Future Students

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How to Apply - International

About 1,500 international students from more than 100 countries study at San Francisco State University. SF State is strongly committed to international education and to providing quality support and services for international students and scholars. Explore our campus virtually now, then apply for admission as an undergraduate or graduate student.

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On This Page . . .

Are You in the Right Place?

The information on this page is for:

  • Undergraduate applicants who plan to study at SF State in F-1 student status
  • Undergraduate applicants who are US citizens, US permanent residents, or in another immigration status, and have transcripts from an international institution.

Please visit the Graduate Studies website to learn more about our graduate programs, application procedures & deadlines, and admission requirements.

Applicants interested in improving their English language skills should visit the American Language Institute website.

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Steps to Apply

Choose the option below that you identify with:

I’m a Freshman from a US High School

You are considered a first-time freshman if you are currently attending high school, or you already graduated from high school and have not earned college or university credit beyond the summer immediately after high school graduation.

  1. Review the deadlines and information about impacted majors.
  2. Apply online and pay non-refundable $55 USD application fee.
    • If you plan to be in F-1 status for your studies at SF State, complete the International Application found on CSU Mentor.
    • If you are a US citizen, US permanent resident, or have an immigration status other than F-1, complete the Undergraduate Application found on CSU Mentor .
  3. Receive a grade of “C-” or better in the “a-g” college-preparatory subjects during your high school studies.
  4. Subjects Years Required Notes
    a. History/Social Science 2 years required 1 year of US History (or 1 semester of US History and 1 semester of US Government) AND 1 year of social science
    b. English 4 years required Composition and Literature; only 1 year of approved ESL can be used
    c. Mathematics 3 years required Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II; or Integrated Mathematics
    d. Laboratory Science 2 years required; 3 years recommended 1 year of Biology and 1 year of Chemistry or Physics, both with lab
    e. Foreign Language 2 years required Study in the same language; may be waived if English is not your native language
    f. Visual and Performing Arts 1 year required Art, Theatre/Drama, Music, or Dance
    g. Electives 1 year required
  5. Submit your transcripts
    • Email a clear .pdf copy of your complete transcript to ugintl@sfsu.edu.
    • Transcripts are required for each high school you attended for years 9-12.
    • If you are currently in the final year of high school, we need to see grades through your first semester (or second trimester) of year 12.
    • If you already completed high school, we need to see all of your grades for years 9-12 and proof of high school graduation.
    • If you are admitted, you will be required to submit official, final transcripts and proof of high school graduation at a later date.
  6. Submit official SAT or ACT test scores
  7. Meet the eligibility index with your GPA and test scores
    Local Bay Area High School Graduates Minimum index of 2950 using SAT I scores or 694 using ACT scores
    Other CA High School Graduates Varies; May be higher than 2950 for SAT I scores or higher than 694 for ACT scores
    Non-CA High School Graduates Minimum index of 3576 using SAT I scores or 842 using ACT scores
    • SAT I Scores: (Your GPA* x 800) + (SAT Math + SAT Critical Reading) = Your Index
    • ACT Scores: (Your GPA* x 200) + (10 x ACT Comp) = Your Index
      * GPA is calculated using college preparatory courses after 9th grade
  8. Prove English language proficiency
    • If you attended a US high school for at least 3 years, you meet the English Proficiency Requirement. Skip to the next step.
    • If you have attended a US high school for less than 3 years, you should be prepared to submit proof of English proficiency. You have two options for showing proof of English proficiency:
      1. Take one of the following exams:
      2. Test Minimum Score How to Send Your Official Score
        TOEFL iBT Total Score 61 www.toefl.org; Institutional Code: 4684
        IELTS Overall Score 6.0 www.ielts.org
        PTE Academic Score 45 www.pearsonpte.com
        SAT Verbal/Critical Reading Score 500 sat.collegeboard.org/scores/send-sat-scores; School Code: 3594
        SAT Evidence Based Reading and Writing 550 sat.collegeboard.org/scores/send-sat-scores; School Code: 3594
        ACT English Score 22 www.actstudent.org/scores/send/; School Code: 0404
        IB English A – Language and Literature HL 4 http://www.ibo.org/
        IB English A – Literature HL 4 http://www.ibo.org/
      3. Demonstrate 3 years of full-time academic study in the following countries where the language of instruction was English:
      4. Antigua Ghana Palau Trinidad & Tobago
        Australia Grand Cayman Islands Papua New Guinea Uganda
        BahamasGrenadaScotland Ireland United States
        BarbadosJamaica Sierra Leone Virgin Islands
        BelizeKenya South Africa Wales
        BermudaLesotho St. Kitts Zambia
        BotswanaLiberia St. Lucia Zimbabwe
        CanadaMalawiSt. Vincent & Grenadines
        EnglandNew ZealandSwaziland
        GambiaNorthern MarianasTanzania
  9. F-1 Students: Submit documents for your I-20.
  10. Other Documents
    • If it has been more than 1 year since you graduated from high school, submit the Gap in Attendance Form
    • If you are a US permanent resident, please submit a copy of your green card. If you have an immigration status other than F-1, you may be asked to submit additional documents to verify your status.
    • If you completed any of the following exams: Advanced Placement (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma - Higher Level, you may be eligible to receive additional college credit. Please see the SF State Bulletin for more information. Official exam scores will be required to award transfer credit.

