Bulletin--Undergraduate Application Procedures


Prospective students, applying for part-time or full-time undergraduate programs of study, in day or evening classes, must file a complete undergraduate application as described in the undergraduate admissions booklet. The $55 nonrefundable application fee should be in the form of a check or money order payable to The California State University and may not be transferred or used to apply to another term. An alternate campus and major may be indicated on the application, but applicants should list as an alternate campus only a campus that also offers the major. Generally, an alternate major is considered at the first choice campus before an application is redirected to an alternate choice campus.

Impacted Programs

The CSU designates programs as impacted when more applications are received in the first month of the filing period than can be accommodated. Some programs are impacted at every campus where they are offered; others are impacted only at some campuses. Students must meet supplementary admissions criteria if applying to an impacted program.

The CSU will announce before the opening of the fall filing period which programs are impacted and the supplementary criteria campuses will use. That announcement will be published in the CSU Review, distributed to high school and college counselors. Information about the supplementary criteria is also sent to program applicants.

Students must file an application for admission to an impacted program during the first month of the filing period. Further, students who wish to be considered for an impacted program at two or more campuses must file an application to each.

Supplementary Admission Criteria

Each campus with impacted programs uses supplementary admission criteria in screening applicants. Supplementary criteria may include ranking on the freshman eligibility index, the overall transfer grade point average, and a combination of campus-developed criteria. If a student is required to submit scores on either the SAT or the ACT, the test should be taken no later than December if applying for fall admission.

The supplementary admission criteria used by the individual campuses to screen applicants appear periodically in the CSU Review and are sent by the campuses to all applicants seeking admission to an impacted program.

Unlike unaccommodated applicants to locally impacted programs who may be redirected to another campus in the same major, unaccommodated applicants to systemwide impacted programs may not be redirected in the same major but may choose an alternate major either at the first choice campus or another campus.


Test Requirements

Freshman and transfer applicants who have fewer than 56 semester or 84 quarter units of transferable college credit must submit scores, unless exempt (see Eligibility Index Table), from either the Scholastic Aptitude Test of the College Board (SAT) or the American College Testing Program (ACT). Test scores are also used for advising and placement purposes. Registration forms and the dates for the SAT or ACT are available from school or college counselors or from the campus Testing Office. Or, write to or call:

The College Board (SAT)
Registration Unit, Box 592
Princeton, NJ 08541
(609) 771-7588

American College Testing Program (ACT)
Registration Unit
P.O. Box 168
Iowa City, IA 52240
(319) 337-1270

TOEFL Requirement
All undergraduate applicants, regardless of citizenship, who have not attended schools at the secondary level or above for at least three years full-time where English is the principal language of instruction must present a score of 500 or above on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Individual campuses may require a score higher than 500.

Systemwide Tests Required of Most New Students

The CSU requires new students to be tested in English and mathematics after they are admitted. These are not admission tests, but a way to determine if the student is prepared for college work and, if not, to counsel him/her on how to strengthen the preparation. A person might be exempted from one or both of the tests if s/he has scored well on other specified tests or completed appropriate courses. (See Entry Level Requirements.)


A student qualifies for regular admission as a first-time freshman if s/he:

Eligibility Index
The eligibility index is the combination of the high school grade point average and the score on either the American College Test (ACT) or the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). The grade point average is based on grades earned during the final three years of high school (excluding physical education and military science) and bonus points for approved honors courses. (See Honors Courses below.)

A student can calculate the index by multiplying the grade point average by 800 and adding the total score on the SAT. Or, if the student took the ACT, multiply the grade point average by 200 and add ten times the ACT composite score. A California high school graduate (or a resident of California for tuition purposes), needs a minimum index of 2800 using the SAT or 694 using the ACT; the Eligibility Index Table illustrates several combinations of required test scores and averages. If a student neither graduated from a California high school nor is a resident of California for tuition purposes, a minimum index of 3402 (SAT) or 842 (ACT) is needed. (See Eligibility Index Table.)

Applicants with grade point averages above 3.00 (3.61 for nonresidents) are exempt from submitting test scores. However, applicants are urged to take the SAT or ACT since all campuses use test results for advising and placement purposes.

A student qualifies for regular admission when the university verifies that s/he has a qualifiable eligibility index and will have completed the comprehensive pattern of college preparatory subjects and, if applying to an impacted program, meets supplementary criteria.

Graduates of secondary school in foreign countries must be judged to have academic preparation and abilities equivalent to applicants eligible under this section.

NOTE: A grade point average of 3.00 and above qualifies with any score on the ACT or SAT. A grade point average of below 2.00 does not qualify for regular admission.

Honors Courses
Up to eight semesters of honors courses taken in the last two years of high school can be accepted. Each unit of A in an honors course receives a total of 5 points; B, 4 points; and C, 3 points.

Subject Requirements

The California State University requires that first-time freshman applicants complete, with grades of C or better, a comprehensive pattern of college preparatory study totaling fifteen units. A "unit" is one year of study in high school.

English: 4 years

Mathematics: 3 years of algebra, geometry, and intermediate algebra

U.S. History or U.S. History and Government: 1 year

Science: 1 year with laboratory (biology, chemistry, physics, or other acceptable laboratory science)

Foreign Language: 2 years in the same language (subject to waiver for applicants demonstrating equivalent competence)

Visual and Performing Arts: 1 year in art, dance, drama/theater, or music

Electives: 3 years selected from English, advanced mathematics, social science, history, laboratory science, foreign language, visual and performing arts, and agriculture

If a student has completed at least fifteen college preparatory units, s/he may offset a one-unit shortage in one subject area by completing an extra unit in another subject area. This option is available through summer quarter 1995. Although the student will be granted regular admission under this option, s/he is strongly advised to complete all courses in the college preparatory pattern, especially mathematics and English so that s/he will be adequately prepared to begin university studies. Consult a high school counselor for further information.

