The university offers a high-quality educational opportunity to qualified students at the bachelor's and master's levels, as well as in joint doctoral programs in selected professional areas. To carry out this mission, the university provides a General Education program and other opportunities, to expand students' intellectual horizons, foster lifelong learning, prepare them for further professional study and instill within them an appreciation of cultures other than their own. The university offers undergraduate degrees and programs in the liberal arts and sciences as well as in a variety of professional disciplines emphasizing agriculture, business, engineering and technology, health and human services, and education, preparing students for productive careers and responsible world citizenship. Building upon the strength of these under-graduate programs, graduate programs provide opportunities for personal and career enhancement through advanced study, preparing students for positions of leadership in the arts, sciences and professions.

The university encourages and protects free inquiry and expression, ensuring a forum for the generation, discussion and critical examination of ideas. By emphasizing the primacy of quality teaching and the close interaction between faculty and students, the university seeks to stimulate scholarly inquiry and discourse, inspire creative activity, heighten professional and technical competencies, encourage and support research and its dissemination, and recruit and develop outstanding teacher-scholars/artists.

The university fosters an environment in which students learn to live in a culturally diverse and changing society. Within that environment, it strives to develop a community founded upon mutual respect and shared efforts, in which individuals can communicate openly and work together to enrich the lives of all and to further the growth and excellence of the university. The university seeks and encourages historically under-represented students to embark upon and complete a university education.

The university serves the San Joaquin Valley while interacting with the state, nation and world. California State University, Fresno is a center of intellectual, artistic and professional activity. Through applied research, technical assistance, training and other related public service activities, the university anticipates continuing and expanding partnership and linkages with business, education, industry and government.