Why Humboldt State

Humboldt State is a top choice for students with a spirit of adventure and a passion for making a difference.

Top of the world

At HSU, you'll live and learn surrounded by an amazing natural environment of redwood forests, pristine coastline, and wild rivers. You’ll find faculty who get to know you by name, and plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning. You’ll be part of a close-knit campus community that cares about your success and has a long commitment to sustainability.

Deciding to go to college was a big decision in life. The next step is picking the right one. If you think college should be an adventure, and you want to make a positive difference in the world, Humboldt State University is the place to be.

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#1 Personal Attention

College is a time to expand your horizons and find out who you really are, and we are here to support you every step of the way. From the moment you set foot on campus, you’ll find that your professors, staff and fellow students are ready to help.

Most of our classes are small, and we boast a student-faculty ratio of 21:1. That means at HSU, you’ll get to know our professors, who are some of the leading educators and researchers in their fields. You won’t just watch them from the back of a massive lecture hall. They’ll challenge you, and you’ll develop critical thinking skills and a passion for learning that will take you far in life.

And when it comes to deciding what field to study, we have plenty of choices, with 51 majors and 69 minors. We also have numerous graduate, credential and certificate programs.

Sociology Students
Two-thirds of our classes have fewer than 30 students. At Humboldt, faculty members know you by name.

HSU consistently ranks as a top regional university by U.S. News & World Report and a Best in the West College by Princeton Review.

Our professors are among the best in their fields. Examples? We’re a leading regional university for faculty selected to be Fulbright scholars, and our redwood forest researchers have had their work featured in two National Geographic cover stories.

#2 Hands-on Learning

At Humboldt State, learning isn’t limited to sitting in a classroom and taking notes. From academic internships to service learning projects, our students apply what they learn in the real world.

Students at HSU do their own seismic readings, art exhibitions, wildlife research, health studies, social work projects and so much more. They study marine life at beaches where they also surf, and observe tree growth patterns in the same forests where they go out hiking.

Why does that matter? Because success in the job market, whether you wind up in business or zoology or any field in between, requires practical experience and strong critical thinking skills. Our approach to combining classroom learning with hands-on experience gives our graduates a head start after college. Each year, Humboldt students gain hands-on experience doing more than 70,000 hours of volunteer work in local communities.

#3 Committed to Sustainability

Humboldt State is a nationally recognized leader in sustainability. We care about protecting the natural environment and building a more just society. It’s a commitment you’ll find throughout our curriculum and across our campus community, and that's embodied by our students and alumni.

With students often leading the way, Humboldt State has been setting an example for decades. In the 1970s, students helped create the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary, an innovative wastewater treatment facility that has inspired similar projects around the world. Students also manage the university’s eco-demonstration house, and just a few years ago, they voted to fund student-led renewable energy projects on campus.

Sustainability is a core value of our campus community.

We offer nearly 200 courses with a sustainability theme, in majors ranging from Anthropology to Wildlife Management. Examples:

  • Climate Change & Land Use
  • Consumerism & (Ecospirituality)
  • Environmental Inequality and Globalization
  • Appropriate Technology
  • Natural Resources Conservation
  • Environmental Law and Regulation

sustainability at HSU

We are consistently ranked as a leading “Green College” by Princeton Review.

Following Humboldt State’s lead, more than 100 schools from around the country have adopted our Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility.

For more than 20 years, hundreds of HSU students have led community service efforts on the annual Day of Caring.

We were recently the first public university in the state to ban plastic water bottle sales on campus, and we’ve also stopped using plastic shopping bags. This prevents the use of 50,000 plastic bottles and 3,000 plastic bags each year.

#4 Perfect Place to Learn and Live

We're surrounded by a stunning natural environment that serves as both a natural laboratory and a great place for adventure. All told, our area features 110 miles of coastline, 1.5 million acres of forest and 680,000 acres of local, state and national parks.

That means that within just a few minutes of campus, you can bike, camp, canoe, climb, hike, kayak, surf and much more. To get you started, our Center Activities program offers classes and rentals.

Center Activities

We've been called 'America's Most Scenic Rural County' by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And National Geographic Adventure magazine calls our hometown of Arcata one of its "50 next great adventure towns."

The 2,350-acre Arcata Community Forest is just behind campus, offering easy access to trails for hiking and mountain biking.

The first time I saw the Pacific Ocean and the Redwood Forest, I fell in love. It's hard to believe that you can go to school in such a beautiful place. - Joe Camacho, Environmental Management & Protection, Pomona, Calif.