I’m a Freshman from a High School Outside of the US

You are considered a first-time freshman if you are currently attending high school, or you already graduated from high school and have not earned college or university credit beyond the summer immediately after high school graduation.

  1. Review the deadlines and information about impacted majors.
  2. Apply online and pay non-refundable $55 USD application fee.
    • If you plan to be in F-1 status for your studies at SF State, complete the International Application found on CSU Mentor.
    • If you are a US citizen, US permanent resident, or have an immigration status other than F-1, complete the Undergraduate Application found on CSU Mentor.
  3. Submit your transcripts
    • Email a clear .pdf copy of your complete transcript to ugintl@sfsu.edu.
    • Transcripts are required from each high school you attended.
    • If you are currently in the final year of high school, we need to see grades through your first semester (or second trimester) of year 12.
    • If you already completed high school, we need to see your complete high school transcript and proof of high school graduation.
    • We look for a 2.5 grade point average (GPA) in the 4.0 grading scale or B- average, and that you have, or will have, the equivalent of US high school completion.
    • If you are admitted, you will be required to submit official, final transcripts and proof of high school graduation at a later date.
    • See specific secondary school credentials by country.
    • If your school does not issue transcripts in English, we will need a word-for-word certified English translation.
    • We do not accept credential evaluations from third-party companies.
  4. Prove English language proficiency
    • You have two options for showing proof of English proficiency:
      1. Take one of the following exams:
      2. Test Minimum Score How to Send Your Official Score
        TOEFL iBT Total Score 61 www.toefl.org; Institutional Code: 4684
        IELTS Overall Score 6.0 www.ielts.org
        PTE Academic Score 45 www.pearsonpte.com
        SAT Verbal/Critical Reading Score 500 sat.collegeboard.org/scores/send-sat-scores; School Code: 3594
        SAT Evidence Based Reading and Writing 550 sat.collegeboard.org/scores/send-sat-scores; School Code: 3594
        ACT English Score 22 www.actstudent.org/scores/send/; School Code: 0404
        IB English A – Language and Literature HL 4 http://www.ibo.org/
        IB English A – Literature HL 4 http://www.ibo.org/
      3. Demonstrate 3 years of full-time academic study in the following countries where the language of instruction was English:
      4. Antigua Ghana Palau Trinidad & Tobago
        Australia Grand Cayman Islands Papua New Guinea Uganda
        BahamasGrenadaScotland Ireland United States
        BarbadosJamaica Sierra Leone Virgin Islands
        BelizeKenya South Africa Wales
        BermudaLesotho St. Kitts Zambia
        BotswanaLiberia St. Lucia Zimbabwe
        CanadaMalawiSt. Vincent & Grenadines
        EnglandNew ZealandSwaziland
        GambiaNorthern MarianasTanzania
  5. F-1 Students: Submit documents for your I-20.
  6. Other documents
    • If it has been more than 1 year since you graduated from high school, submit the Gap in Attendance Form
    • If you are a US permanent resident, please submit a copy of your green card. If you are in an immigration status other than F-1, you may be asked to submit additional documents to verify your status.
    • SAT and ACT scores are not required, but they may be helpful. If you already took the SAT or ACT or you plan to, please submit your official scores to us.
    • If you completed any of the following exams: Advanced Placement (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma - Higher Level, you may be eligible to receive additional college credit. Please see the SF State Bulletin for more information. Official exam scores will be required to award transfer credit.

I’m a Transfer from a US College

If you have completed college units after graduation from high school, you are considered a transfer student. SF State is not currently accepting applications from students who have already earned the equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree, and want to earn a second bachelor’s degree. Please contact the Graduate Studies office for further information.

