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Semester in LA

The Semester in Los Angeles (Semester in LA) program is a great option for international students looking for a unique and well-rounded study abroad experience. Study with award-winning faculty at Cal State LA for one or two semesters; earn credits and apply them toward graduation back home.

At the same time, immerse yourself in everything Los Angeles. While you are here, walk the sunny beaches, hike the winding mountain trails, shop on famous Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, and tour historic Hollywood where movies were born.

Join us at Cal State LA in the heart of the world’s entertainment and creative capital... Los Angeles, California!

Program Benefits

Studying at Cal State LA has many benefits, including:

  • Study on a renowned university campus alongside a diverse group of 28,000 students
  • Access to coursework at Cal State LA
  • Receive instruction from Cal State LA faculty
  • Access to computer labs and Wi-Fi throughout campus
  • Official Cal State LA transcript upon completion of studies
  • Access to the Student Health Center
  • Optional on-campus housing
  • Discounted bus fares with Cal State LA student ID card
  • Access to the student fitness center

Apply to Semester in LA

Follow these steps to apply:

  1. Determine which semester you would like to begin your studies. The University Academic Calendar lists the start and end dates for each semester.

  2. Complete the Semester in LA online application. Remember to prepare your documents before you start the application. The deadline to submit the Spring Semester 2023 SILA application is October 31, 2022.

Upload PDF files of the following items:

1. Financial Documents - You can submit one of the following financial documents or add up the financial documents to meet the minimum financial requirements:
  • A financial document providing at least $15,271 USD or the equivalent in any currency. No investment or retirement accounts are accepted. This document can be under the student's and/or sponsor's name:
  • Bank statement (issued within 6 months under student's name) – Checking or savings accounts only.
  • Bank statement (issued within 6 months under sponsor’s name) – Checking or savings accounts only. The sponsor must also sign the Affidavit of Financial Support in which the sponsor agrees to provide the money for your studies at Cal State LA. 
  • If you do not want to submit the bank statement, you can submit the Declaration and Certification of Finances Form instead. Note that the bank manager must sign, date, and stamp the form. The sponsor must complete the section: CERTIFICATION OF FINANCIAL SUPPORT FROM SPONSOR. Upload the completed form along with the Sponsor’s bank statement.

2.  Scholarship Letter: This letter can be issued from your government, school, or another official source.

3.  Passport: Copy of passport information page.

4. Transcript: Copy of home university transcript with a minimum 2.5 GPA and translated into English.

5. English Proficiency Test Results: Results must be no more than one (1) year old.

Eligible English Proficiency Exam

Qualifying Undergraduate Score

Qualifying Graduate/Post-Bacc Score

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

61 iBT or higher

80 iBT or higher

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Band 5.5 or higher

Band 6.0 or higher

Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic

44 or higher

53 or higher

Duolingo English Test (DET) (Effective for SP22 and future term admission.)

95 or higher

105 or higher

5)  Application Fee: $200 (non-refundable) due at the time you submit your application.


  • Cal State LA operates on a 15-week semester system. Two semesters are equivalent to one academic year. Students must enroll in a minimum of 12 units. Two semesters are equivalent to one academic year. International students must enroll in a minimum of 12 units for undergraduate-level courses or 9 units for all graduate-level courses.

  • Students may be enrolled in the program for a maximum of 2 semesters. Students may start enrolling in courses on the first day of class with the assistance of Semester in LA program staff.  Registration for each class is subject to seat availability, and the approval of the instructor and the department chair concerned. Approval to enroll in classes is subject to meeting course requirements/prerequisites and other conditions. Courses in the following programs are NOT available to students currently: Child Development, Criminal Justice, Nursing, Psychology, and Social Work.

  • Semester in LA students are required to maintain good academic standing, which is defined as a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0 (letter grade C) in order to continue to the next semester. All participants must abide by all rules, regulations, and policies set by Semester in LA. Additionally, students must enroll and maintain full-time (12 units) studies each semester. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in a violation of your student visa status and/or your participation in the Semester in LA program, leading to the immediate termination of your participation in the program.

  • The Semester in LA program is not for students who wish to apply to a Cal State LA degree program in the future.

