Business Graduate Programs

General Information

The College of Business Graduate Programs are located at the San Francisco State University Downtown Campus.

835 Market Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 817-4300

The College of Business offers three programs at the graduate level:

M.B.A. This is the most flexible graduate business degree program. The program is designed to accommodate needs of both full-time and part-time students. The program allows for specialization in several areas of emphasis or a concentration in Sustainable Business.

M.S.A. The M.S. in Accountancy program allows for advanced specialization in accounting for both full-time and part-time students.  Courses for this program are primarily offered at the Downtown Campus. More details on this program are available on the M.S.A. webpage.  

Executive M.B.A. This is a fixed curriculum, cohort-based, weekend program for working professionals offered at the Downtown Campus. For more details, see the E.M.B.A. program description at the bottom of this page. 

General Guidelines for Graduate Programs

All students planning to complete a master’s degree in business must complete all requirements including professional development workshops, the program prerequisite classes, and the advanced requirement courses.

Registration in graduate courses in business (700–899) is limited to graduate business students or students in a graduate business certificate program. Graduate students in other majors may enroll on a space-available basis with the consent of the Faculty Director of Graduate Business Programs. 

Registration in ACCT 890 and BUS 890 (Culminating Experience courses) is limited to classified graduate business students.

Grading Policy

Program prerequisite and advanced requirement courses must be taken on a basis of letter A, B, C, D, F grading. At the instructor’s discretion, pluses and minuses may be used. CR/NC grading is not allowed. The minimum grade for advanced requirement courses is a C.

ACCT 890 and BUS 890 (Culminating Experience courses) must be completed with a B- or better grade.

Grade Deficiency

A graduate business student whose coursework drops below a 3.0 grade point average during a semester, will be notified that s/he has been placed on academic probation. If the grade point deficiency is not made up, the student may be disqualified effective the beginning of the semester following the first probationary semester. In such situations, the student will not be allowed to enroll in graduate level business courses at the program prerequisite and advanced requirement level.

Any student who becomes disqualified under the above provisions and wishes to appeal such disqualification must file a formal appeal within 10 days of the date of notice of disqualification. Such appeal must be filed with the Faculty Director of Graduate Business Programs.

The specified course requirements and stipulated conditions for the graduate business programs may not be changed, substituted for, or altered in any way. Exceptions to this rule must be requested, in writing, before the course work is attempted and must be approved by the Faculty Director of Graduate Business Programs. 

Programs Contact Telephone
Faculty Director of Graduate Business Programs Sanjit Sengupta 817-4366
Director of Admissions, Recruitment and External Relations Manuel Maranan 817-4323
Graduate Student Advising Director Christopher Kingston 817-4322
Assistant Director, Admissions and Professional Development Armaan Moattari 817-4314
Program Coordinator for Admissions Richard Ho 817-4341
EMBA Program Coordinator Zandra Tan 817-4360

Master of Business Administration

The M.B.A. program is designed as a balanced preparation for managerial careers in business. Its purpose is to prepare students for responsible positions in a rapidly changing world; to develop an attitude of intellectual curiosity; to foster a program of continuous learning throughout life; and to apply business skills to all types of endeavors.  Students may choose an area of emphasis or a concentration in Sustainable Business (note that an emphasis does not appear on the student’s degree).  


The M.B.A. program is accredited by the most respected business accrediting association in the world, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). San Francisco State University is also accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This ensures continuous improvement of faculty in teaching, research, and professional service.


U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and international students are accepted for both fall and spring admission according to the following schedule.

  • Fall semester filing period: October 1 through May 15 (international applicants). October 1 through May 30 (domestic applicants). There are three rounds of application deadlines during this period.   
  • Spring semester filing period: August 1 through October 15 (international applicants). August 1 through November 1 (domestic applicants).  

The above dates are subject to change. Check the Graduate Business Program’s website for the latest dates.

Application Process

Each applicant to the M.B.A. program must submit the following documents:

  • California State University Application for Graduate or International Admission plus an application fee of $55
  • One official transcript from every college or university attended
  • The score on the GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) or GRE (Graduate Record Examination). The deadline to take the GMAT or GRE is May 15 (international applicants) or May 30 (domestic applicants) for Fall admission and October 15 (international applicants) or November 1 (domestic applicants) of the prior year for Spring admission. 
  • A statement of purpose showing how the desired graduate business program is related to the applicant’s career and future goals.  Please refer to the College of Business website for a list of questions that should be addressed in the statement of purpose. 
  • TOEFL, IELTS, or Pearson Test of English is required for admission from all applicants who have completed their undergraduate degree in a non-English speaking country.
  • Résumé or curriculum vitae
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • International applicants will need to file the Financial Affidavit form to obtain an I-20 Certificate of Eligibility

The California State University Application for Admission may be submitted before other documents are submitted, but the admission decision is not made until all required materials are received.

