International Student Admission  {SF State Bulletin 2012 - 2013}

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International Student Admission Requirements

The CSU must assess the academic preparation of international students. For this purpose, "international students" include those who hold U.S. temporary visas as students, exchange visitors, or in other non-immigrant classifications. The CSU uses separate requirements and application filing dates in the admission of international students. Verification of English proficiency (see the section on TOEFL Requirement) for undergraduate applicants, financial resources, and academic performance are each important considerations for admission. Academic records from foreign institutions must be on file no later than the established document deadline date. Documents not in English must be accompanied by certified English translations.


San Francisco State University considers applications and accepts qualified applicants for admission to the university according to the International Student Application Calendar. (Earlier application deadlines may be enforced by various academic departments, please check with the department for earlier deadlines).


All F-1/J-1 visa international students must be formally admitted and enrolled in a declared major. They may not be enrolled in the university in non-degree status, unless through a College of Extended Learning approved program.


International Student Application Calendar

Application periods for San Francisco State University may change. Earlier application deadlines may be enforced by various academic departments, please check with the department for earlier deadlines. For the most current information, see the Future Students page on the SF State Web site.


Undergraduate Application Periods

  • Fall Semester (which begins in August): October 1 - May 1
  • Spring Semester (which begins in January): August 1 - September 30


Any student who is a permanent resident (holds an Alien Registration Card or endorsed I-94, showing U.S. immigration service approval of Permanent Resident application) is not subject to the International Student Application Calendar, subject only to the same program deadlines as United States citizen applicants. Students in this category must submit with their application a copy of their Alien Registration Card or endorsed Form I-94.


Tuition and Costs

The university does not have federal or state financial aid for international students. Therefore, the student must present satisfactory evidence of adequate funds to meet financial needs at the time of enrollment at the university. Currently, the State University Fee and related mandatory fees are $3,138 plus $372 per unit for undergraduates for each semester. International students are required by the U.S. immigration service to enroll at SF State in full-time status; for undergraduate students, this means at least 12 units per semester.


The following is an estimate of the cost of nine months, two semesters' attendance as a full-time student at 12 units per semester:


Undergraduate Student Academic Year Costs 2012-2013

  • Tuition:  $ 8,928
  • Fees:     6,276
  • Books and Supplies:     1,746
  • Room and Board:   12,414
  • Personal/Transportation:     4,650
  • Medical Insurance:     1,200
  • Total: $ 35,214


Admission Procedures

  1. Complete and submit the CSU Application for Admission at
  2. When applying, the student must submit official, 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 officials. Required documents include the complete official academic record showing all courses or subjects, dates of enrollment and grades/marks received; official degree(s), diplomas, or certificate(s) awarded. Official word-for-word English translations must be submitted in addition to the original language documents. General photocopies will not be accepted.
  3. Applicants who are presently attending a college or university in the United States must, in addition to their international records, submit official transcripts of all work completed and in progress as soon as possible after applying for admission.
  4. Applicants must be qualified to enter a university in their home country and have a good scholastic record from an accredited/recognized school.
  5. All applicants for admission to the university must pay a $55.00 application fee. The application fee is not refundable nor can it apply toward a later application for admission.
  6. All SF State undergraduate applicants, regardless of citizenship, must demonstrate English Language Proficiency by exam or previous academic instruction in English.

    A. Exam (TOEFL, IELTS):
    Applicants can demonstrate English Language Proficiency by submitting official TOEFL or IELTS Score Reports.

    Minimum Scores Required (Note that some majors may require higher scores):

    TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

    Paper-based Test (PBT): 500
    Computer-based Test (CBT): 173
    Internet-based Test (IBT):   61

    Note that Institutional TOEFL scores do not include Speaking nor Writing Sections and so are not accepted. Specific information regarding the exact testing dates, and testing centers, fee, and registration is on the Web at Applicants must request that test results be sent to the Admissions Office. The SF State undergraduate institutional code is 4684.

    IELTS (International English Testing System)

    Minimum Overall Score  6.0

    Specific information regarding the exact testing dates, and testing centers, fee, and registration is on the Web at

    B. Education in English:
    Students who have successfully completed three years of full-time courses work at the secondary level or above at an institution where English was the principal language of instruction do not need to submit TOEFL/IELTS scores.
    Upper division undergraduate transfer students from a U.S. university/college who have met the CSU admission subject requirements, which include the English courses Oral Communications, Written Communication and Critical Thinking may be exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement.

    SF State’s American Language Institute
    Applicants who do not have the minimum TOEFL/IELTS score may enroll in SF State’s intensive English language program, American Language Institute (ALI). ALI prepares non-native speakers of English for academic study in the university and issues certificates of eligibility for student visas. For more information, call 415-338-1438 or go to

  7. No action is taken on applications for admission until the university receives all requested materials.
  8. Students are admitted only upon receipt of the official Notice of Admission from the Admissions Office. Students should not confuse confirmation of housing or correspondence with academic departments with official admission to the university.


Type of Visa. San Francisco State University is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students. International students who are outside of the United States, upon receipt of admission documents and U.S. Immigration Certificate of Eligibility, should secure a non-immigrant student visa. The College of Extended Learning is also authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students. Subsequent to admission, international students must be enrolled continuously every semester and carry a full course of study (twelve units for undergraduates).


Health Insurance. International students (F and J visas) are required to show evidence of health insurance coverage in order to be permitted to register for courses. Renewals are checked each semester in order to re-register, unless the insurance policy is purchased annually. For additional information, students should go to the Student Health Service web site at



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