program.  

See the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office website for more information about CSU, Chico specific scholarships and financial aid. Additionally refer to their website for more financial aid and MBA grant information. The free application for federal student aid (FAFSA) can be completed any time, but should be completed by the priority application date of March 2 for the next academic school year. Note: International students on an F or J visa are not eligible for state or federal aid. The FAQ's section on their website is helpful for more information. Specific financial aid or scholarship questions should be directed to their office.

When can/should I apply for scholarships?

If you are applying for MBA scholarships, the application essay is turned in with your documents for admission. We only award scholarships to incoming students (who will continue to receive funding by maintaining specific GPA every semester and as funds are available). You cannot apply to MBA specific scholarships if you are already a current student in the program.

The CSU, Chico Wildcat scholarship application is available January 2 - February 15 for the next academic year which may include additional funding sources.

What are the requirements to maintain an MBA program-awarded scholarship?

Students receiving a scholarship award must maintain a 3.3 GPA in the program to remain eligible. Each semester, GPA (from the previous semester) and number of units enrolled (for the current semester) will be verified before scholarship funds are released.

How much are the MBA scholarship award amounts?

The scholarship awards are $4,000 ($1,000 per semester for four semesters). The number of each type of scholarship award is determined based on the applicant pool each semester. The awards are to be applied as a credit towards tuition. Students who receive a scholarship award and elect to enroll in part-time student status (6 units or less) will have their scholarship award amount reduced by 50% but extended through more semesters (the same total scholarship amount will be awarded to an individual student). All scholarship awards are subject to available funding.

Do you offer any graduate assistantships, fellowships, or on-campus positions?

We do have some graduate assistantships or teaching assistant positions available in coordination with faculty in the College of Business. Please contact the MBA Director after you have been admitted to the program to express your interest in a position. In an effort to match you with relevant faculty, when you contact the director, provide a brief statement of your interest and availability. On-campus jobs are also available through the Career Center's Handshake tool. We do not have a formalized fellowship program that you may find in other graduate programs.

Application Process

What materials are needed to apply?

A completed Cal State Apply application, official GRE or GMAT test scores, official transcripts, resume, statement of purpose, and one letter of recommendation. International students will also need to provide official English language proficiency scores (if applicable), degree completion certificates, financial support documents, and a copy of the bio page of your passport to meet International Admission requirements. MBA scholarship essays should also be submitted at the time of application for consideration.

What can I do to prepare for the GRE or GMAT exam?

Study, study, study. Invest in study materials and practice exams. The more you can utilize free or low cost tools, the better. Visit the GMAT and GRE websites for helpful guides and resources to help you study. It is advised that you give yourself ample time to prepare for the exam. It can be a helpful strategy to give yourself at least six weeks to three months to prepare. Sign up for your exam, pay the exam fee so that you have an established goal and timeframe to work with. Avoid cramming or going in unprepared.

Do you prefer one exam to the other?

No, we will accept either exam with equal weight. We tend to see more GRE scores since CSU, Chico offers the exam regularly on campus and can be applicable to multiple graduate programs. GMAT is more common from international students or those that are applying exclusively to MBA or other Business programs. The GMAT is not offered at CSU, Chico. The target score for either exam should be the 50th percentile (GRE= 303; GMAT= 570).

Are waivers for the GRE or GMAT available?

Given the situation related to the COVID-19 global pandemic, GRE and GMAT exams are not required to apply during the August 1 – September 15 application cycle.  In the future, waivers will be offered based on strong undergraduate GPA and/or significant managerial level work experience.  If you feel you qualify for a waiver, please contact the MBA Director to inquire.

International students: I have not met/completed the English language proficiency requirements, can I still apply for admission?

We do offer the option to apply for conditional admission to the MBA program if you have not met the minimum language requirements or taken any of the proficiency exams. You must apply to both the University and our American Language and Culture Immersion (ALCI) for consideration. Please read the instructions and application details on both the Office of International Education and Global Education's website as well as ALCI's page for more information.

