There are approximately 6,000 students enrolled in post-baccalaureate study in ninety-four master’s programs, one Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, three joint doctoral programs and one joint master’s program 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 2004 through 2006, San Francisco State University granted over 3,287 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 or at the graduate orientation held before the start of each fall and spring semester.

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 coordinator to obtain program specific admission and/or degree requirements. Graduate coordinator information is available at the Graduate Studies website under Graduate Advising.


Faculty members teaching in graduate programs hold doctoral or other terminal degrees in their field and are tenured or on tenure track. 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.


Minimum requirements for admission to graduate study in the CSU are in accordance with Title 5, Division 5, Chapter 1, Subchapter 3, of the California Code of Regulations. The University has the right to require higher standards than the minimum requirements encoded in Title 5.

Application to a post-baccalaureate program is limited to the choice of a single campus on each application. To be assured of consideration by more than one campus, applicants must submit separate applications (including fees) to each campus. Students may not apply to two different programs on the same campus on the same application. See specific information on how to apply in sections “Application Submission.”

Importance of Filing Complete, Accurate, and Authentic Application Documents

Applicants must supply complete and accurate information on all application materials for admission, residence questionnaire, and financial aid forms. Failure to file complete, accurate, and authentic application documents may result in denial of admission, cancellation of academic credit, suspension, or expulsion (Section 41301, Article 1.1, Title 5, California Code of Regulations).

Cancellation of Admission

Admission will be cancelled automatically if a student is accepted by San Francisco State University for a given semester and the student does not enroll for that semester. Students who apply at a later date must file a new application, pay a new application fee, and meet the requirements for admission in effect at the time of admission.

Students admitted contingent on receipt of proof of an earned baccalaureate degree or on receipt of official transcripts must provide the required documents by the end of the fourth week of the semester or students will be disenrolled, will earn no credit toward the degree and must officially reapply for the next semester.

Reservation: University Right to Select Students

The university reserves the right to select its students and deny admission to the university or any of its programs. The university, in its sole discretion, determines admissions based on an applicant’s suitability and the best interests of the university. Meeting minimal university requirements for admission does not ensure acceptance into a graduate program because admission to a graduate program is selective and more students apply than can be accepted.


Graduate and post-baccalaureate applicants may apply for a degree , a credential, or certificate. Application for admission to a graduate program requires the student to apply to both the university through CSU Mentor and the department/program.


The minimum requirements for admission to graduate and post-baccalaureate studies at SFSU are in accordance with Title 5, Chapter 1, Subchapter 3 of the California Code of Regulations, but may be higher than the minimum requirements. Specifically, a student shall at the time of enrollment: (1) have completed a four-year college course of study and hold an acceptable baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association, or shall have completed equivalent academic preparation as determined by appropriate campus authorities; (2) be in good academic standing at the last college or university attended; (3) have attained a grade point average of at least 2.75 (A = 4.0) in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted for admission in fall 2007 and 3.0 for admission in spring 2008 and thereafter; and (4) satisfactorily meet the professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards for graduate study, including qualifying examinations, as appropriate campus authorities may prescribe. In unusual circumstances, a campus may make exceptions to these criteria. Note that most graduate programs require students to meet higher standards than those listed above.

Students meeting university requirements for graduate study must also apply to the department of interest and follow all program selection criteria. Programs and departments admit students based on academic qualifications and resource implications associated with the degree or program; therefore, not all students meeting minimal Title 5 and SFSU requirements will be accepted to the program. Students not accepted to their first-choice program may request that their application be transferred to another program. Students requesting transfer of their application to another program must meet the requirements of the new program and be selected for admission by the program faculty.


A domestic applicant who is a graduate of an institution without regional accreditation or from an institution whose degree is not considered equivalent to a baccalaureate degree from this university in terms of quality and/or content (e.g., specialized, professional, or certain international institutions) may not be admitted directly to post-baccalaureate status at this university. Instead, the student may be considered for admission as an undergraduate student. Upon satisfactory completion of the undergraduate degree, the student may then apply and be considered for admission to post-baccalaureate status. International students should review the International Student Admission Requirements section below. Information about regionally accredited universities can be found at the Council for Higher Education website (


Admission to Spring 2008: Applications are accepted beginning August 1, 2007. Not all programs accept spring applications. Departments accepting spring applications have specific deadlines. Consult for details.

