California State University, Monterey Bay

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CSUMB is small (7400) public university located on the Central Coast, just 20 minutes south of Santa Cruz and 15 minutes north of Monterey. The campus was built on what was Fort Ord (United States Army), and they have taken great pains to repurpose buildings & materials as much as possible. For example, some of the dorms were built in the army offices, so the dorm rooms are quite spacious compared to dorms in other college settings. The setting is coastal rolling chaparral hills dotted with gorgeous oak, pine & cypress trees. The property of this campus is vast, but the core of it centers around the quad, so all areas are easily within walking/biking distance. Housing is available for all who want it and a large percentage of students live on campus.

Opportunities for research and hands on work are plentiful, especially for science students, but I was told there are opportunities for research, internships, hands-on situations in every single department on campus and that there is great community outreach to provide opportunities for volunteerism of all kinds too.

CSUMB emphasized these majors: marine sciences, all sciences, any kind of wilderness management & leadership type majors, environmental interests, many computer related majors; business program is well funded, kinesiology, anyone preparing for work in the medical/vet field, tons of credentialing for future teachers, cinema & music majors are mentioned often too.

The Business Department just got $10 mllion, so a stunning new building is almost done, which will most certainly offer all sorts of hands-on opportunities. A grant was recently donated for training/preparing any graduates who plan to strike out as an entrepreneur, so that’s a big plus for future business owners!

CSUMB is all about making sure students are ready for the workplace, so as I said, in every single department, there are hands-on experiences and a focus on developing networks. Super interesting & unique majors: Visual & Public Art (to prepare students to open/manage/curate art galleries or museums or public art displays), Sustainable Hospitality Management, Japanese is big there, Human Communication to prepare students for things like grant writing, city management, corporate leadership, education; non-profit administration; ethics; etc. That is a great generic major for all sorts of career paths.

The REU program (Research Experiences for Undergrads) is a terrific opportunity for science students at CSUMB who want to apply. If accepted, they work in conjunction with large research universities for 10 weeks during summer—all is paid, including a stipend at university settings and research settings across the nation. Unusual program.

The library is gorgeous, is quite new and very state of the art. Many tutoring services and support services are available on the 3rd floor. Since this school is comprised of nearly 50% first generation college students, CSUMB meets their students’ needs quite well so their success rate is high. There were so many fabulous study areas in that library—I just wanted to grab a book and curl up!

Golf is a big deal sport there with Pebble Beach nearby. At the moment they have only 13 NCAA sports teams, but this number is constantly growing. The intramural sports are plentiful across campus. Food is available on campus until midnight.

It seems that many students who go to school at CSUMB fall in the love with that region and end up relocating—I met many such students and I fully understand why it happens!