  1. Review the deadlines and information about impacted majors.
  2. Apply online and pay non-refundable $55 USD application fee.
    • If you plan to be in F-1 status for your studies at SF State, complete the International Application found on CSU Mentor.
    • If you are a US citizen, US permanent resident, or have an immigration status other than F-1, complete the Undergraduate Application found on CSU Mentor
      NOTE: San Francisco State University requires ALL colleges/universities attended to be listed on your application for admission.
  3. Meet the requirements based on your transfer type
    Type of Transfer Units Completed Golden Four Basic CoursesHigh School TranscriptsTest Scores
    Lower Division Transfer Less than 60 semester / 90 quarter units Not required
    Recommended:
    1. Written Communication
    2. Quantitative Reasoning
    RequiredSAT/ACT or TOEFL/IELTS required
    Upper Division Transfer At least 60 semester / 90 quarter units Required:
    1. Oral Communication
    2. Written Communication
    3. Critical Thinking
    4. Quantitative Reasoning
    Not RequiredNot Required
    * Only F-1 students can apply as Lower Division Transfers
    • The Golden Four are basic skill courses in:
      • A1 Oral Communication (Speech)
      • A2 Written Communication (Freshman English Composition)
      • A3 Critical Thinking
      • B4 Quantitative Reasoning (Math above Intermediate Algebra level)
    • Earn a C- or better grade in each basic skills course
    • Units and Golden Four course requirements must be complete by the time you plan to enter SF State:
      • Fall term applicants must complete units and Golden Four course requirements no later than the end of the Spring term before you enter SF State.
      • Spring term applicants must complete units and Golden Four course requirements no later than the end of the Fall term before you enter SF State.
    • Transfer applicants from California Community Colleges may consult the ASSIST website at www.assist.org for a complete listing of approved General Education courses.
    • Transfer applicants from Washington State Community Colleges may refer to the Articulation Agreement website.
    • Other transfer applicants may use the list of approved General Education courses in the SF State Bulletin as a guide to determine if a course is appropriate.
  4. Submit your transcripts
    • Email a clear .pdf copy of your complete transcript (front and back) to ugintl@sfsu.edu.
    • Transcripts are required for each college or university you attended.
    • We look for a 2.0 transfer grade point average (GPA) in the 4.0 grading scale.
    • If you are a lower division transfer, high school transcripts with proof of graduation are also needed.
    • If you are admitted, you will be required to submit official, final transcripts at a later date.
  5. Prove English language proficiency
    • If you are an upper division transfer and will complete the Golden 4 courses, you meet the English Proficiency Requirement. Skip to the next step.
    • If you are a lower division transfer, you have three options for showing proof of English proficiency:
      • Complete two consecutive terms of transferable freshman English composition (equivalent to SF State’s English 114 and 214) with C or better grades in each course.
      • Take one of the following exams:
      • Test Minimum Score How to Send Your Official Score
        TOEFL iBT Total Score 61 www.toefl.org; Institutional Code: 4684
        IELTS Overall Score 6.0 www.ielts.org
        PTE Academic Score 45 www.pearsonpte.com
        SAT Verbal/Critical Reading Score 500 sat.collegeboard.org/scores/send-sat-scores; School Code: 3594
        SAT Evidence Based Reading and Writing 550 sat.collegeboard.org/scores/send-sat-scores; School Code: 3594
        ACT English Score 22 www.actstudent.org/scores/send/; School Code: 0404
        IB English A – Language and Literature HL 4 http://www.ibo.org/
        IB English A – Literature HL 4 http://www.ibo.org/
      • Demonstrate 3 years of full-time academic study in the following countries where the language of instruction was English:
      • Antigua Ghana Palau Trinidad & Tobago
        Australia Grand Cayman Islands Papua New Guinea Uganda
        BahamasGrenadaScotland Ireland United States
        BarbadosJamaica Sierra Leone Virgin Islands
        BelizeKenya South Africa Wales
        BermudaLesotho St. Kitts Zambia
        BotswanaLiberia St. Lucia Zimbabwe
        CanadaMalawiSt. Vincent & Grenadines
        EnglandNew ZealandSwaziland
        GambiaNorthern MarianasTanzania
  6. F-1 Students: Submit documents for your I-20.
  7. Other documents
    • If there is a gap of more than 1 year in your education, submit the Gap in Attendance Form
    • If you are a US permanent resident, please submit a copy of your green card. If you are in an immigration status other than F-1, you may be asked to submit additional documents to verify your status.
    • If you completed any of the following exams: Advanced Placement (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma - Higher Level, you may be eligible to receive additional college credit. Please see the SF State Bulletin for more information. Official exam scores will be required to award transfer credit.

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I’m a Transfer from a College Outside of the US

If you have completed college units after graduation from high school, you are considered a transfer student. SF State is not currently accepting applications from students who have already earned the equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree, and want to earn a second bachelor’s degree. Please contact the Graduate Studies office for further information.