Admission Criteria

The College of Business admissions committee reviews an applicant’s overall qualifications and takes the following requirements into consideration:

  • Completion of a degree equivalent to a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree from a recognized university.
  • A minimum 3.0 Grade Point Average overall, or in the last 60 semester units or 90 quarter units of university coursework completed (average incoming class GPA is 3.3)
  • GMAT exam including total score, verbal, quantitative, writing scores, and integrated reasoning scores (average incoming class total GMAT score is 570) or the GRE test verbal, quantitative, and writing scores. A GMAT AWA score of 5.0 or a GRE AWA score of 4.5 or higher is required for classified admission. A GMAT AWA score of 4.5 or GRE AWA score of 4.0 is acceptable, however, a student will be conditionally admitted and must complete an approved College of Business writing course.
  • Quality of statement of purpose using guidelines stated on College of Business website
  • Two supportive letters of recommendation from workplace supervisors or faculty members
  • Qualifications on résumé
  • TOEFL score of at least 590/243/96 or IELTS score of at least 7.0 or PTE score of at least 65.  The TOEFL, IELTS or PTE must have been taken within the past two years and is a requirement of all applicants who have earned their undergraduate degree from a country where the official language is not English.

Meeting minimum qualifications does not guarantee admission to the program.

Executive Master of Business Administration (E.M.B.A.) program

General Information

The Executive M.B.A. (E.M.B.A.) is a fixed curriculum, 23-month, part-time cohort program designed to accelerate careers of mid-level managers into executive management. Students in the EMBA program attend courses on Fridays and Saturdays, every other week. There is a total of 12 courses required for the entire program.


The E.M.B.A. program is accredited by the most respected business accrediting association in the world, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). San Francisco State University is also accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This ensures continuous improvement of faculty in teaching, research, and professional service.

For information on the E.M.B.A. program Application process, admission criteria and program requirements, see the College of Business website: Executive MBA Program (E.M.B.A.)

Program Requirements

Orientation and Professional Development Workshops

Admitted students are expected to attend the required orientation prior to the start of their first semester.  The Graduate Business Programs orientation helps students prepare for the academic program and also includes professional development workshops. 

Prerequisite Courses

Prerequisite courses offer students without a business undergraduate degree the opportunity to learn the basic elements of business. Depending upon a student's previous academic background, the prerequisite courses may range from zero to 24 units. The program requirements are met by taking the eight business prerequisite courses below or by waivers of individual courses based on previous equivalent course work.

Students who have earned a bachelor's degree in business administration within the past seven years from an Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)-accredited university, with a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 semester units of coursework, automatically meet the program prerequisites. An up-to-date listing of AACSB schools around the world can be found on the AACSB International website. Students who have taken and completed course work equivalent to any of the prerequisite courses at other institutions within the last five to seven years may be able to waive individual prerequisite courses. Each equivalency is determined by course content, grade received, and the amount of time elapsed since the course was completed.

For students who completed their undergraduate degree in business over seven years ago, the program prerequisite courses offer an opportunity to refresh their knowledge and catch up on advances that have taken place in the different disciplines.

Master of Business Administration — 30–51 Units

Prerequisite for Conditional Admits (3 Units)

BUS 714Elements of Graduate Business Writing3

Prerequisite Courses for M.B.A. Program (0–24 Units)

BUS 776Data Analysis for Managers3
BUS 780Financial Accounting3
BUS 782Information Systems for Management3
BUS 783Economics for Managers3
BUS 785Financial Management3
BUS 786Operations Analysis3
BUS 787Marketing Management3
BUS 788Management Principles and Organizational Behavior3

Advanced Requirements for M.B.A. Program (6 Units)

Quantitative Requirement

Select one of the following:3
Financial Statement Analysis
Managerial Decision Making
Financial Analysis and Management
Information Systems for Strategic Advantage

Qualitative Requirement

Select one of the following:3
Seminar in International Business
Seminar in Organization Design and Change
Strategic Marketing
Business Ethics, Society, and Sustainability

Electives (21 Units)

Advisor approved electives (at least five must be 800-level courses offered by the College of Business, up to two may be graduate level courses within the University with prior advisor approval.) A maximum of two prerequisite courses taken at SF State (BUS 776, BUS 780, BUS 782, BUS 783, BUS 785, BUS 786, BUS 787, BUS 788) may count as electives.

Culminating Experience (3 Units)

BUS 890Culminating Experience in Strategic Management3

Advancement to Candidacy

Before being considered for advancement to candidacy, the applicant must meet all general University requirements, attend all professional development workshops at orientation, satisfy all prerequisite courses, earn an overall SF State Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 3.0, and complete at least 12 units of College of Business advanced requirement courses.

