Officials said Cal State San Bernardino police officers responded to a disturbance around 6:30 p.m. at a dorm at Northpark Boulevard and University Parkway, across the street from campus.
"When they made contact with the subject, a black male about 38 years of age in the hallway of his dorm, an altercation occurred," said San Bernardino city police Lt. Paul Williams. "The altercation became physical and the subject became violent. Sometime during that, the officers feared for their safety. They discharged their weapon, striking the subject."
The student, whose identity was not disclosed, was pronounced dead at the scene.
One officer sustained non-life-threatening injuries. That officer was transported to a local hospital.
A campus-wide alert was issued at some point.
It was unclear if a weapon was found.
Classes were over for the quarter at the school and few students were around due to the winter break.
The city of San Bernardino's police department was assisting in investigating the shooting.