  1. Review the deadlines and information about impacted majors.
  2. Apply online and pay non-refundable $55 USD application fee
    • If you plan to be in F-1 status for your studies at SF State, complete the International Application found on CSU Mentor
    • If you are a US citizen, US permanent resident, or have an immigration status other than F-1, complete the Undergraduate Application found on CSU Mentor
      NOTE: San Francisco State University requires ALL colleges/universities attended to be listed on your application for admission.
  3. Meet the requirements based on your transfer type
    Type of Transfer Units Completed High School TranscriptsTest Scores
    Lower Division Transfer Less than 60 semester / 90 quarter units RequiredSAT/ACT or TOEFL/IELTS required
    Upper Division Transfer At least 60 semester / 90 quarter units Not Required TOEFL/IELTS may be required
    * Only F-1 students can apply as Lower Division Transfers
  4. Submit your transcripts
    • Email a clear .pdf copy of your complete transcript (front and back) to ugintl@sfsu.edu.
    • Transcripts are required for each college or university you attended.
    • We look for a 2.0 transfer grade point average (GPA) in the 4.0 grading scale.
    • If you are a lower division transfer, high school transcripts with proof of graduation are also needed.
    • If you are admitted, you will be required to submit official, final transcripts at a later date.
    • If your school does not issue transcripts in English, we will need a word-for-word certified English translation
    • We do not accept credential evaluations from third-party companies.
  5. Prove English language proficiency
    • You have three options for showing proof of English proficiency:
      • Complete two consecutive terms of transferable freshman English composition (equivalent to SF State’s English 114 and 214) with C or better grades in each course
      • Take one of the following exams:
      • Test Minimum Score How to Send Your Official Score
        TOEFL iBT Total Score 61 www.toefl.org; Institutional Code: 4684
        IELTS Overall Score 6.0 www.ielts.org
        PTE Academic Score 45 www.pearsonpte.com
        SAT Verbal/Critical Reading Score 500 sat.collegeboard.org/scores/send-sat-scores; School Code: 3594
        SAT Evidence Based Reading and Writing 550 sat.collegeboard.org/scores/send-sat-scores; School Code: 3594
        ACT English Score 22 www.actstudent.org/scores/send/; School Code: 0404
        IB English A – Language and Literature HL 4 http://www.ibo.org/
        IB English A – Literature HL 4 http://www.ibo.org/
      • Demonstrate 3 years of full-time academic study in the following countries where the language of instruction was English:
      • Antigua Ghana Palau Trinidad & Tobago
        Australia Grand Cayman Islands Papua New Guinea Uganda
        BahamasGrenadaScotland Ireland United States
        BarbadosJamaica Sierra Leone Virgin Islands
        BelizeKenya South Africa Wales
        BermudaLesotho St. Kitts Zambia
        BotswanaLiberia St. Lucia Zimbabwe
        CanadaMalawiSt. Vincent & Grenadines
        EnglandNew ZealandSwaziland
        GambiaNorthern MarianasTanzania
  6. F-1 Students: Submit documents for your I-20.
  7. Other documents
    • If there is a gap of more than 1 year in your education, submit the Gap in Attendance Form
    • If you are a US permanent resident, please submit a copy of your green card. If you are in an immigration status other than F-1, you may be asked to submit additional documents to verify your status.
    • If you completed any of the following exams: Advanced Placement (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma - Higher Level, you may be eligible to receive additional college credit. Please see the SF State Bulletin for more information. Official exam scores will be required to award transfer credit.
    • Course descriptions or syllabi in English may be required to assist in determining transfer credit from post-secondary institutions

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What if I completed coursework both in the US and also outside of the US?
    • If you have a mixture of US and International Education, follow the steps that fit your most recent education. For example, if you started high school in a foreign country and then transferred to a US high school, follow the steps for a Freshman from a US High School. If you completed some college credits outside of the US and are now attending a US college, follow the steps for Transfer from a US college.
  2. Do I need to submit letters of recommendation or a personal statement?
    • Letters of recommendation and personal statements are not required for your general admission application. However, some impacted programs may require a personal statement and other additional documents.
  3. I completed college credits at a non-US institution, but it was in a different major. Do I still need to submit a transcript from that school?
    • Yes, you are required to report all colleges attended and submit transcripts for each school.
  4. I already applied, can I change my major?
    • If you applied and have not yet been admitted, yes you can change your major. Send us an email at ugintl@sfsu.edu with the new major you want to switch to. It must not be an impacted or high demand major. If you have already been admitted, please wait until you arrive and enroll in classes, then work with your department and the Registrar’s Office to change your major.
  5. How can I check the status of my application?
    • We will be sending you emails throughout the application process, so be sure to check your email. Once you have your student ID number, you can log in to your Student Center to see what is in your To-Do List. To learn more about how to log in to your Student Center, visit cms.sfsu.edu/content/student-center.
  6. What if my TOEFL or IELTS is below the minimum requirement? Do you offer conditional admission?
    • If your TOEFL or IELTS score is below the minimum requirement, you may want to consider improving your English at our American Language Institute (ALI). We do offer conditional eligibility for students that attend the ALI and are academically eligible.
  7. Do you have any scholarships for international students?
    • There are scholarships available to continuing and currently enrolled international students at SF State. International students are not eligible for United States federal or state financial aid. For more information: oip.sfsu.edu/financialassistance.