Is work experience required?

No, but it is encouraged. Professional work experience can make your experience in the MBA program that much more applicable and relevant to the larger business world.

Who should I ask to write me a letter of recommendation?

Faculty, supervisors, community members, advisors, mentors, or others that can attest to your skillset and how that will translate to the MBA program. You should give your recommender plenty of time to submit their letters. 

I am in progress of my undergraduate degree while I am applying, am I still eligible?

Yes, as long as you are on track to complete your degree requirements by the end of a spring term (when applying for fall) or a fall term (when applying for spring). For domestic students, the Office of Graduate Studieswill verify the conferral of your degree with the second set of official transcripts you will need to provide at the completion of your program. For international students, the Office of International Education and Global Engagement will confirm the conferral of your degree certificate and verify your translated official transcripts.

If I attended CSU, Chico for my undergraduate degree, do I need to request an official copy of my transcripts?

No, we have access to your academic records from CSU, Chico. Further, if you provided official transcripts to transfer to CSU, Chico or transfer in coursework from another institution to graduate, you should not need to provide additional official transcripts as we have those records on file. You will only need to send official transcripts from schools attended after graduating CSU, Chico if applicable.

It is past the application deadline for the term I want to start, can I apply late?

No. We have application deadlines twice a year, so if you have missed an application deadline, you are on track to apply during the next cycle!  There may be things that you can do to prepare for the next application cycle such as work on any prerequisite courses or modules (if applicable) or focusing on the GRE or GMAT exams.

Please note, this includes CSU, Chico staff and faculty who are participating in the fee waiver program. See the Human Resources website for more information.

Admission Process

How can I confirm my application is complete?

You can email the MBA Advisor (mba@csuchico.edu) any time during the application process to confirm what has been received by our program. You will be contacted by the MBA Director periodically throughout the application cycle and process if there are outstanding documents to complete your file. Additionally, if you are an international student, you can contact the Office of International Education and Global Engagement (IEGE) (iss@csuchico.edu) to confirm the arrival of transcripts and degree certificates, financial support documents and/or passport bio data page information. The Office of Graduate Studies can also confirm the arrival of official transcripts and test scores.

When will I hear about my application?

If your application file is complete, we will begin reviewing and making decisions starting on September 15 for spring applicants and March 1 for fall applicants. Decisions will continue to be made on a rolling basis until space fills. Decisions are emailed in an effort to provide timely communication (and avoid things getting lost in the mail) and relevant information to consider. The sooner your file completes, the sooner it will be reviewed. Any outstanding components of your application may delay a decision from being made.

I have been offered admission, what do I do now?

If you would like to accept the offer of admission, reply to the email decision from the MBA Director stating your intent to join our program. We will communicate your intent to enroll to Graduate Studies or the Office of International Education and Global Engagement (IEGE) on your behalf. You do not need to pay an enrollment confirmation deposit. There are no fees necessary to accept your offer of admission. Once you have accepted the offer, you will be sent a Welcome Guide and Option-specific Resource Guide to help relay information to new MBA students.  

I have already applied but have not heard anything, what is the delay?

There may be outstanding materials needed to complete your application file. Please email the MBA Advisor (mba@csuchico.edu) or for international applicants, our Office of International Education and Global Engagement (IEGE) (iss@csuchico.edu) to confirm what has been received and what is still outstanding. Additionally, we do not begin to make decisions until after the application window closes, so the soonest you would hear is mid-September for spring and early-March for fall.

I was not offered admission, what can I do now?

There were likely areas of your application that have been identified by our MBA Director as ways to improve your skillset and competitiveness for future application terms. Often, gaining professional work experience can make up for lower GPA's out of an undergraduate program. Re-taking a GRE or GMAT may be enough to increase your chances. Sometimes, we may not be the right fit for your program goals, career objectives, or options available at CSU, Chico.