Admission to Fall 2008: Applications are accepted beginning October 1, 2007. Prospective students should contact the department for department deadlines. The online application must be submitted by the department deadline. Consult for details.


SFSU has separate application requirements for international applicants—individuals holding or requiring a visa (F, J, B, H, etc.) and all applicants who have earned degrees outside of the U.S. International applicants may have earlier application deadlines than those listed for domestic students. International applicants must also submit the SEVIS Information Form for International Admission and documents required for student visas. International students should access the Graduate Studies web site for information:

All F-1/J-1 visa international students must be formally admitted and enrolled in classified or post-baccalaureate status as matriculated students in degree programs offered through the university, College of Extended Learning Special Sessions or in selected certificate programs leading to professional preparation or certification. International applicants will be given full consideration for admission based on the SFSU’s commitment to internationalizing the student body.

Academic Eligibility. Applicants educated outside of the United States must have earned a degree or diploma that SFSU considers to be the equivalent to a 4-year U.S. bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. An official determination of eligibility will be made during the application process. Students graduating from international educational institutions with three year degrees preceded by thirteen years of pre-collegiate work and, “A-level” passes are directly admissible to SFSU graduate programs if they meet all other university and program requirements.

In general, international students with twelve years of pre-collegiate education and three-year bachelor’s degrees are admissible to graduate programs at SFSU only if they complete one additional year of program acceptable coursework. Some SFSU graduate degree programs offer one year bridge programs which upon successful completion, provide students with direct admission to the degree program. Highly qualified international students with outstanding academic and work experiences that are clearly beyond that of a baccalaureate level student may apply for Special Action admission if requested by the department chair. Admission by Special Action is not guaranteed. International students who do not meet SFSU TOEFL or IELTS standards may be eligible for a special transition year through the American Language Institute at SFSU. Contact the Graduate Studies office or the Office of International Programs for information on bridge-to-degree programs.

Required Educational Documents. Applicants educated outside of the U.S. must submit original or certified/attested copies of all original academic documents in the original language of issue. Copies must be certified by the appropriate government or university official. Required documents include: the complete official academic record showing all courses or subjects, dates of enrollment and grades/marks received; official degree(s), diploma(s), or certificate(s) awarded. Official word-for-word English translations must be submitted in addition to the original language documents.

English Language Proficiency Requirement (TOEFL or IELTS). All graduate and post-baccalaureate applicants, regardless of citizenship, whose native language is not English and whose preparatory education was principally in a language other than English must demonstrate competence in English. According to Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations (Section 41040), “To be admitted to a campus as a post-baccalaureate or graduate student, an applicant who does not possess a baccalaureate degree from a postsecondary institution where English is the principal language of instruction must receive a minimum score of 550 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (213 on the computer-based test or 80 on the internet-based test-- iBT).” Note that several graduate departments have higher English language proficiency requirements. Applicants who have earned degrees outside of the U.S., even if they have completed course work in English, should contact Graduate Studies to determine if they are required to take TOEFL. Score reports should be sent to SFSU Division of Graduate Studies, Institution Code: 4684. Students who have taken the IELTS as an alternative must obtain a score of 6.5 or higher.

Please refer to the Office of International Programs section of the Bulletin for more information or visit the OIP web site at


Admission to Spring 2008: Applications are accepted beginning August 1, 2007. The priority application deadline is September 15, 2007. Not all departments accept spring applications. Departments accepting spring applications have specific deadlines listed on the Graduate Studies website.

Admission to Fall 2008: Applications are accepted beginning October 1, 2007. The priority application deadline is April 1, 2008. Students whose application materials are received during the “priority” application period are most likely to complete the application process by the department deadline.




Application to a graduate degree program or credential is a two-step process. Students must apply to the university via the CSU Mentor application AND apply to the specific department/program offering the degree or credential. San Francisco State University accepts applications for admission for the fall and spring semesters only. Applicants seeking a second bachelor’s degree should submit the undergraduate CSU Mentor application for admission. Students applying for doctoral programs should check the Graduate Studies website and department for specific application deadlines and requirements. Applications to joint programs with the University of California should be submitted first to the UC campus. Check with the department for complete procedures.

STEP ONE: The first step is to apply to the university via CSU Mentor at Applicants to graduate programs should apply via CSU Mentor early in the application period so that documents can processed and forwarded to the programs for review in a timely manner.