Tuition and Fees

Semester in LA

Fall  |  Spring


12 units

(4 Courses per Semester)

Program Fee** $ 6,205
Living Expenses* $ 8,136
Books/Supplies* $    930
Total $15,271
Tuition is effective until Spring 2023 only. For Fall 2023 and thereafter, there will be modifications made to the program fee structure. These modifications will be announced in January 2023.
Tuition and fees are subject to change without prior notice.
*Denotes estimated expenses and are subject to personal spending habits.
**Includes tuition, mandatory health insurance, Student Health Center, USU Fitness Center, and orientation fees.

Immigration Requirements

All Semester in LA students must apply for the F-1 international student non-immigrant visa at the United States Embassy or Consulate in your home country. If accepted to this program, you will be sent a letter of acceptance and Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status). The I-20 allows you to apply for an F-1 student visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Granting of the visa is at the discretion of the U. S. Department of State. The F-1 student visa status carries many responsibilities and restrictions (full-time enrollment, employment restrictions, etc.) and participants are expected to abide by all federal regulations.

Do not plan on leaving your country of residence until you have been issued an F-1 Visa. The I-20 will allow you to enter the United States NO EARLIER THAN 30 DAYS before the start date of the program indicated on the I-20 form. Please read the instructions very carefully on the “Welcome Letter” which will be mailed to you together with the I-20. It will contain details on applying for the F-1 visa as well as paying the SEVIS fee.


STEP 1: Our staff will prepare and send you the immigration documents

  • We will contact you if there are any problems or missing information from your application. Make sure to include a reliable email address on the application and use the same email address for communication. Email is the primary form of contact at Cal State LA.
  • The process often takes up to two (2) weeks from the time we have all the necessary documents. For F-1 students, the electronic Form I-20 will be sent to you through email under the current SEVP COVID-19 guidelines. For J-1 students, you must have the original Form DS-2019 to obtain the J-1 student visa. We will send you a courier tracking number once the DS-2019 has been issued to you.

STEP 2: To obtain the F-1 or J-1 Student Visa

  • Pay SEVIS Fee online at: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires all F and J visitors to register themselves in the Student Exchange Visitor Information Service (SEVIS) database. Print your receipt to take with you to your Embassy appointment; it is required in order for you to get a student visa.
  • Make an appointment with the U.S. Embassy. You should bring the following documents to your appointment:
    • The I-20 form from Cal State LA;
    • An original bank statement or Certification of Financial Support with bank seal;
    • Sponsorship form, if you will use a sponsor;
    • If you have a sponsor, they also must sign the Certification of Financial Support;
    • Your passport;
    • SEVIS fee receipt, see above;
    • Study in LA program information and welcome letter.

STEP 3: Your Visa has been issued

Once your Visa has been issued, you can prepare to come to the United States for study in the semester for which you have applied. Before coming to the U.S., you must do the following:

  • Arrange for housing and transportation
  • COVID-19 vaccination certification/document
  • Go to see your personal doctor and have him/her complete the Medical form to assure that you have immunizations and TB testing up to date; bring the completed form with you to Registration Day.
  • Materials needed at check-in at the International Office include:
    • Your passport
    • Your original I-20 document
    • Form I-94
    • Payment receipts for the Semester in LA tuition and fees  

Housing and Transportation

For Semester in LA program students, you have the option to apply for on-campus or off-campus housing. We have some information and resources to help you find the most appropriate accommodations for your experience studying in Los Angeles. If you have any housing inquiries, please email SILA Program Coordinator Christina Wong or call +1 323 343 4845.

On-Campus Housing

For information about living on campus, visit International Students on the Housing and Residence Life website. Space is limited, so we recommend applying as early as possible!

Off-Campus Housing

View/download the SILA Off-Campus Housing Resources Flyer. Here you will find a comprehensive listing of nearby housing areas; types of housing; a list of apartment search websites; hotels; and information; tips on renting an apartment; as well as transportation information


View/download the SILA Affidavit of Financial Support here.

View/download the SILA Declaration and Certification of Finances form here.

View/download the SILA Off-Campus Housing Resources Flyer here.

View/download the SILA Course Wish List here.


For more information about the SILA program, please email SILA Program Coordinator Christina Wong or call +1 323 343 4845.