About the University {SF State Bulletin 2012 - 2013}

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About the University


SF State of Mind

San Francisco State University, located in one of the world’s most vibrant and beautiful cities, is a recognized leader in addressing issues both global and close to home.


In the global arena, typically SF State enrolls the largest number of international students at any comprehensive university in the U.S., and ranks second among U.S. universities for the number of students who study abroad for an academic year. With a diverse range of students from almost every state and nearly 100 countries, the University community is a perfect setting for learning to succeed in a pluralistic society and global economy. Our highly diverse campus consistently ranks in the top 20 nationwide in awarding undergraduate degrees to minorities.


SF State’s pioneering commitment to community and civic engagement is prevalent throughout the curriculum. More than 500 courses combine academic study with community involvement, and our location in a center of business, technology and culture provides a laboratory for community-service projects, work-study opportunities and internships. The University has been named by Princeton Review one of 81 "Colleges with a Conscience," and is classified as one of the Carnegie Foundation’s "Community Engagement" institutions.


Academic Life

Ever since it was established in 1899 as a teacher-training school, SF State has been known for its commitment to excellent teaching. Students work closely with senior professors and other instructors from freshman year through graduation. Trained in some of the finest institutions in the world, faculty members include winners of prestigious teaching awards, cutting-edge researchers, and professionals devoted to solving community problems.


SF State awards bachelor's degrees in 124 areas, master's in 105, and a doctorate in educational leadership. Programs offered jointly with University of California campuses include a Ph.D. in education with a concentration in special education with UC Berkeley, and physical therapy clinical and research doctorate degrees with UC San Francisco. In addition, SF State offers 11 credential programs and 36 certificate programs.


SF State’s motto is Experientia Docet -- Experience Teaches. Graduates consistently say that hands-on learning was what helped them most when beginning their careers. Students apply their talents and classroom learning to real-world challenges through community-service learning, credit-earning internships, and participation with community-focused centers and institutes that address issues relating to health, education, the environment, business, child care and undeserved communities.


Many innovative services contribute to a successful college experience. The Learning Assistance Center and the Community Access and Retention Program provide tutoring in study skills and core subjects. The Disability Programs and Resource Center secures access to all campus programs and activities for students, staff and faculty with disabilities.


The value of an SF State education is seen in our graduates. Our cinema program has produced Academy Award winners, books by creative writing graduates have climbed the best sellers lists, and pre-med graduates enjoy an excellent medical school acceptance rate.


Student Life

Nearly 300 clubs and organizations help students explore their interests and connect with others. The Associated Students, SF State’s student government, supports a first-class child care program, low-cost health insurance and a legal resource center. In addition, many fraternities and sororities are active on campus. Intercollegiate sports for women are basketball, cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field, soccer, softball and volleyball. For men, SF State offers baseball, basketball, cross country, soccer and wrestling. The University is a member of the California Collegiate Athletic Association, an NCAA Division II conference, for all sports except wrestling which is in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.


Intramural leagues, tournaments and recreational activities — men’s, women’s and coed — are offered in the fall and spring semesters. Sports include basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer, swimming, bowling, ultimate frisbee, water polo, softball, badminton, tennis and flag football.


SF State is an arts and culture center, with hundreds of workshops, guest lectures and exhibits held throughout the year. Events and exhibits feature the work of students and faculty members as well as professionals from outside the University community.


Campus residence halls and apartments offer proximity to around-the-clock computer labs and reading rooms, study and support groups, cultural activities and social events. Two residence halls, Mary Ward and Mary Park, provide housing for 850 first-year freshmen in the heart of campus.


Apartment-style living is available for students under age 20 at The Towers at Centennial Square; for those aged 20 to 22 at The Village at Centennial Square; for those over 22, University Park South offers apartments and town homes.


There are a variety of Living Learning Communities within University Housing for students who share a common academic focus such as science and technology, health and business. Programs, events and support are provided.


Mission of the University

The mission of San Francisco State University is to create and maintain an environment for learning that promotes respect for and appreciation of scholarship, freedom, human diversity, and the cultural mosaic of the City of San Francisco and the Bay Area; to promote excellence in instruction and intellectual accomplishment; and to provide broadly accessible higher education for residents of the region and state, as well as the nation and world. To fulfill its mission, the University is committed to the following goals:


  • Attracting, retaining, and graduating a highly diverse student body;
  • Providing disciplinary and interdisciplinary liberal arts and professional education that is academically rigorous and intellectually challenging;
  • Providing curricula that reflect all dimensions of human diversity, and that encourage critical thinking and social and cultural awareness;
  • Recruiting, retaining, and supporting a diverse faculty whose teaching demonstrates an active engagement with their individual fields of study and whose creative and scholarly work is an extension of the classroom, laboratory, or studio;
  • Employing a staff and administration reflecting the diversity of the community and the values of the campus;
  • Fostering a collegial and cooperative intellectual environment that includes recognition and appreciation of differing viewpoints and promotes academic freedom within the University community; and
  • Serving the communities with which its students and faculty are engaged.



The University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). WASC is located at 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501 and the telephone number is (510) 748-9001. Various specialized programs at the University are accredited by the following agencies.


Program Agency
Apparel Design and Merchandising BS American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences
Art BA/MA/MFA National Association of Schools of Art and Design
Business Administration BS/MS/MBA Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
Chemistry BS American Chemical Society
Cinema BA/MA/MFA National Association of Schools of Art and Design
Civil Engineering BS Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
Clinical Laboratory Science Graduate Internship Program National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences
Communicative Disorders MS American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Computer Science BS Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
Counseling MS Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
Dietetics BS and Graduate Internship Program Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education
Drama BA/MA National Association of Schools of Theatre
Education MA National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Electrical Engineering BS Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
Family and Consumer Sciences BA American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences
Hospitality and Tourism Management BS Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
Interior Design BS American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences
Journalism BA Accreditation Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications
Mechanical Engineering BS Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
Music BA/MA/BM/MM National Association of Schools of Music
Nursing BS/MS State Board of Registered Nursing
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Physical Therapy MS Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education
Psychology, Concentration in Clinical Psychology MS California State Board of Behavioral Sciences
Public Administration MPA National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration
Public Health MPH Council on Education for Public Health
Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration BS National Recreation and Park Association
Rehabilitation Counseling MS Council on Rehabilitation Education
Social Work BA/MSW Council on Social Work Education
Special Education MA and Concentration in PhD in Education National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Teacher Education Credential Programs California Commission on Teacher Credentialing
Theatre Arts MFA: Concentration in Design and Technical Production National Association of Schools of Theatre



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