About the University

This is an archived copy of the 2016-2017 bulletin. To access the most recent version of the bulletin, please visit bulletin.sfsu.edu. Any changes will appear on our errata page.

SF State of Mind

San Francisco State University, located in one of the world’s most vibrant and beautiful cities, is a recognized leader in addressing issues both global and close to home.

In the global arena, SF State ranks fourth in the nation among master’s institutions that host international students and ranks first among U.S. universities for the number of students who study abroad for an academic year. With a diverse range of students from almost every state and nearly 100 countries, the University community is a perfect setting for learning to succeed in a pluralistic society and global economy. Our highly diverse campus consistently ranks in the top 20 nationwide in awarding undergraduate degrees to minorities.

SF State’s pioneering commitment to community and civic engagement is prevalent throughout the curriculum. More than 500 courses combine academic study with community involvement, and our location in a center of business, technology and culture provides a laboratory for community-service projects, work-study opportunities and internships. The University has been named by Princeton Review a "College with a Conscience," classified as one of the Carnegie Foundation’s "Community Engagement" institutions; and received a Presidential Award in the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to community service.

Academic Life

Ever since it was established in 1899 as a teacher-training school, SF State has been known for its commitment to excellent teaching. Students work closely with senior professors and other instructors from freshman year through graduation. Trained in some of the finest institutions in the world, faculty members include winners of prestigious teaching awards, cutting-edge researchers, and professionals devoted to solving community problems.

SF State awards bachelor’s degrees in 77 academic areas with an additional 48 areas of concentration, master’s degrees in 63 academic areas with an additional 41 areas of concentration, and a doctorate in educational leadership. Programs offered jointly with University of California campuses include a Ph.D. in education with a concentration in special education with UC Berkeley, and a clinical doctorate, Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) with UC San Francisco. In addition, SF State offers 16 credential programs and 41 certificate programs.

SF State’s motto is Experientia Docet -- Experience Teaches. Graduates consistently say that hands-on learning was what helped them most when beginning their careers. Students apply their talents and classroom learning to real-world challenges through community-service learning, credit-earning internships, and participation with community-focused centers and institutes that address issues relating to health, education, the environment, business, child care and underserved communities.

Many innovative services contribute to a successful college experience. The Learning Assistance Center and the Community Access and Retention Program provide tutoring in study skills and core subjects. The Disability Programs and Resource Center secures access to all campus programs and activities for students, staff and faculty with disabilities.

The value of an SF State education is seen in our graduates. Our cinema program has produced Academy Award winners, books by creative writing graduates have climbed best-seller lists, and pre-med graduates enjoy an excellent medical school acceptance rate.

Student Life

Student life is continually growing at SF State with various ways for students to get involved on campus. Nearly 220 student organizations, including fraternities and sororities, help students explore their interests and network with student peers, faculty, staff and alumni. The Associated Students, SF State’s student government, offers leadership opportunities, programs and services to enhance the student experience. Students can get involved in Campus Recreation by forming an intramural team, joining a sport club or participating in open rec.

Intercollegiate sports for women are basketball, cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field, soccer, softball and volleyball. For men, SF State offers baseball, basketball, cross country, soccer and wrestling. The University is a member of the California Collegiate Athletic Association, an NCAA Division II conference, for all sports except wrestling which is in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

Campus Recreation offers a variety of programs for students, faculty and staff, including Aquatics, Fitness Classes, Informal Recreation, Intramural Sports and Sport Clubs. Intramural leagues include men’s, women’s and coed divisions offered in the fall and spring semesters. Intramural Sports include basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer, indoor soccer and flag football.

SF State is an arts and culture center, with hundreds of workshops, guest lectures and exhibits held throughout the year. Events and exhibits feature the work of students and faculty members as well as professionals from outside the University community.

Campus residence halls and apartments offer proximity to around-the-clock computer labs and study rooms, study and support groups, cultural activities and social events. Two residence halls, Mary Ward and Mary Park, and the Towers at Centennial Square Apartments, and Jr. Suites provide housing for first-year freshmen in the heart of campus.

Apartment-style living is available for second year, transfer and graduate students at The Village at Centennial Square and University Park town homes and apartments.

There are a variety of Living Learning Communities within the housing community for students who share a common academic focus such as science and technology, health and business. Programs, events and support are provided.

Mission of the University

The mission of San Francisco State University is 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; to promote excellence in instruction and intellectual accomplishment; and to provide broadly accessible higher education for residents of the region and state, as well as the nation and world. To fulfill its mission, the University is committed to the following goals:

  • Attracting, retaining and graduating a highly diverse student body;
  • Providing disciplinary and interdisciplinary liberal arts and professional education that is academically rigorous and intellectually challenging;
  • Providing curricula that reflect all dimensions of human diversity, and that encourage critical thinking and social and cultural awareness;
  • Recruiting, retaining and supporting a diverse faculty whose teaching demonstrates an active engagement with their individual fields of study and whose creative and scholarly work is an extension of the classroom, laboratory or studio;
  • Employing a staff and administration reflecting the diversity of the community and the values of the campus;
  • Fostering a collegial and cooperative intellectual environment that includes recognition and appreciation of differing viewpoints and promotes academic freedom within the University community; and
  • Serving the communities with which its students and faculty are engaged.


The University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). WASC is located at

985 Atlantic Avenue
Suite 100
Alameda, CA 94501

and the telephone number is 510-748-9001. Various specialized programs at the University are accredited by the following agencies.

Program Agency
Apparel Design and Merchandising BS American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences
Art BA/MA/MFA National Association of Schools of Art and Design
Business Administration BS/MS/MBA Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
Chemistry BS American Chemical Society
Cinema BA/MA/MFA National Association of Schools of Art and Design
Civil Engineering BS Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), http://www.abet.org
Clinical Laboratory Science Graduate Internship Program National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences
Communicative Disorders MS American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Counseling MS Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
Dietetics BS and Graduate Internship Program Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education
Drama BA/MA National Association of Schools of Theatre
Education MA National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Electrical Engineering BS Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), http://www.abet.org
Family and Consumer Sciences BA American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences
Hospitality and Tourism Management BS Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
Interior Design BS American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences
Journalism BA Accreditation Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications
Mechanical Engineering BS Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), http://www.abet.org
Music BA/MA/BM/MM National Association of Schools of Music
Nursing BS/MS State Board of Registered Nursing Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Physical Therapy MS Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education
Psychology, Concentration in Clinical Psychology MS California State Board of Behavioral Sciences
Public Administration MPA Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration
Public Health MPH Council on Education for Public Health
Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration BS National Recreation and Park Association
Rehabilitation Counseling MS Council on Rehabilitation Education
Social Work BA/MSW Council on Social Work Education
Special Education MA and Concentration in PhD in Education National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Teacher Education Credential Programs California Commission on Teacher Credentialing
Theatre Arts MFA: Concentration in Design and Technical Production National Association of Schools of Theatre