Undergraduate Education

Message from the Dean: The Purposes of an Undergraduate Education

The undergraduate experience is an invitation to adventure and discovery. It is a time to examine your view of the world, to ponder the fundamental paradoxes of the human condition, and to acquire a genuine love of learning. It is also a time to explore your personal potential, to grapple with the complex social and moral issues of our time, to learn how to learn from any experience, to discover the interrelatedness of existence, and to glimpse what it means to be truly human.

The undergraduate experience at SFSU is designed to equip you with the basic competencies necessary to be a fully functional and responsible participant in a rapidly shrinking world. It includes a broad exposure to the arts and sciences, in-depth study in a major field of interest and opportunities for personal growth and professional development.

These are exciting and challenging times in which we live. They offer many opportunities for positive change. You are the citizens of tomorrow. You have the ability to change despair to hope and conflict to cooperation. Your undergraduate experience can provide the foundation upon which together we can build a better tomorrow. Make the most of your time at SFSU. Use it to cherish and develop that most human of all gifts--intellectual curiosity.

Erwin Seibel, Dean
Undergraduate Studies


After completing all undergraduate requirements, the student will have earned a baccalaureate degree. SFSU awards four baccalaureate degrees: the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), the Bachelor of Science (B.S.), the Bachelor of Music (B.M.), and the Bachelor of Vocational Education (B.V.E.). Requirements for all four degrees are listed on the following pages. Consult your major department for specific degree requirements.

The undergraduate experience is divided into components which are aimed at educating the whole person--a person who is capable of making a sustained contribution as a participant to the betterment of the community, the state, the nation, and the world.

Choosing a Major/Minor

Completion of an academic major is a graduation requirement. SFSU offers many majors from which to choose. A major is a focused area of study that requires the student to take a specific set of courses, including all required prerequisites. At SFSU there are 78 undergraduate majors available to students. Choosing a major involves submitting a Change of Major form to the department office of the intended major or declaring this choice at the time of admission.

Some majors are identified as impacted, or high demand, majors. Generally, more students than can be accommodated have selected these areas of study as their majors. Most impacted majors include supplemental admission requirements. When declaring a major, be sure to determine whether or not there are special requirements to enter that major. Such majors require that students meet specific prerequisites before gaining admission.

Students may also elect to study a minor. A minor, like a major, is a focused area of study. However, a minor does not require as many units as does a major. There are 85 minors at SFSU. A minor is not required to earn a bachelor's degree.

For students undecided about what major they want to study, they can officially identify themselves as undeclared. Being undeclared provides the student the opportunity to explore a variety of courses in different areas of interest. Typically, students declare their major during their sophomore or junior year after completing most of their lower division General Education requirements.

General Education

In addition to the major area of study, the university requires that students fulfill 48-units of General Education requirements (GE). This is the breadth component of the baccalaureate degree. It is designed to complement the major area of study and to introduce the student to the richness and diversity of the arts and sciences. Specifically, GE involves enhancing knowledge and skills in the following areas: English language and communications; the physical and biological sciences and mathematics; the behavioral and social sciences; the humanities and creative arts; and the relationships of knowledge between and among these broad domains of knowledge. One of the overarching goals of this study is to integrate, facilitate, and increase students' awareness, understanding, and interaction with a physical, social, economic, and political environment that is changing at an ever accelerating rate.

Other Academic Programs

The university offers a variety of curricular options for students. Certificate programs provide individuals the opportunity to develop specialized skills in areas that may complement their chosen majors and/or minors. These programs focus on a narrow spectrum of knowledge or skills and require fewer units than a major. SFSU's College of Extended Learning also offers a broad array of certificate programs.

Students interested in pursuing a teaching credential after completing the baccalaureate degree may take preparatory course work as an undergraduate student.

Course work is also available to students who are interested in pursuing professional school studies after the baccalaureate degree. For example, preparatory course work can be taken for admission to law school, medical school, and dental school as well as other professional programs. In many cases, special advisers are available to assist students to prepare for professional study.

For information and referral, visit the Advising Center (ADM 212, 338-2101).

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Last modified July 02, 2012 by bulletin@sfsu.edu