Subject Requirement Substitution for Students with Disabilities
Disabled student applicants are strongly encouraged to complete college preparatory course requirements if at all possible. If an applicant is judged unable to fulfill a specific course requirement because of his or her disability, alternative college preparatory courses may be substituted for specific subject requirements. Students who are deaf or hearing impaired, are blind or visually impaired, or have learning disabilities may in certain circumstances qualify for substitutions for the foreign language, mathematics, and laboratory science subject requirements. Substitutions may be authorized on an individual basis after review and recommendation by the applicant's academic adviser or guidance counselor in consultation with the director of a CSU disabled students services program. Although the distribution may be slightly different from the course pattern required of other students, students qualifying for substitutions will still be held for fifteen units of college preparatory study. Students should be aware that course substitutions may limit later enrollment in certain majors, particularly those involving mathematics. For further information and substitution forms, please call the director of Disabled Student Services at the nearest CSU campus.

Foreign Language Subject Requirement
The foreign language subject requirement may be satisfied by applicants who demonstrate competence in a language other than English equivalent to or higher than expected of students who complete two years of foreign language study. Consult with a school counselor or the campus admissions office or Student Outreach Services for further information.

Provisional Admission

San Francisco State University may provisionally admit first-time freshmen applicants based on their academic preparation through the junior year of high school and planned for the senior year. The campus monitors the senior year of study to ensure that those so admitted complete their senior year of studies satisfactorily, including the required college preparatory subjects, and graduate from high school.

High School Students

Students still enrolled in high school are considered for enrollment in certain special programs if recommended by the principal and the appropriate campus department chair and if preparation is equivalent to that required of eligible California high school graduates. Such admission is only for a given program and does not constitute the right to continued enrollment.

Adult Students

As an alternative to regular admission criteria, an applicant who is twenty-five years of age or older may be considered for admission as an adult student if he or she meets the one of the following conditions and fulfills the screening requirement procedures as determined by the Advising Center:

Information about the process for applicants who meet these adult student criteria is available in the Advising Center.

Consideration is based upon a judgment as to whether the applicant is as likely to succeed as a regularly admitted freshman or transfer student and includes an assessment of basic skills in the English language and mathematical computation.


Transfer Requirements

A person qualifies for admission as a transfer student if s/he has a grade point average of 2.0 (C) or better in all transferable units attempted, is in good standing at the last college or university attended, and meets any of the following standards:

Transferable courses are those designated for baccalaureate credit by the college or university offering the courses.

Making Up Missing College Preparatory Subject Requirements

Undergraduate applicants who did not complete the subject requirements while in high school may make up missing subjects in any of the following ways.

1987 or earlier high school graduates. Complete the CSU general education requirements in communication in the English language (at least nine semester units) and mathematics (usually three semester units) with a C or better in each course;

1988 or later high school graduates. Complete a minimum of 30 semester (45 quarter) units, with a C or better in each course, chosen from courses in English, arts and humanities, social science, science, and mathematics of a level at least equivalent to courses that meet general education requirements. Each student must complete all CSU general education requirements in communication in the English language (at least nine semester units) and mathematics (usually three semester units) as part of the 30-unit requirement.

Please consult with any CSU admissions office for further information about alternative ways to satisfy the subject requirements.


Applicants not admissible under one of the above provisions (First-time Freshman or Undergraduate Transfer) should enroll in a community college or other appropriate institution. Only under the most unusual circumstances are such applicants permitted to enroll in the campus. Permission is granted only by special action.


Advanced Placement

San Francisco State University grants credit toward its undergraduate degrees for successful completion of examinations of the Advanced Placement Program of the College Board. Students who present scores of three or better will be granted up to six semester units of college credit.

The university also recognizes advanced placement courses undertaken by high school students in conjunction with a collegiate institution in those instances where the collegiate institution has recommended credit. For additional information, the student may call or write the Admissions Office.

Credit From Accredited Colleges

Credits earned in accredited colleges are evaluated and advanced standing allowed on the basis of the evidence submitted on official transcripts. Credit toward the fulfillment of graduation requirements is allowed insofar as the courses satisfactorily completed meet the standards and requirements of the university.

Credit From Unaccredited Colleges

Credits earned in unaccredited colleges may be accepted as a basis for advanced standing only when an applicant can demonstrate by examination, after s/he has enrolled in the university, that a satisfactory degree of proficiency has been attained in the courses in question. Further information will be found in the paragraph Credit by Examination below.

Credit for Community College Courses

Credit earned in accredited community colleges will be evaluated by the Admissions Office in accordance with the following provisions:

Credit By Examination

San Francisco State University grants credit to those students who pass examinations that have been approved for credit systemwide. These include the Advanced Placement Examinations, CSU English Equivalency Examination, and some CLEP examinations.

Students may challenge courses by taking examinations developed at the campus. Credit shall be awarded to those who pass them successfully. See Maximum Credit by Examination or Evaluation for additional information (also, see Credit by Examination in the Graduate Education section).

Credit for Non-Collegiate Instruction

San Francisco State University grants undergraduate degree credit for successful completion of formal instruction appropriate to the baccalaureate in non-college settings, either military or civilian, that has been recommended by the Commission on Educational Credit and Credentials of the American Council on Education. The number of units allowed are those recommended in the Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experience in the Armed Services and the National Guide to Educational Credit for Training Programs.

Bulletin 1994-96 Table of Contents, SFSU Home Page

last modified August 8, 1995

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