The CSU must assess the academic preparation of international students. For this purpose, "international students" include those who hold U.S. visas as students, exchange visitors, or in other non-immigrant classifications. The CSU uses separate requirements and application filing dates in the admission of international students. Verification of English proficiency (see the section on TOEFL Requirement), financial resources, and academic performance are all important considerations for admission. Academic records from foreign institutions must be on file no later than the established document deadline date. Documents not in English must be accompanied by certified English translations.

San Francisco State University considers applications and accepts qualified applicants for admission to the university according to the International Student Application Calendar (earlier application deadlines may be enforced by various academic departments). Applications for Fall semester may be obtained in September. Applications for Spring semester may be obtained in June.

Priority in admission is given to residents of California. There is little likelihood of nonresident applicants, including international students, being admitted either to impacted majors or to those with limited openings.

All students on visas must be formally admitted and enrolled in a declared major (undergraduate) or in a classified graduate degree program (post-baccalaureate). They may not be enrolled in the university in non-degree or unclassified status.


Semester Undergraduate 
Application Period
Graduate Application Period
September 2001 
(Fall 2001)
November 1, 2000-
June 1, 2001
November 1, 2000-
April 1, 2001
January 2002 
(Spring 2002)
August 1, 2001-
November 1, 2001
August 1, 2001-
October 15, 2001
September 2002 
(Fall 2002)
November 1, 2001-
June 1, 2002
November 1, 2001-
April 1, 2002

NOTE: Undergraduate applications submitted between May 1 and June 1 for Fall admission, and between October 1 and November 1 for Spring admission, must have all documents attached (transcripts, test scores, etc.).

Any student who is a permanent resident (holds an Alien Registration Card or endorsed I-94, showing INS approval of Permanent Resident application) is not subject to the International Student Application Calendar and may apply on The California State University application form, subject only to the same program deadlines as United States citizen applicants. Students in this category must submit with their application a copy of their Alien Registration Card or endorsed Form I-94 .

Tuition and Costs

The university does not have general scholarships or financial aid for international students. Therefore, the student must present satisfactory evidence of adequate funds to meet financial needs at the time of enrollment at the university. Currently the State University Fee and related mandatory fees are $913 for undergraduates and $952 for graduates and second baccalaureates, plus $246 per unit for each semester. International students are required by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to enroll at SFSU in full-time status: for undergraduate students this means at least 12 units per semester; for graduate students it is 8 units per semester.

The following is an estimate of the cost of nine months, two semesters' attendance as a full-time student:

Undergraduates Graduates
Tuition $ 5,904 $ 3,936
Fees 1,826 1,982
Books and Supplies 810 810
Meals and Housing 8,500 8,500
Personal/Health/Transportation 3,072 3,072
Health Insurance Coverage 600 600
Total $20,712 $18,900


  1. Complete and return the printed application, using extra sheets if needed.
  2. When applying, the student must submit official, original transcripts or documents, and must list on the application the names of all certificates, diplomas, degrees, titles, or licenses received and the schools attended. All documents must be accompanied by a certified English translation. Photocopies without originals will not be accepted. All documents must show grades received, examinations taken, and identify passing and maximum grades. The student must be qualified to enter a university in their home country and have a good scholastic record from an accredited/recognized school. Applicants who are presently attending a college or university in the United States must, in addition to their international records, submit official transcripts of all work completed and in progress as soon as possible after applying for admission.
  3. All applicants for admission to the university must pay a $55.00 application fee. The application fee is not refundable nor can it apply toward a later application for admission.
  4. All undergraduate applicants, regardless of citizenship, are required to earn a minimum score of 500 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL); the computer-based TOEFL score must be 173 or above. Second baccalaureate applicants must earn a minimum score of 550 on the TOEFL and a 213 score on the computer-based TOEFL. Institutional TOEFL scores are not accepted. Achieving the minimum score shall be evidence of the applicant's English competency at a level which will allow the applicant to participate satisfactorily in and benefit from university study.
    To be admitted as a post-baccalaureate or graduate student, an applicant who does not possess an American baccalaureate degree from a post-secondary institution must receive a minimum score of 550 (paper-based test) or 213 (computer-based test) on the TOEFL. There are no exceptions. Students who do not meet the minimum TOEFL requirements should not apply. Appropriate campus authorities may prescribe a higher minimum score, based on such campus factors as the nature of the instruction offered, availability of instruction in English as a second language, student enrollment demand, and availability of funds.
    The TOEFL is administered throughout the year. Specific information regarding the exact testing dates, testing centers, fee, and registration is available from: Test of English as a Foreign Language, Educational Testing Service, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6154. It is the student's responsibility to request that test results be sent to either the Admissions Office (undergraduate) or Graduate Division (graduate), San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, California 94132.
  5. No action is taken on applications for admission until all requested materials have been received by the university. Students are admitted only upon receipt of the official Notice of Admission from the Admissions Office (undergraduate) or the Graduate Division (graduate). Students should not confuse confirmation of housing or correspondence with academic departments with official admission to the university.

Type of Visa. San Francisco State University is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students.

International students who are outside of the United States, upon receipt of the San Francisco State University Certificate of Eligibility, should secure a non-immigrant student (F or J) visa. The College of Extended Learning is also authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students. Subsequent to admission, international students must be enrolled continuously every semester and carry a full course of study (twelve units for undergraduates and eight units for graduates) .

Health Insurance. International students (F and J visas) are required to show evidence of health insurance coverage in order to be permitted to register for courses. Renewals are checked each semester in order to re-register, unless the insurance policy is purchased annually. For additional information, students should contact the Student Health Service at 338-1932.

SFSU Home   Search   Need Help?  

1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132 (415) 338-1111

Last modified July 05, 2012 by