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(Last updated 1/22/2022)


Hello and Welcome to the University High School website. We appreciate your interest in our school and hope that you will consider UHS for your child’s high school experience. You may be asking, “Is University High School right for my student?”

University High School is a free public charter school that is located on the Fresno State campus. We offer a college preparatory curriculum in a supportive environment with small class size and free tutorial services. We enroll approximately 130 students of incoming freshmen who are selected through a lottery process. We encourage all potential applicants and a parent to attend one of our Information Days. These orientations provide you the opportunity to learn about our program and tour the UHS campus.

If you are considering UHS for your student, you must ask yourself two questions:

  1. Does my child have a sincere interest in music? In order to apply, students must have two years of music instruction. They can achieve this by singing in a choir, taking private music lessons or playing an instrument in their middle school band or orchestra. Their interest in music must be genuine as they will play or sing in one of our ensembles during their four years with us. They will also take four years of music theory.
  2. Is my child willing to work hard in a demanding academic environment? Our students enroll in a rigorous college preparatory curriculum. During their junior and senior years, they will be enrolled in AP classes and will take courses at Fresno State University. They must be willing to meet the challenges of our program.

If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, we encourage you to explore the information on this website. First, you’ll want to visit our “FAQ's”. Many of your questions will be answered on this link. You are always welcome to call our office if you have additional questions.

We also encourage you to visit the “Admissions” page to view our admissions process.

The 2019-2020 school year is our 20th anniversary and are proud of the excellent education we have offered each student who has passed through our doors. We look forward to sharing more about our school with you and hope to see you at an Information Day soon.

Thank you for your interest in University High School!


Do I have to play an instrument or have singing experience?
Yes. Eligible students must meet a middle school level of proficiency in either instrumental or vocal music. Auditions for placement are held before the start of Fall term.

What do I really need to be accepted into UHS?
You must have music skills and the motivation to work hard to master a rigorous, accelerated, college preparatory curriculum in science, math and the humanities.

Do you accept piano or guitar players?
Yes. But we do not have piano or guitar classes at UHS. We do have bands, orchestras, and choirs. You will be required to participate in one of these performing ensembles each semester. The choirs use piano players occasionally to accompany the choir. The jazz band uses one pianist, one guitarist, and one bass guitar play.

Homework averages about a half-hour per course per night.

What is the UHS Calendar?
UHS follows the 16-week Fresno State semester calendar for Fall and Spring semesters, with an additional Winter Session in January and a Spring Session in June. There is an annual New Student Orientation in August before classes start.

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At the end of the 1990’s, the Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities on the campus of California State University, Fresno conceived the idea of starting a charter high school at Fresno State.  The intent was “to create a school that articulated a vision for education in the 21st century” that would be based upon the latest educational research, implement best practices in instruction and serve as a model of educational innovation.”

With the support of the University’s President, The Dean began the process of creating the school.  He called on many different educational leaders in the community to assist him.  This collaboration included University administrators, professors, master teachers from local high schools, and community members from throughout Central California. The result of this collaboration was the UHS Charter and its unique curriculum and organization, which included a clear vision and mission. The school would be a liberal-arts college prep program that included music in its curriculum.

The school opened in the fall of the 2000-01 school year as an independent, direct-funded charter high school, unaffiliated with any larger organization or management group and governed by its own board.   The school was initially chartered through Sierra Unified and remained under Sierra Unified until chartering with FUSD in 2007.  The school began using classrooms leased by California State University, Fresno and as it expanded additional portable facilities.   In August of 2009 after years of delay, the new 22 room permanent facility was begun.  The permanent facility includes 22 classrooms with three music rooms, four science labs, and a computer lab and a weight room.  On November 17th, 2010 the school closed for a day so everyone could move from the old facility to the new one.  On November 18th, 2010 the school held its first day of classes in the new facility and on November 30th, 2010 in an official Dedication Ceremony, the school dedicated the building to Former Dean Luis Costa and Current University President John Welty, the two men more responsible for our school’s existence. 

The vision and mission for university high school have not changed much over the years because they adequately express exactly what the school is trying to achieve.  The vision speaks to what UHS has tried to accomplish and the mission speaks to the path the school has chosen to achieve the vision.

Vision Statement

University High School will be a 9-12th grade Liberal Arts high school on the campus of California State University Fresno where ALL students will experience an accelerated college preparatory program with two years of Latin and the full inclusion of music theory and performance.

The school culture will be caring, supportive of learning, promote understanding and encourage students to foster personal development. Students will feel confident to express themselves as they mature into young adults.

The school will address the academic, personal, and social development of the students while providing a solid academic foundation for a college career, with the goal that all graduates are prepared to enter the adult world where they will be ready to pursue any goal to which they aspire. In short, UHS will continually work to create for its student's nothing less than the best high school experience possible.