Prospective students, applying for part-time or full-time undergraduate programs of study, in day or evening classes, must file a complete undergraduate application as described in the undergraduate admission booklet. The $55 nonrefundable application fee should be in the form of a check or money order payable to The California State University and may not be transferred or used to apply to another term. An alternate campus and major may be indicated on the application, but applicants should list as an alternate campus only a CSU campus that also offers the major. Generally, an alternate major is considered at the first choice campus before an application is redirected to an alternate choice campus.

Impacted Programs

The CSU designates programs as impacted when more applications are received in the first month of the filing period than can be accommodated. Some programs are impacted at every campus where they are offered; others are impacted only at some campuses. Students must meet supplementary admissions criteria if applying to an impacted program.

The CSU will announce with the opening of the fall filing period which programs are impacted and the supplementary criteria campuses will use. That announcement will be published in the CSU Review, distributed to high school and college counselors. Information about the supplementary criteria is also sent to program applicants.

Students must file an application for admission to an impacted program during the first month of the filing period. Further, students who wish to be considered for an impacted program at two or more campuses must file an application to each.

Supplementary Admission Criteria

Each campus with impacted programs uses supplementary admission criteria in screening applicants. Supplementary criteria may include ranking on the freshman eligibility index, the overall transfer grade point average, completion of specified prerequisite courses, and a combination of campus-developed criteria. If a student is required to submit scores on either the SAT I or the ACT, the test should be taken no later than November if applying for fall admission.

The supplementary admission criteria used by the individual campuses to screen applicants appear periodically in the CSU Review and are sent by the campuses to all applicants seeking admission to an impacted program.

Unlike unaccommodated applicants to locally impacted programs who may be redirected to another campus in the same major, unaccommodated applicants to systemwide impacted programs may not be redirected in the same major but may choose an alternate major either at the first choice campus or another campus.


Test Requirements

Freshman and transfer applicants who have fewer than 56 semester or 84 quarter units of transferable college credit must submit scores, unless exempt (consult Eligibility Index below), from either the ACT or the SAT of the College Board. If applying to an impacted program on campus and test scores are required, the applicant should take the test no later than November or early December. Test scores are also used for advising and placement purposes. Registration forms and dates for the SAT I or ACT are available from school or college counselors or from the campus Testing Office. Or, write to or call:

The College Board (SAT I)
Registration Unit, Box 6200
Princeton, NJ 08541
(609) 771-7588
Registration Unit, P.O. Box 414
Iowa City, IA 52243
(319) 337-1270

TOEFL Requirement. All undergraduate applicants, regardless of citizenship, who have not attended schools at the secondary level or above for at least three years full time where English is the principal language of instruction must present a score of 500 (paper-based test) or 173 (computer-based test) or above on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Second baccalaureate applicants must present a score of 550 (paper-based test) or 213 (computer-based test) or above on the TOEFL.

Systemwide Placement Test Requirements

The California State University requires each entering undergraduate, except those who qualify for an exemption, to take the CSU Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) examination and the CSU English Placement Test (EPT) after admission and prior to enrollment. These placement tests are not a condition for admission to the CSU, but they are a condition of enrollment. They are designed to identify entering students who may need additional support in acquiring basic English and mathematics skills necessary to succeed in CSU baccalaureate-level courses. Undergraduate students who do not demonstrate college-level skills both in English and in mathematics will be placed in appropriate remedial programs and activities during the first term of their enrollment. (See Undergraduate Graduation Requirements for further information regarding the Entry Level Mathematics [ELM] examination and English Placement Test [EPT].)


A student qualifies for regular admission as a first-time freshman if he/she:

Eligibility Index—The eligibility index is the combination of the high school grade point average and the score on either the ACT or the SAT. The grade point average is based on grades earned during the final three years of high school (excluding physical education and military science) and bonus points for approved honors courses.

Up to eight semesters of honors courses taken in the last two years of high school can be accepted. Each unit with a grade of  A in an honors course will receive a total of 5 points; B, 4 points; and C, 3 points.

A student can calculate the index by multiplying the grade point average by 800 and adding the total score on the SAT I. Or, if the student took the ACT, multiply the grade point average by 200 and add ten times the ACT composite score. A California high school graduate (or a resident of California for tuition purposes), needs a minimum index of 2900 using the SAT I or 694 using the ACT; the Eligibility Index Table illustrates several combinations of required test scores and averages.

If a student neither graduated from a California high school nor is a resident of California for tuition purposes, a minimum index of 3502 (SAT I) or 842 (ACT) is needed.

Applicants with grade point averages of 3.00 or above (3.61 for nonresidents) are exempt from submitting test scores. However, applicants are urged to take the SAT I or ACT since campuses use test results for advising and placement purposes.