When requirements have been satisfied, the graduate advisor may recommend to the Dean of the Division of Graduate Studies that the applicant be advanced to candidacy for the degree by filing the Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) form.

Areas of Emphasis and Concentration

Accounting Emphasis

Graduate Advisors: Hammond, Hetherington, Hsieh

The primary objective of the accounting emphasis is to provide broad-based knowledge in accounting especially directed to managerial positions in the accounting profession and business organizations. The emphasis and elective graduate courses, all at the 800 level, should be selected upon advisement.

Decision Sciences/Operations Research Emphasis

Graduate Advisors: Bollapragada, Cholette, Miyaoka, Saltzman, Soorapanth

The decision sciences/operations research emphasis focuses on the connection between real-world business applications and quantitative modeling and analysis techniques. This emphasis includes courses in forecasting, simulation, data analysis, project management, optimization, supply chain management, process improvement and quality management. In these courses, students apply analytical methods and computer-based tools to problems in a wide variety of industries.

Finance Emphasis

Graduate Advisors: Hsiao, M. Li, Liu

The primary objective of the finance emphasis is to provide a broad management perspective as well as in-depth analytical skills and conceptual background in the various aspects of domestic and international financial management and decision-making. The courses offered are aimed at understanding, analyzing, and improving managerial decision-making process in the fields of corporate finance, financial markets and institutions, investment and portfolio analysis, and international finance.

The program is designed to prepare the students for employment positions in the field of finance, which require analytical skills and decision-making abilities. Students should carefully check prerequisites for all 800-series courses.

Global Business and Innovation Emphasis

Graduate Advisor: Heiman

The MBA emphasis in Global Business and Innovation prepares students to operate effectively in a technological, global, and interconnected world. The emphasis will provide a variety of options for cultural immersion experiences through virtual projects and travel-study experiences.

Health Care Administration Emphasis

Graduate Advisors: Chaudhuri, Sengupta

This emphasis will provide students with knowledge and skills necessary to understand the health care industry and health policy in the United States.  The curriculum is designed to prepare students to apply business skills and succeed in supervisory or managerial positions in both for-profit and not-for-profit health care organizations.

Hospitality and Tourism Management Emphasis

Graduate Advisors: Johnson, Roe, Walls, Yang

The hospitality and tourism management emphasis provide advanced, specific knowledge in important hospitality areas, especially directed to managerial positions in the hospitality profession and related service organizations.

Information Systems Emphasis

Graduate Advisor: Sayeed

The Information Systems program aims to prepare professionals who specialize in technologies that facilitate information system development, information consolidation and analytics in an environment that is integrated through mobile and cloud-based devices to support business strategy.

Leadership Emphasis

Graduate Advisors: Baack, Marks

The emphasis in leadership focuses on the skills necessary to lead organizations in a complex and rapidly changing world.

Management Emphasis

Graduate Advisors: Baack, Flatt, Marks

The management emphasis provides students with practical knowledge and skills in organizational development and change, organizational behavior, and organization design. This emphasis is designed for students who wish to pursue general management careers or who wish to specialize in facilitating organizational development and change as consultants or change agents.

Marketing Emphasis

Graduate Advisors: Bhat, Sengupta

The marketing emphasis prepares a student for career opportunities in business firms, non-profit organizations, or governmental agencies. The combination of graduate work and specific job experience can lead to staff or line positions in general marketing, sales, digital and social media marketing, advertising, new product development, retail management, marketing research, and marketing analytics, among others. 

Strategic Leadership in Emerging and Developing Markets Emphasis

Graduate Advisors: Simeon, Ungson, Yang

This emphasis provides students knowledge of global trends and a substantive understanding of emerging opportunities and issues in a rapidly globalizing world. The courses will focus on, though not be confined, to study of emerging and developing markets.

Sustainable Business Concentration

Graduate Advisors: Thomas, Desa

The Concentration focuses on four aspects of sustainable business that create stakeholder value and improve a firm's long-term market impact: Providing effective values-based leadership of green teams and responsible organizations; Identifying and pursuing strategic market opportunities created by environmental and social challenges; Using innovative solutions-based analytical frameworks and tools to address stakeholder needs; Managing risk (regulatory, reputation, climate, market) and tracking/reporting sustainability metrics.  Students in the program learn how to articulate the business case for sustainability; conceptualize innovative products and services; lead internal and external coalitions; drive organizational change; and implement metrics to measure sustainability progress and incorporate accountability for responsible decision-making.

Students in the sustainable business concentration must complete MGMT 856 (Managing the Sustainable Business), BUS 857 (Business Management and Environmental Leadership), MGMT 858 (Sustainability and Business Opportunity) and two 800-level business electives on advisement.