Los Angeles-Orange County State College opened its doors on September 28, 1949, to an entering group of 169 juniors and seniors. The Schedule of Classes listed 25 courses taught by 13 faculty members in support of five undergraduate majors. The campus consisted of two converted apartment buildings at 5381 and 5401 Anaheim Road in Long Beach. Within two years the City of Long Beach purchased a permanent site for the fledgling institution and donated it to the state, construction began on the first permanent buildings, and the renamed Long Beach State College moved to its present location. Two decades later the rapidly growing institution had earned designation as a university and became the largest single campus in the California State University system.
The Legislature voted to establish a state college in the Long Beach area because it recognized that rapid suburban development would create a need for more trained teachers and business employees. Instead of limiting itself to those fields, however, California State University, Long Beach had evolved into one of the nation's leading urban comprehensive universities.
• The College of the Arts, which is the largest publicly funded school for the arts in California;
• The College of Business Administration, which has been recognized by the Princeton Review as one of the nation’s Best Business Schools for its MBA program;
• The College of Education, the largest preparer of teachers of any CSU campus in 2005-06 and one of the first in the CSU system to offer an independent doctoral degree in 2007;
• The College of Engineering, which U.S. News & World Report has listed among the top 50 undergraduate engineering programs at master’s degree granting institutions;
• The distinguished College of Health and Human Services, which prepares highly competent and successful professionals in fields such as nursing, health sciences, criminal justice and social work;
• The College of Liberal Arts, which provides a solid foundation in general education for all CSULB undergraduates as well as majors ranging from anthropology to philosophy;
• The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, which helped CSULB earn the distinction of being first in the nation for number of graduates who went on to earn doctoral degrees in science and engineering from 1995 to 2004, according to the National Science Foundation.