A student qualifies for regular admission when the university verifies that he/she has a qualifiable eligibility index and will have completed the comprehensive pattern of college preparatory subjects and, if applying to an impacted program, meets supplementary criteria.

Graduates of secondary school in foreign countries must be judged to have academic preparation and abilities equivalent to applicants eligible under this section.

NOTE: A grade point average of 3.00 and above qualifies with any score on the ACT or SAT I. A grade point average of below 2.00 does not qualify for regular admission.

Subject Requirements

The California State University requires that first-time freshman applicants complete, with grades of C or better, a comprehensive pattern of college preparatory study totaling fifteen units. A "unit" is one year of study in high school. Within the fifteen units completed, up to one unit (one year) in visual and performing arts or foreign language may be missing and offset by a college preparatory course(s) in other areas. The missing unit of visual and performing arts or foreign language must be completed either prior to, or by the end of the first year, of CSU enrollment. This provision is effective through the 2001-2003 academic year.

English: 4 years

Mathematics: 3 years of algebra, geometry, and intermediate algebra

U.S. History or U.S. History and Government: 1 year

Science: 1 year with laboratory (biology, chemistry, physics, or other acceptable laboratory science)

Foreign Language: 2 years in the same language (subject to waiver for applicants demonstrating equivalent competence)

Visual and Performing Arts: 1 year in art, dance, drama/theater, or music

Electives: 3 years selected from English, advanced mathematics, social science, history, laboratory science, foreign language, and visual and performing arts

Applicants seeking admission as first-time freshmen for the Fall 2003 or later terms will have the same preparatory course requirements for admission to both the California State University and the University of California. The preparatory course admission requirements for both systems will be the completion of the following courses with a grade of C or better: four years of English, three years of math (algebra, geometry, and intermediate algebra), two years of U.S. history or social science, two years of laboratory science, two years of foreign language, one year of visual or performing arts, and one year of electives chosen from one of the areas above.

Subject Requirement Substitution for Students with Disabilities. Applicants with disabilities are encouraged to complete college preparatory course requirements if at all possible. If an applicant is judged unable to fulfill a specific course requirement because of his or her disability, alternate college preparatory courses may be substituted for specific subject requirements. Substitutions may be authorized on an individual basis after review and recommendation by the applicant's academic adviser or guidance counselor in consultation with the director of a CSU disabled students services program. Although the distribution may be slightly different from the course pattern required of other students, students qualifying for substitutions will still be held for fifteen units of college preparatory study. Students should be aware that course substitutions may limit later enrollment in certain majors, particularly those involving mathematics. For further information and substitution forms, please call the director of the Disability Resource Center at this campus.

Foreign Language Subject Requirement. The foreign language subject requirement may be satisfied by applicants who demonstrate competence in a language other than English equivalent to or higher than expected of students who complete two years of foreign language study. Consult with a school counselor or the campus admissions office or Student Outreach Services for further information.

Making Up Missing College Preparatory Subject Requirements

Lower division applicants who did not complete the subject requirements while in high school may make up missing subjects in any of the following ways.

Please consult with any CSU admissions office for further information about alternative ways to satisfy the subject requirements.

NOTE: All entering undergraduate students must take the Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) and the English Placement Test (EPT) after admission but prior to their first term of enrollment unless otherwise exempt. (See Undergraduate Graduation Requirements for further information.)

Provisional Admission

San Francisco State University may provisionally admit first-time freshmen applicants based on their academic preparation through the junior year of high school and planned for the senior year. The campus monitors the senior year of study to ensure that those so admitted complete their senior year of studies satisfactorily, including the required college preparatory subjects, and graduate from high school.

High School Students

Students still enrolled in high school are considered for enrollment in certain special programs if recommended by the principal and the appropriate campus department chair and if preparation is equivalent to that required of eligible California high school graduates. Such admission is only for a given program and does not constitute the right to continued enrollment.


Students who complete college units during high school or through the summer between high school graduation and fall enrollment in the California State University are considered first-time freshmen and must meet those admission requirements.

Applicants who graduated from high school prior to 1988 should contact the Admissions Office to inquire about alternative admission programs.

Transferable courses are those designated for baccalaureate credit by the college or university offering the courses.

