San Francisco State University


San Francisco State University is located in San Francisco, California and is part of the California State University system. San Francisco State University was founded in 1899 as a normal school, became a 4-year school in 1930, and received university status in 1972. The University now awards bachelor’s and master’s degrees and participates in several joint doctoral programs with the University of California. It is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

San Francisco State University defines its mission in part as “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.”

Throughout the next fifty years the University was instrumental in increasing the size and offerings of the California State University system, to which it belongs. In the 50s, the University founded the Poetry Center, which drew the likes of Dylan Thomas, Langston Hughes, and William Carlos Williams. The campus saw some turbulent years through the 60s and 70s as a center for student protests.


Information Summary

Ranks 57th in California and 831st overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 82.5
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $27,480
Admission Success rate N/A
ACT / SAT 75%ile scores 23 / 1160
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 28 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 80% / 48%
Enrollment Total (all students) 29,778


The University is composed of a number of different schools and colleges including the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Creative Arts, the College of Education, the College of Ethnic Studies, the College of Health and Human Services, the College of The Humanities, and the College of Science and Engineering.

Bachelor’s degrees are awarded in a number of different disciplines, including standard topics such as accounting, art, business management, creative writing, interior design, mechanical engineering, music, philosophy, recreation and leisure studies, and urban studies. San Francisco State also offers several areas of study that aren’t so common including environmental sustainability and social justice, atmospheric and oceanic sciences and marine biology and limnology.

San Francisco State offers over a hundred master’s degrees including such topics as anthropology, Chinese, education, English, industrial arts, Japanese, radio and television, business administration (MBA), creative writing, music, computer science, counseling, nursing and social work, among others. There are also several credential programs and graduate certificates available.

The school also awards several doctoral degrees, some of them jointly with the University of California they include an Ed.D. in educational leadership, an Ed.D. in special educa a Ph.D. in special education, a Doctor of Physical Therapy, and a Doctor of Physical Therapy Science.

Most Popular Fields of Study


San Francisco State University 2
San Francisco State University

Unique Programs

Several of SFSU’s “high demand” areas include Radio/TV, which requires a number of prerequisite communications courses. Also the Apparel Design and Manufacturing and Interior Design disciplines are highly competitive. Finally, the Film program is equally tough and requires satisfactory prerequisites be completed.


Applications to the undergraduate programs for the fall term should be submitted early in the student’s senior year of high school. In addition to the application form and fee, students must also submit high school transcripts and test scores. Applications can be submitted on-line.

Students should have completed a standard college preparatory curriculum, including four years of English, three years of mathematics, two years of history and social science, two years of laboratory science, two years of a foreign language, one year of visual performing arts, and one year of electives. Eligibility is determined from a combination of grade-point average and test scores. Low income undergraduate students who are California residents may be eligible for the Educational Opportunity Program for admissions even if they fail to meet some of the other criteria.

Graduate students must provide a graduate application along with the application fee and other materials as required by their particular department or program. As each program may have separate requirements, students should work closely with the program to which they are applying in order to ensure that all required material is submitted.

SFSU requires that incoming students have a high school diploma or equivalent, a minimum GPA in high school class work, and meet the required “Eligibility Index", a qualifying score that is utilized throughout the California State University system. The Eligibility Index is derived by multiplying an applicant’s GPA by 800 and adding their SAT score, or multiplying an applicant’s GPA by 200 and adding ten times their ACT score. California residents must have a minimum index of 2900, and nonresidents must have a minimum index of 3502. Applicants may apply for early admissions through the California State University system, but a final high school transcript must be sent to San Francisco State before admissions and enrollment can be finalized. Some majors require specific admissions or enrollment criteria, and applicants should investigate these with the appropriate college.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available with a combination of grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study programs. In order to start the process of receiving financial aid, students need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that is available online beginning in January. Financial information for both the applicant and family will be required so students should have this information available when completing the form.

SFSU participates in a number of grant and loan programs including State University Grants, Cal Grants 1 and 2, Perkins Loans, Federal District Student Loans, and Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Grants. Scholarships includes private, institutional funds for which admitted students are considered, California Student Aid scholarship programs, and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. There are also a number of work study opportunities available through the Financial Aid office.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 5023rd for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in California.


The San Francisco State University Library offers electronic catalogs and on-line databases, in additional to physical volumes stored on site or available through inter-library loan. The special collections include materials related to the San Francisco Bay area, a collection of historic children’s materials, and radio, television, and movie scripts.

SFSU is home to more than 30,000 students, all of whom enjoy opportunities to socialize through student groups or on the campus Quad. SFUS offers some unique and attractive student services, including childcare and disability insurance. The arts and culture are well represented in many performing arts venues that are open to students. SFSU also offers extensive career planning services for students and graduates alike.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


The SFSU Gators compete in baseball, softball, wrestling, and men’s and women’s basketball, cross country, and soccer within the NCAA’s Division II. With the exception of wrestling, all sports compete in the California Collegiate Athletic Association. Wrestlers compete in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Association. Athletics facilities include Cox Stadium, the Main Gymnasium, and Stephenson Field. The Conditioning Center is also available to student athletes for therapy or training. Through SFSU or the California State University system, many student athletes enjoy athletic scholarships and excel in their various academic pursuits.

Local Community

The city of San Francisco is a located in northern California and is famous for its hills and Golden Gate Bridge. SFSU is located on the western side of the city, close to the ocean, the zoo, and shopping and residential areas.

San Francisco is a thriving urban area on the California coast. Home to a rich culture of politically and artistically active citizens and visitors alike, San Francisco offers an enormous variety of experiences. Major athletic teams like the 49ers and the Giants offer endless entertainment throughout the year. And the city is filled with beautifully landscaped parks and recreational facilities.


  • San Francisco State University. San Francisco State University. 2011. Web. 20 June 2011.

SF State Gators. San Francisco State University Department of Athletics. 2011. Web. 20 June 2011.

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