Graduate Education

Mission of Graduate Studies

The mission of Graduate Studies at San Francisco State University is to offer students from diverse backgrounds access to quality graduate education and professional studies. San Francisco State has a long history as a leader in graduate education within the CSU, offering students more than 90 master's programs, an Ed.D. program, 14 credential programs, and two joint doctoral programs with the University of California.

The focus of graduate-level preparation is threefold:

  • To prepare students for the transition to research-focused doctoral programs with a strong grasp of the language and methodologies of the discipline;
  • To develop scholarly practitioners in professional health, education, public service, and business fields; and
  • To graduate students able to integrate ideas from the arts and humanities that will guide ethical interactions within our communities. 

Graduate Studies Vision

The Division of Graduate Studies aspires to become the premier urban, nationally-recognized graduate school in the CSU. San Francisco State is a destination campus for all graduate disciplines that enables students to achieve their full potential as scholars and practitioners. Ethical thinking and social justice values are woven throughout the curriculum, and students meet the highest expectations of critical thinking, intellectual engagement, creativity, scholarly work, and service associated with their fields of study or disciplines.

At San Francisco State, we commit to graduate education for the public good.  We support the individual graduate student’s academic pursuits, but our focus is on preparing our graduates to see beyond the self and to engage in research and evidence-based practice that is civic-minded, and in service to organizations and people throughout the community and region. 

Faculty and administrators are charged with upholding standards that lead to excellence in the disciplines. The performance of our graduates reflects directly on the University, the faculty, and the quality of our programs; therefore, faculty advising and mentoring support are essential to ensure that our students move successfully through coursework and culminating experience.

The  Division of Graduate Studies provides faculty and students with resources and services that help graduate students navigate the journey from admission to graduation. 

Highlights of Graduate Programs

  • U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks many of San Francisco State’s graduate and professional programs among the best in the United States. Our programs are nationally recognized and draw top applicants from across the country and internationally.
  • According to a study sponsored by the National Science Foundation, San Francisco State ranks 4th nationally among master's level colleges and universities for the total number of graduates who go on to earn research doctorates. 
  • Our faculty, in collaboration with our graduate students, are active scholars engaged in vital research and creative endeavors that are changing the way we understand our world. Projects undertaken by our faculty are funded by grants and contracts from the most competitive government and private agencies.
  • Graduate students seeking degrees in the fields of science develop their skills in the Conservation Genetics Laboratory, the Estuary & Ocean Science Center, an electron microscope facility, a DNA analysis facility, a Thin Film Laboratory, the Center for Computing and Life Sciences, and the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Center.
  • SF State has abundant resources such as the largest radio and television production facilities in Northern California, the Design Center for Global Needs, the Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives, the Digital Cinema Lab, and the Graduate String Quartet Residency Program.
  • All graduate students have the use of our state-of-the-art, newly renovated Library. The new building includes 3,000 seats for quiet and group study, over 250 public computers, a Digital Media Studio for students with nine editing rooms, and extended hours study areas with 18 group study rooms.