There are approximately 7,000 students enrolled in post-baccalaureate study in 97 master's programs, three joint doctoral programs with the University of California, education credential programs, and specialized certificate programs at San Francisco State University. Central to the mission of graduate studies, our students, most of whom are working full- or part-time, are fully engaged in scholarly endeavors, including applied research and creative projects, and service to the community. In the years 2000 through 2002, San Francisco State University granted 3,904 graduate degrees. General information about graduate study and how to begin and complete a post-baccalaureate program can be found in the following pages of the Bulletin, by accessing the web at, and by contacting the Division of Graduate Studies. A handbook for graduate students, the GradGuide, is available on the graduate studies web site.

For detailed information about a specific program, the student should refer to that program's entry in this Bulletin or contact the program's graduate adviser to obtain program specific admission and/or degree requirements.


Departments or programs offering graduate degrees assign tenured/tenure-track faculty members with doctoral or other terminal degrees in their field to teach graduate courses. In addition, these faculty members serve on theses, creative works, field projects, and/or graduate comprehensive examinations committees based on the faculty member's expertise and area of research or scholarly work. In some cases, specific faculty members with exceptional backgrounds in specific areas of study may be assigned to teach in graduate-level courses.


See section General Policies and Procedures: Registration Policies for information on registration for classes, withdrawal policies, and leaves of absence.


Fall and Spring Semesters. The full-time load for post-baccalaureate students is nine to twelve units per semester. Students may enroll in up to sixteen units with permission of their designated faculty adviser. Students seeking to take more than sixteen units must submit the Request to Exceed Regular Academic Unit Load form to the major adviser, college graduate coordinator, and dean of the Division of Graduate Studies. After appropriate signatures have been obtained, the form is to be forwarded to the Registrar's Office. Under no circumstances will a post-baccalaureate student be given permission to exceed eighteen units in any semester. Students attempting to do so will be administratively dropped from their excess units.

Summer Semester. Graduate students may enroll in a maximum of six units in a five-week summer session, nine units in the eight-week summer session, and twelve units in any combination of summer semester sessions (R1, R2, and R3).


Departments with high graduate enrollments have the authority to assign priorities to students wishing to enroll in graduate-level courses. Any use of a priority system must be implemented only for the purpose of allowing majors in the program an opportunity of taking the courses needed to complete the degree program in a timely manner. From a pool of individuals, the department would normally be expected to grant admission to the class in the following rank order: (1) classified graduate majors of the department/program; (2) graduating seniors who have applied and been admitted to the department's master's degree program contingent upon completion of the baccalaureate degree; (3) classified graduate students from other departments; (4) unclassified graduate students; (5) advanced undergraduate students. It is the student's responsibility to determine that prerequisites have been met. It is expected that graduate-level special major students will be given an enrollment priority comparable to those in category (1).


Graduate students enrolled in upper division courses are expected to complete additional course work and to meet academic standards above the requirements for undergraduate students. It is the responsibility of the faculty member teaching the course to prescribe the additional course work and/or academic standards required of graduate students. Graduate students are to be informed of these requirements within the first two weeks of the semester.


Paired courses are offered at a common meeting time and place, but eligible for either undergraduate or graduate credit, with different requirements. Paired courses are identified in this Bulletin and in the Class Schedule. A paired course taken at the undergraduate level may not be repeated for credit at the graduate level.


Most graduate programs have a Special Study 899 course. This typically is an intensive study of an identified problem or subject which is carefully planned in advance, developed, and completed under the direction of a faculty member.

While each department may establish its own specific criteria, the following are basic guidelines:

A petition for special study form may be obtained from the major department office.


Credit by examination at the graduate level is not a common practice at this university. A graduate student may be exempt from completing a required course because of some special preparation. Such an exemption does not decrease the number of units required for the degree.

A graduate student may request permission to challenge a course by examination. The student must obtain approval from the department chair. Grading options will be the same as that available to the course being challenged. Credit by examination is restricted to regular courses offered by the university. Grades received as a result of the examination will be recorded on the student's permanent record and appropriate grade points assigned.