Lower Division Transfer Requirements

Students who have completed 55 or fewer transferable semester college units (83 or fewer quarter units) at the time of entrance into SFSU are considered lower division transfer students. Lower division transfer students qualify for admission if they have a grade point average of 2.0 (C) or better in all transferable units attempted, are in good standing at the last college or university attended, and meet any of the following standards:

  1. Meet the freshman admission requirements in effect for the term to which they are applying (see First-time Freshman Applicants section); or
  2. Were eligible as freshmen at the time of high school graduation except for the subject requirements, have been in continuous attendance in an accredited college since high school graduation, and

Upper Division Transfer Requirements

Students who have completed 56 or more transferable semester college units (84 or more quarter units) at the time of entrance to SFSU are considered upper division transfer students. Upper division transfer students qualify for admission if they meet the following requirements:

  1. Have a college grade point average of 2.0 (C) or better in all transferable units attempted. Nonresidents must have a 2.4 grade point average or better.
  2. Are in good standing at the last college or university attended.
  3. Have completed at least 30 semester units of college course work with a grade of C or better in each course to be selected from courses in English, arts and humanities, social science, science and mathematics at a level at least equivalent to courses that meet general education requirements. The 30 units must include all of the general education requirements in communication in the English language and critical thinking (at least nine semester units) and the requirement in mathematics/quantitative reasoning (usually three semester units) OR the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) requirements in English communication and mathematical concepts and quantitative reasoning.

Provisional Admission

San Francisco State University may provisionally admit transfer applicants based on their academic preparation and courses planned for completion. The campus will monitor the final terms to ensure that those admitted complete all required courses satisfactorily.


As an alternative to regular admission criteria, an applicant who is twenty-five years of age or older may be considered for admission as an adult student if he/she meets all of the following conditions:

  1. Possesses a high school diploma (or has established equivalence through either the Tests of General Educational Development or the California High School Proficiency Examination).
  2. Has not been enrolled in college as a full-time student for more than one term during the past five years.
  3. If there has been any college attendance in the last five years, has earned a C average or better in all college work attempted.

Consideration will be based upon a judgment as to whether the applicant is as likely to succeed as a regularly admitted freshman or transfer student and will include an assessment of basic skills in the English language and mathematical computation.

Re-entry and Readmit Students

The Re-entry Admissions Program (RAP) is an alternative admissions program available to a limited number of students (not eligible to upper division transfer students) who meet certain criteria and who are not otherwise able to be admitted to the university as undergraduates. Students in this program must meet the admission criteria for Adult Students (see above). RAP workshops are conducted during November, August, and April of every year. Contact the Advising Center at 415-338-2101 for workshop information.

Students who attended SFSU in the past (readmit students) may make an appointment with the Advising Center to discuss readmission and graduation.


Advanced Placement

San Francisco State University grants credit toward its undergraduate degrees for successful completion of examinations of the Advanced Placement Program of the College Board. Students who present scores of three or better may be granted up to six semester units of college credit.

The university also recognizes advanced placement courses undertaken by high school students in conjunction with a collegiate institution in those instances where the collegiate institution has recommended credit. For additional information, the student may call or write the Admissions Office.

Credit From Accredited Colleges

Credits earned in accredited colleges are evaluated and advanced standing allowed on the basis of the evidence submitted on official transcripts. Credit toward the fulfillment of graduation requirements is allowed insofar as the courses satisfactorily completed meet the standards and requirements of the university.

Credit From Unaccredited Colleges

Credits earned in unaccredited colleges may be accepted as a basis for advanced standing only when an applicant can demonstrate by examination, after she/he has enrolled in the university, that a satisfactory degree of proficiency has been attained in the courses in question. Further information will be found in the paragraph Credit by Examination, in this section.

Credit for Community College Courses

Credit earned in accredited community colleges will be evaluated by the Admissions Office in accordance with the following provisions:

  1. Community college credit is allowed up to a maximum of 70 semester units. Credits and grades earned after the student has the maximum allowable may be used on approval only to satisfy subject and grade point requirements but under no circumstances may they be applied toward the total units required for graduation from the university.
  2. No upper division credit may be allowed for community college work.
  3. Credit for one course may be transferred from a community college for a course in the introduction to education. No other credit is allowed for professional courses in education.

Credit By Examination

San Francisco State University grants credit to those students who pass examinations that have been approved for credit systemwide. These include the Advanced Placement Examination and some CLEP examinations.

Students may challenge courses by taking examinations developed at the campus. Credit shall be awarded to those who pass them successfully. See Credit by Examination or Evaluation (in Undergraduate Graduation Requirements) for additional information.

Credit for Non-Collegiate Instruction

San Francisco State University grants undergraduate degree credit for successful completion of formal instruction appropriate to the baccalaureate in non-college settings, either military or civilian, that has been recommended by the Commission on Educational Credit and Credentials of the American Council on Education. The number of units allowed are those recommended in the Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experience in the Armed Services and the National Guide to Educational Credit for Training Programs .

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Last modified July 05, 2012 by bulletin@sfsu.edu