Certain notations are uniformly used in the course descriptions in this Bulletin.


Course descriptions briefly describe the content or subject matter to be covered and provide additional information on units of credit, the level of instruction (see course numbering system), and prerequisites.

Students may not earn credit in a cross-listed course a second time under an alternate prefix.

Information on specific offerings (times, rooms, instructors) will be found in the Class Schedule which is available on the SFSU Web site in advance of fall, spring and summer semesters. Experimental and variable topic courses which are offered each semester can be found in the Class Schedule.


Because of the differences in the organization and content of the various disciplines and professions, there is no uniform way of numbering courses that would be equally useful in all fields of knowledge.

In general it may be assumed that advances in division level (lower, upper, graduate) correlate with more difficult and challenging academic work. Upper division courses typically include a statement that indicates the prerequisite course work. Sometimes, however, disciplines organize their course numbering partly in terms of criteria other than degree of difficulty. It should be noted, too, that some students find introductory courses to be more demanding than advanced, specialized courses. In such courses, a more comprehensive approach and the first exposure to new ways of thinking may be harder for some individuals than covering a smaller, more familiar, area in much greater detail. Also, please note that the 9000-9999 series is designated for professional level courses which award Continuing Education Units (CEUs). CEUs are nationally recognized units of measurement for participation in education and training programs for which academic credit is not awarded. The following course numbering system is used at this university:

0-99 remedial instruction and non-credit courses (units and grades earned will not count towards graduation requirements)
100-299 lower division
300-699 upper division
700-899 graduate courses
900-999 doctoral courses
9000-9999 professional level courses offered for Continuing Education Units (CEUs); may neither be applied to nor substituted for graduation requirements.


It is the policy of the university to permit individual departments or program areas to develop advanced undergraduate and graduate level courses with virtually identical subject matter and to offer them in a paired arrangement with a single instructor and a common meeting schedule. The mechanism of pairing graduate and advanced undergraduate courses is a means of facilitating programs or circumstances where limited resources otherwise would require that the quality of one program be sacrificed to maintain the quality of the other.


For uniformity, certain types of courses have been listed by all departments and colleges with the same numbers: 699 and 899 are used for undergraduate and graduate "special study;" 893 for written creative works; 894 for creative work projects; 895 for field study or research projects; 896 for directed reading; 897 for graduate research; 898 for master's thesis.


All departments are authorized to offer experimental or temporary courses. These are not specifically described in the Bulletin. Descriptions may be obtained from the online Bulletin when such courses appear in the Class Schedule. The numbers 274, 277, 674, 677, 874, and 877 are used by all departments to designate lower division, upper division, and graduate levels, respectively. The standard Bulletin description for these courses is:

274/277  Exploration in (name of discipline): (subtitle specifying content) (1-6)

A course involving exploration of a major problem or theme or an experimental method of instruction, with variable content as specified in the course subtitle in the Class Schedule. May be repeated for credit when different content is involved.


Courses numbered 0-99 are remedial courses. Units and grades earned will not count towards meeting graduation requirements.


San Francisco State University provides the opportunity for students enrolled in the California State University International Programs to receive credit for special study or for subjects taken at universities abroad. For details of the program, consult the Index. The numbers 292, 492, and 792 are used to designate lower division, upper division and graduate levels, respectively. Transcript designation will be IS 292, 492, 792.

292  Projects in Study Abroad (subject to be designated by Overseas Resident Director, International Programs) (1-3)

Prerequisite: consent of major adviser. Open only to students in California State University International Programs. May be repeated for credit when different subjects are involved.


Under special study courses, upper division and graduate students can pursue topics or problems of special interest beyond the scope of a regular course under the supervision of a faculty adviser. The work is of a research or creative nature, and normally culminates in a paper, project, comprehensive examination, or performance. Before registering, the student must have the topic approved by the instructor who will be supervising the independent study, as well as by the adviser and the department chair. (Forms are available in department offices and online at The course numbers for special study are 699 and 899. In most cases, special study courses may be repeated for credit. Check the description for limitations.


The forms and methods of teaching vary widely in specific classes. The more traditional methods of lecturing, discussion, laboratory work, and individually supervised research or projects are being supplemented by such learning resources as group and individual exercises, television, films and records, video­taping, and the use of the computer. Modern specialized facilities and equipment are used in many courses in different fields. These include: laboratories for teaching the sciences, a planetarium, studios for teaching the fine arts; a variety of facilities for teaching communications; a language laboratory for teaching foreign languages and linguistics courses; a speech and hearing clinic; the Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies; the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories; the Sierra Nevada Field Campus.

San Francisco State University encourages experimentation and innovation in teaching and welcomes a diversity of approaches. Increasingly and with growing help from students, efforts are being made on the campus to examine, evaluate, and improve the learning experiences.

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Last modified July 06, 2012 by