HSU Overview

Short Version

Humboldt State University

Humboldt State University is a place for students with a spirit of adventure and a passion for making a difference in the world. We’re proud of our longstanding commitment to social justice and environmental sustainability.

Students at Humboldt enjoy an extraordinary college experience. They take small classes taught by professors who know them by name, and have plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning. Students also live and learn in one of the world’s most beautiful natural environments – surrounded by ancient redwood forests, rivers, mountains, and beaches.

Humboldt State is the northernmost of the 23 campuses in the California State University system. Our enrollment is just over 8,000, small enough to have a close-knit community but large enough to provide a lively campus.

Long Version

Humboldt State University


Humboldt State University is a place for students with a spirit of adventure and a passion for making a difference in the world.

Founded in 1913, Humboldt State is the northernmost of the 23 campuses in the California State University system. Students here enjoy an extraordinary college experience, taking small classes taught by professors who know them by name. They also live and learn in one of the world’s most beautiful natural environments – surrounded by ancient redwood forests, rivers, mountains, and beaches.

With an enrollment of just over 8,000, we’re small enough to have a close-knit community but large enough to provide a lively campus and research facilities. We offer a wide variety of academic choices, and our professors are among the top teachers and researchers in their fields. Programs in natural resources are among the best in the nation, and visual and performing arts are always popular. Our largest programs include Biology, Psychology, Business, Kinesiology, Environmental Science, Wildlife, and Environmental Resources Engineering.

We’re proud of our longstanding commitment to social justice and environmental sustainability, topics addressed throughout our curriculum. In many cases, our students have led the way. The Campus Center for Appropriate Technology—an eco-demonstration house run by students—has been a live-in laboratory for 30 years. Students started the Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility, which has been adopted by more than 100 universities worldwide. More recently, students created the Humboldt Energy Independence Fund to develop campus energy-saving projects.

Hands-on learning is a central feature of a Humboldt State education, with students participating in experiments, lab research, and fieldwork. Students study with leading experts in forest ecology and sustainable energy systems. They help restore salmon habitat, take part in film shoots, conduct wildlife studies and tribal research, showcase their work at an annual film festival, conduct archaeological digs, and manage their own art and museum exhibits.

Humboldt’s unique natural surroundings and special facilities add to the experience. The Coral Sea, for example, is the only oceangoing vessel in the nation used primarily for undergraduate research. Students have access to our observatory as well as the Telonicher Marine Laboratory, Child Development Lab, and Human Performance Lab.

Humboldt State students graduate with an education and experiences that take them far in life, and they achieve success in diverse careers. Among our prominent alumni are Po Chung, the co-founder of the Asia-Pacific Division of DHL Express; Michael Crooke, the former CEO of Patagonia, Inc.; Ken Fisher, the founder and chief of a multi-billion dollar financial management firm; Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of the hit cartoon SpongeBob Square Pants; Jennifer Kho, managing editor of the Guardian US; Ken Pimlott, the director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection; Rick Rosenthal, an Emmy-award winning nature cinematographer; and Marla Spivak, a pioneering bee researcher and MacArthur “genius award” recipient.