See Bulletin section entitled Schedule of Fees.


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 domestic students admitted to a SFSU master's or doctoral degree program. Credential-only and certificate students are not eligible.


The Graduate Fellowship is available to outstanding graduate students currently pursuing a master's degree in any field. It is based on scholastic achievement, professional promise, and relevant non-academic activities.


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:


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


Fall and Spring Semesters. Full-time study for graduate students during the fall and spring semesters is defined as follows:

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 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. Some cohorted professional programs are excluded from this policy.

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 eleven units in any combination of summer semester sessions (R1, R2, and R3). Some cohorted professional programs are excluded from this policy.


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 including Special Majors; (4) advanced undergraduate students. It is the student and faculty member’s responsibility to determine that prerequisites for graduate courses have been met.


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 are eligible for either undergraduate or graduate credit, with different requirements delineated for graduate students. 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. Graduate students must enroll in the graduate numbered course (700-800) and complete all graduate level expectations as described in the course syllabus.


Most graduate programs have a Special Study 899 course. Typically, this 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. Graduate students may not enroll in a Special Study 699 course.

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

A petition for special study form may be obtained from the major department office. Special Study contracts must be filed in the department and are subject to audit by CSU reviewers.


Credit by examination at the graduate level is seldom permitted 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 and graduate coordinator. Grading options will be the same as that available for the course being challenged. Credit by examination is restricted to regular courses offered by the university. The examination is to be comprehensive and searching and include whatever activity, test, or demonstration is deemed appropriate for evaluating the skills, understanding, or knowledge required by the objectives of the course. Grades received as a result of the examination will be recorded on the student's permanent record and appropriate grade points assigned.


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. Readmission to the degree program is not guaranteed.


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. Some departments or programs require that students be enrolled during the semester in which the student graduates or continuously after enrollment in the Culminating Experience. Students must review department requirements related to continuous enrollment. Students not meeting this requirement will be required to enroll in the following semester for the course which will require re-application for graduation. As an alternative, students may petition to add a course after the deadline. This petition is seldom granted and must be authorized by the department chair and the college dean. Late adding a course requires payment of all fees. Some departments require continuous enrollment in a special course through CEL. Check with department for policy.


Special Sessions: A limited number of degrees, credential, and certificate programs are offered through special sessions. To be considered officially matriculated at SFSU, special sessions students must be admitted to a specific degree, credential, or certificate program offered by an academic department via the College of Extended Learning (CEL) and then enroll through CEL in the courses for that specific program. Special sessions students have matriculated status.

The list of current and anticipated special sessions programs, grouped by category (degree, credential, and certificate) appears in the College of Extended Learning section of this Bulletin. The following web sites provide additional information:,

Open University: Students may apply up to 6 units taken through Open University enrollment toward a 30 unit master’s degree provided they are accepted by the graduate coordinator of the degree program, and proportionally more for a program with more than 30 units. (See section on Graduate Approved Program for complete information on how many transfer or Extended Learning units can be used on the GAP.)

Winter Session: Courses taken through the SFSU Winter Session may earn residency credit and up to six units may be used to satisfy requirements for an advanced degree with approval of the program graduate coordinator if the student has been admitted to a master’s degree program. Courses taken prior to formal admission may be applied toward the degree with permission of the program graduate coordinator.

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Last modified July 05, 2012 by