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Impacted Programs

Some majors are identified as impacted or high demand majors. This means there are more qualified applicants for that major than what we have room for.

Impacted or high demand majors have earlier deadlines. Also, there may be additional requirements such as prerequisite courses, a supplemental application, and a higher minimum GPA. Only upper division transfers may apply to certain impacted majors.

Impacted majors are: Apparel Design and Merchandising, Biology (all concentrations), Chemistry and Biochemistry, Dietetics, Health Education, Industrial Design (all concentrations), Interior Design, Kinesiology (all concentrations), Nursing (all programs), Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, and Visual Communication Design.

Please visit admissions.sfsu.edu/impacted for a complete list of impacted majors and important information about deadlines, additional requirements, and supplemental applications.

High demand majors are: Broadcast Electronic Communication Arts, Communicative Disorders, Cinema.

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Deadlines

Spring Semester 2017 Application Opens Application Deadline Document Deadline
International Student Application August 1, 2016 September 30, 2016 November 1, 2016
International Early Decision Processing August 1, 2016 August 31, 2016 October 15, 2016
Domestic Student w/ International Education Application August 1, 2016 August 31, 2016 October 15, 2016
Impacted Majors** August 1, 2016 August 31, 2016 October 15, 2016
High Demand Majors August 1, 2016 August 31, 2016 November 1, 2016

Fall Semester 2017 Application Opens Application Deadline Document Deadline
International Student Application October 1, 2016 May 1, 2017 June 15, 2017
International Early Decision Processing* October 1, 2016 November 30, 2016 January 15, 2017
Domestic Student w/ International Education Application October 1, 2016 November 30, 2016 March 1, 2017
Impacted Majors** October 1, 2016 November 30, 2016 February 12, 2017
High Demand Majors October 1, 2016 November 30, 2016 June 15, 2017

* International Early Decision: Apply early, submit all of the required documents by the priority deadline, and receive a decision early. For Spring applicants, early decisions will be made by November 15th. For Fall applicants, early decisions will be made by February 15th. All required documents must be received by the Early Decision date. Applicants to an impacted major are not eligible for an early decision.


** Impacted and High Demand Majors:

The following impacted and high demand majors are OPEN for Spring admission: Child and Adolescent Development (all concentrations), Kinesiology (all concentrations), Environmental Studies (all concentrations), Nursing (APO Nursing Program); Broadcast Electronic Communication Arts, Cinema.

The following impacted and high demand majors are OPEN for Fall admission: Apparel Design and Merchandising, Biology (all concentrations), Chemistry and Biochemistry, Child and Adolescent Development (all concentrations), Dietetics, Health Education, Industrial Arts, Industrial Design (all concentrations), Interior Design, Kinesiology (all concentrations), Nursing (Non-RN and Sequoia), Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, and Visual Communication Design; Broadcast Electronic Communication Arts, Cinema, Communicative Disorders

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Costs and Fees

The Estimated Expenses Chart shows the most current costs for attending San Francisco State University. These include University fees, tuition fees, books and supplies, room and board, personal/transportation and medical insurance for the academic year or for two semesters.

For complete information on current fees for Non-Resident and International students, please visit the Bursar's Office website at: www.sfsu.edu/~bursar/

To be eligible for California resident classification, an applicant must be either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (Green Card holder) or have a visa that allows residency, and have maintained residency in California at least one year. F and J visa holders are not eligible for California residency. For more information regarding California residency, please visit www.sfsu.edu/future/apply/residency.html.

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Where to Send Application Materials

Undergraduate

Undergraduate application materials should be sent to:

International Undergraduate Admissions
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132 U.S.A.

Contact us:

Email: ugintl@sfsu.edu
Phone: 415-338-2382
Phone Hours: Monday-Friday; 10:00AM – 12:00PM PST and 1:00PM – 3:00PM PST

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Next Steps

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