Points of Pride

Image: Photos of SF State students and scenes from around campus

Creative & Scholarly Excellence -- Programs


The outpouring of our Creative Writing department fills bookshelves nationwide. Graduates include best-selling authors Anne Rice, Po Bronson and Ernest Gaines. In 2008, alumnus Philip Schultz won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry for his book "Failure" and alumna Carol Muske-Dukes was appointed California's poet laureate. Over the years, students of fiction, poetry and playwriting have benefited from the mentorship of such renowned faculty as Wright Morris, Kay Boyle, Gina Berriault, Molly Giles, Peter Orner, Frances Mayes (also an alumna) and Gail Tsukiyama (also an alumna). Each year the highly competitive program receives more than 500 student applications for just 100 openings.


International relations made its debut as a field of study at SF State, which was the first university to offer a degree in the field. Today, the program remains among the top 15 nationwide.

The Jewish Studies Program, founded in 1993, attracts a diverse group of students from many racial and ethnic backgrounds, along with participants in SF State's elders programs and other community members. Students learn a variety of Jewish history, thought and culture from a world-renowned faculty. The Marvin L. Silverman Jewish Studies Reading Room, named after one of the program's founding faculty, contains a special collection of more than 2,000 academic, reference and historical books on Jewish subjects. The program offers a bachelor's degree in Modern Jewish Studies and a minor in Jewish Studies.


SF State is part of a network of select U.S. universities to offer a Flagship Partner program. Part of the U.S. State Department's Strategic Language Initiative and funded by the Department of Defense, the program aims to produce excellent understanding of the language, culture and politics of countries crucial to U.S. national security. SF State's program in Chinese offers students from a variety of academic disciplines the opportunity to gain superior Chinese language skills through intensive training here and in China.


SF State is among the top 201 colleges and universities that offer "real world," job-focused services and skill development, according to "Great Colleges for the Real World" by Michael P. Viollt. SF State is cited for appealing to the new breed of student-consumers who evaluate potential colleges based on such criteria as placement services, retention to graduation, years to complete degree and early skills development.


"One of the nation's top film schools" according to Entertainment Weekly, SF State's Cinema department has produced leading filmmakers, including Academy Award winners Steven Zaillian (Best Screenplay, "Schindler's List," 1994), Steve Okazaki (Best Documentary, "Days of Waiting," 1991), Gloria Borders (Best Sound Effects Editing, "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," 1991) and Christopher Boyes (Best Sound Effects Editing, "Pearl Harbor," 2002; "Titanic," 1998; Best Sound Mixing, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," 2004), In addition, Ethan Van Der Ryn (B.A., 1984) and Boyes shared the sound editing Oscars for "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" (2002). Van Der Ryn won for Sound Editing for “King Kong” (2006); Boyes won for Sound Mixing for “King Kong.” Most Recently, Alum Daniel Robin (B.A. '92, M.F.A. '07) won the 2008 Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking for “My Olympic Summer.”


The largest and most influential program of its kind in the West, the department of Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts (BECA) has graduated some of the top names in broadcast journalism, entertainment television and new media, including Bay Area news anchors Ken Bastida and Frank Somerville, "Frasier" producer Peter Casey and the late Dave McElhatton, a Bay Area broadcast legend.


Consistently ranked one of the top 20 physical therapy master's programs in the country by U.S. News and World Report, SF State expanded its offerings in 2002 with the launch of a doctoral program in physical therapy, offered jointly with the University of California, San Francisco.


With one of the most prolific graduate history programs in the country, SF State sends more master's graduates into Ph.D. programs than any other master's-only (comprehensive) university in the country, according to the latest study from the American Historical Association.


The only university in California to offer a bachelor's degree in technical and professional writing, SF State prepares students for careers as technical editors and writers, desktop publishers and communications managers. Students may also opt to pursue a minor or certificate of study in technical and professional writing.


The leading professional association for management scholars in the world, the Academy of Management, honored the College of Business' Ohrenschall Center for Entrepreneurship for its innovations in advancing the teaching and understanding of entrepreneurship. The Center was awarded the 2002 McGraw-Hill/Irwin Innovation in Entrepreneurship Pedagogy Award.


The only American Bar Association-approved paralegal studies program in San Francisco, the College of Extended Learning's Paralegal Studies Program offers a 30-unit certificate in practical legal skills and substantive law.


SF State was one of the first CSU campuses to offer a doctorate of education, beginning in 2007. The Ed.D. is the first independent doctorate for the CSU system. The University has a long history of excelling in teacher education. In 1899, the San Francisco State Normal School, SF State's precursor, became one of the first in the country to require a high school diploma.


The Student Enrichment Office is a nationally respected model for helping students succeed in the life sciences. It helps send 20 to 25 underrepresented minority students into doctoral programs each year. Founder Frank Bayliss' mentoring work has earned him a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from U.S. President Barack Obama. Since Bayliss founded the office in 1992, almost 900 students have benefited from the financial support, hands-on research opportunities and supplementary instruction that it provides.


The Center for Computing in Life Sciences conducts leading-edge research in such areas as bioinformatics, data modeling and computational drug discovery by integrating life sciences, computational science and mathematics. A recent study that mapped the genome of three parasitic wasps is providing the agricultural industry with a better understanding of how to use parasitic wasps as natural agents against agricultural pests and disease-carrying insects.


SF State is a new training ground for future stem cell researchers, with support from a $1.7 million grant from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). The University's new stem cell biology training program prepares a skilled workforce that will keep California on the leading edge of stem cell research. The program provides 10 master's students with intensive research internships at partner institutions including University of California, Berkeley, University of California, San Francisco and the Buck Institute for Age Research.


SF State's MBA program is ranked 16th among the world's leaders in socially responsible business education in the Aspen Institute's 2010-2011 Beyond Grey Pinstripes survey.



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