A classified graduate student must meet the department curriculum requirements as published in the university Bulletin in effect the semester the student is officially classified in the major program or the semester the Graduate Approved Program is filed with and approved by the Division of Graduate Studies.


Students who leave the university for two or more semesters (winter session and summer semester are not included), or who have attended another college or university during their absence, must reapply for admission to the university and the program in which they were enrolled. Any student who loses continuing enrollment status in the university must meet curriculum requirements in effect at the time of reentering classified status or the semester in which a new GAP is filed.


A graduate student must be officially enrolled with the university during any term in which he/she is utilizing university resources which are determined to be more than incidental by the major department and, if appropriate, by other units of the university.


The California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Education, requires that all the requirements for a master's degree be completed within a seven-year period. No more than seven years may elapse between the start of the term of the earliest dated course on the Graduate Approved Program and the date the last course is actually completed and the application for graduation is filed.

Substitution or Updating of Outdated Course Work. If any course work on the student's Graduate Approved Program becomes outdated, the student may submit a Petition for GAP Substitution to the Division of Graduate Studies, with department approval, to substitute another course (one already completed or which will be completed in the future) for the one which is outdated. Alternatively, the department may require the student to update the course work by repeating the outdated course without credit.

Extension of the Seven-year Limit. In unusual circumstances, a candidate may file a Petition for Waiver of Graduate Program Regulations with the dean of the Division of Graduate Studies for a one-time extension to complete the requirements for the degree. The outdated course work must be validated by examination or other demonstration of competency in the relevant course or subject field as determined by the major department.

The department must provide the student with a statement of support to be submitted with the petition, providing proof of competency in the subject matter as stated above, or establishing requirements for additional course work as appropriate. This statement must also set a final deadline for completion of the degree.

Transfer credit that exceeds seven years may not be used to meet degree requirements.

The following chart provides examples of the dates of expiration of the work specified on the GAP according to the seven-year limitation:

First requirements on GAP begun:

Time limit GAP will expire:

Summer 1996

June 2003

Fall 1996

August 2003

Spring 1997

January 2004

Summer 1997

June 2004

Fall 1997

August 2004

Spring 1998

January 2005

Summer 1998

June 2005

Fall 1998

August 2005

Spring 1999

January 2006

Summer 1999

June 2006

Fall 1999

August 2006

Spring 2000

January 2007

Summer 2000

June 2007

Fall 2000

August 2007

Spring 2001

January 2008

Summer 2001

June 2008

Fall 2001

August 2008

Spring 2002

January 2009

Summer 2002

June 2009

Fall 2002

August 2009

Spring 2003

January 2010

Summer 2003

June 2010

Fall 2003

August 2010

Spring 2004

January 2011

Summer 2004

June 2011


See Bulletin section entitled Fees and Other Expenses.


See section entitled Student Financial Aid. Depending on need, graduate students are eligible for loans, grants and scholarships, and federal work study. Financial assistance specifically for graduate students is limited to the following.


The purpose of San Francisco State University's Graduate Equity Fellowship program is to increase diversity by encouraging students with educationally or economically disadvantaged backgrounds and outstanding academic records to pursue and complete master's and doctoral degrees. The fellowship is only available to students admitted to a SFSU master's or doctoral degree program. Credential-only and certificate students are not eligible.


Graduate assistantships are made available to students each semester. Interested students should apply directly to their major department. Graduate assistantships are designed to provide professional experience and financial assistance to qualified graduate students. These positions may involve work with undergraduate students in a classroom, laboratory, or provide research assistance to faculty. To be eligible, a student must as a minimum:


The university through its major departments provides graduate students with part-time employment offering teaching experience related to their advanced study. The appointments usually involve teaching classroom and/or laboratory courses, assessing student performance, and tutoring students. The students assist faculty with field experiences, supervision, and/or research projects. To be eligible, a student must as a minimum:

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