Note that permission to submit a paper copy of the application for admission requires prior approval by the Division of Graduate Studies. Online CSU Mentor applications are given priority over paper applications.

International applicants must complete an additional SFSU supplemental application for international students. See section above, International Student Admission Requirements.

TRANSCRIPTS: All graduate and post-baccalaureate applicants must furnish the graduate admissions office with one official transcript from each college or university attended. Separate transcripts from each college or university are required even though one transcript may show work taken at another institution. The SFSU Registrar’s Office provides transcripts to graduate admissions for those applicants who have completed course work at SFSU. Students must check the department/program information to determine if official transcripts must also be sent directly to the department.

STEP TWO: The second step of the application process is to apply to a SFSU graduate program.

Most departments/degree programs and the teaching credential office ( have additional application requirements. Please consult directly with the major department or program for information about additional required materials or check on-line at (Prospective Students) to link to department-specific requirements which may include, but not be limited to, copies of transcripts, statement of purpose and letters of recommendation. Specific department/program/teaching credential applications should be sent directly to the department (see Graduate Studies website for contact information).

To ensure more rapid processing of the CSU Mentor application, a student should submit the fee and one official transcript from each college or university previously attended in sealed envelopes together in the same packet to the Division of Graduate Studies, ADM 250, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132-4013.


The university does not require applicants to complete an entrance examination as a condition for graduate admission; however, some departments or programs require that graduate degree applicants submit results of the aptitude, advanced, or area tests of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), or other required examinations. Some departments require that students complete the SFSU Graduate Essay Test (GET) prior to or during the first semester of admission. GET information can be obtained at: Applicants are responsible for having the required examination results forwarded directly to the department involved. Information regarding which examinations, if any, are required may be obtained from the department office or on


Former SFSU graduate students must apply for readmission if: (1) they have been absent for more than one consecutive semester as a matriculated student (excluding summer or winter sessions); or (2) they have attended another college in any interval of their absence. If a student has attended any other educational institution following attendance as a matriculated student at SFSU, transcripts must be submitted for all academic work in which the student was enrolled in the period since last attending SFSU.

In order to be considered “in attendance” for any semester, the student must be enrolled in at least one class through the end of the twentieth day of instruction. Applications for readmission and all supporting materials must be filed in the Division of Graduate Studies in accordance with current requirements and procedures. To be eligible for readmission, graduate students must have earned a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all course work attempted at SFSU in graduate status and all course work attempted at other colleges during their absence and must be in “good standing” at SFSU or any other educational institution attended for application materials to be forwarded to the program of interest.

Graduate Approved Programs (GAPs) filed before leaving the university are automatically voided after two or more regular semesters of absence have occurred and where no formal Planned Educational Leave of Absence has been granted. (See Planned Educational Leave of Absence information.) Upon readmission, a new GAP that meets current curricular requirements must be completed and filed (see specific academic program information).



After review of all application materials, departments or program admission committees may notify students that they have been recommended for admission to the program; however, students are not formally admitted until they receive an official notice of admission by the SFSU Division of Graduate Studies.



Students who meet the minimum requirements for graduate and post-baccalaureate studies will be considered for admission in one of the following categories:

Graduate Conditionally Classified: A student may be admitted to a graduate degree program in this category if, in the opinion of appropriate campus authority, the student needs to complete prerequisite or preparatory course work and/or complete placement exams. Students may also be admitted in this category to remedy deficiencies in writing and communications skills as identified by the graduate coordinator or Graduate Studies office. In addition, departments may admit students in this category to evaluate progress toward degree. Students admitted in this category will be moved to classified status after submitting an approved GAP.

Graduate Classified: A student may be admitted to classified standing if the applicant satisfactorily meets the professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards for admission to the graduate degree curriculum, including qualifying examinations, as the appropriate campus authority may prescribe. Only applicants who show promise of success and fitness will be admitted to classified standing, and only those who continue to demonstrate a satisfactory level of scholastic competence and fitness shall be eligible to continue in the program.

Post-baccalaureate Classified: Students seeking enrollment in a teaching credential or graduate certificate program will be granted this status and may be required to satisfy additional professional, personal, scholastic, and other standards, including qualifying examinations, prescribed by the campus or program. Admission in this status does not constitute admission to, or assurance of consideration for admission to, any graduate degree program. Students enrolling for a credential must formally apply to a master’s degree program before completing 12 credential units if concurrent enrollment is planned.


If a student is admitted to the university before the final award of the baccalaureate degree or if a student has completed any post-baccalaureate work, an official transcript of all course work completed must be submitted. The transcript showing the award of the degree must be filed before the end of the fourth week of the first semester of enrollment. Any student who does not submit documentation of completion of an undergraduate degree is subject to one or more of the following actions: admission and registration cancellation, automatic reversion to undergraduate status, loss of all units taken for post-baccalaureate credit, disciplinary action as may be appropriate. Read sections below: Graduate courses taken as an undergraduate in excess of bachelor’s degree requirements and units taken prior to admission to classified status.


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 readmitted to a graduate program after an absence of more than one semester must meet the requirements of the program under their new admission year.


Graduate courses taken at another university are not automatically transferable to a SFSU program. A maximum of six semester units, which may include any combination of transfer units, extension work, or credit by examination (under very limited conditions, see policy on Credit by Examination), may be used in meeting the requirement of a 30-unit program (a maximum of 12 semester units of the above may be used in meeting the requirements of a 60-unit program). Students requesting transfer of units should confer with the department chair or graduate coordinator and the Graduate Studies office during the admission process or immediately after notification of admission. Under no circumstance will more than 6 units of transfer courses be accepted toward a 30-unit degree graduate degree or proportionately more for programs that exceed 30 units.

Programs/departments have the authority to determine which transfer courses will be accepted on a Graduate Approved Program (GAP). (See section on Graduate Approved Program for more complete information.) Courses accepted for transfer credit by the department must meet the following minimum requirements, but higher requirements may be stipulated by the department:

It is the obligation of the student, the student’s advisor and the graduate coordinator to determine that the proposed transfer course meets all of the conditions for eligibility. A student wishing to have a course taken at another institution included as part of his/her graduate program should do the following:


Courses taken prior to the award of the baccalaureate degree are considered undergraduate courses. However, students who have completed all courses toward the undergraduate degree and who have applied formally for admission to a graduate program, may request on the Application for Award of Baccalaureate degree that up to 12 units of undergraduate or graduate work taken in the final semester before the award of the undergraduate degree be granted provisional post-baccalaureate status. Units to be applied toward a graduate degree may not be counted toward the undergraduate degree. Inclusion of units on a Graduate Approved Program taken as an undergraduate must have approval of the department/program admission committee or graduate coordinator.

If the baccalaureate degree is not completed at the end of the term in question, all the work taken with the intent to apply toward a graduate program will be counted as undergraduate work and the provisional post-baccalaureate status for specified courses will be voided.


Students entering the university in second baccalaureate status to prepare for a graduate program, must formally apply and be admitted to the graduate program. If prerequisites are completed and a second baccalaureate degree is not earned, students may apply no more than 9 units toward the graduate degree, if the units are accepted by the program. Students should check with the advisor of the graduate program to determine if any units taken in second baccalaureate status can be applied toward the graduate degree. Units applied toward the second baccalaureate degree may not be used for the graduate degree.


Courses applied to a graduate degree taken through Open University may not exceed 6 units in a 30-unit program or proportionally more for programs that exceed 30 units unless cooperative agreements have been made with the department and Graduate Studies.


Students seeking admission for concurrent enrollment in a second graduate degree must be in good standing in the first degree. Application for the second degree must include written permission from both department/program chairs. Students applying for concurrent enrollment in a second graduate degree must formally apply through CSU Mentor and to the program and meet all requirements of the program. Admission to the second program is competitive and not all students who meet minimum requirements can be admitted. Students admitted to a second master's degree program must meet all expectations and timelines for program completion for both degrees.


Students intending to secure both a master’s degree and a California basic teaching credential may in some programs pursue these objectives concurrently, although some departments do not allow the same courses to be used for both objectives. Check with the department for its policy. Credential students wanting to pursue a master’s degree must be formally admitted to the degree program before completing more than 12 units of credential work. Students may not include more than 12 units of credential work on the GAP if they were taken before the student applied for admission to the master’s program. Credential students must apply for graduate student status through CSU Mentor and meet all graduate admission standards.

More graduate and post-baccalaureate application information and regulations can be found at Graduate Registration.

Follow this link to read about Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures.

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Last modified July 06, 2012 by