Undergraduate Application Procedures

San Francisco State University accepts applications from prospective students for part-time or full-time undergraduate programs of study in day and evening classes. Undergraduate applicants must file a complete undergraduate application at https://www2.calstate.edu/apply and submit a $55 nonrefundable application fee. The application fee may not be transferred or used to apply to another term. The applications of persons denied admission to an impacted campus may be re-routed to another campus at no cost, but only if the applicants are CSU eligible.

Application Acknowledgment

Students applying online on Cal State Apply will receive an email acknowledgment as soon as the application is successfully submitted and a confirmation number is issued. Additional email notifications will be sent by the campus requesting submission of academic records necessary for the campus to evaluate the student’s qualifications.  Applicants may be assured of admission if the evaluation of relevant qualifications indicates that applicants meet CSU admission requirements, and in the case of impacted majors, campus requirements for admission to an impacted program. An offer of admission is not transferable to another term or another campus.

Notification of Admission

Applicants who have received an application receipt notice and have submitted all required admission materials will begin to receive notification of acceptance or denial of admission to the fall semester on November 1, and for the spring semester on August 15. If the processing schedule permits, some applicants may be notified in advance of these dates.

Appeal of the Notification of Denial of Admission

Applicants may appeal the Notification of Denial of Admission to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions within 15 days of the date of the denial notification. The appeal should be initiated by the applicant via phone (415) 338-6486. Many appeals will be resolved in the initial contact. When additional information is required, the applicant will be instructed about how to provide this to Undergraduate Admission. The time frame for conclusively addressing an appeal will vary with the complexity of the appeal.

Hardship Petitions

The campus has established procedures for consideration of qualified applicants who would be faced with extreme hardship if not admitted. Petitioners should write the Director of Undergraduate Admissions regarding specific policies governing hardship admission.

Impacted Programs

The CSU designates programs as impacted when more applications from regularly eligible applicants are received in the initial filing period (October and November for fall terms, June for winter terms, August for spring terms, February for summer terms) than can be accommodated. Some programs are impacted at every campus which they are offered; others are impacted only at a few campuses. Candidates for admission must meet all of the campus' specified supplementary admission criteria if applying to an impacted program or campus.

The CSU will announce during the fall filing period those campuses or programs that are impacted. Detailed information on campus and program impaction will be available at www2.calstate.edu/attend/impaction-at-the-csu.

Campuses will communicate supplementary admission criteria for all impacted programs to high schools and community colleges in their application service area and will disseminate this information to the public through appropriate media. This information will also be published on the San Francisco State University website at www.sfsu.edu.

Applicants must file applications for admission to an impacted program during the initial filing period. Applicants who wish to be considered for impacted programs at more than one campus should file an application at each campus for which they seek admission consideration.

Impaction at SF State

The CSU designates major programs as impacted when more applications are received in the initial filing period from CSU eligible applicants than can be accommodated by the campus. Impacted majors are authorized to use supplementary admission criteria and higher admission standards than the CSU minimum requirements in considering applicants to the program. These criteria are applied equally to continuing SF State students and new applicants alike. For information regarding specific application criteria and deadlines for majors impacted at SF State, click on the program of interest below.

Supplementary Admission Criteria

Each campus with impacted programs or class-level admission categories uses supplementary admission criteria in screening applicants. Supplementary criteria may include rank-ordering of freshman applicants based on the CSU eligibility index or rank-ordering of transfer applicants based on verification of the Associate in Arts for Transfer (AA-T) or Associate in Science Transfer (AS-T) degrees, the overall transfer grade point average (GPA), completion of specified prerequisite courses and a combination of campus-developed criteria. Applicants for freshman admission to impacted campuses or programs are required to submit scores on either the SAT or the ACT, regardless of GPA. For fall admission, applicants should take tests as early as possible, but no later than November or December of the preceding year.

The supplementary admission criteria used by individual campuses to screen applicants are made available by the campuses to all applicants seeking admission to an impacted program. Details regarding the supplemental admissions criteria are also provided at http://future.sfsu.edu/impaction.

Undergraduate Admission Requirements

Test Requirements

Freshman and transfer applicants who have fewer than 60-semester or 90-quarter units of transferable college credit must submit scores for either the ACT or the SAT. Please note: SF State is not currently accepting applications from lower-division transfer applicants. Persons who apply to an impacted program may be required to submit test scores and should take the test no later than November or December. Test scores are also used for advising and placement purposes. Registration forms and dates for the SAT or ACT are available from school or college counselors or a CSU campus testing office. Students may also write to or call:


The College Board
Registration Unit, Box 6200
Princeton, NJ 08541–6200
(609) 771-7588


ACT Registration Unit
P.O. Box 414
Iowa City, IA 52240
(319) 337-1270

TOEFL Requirement

All undergraduate applicants whose native language is not English and who have not attended schools at the secondary level or above for at least three years full-time where English is the principal language of instruction must present a minimum score of 61 on the internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), 500 on the paper-based TOEFL, or 173 on the computer-based TOEFL. Students whose native language is English and attended an educational institution at the secondary level or above where English was the principal language of instruction for at least three years full time will not be held to the TOEFL admission requirement. Some majors may require higher scores. Institutional TOEFL scores are not accepted. Campuses specify the conditions for meeting the requirement of three years of full-time English language instruction. Achieving the minimum TOEFL score shall be evidence of the applicant’s English competency at a level that will allow the applicant to participate satisfactorily in and benefit from University study. For complete information regarding TOEFL, go to www.toefl.org.

First-Time Freshmen Applicants

A first-time freshman is a student who has earned no college credit beyond the summer immediately following high school graduation.

  1. Have graduated from high school, have earned a Certificate of General Education Development (GED), or have passed the California High School Proficiency Examination,
  2. Have qualifying minimum eligibility index (see Eligibility Index below), and
  3. Have completed with grades of C or better each of the courses in the comprehensive pattern of college preparatory subject requirements also known as the "a-g" pattern (see Subject Requirements).

Eligibility Index

The eligibility index is the combination of the high school grade point average and scores on either the ACT or the SAT. The grade point averages are based on grades earned in courses during the final three years of high school. Included in calculation of GPA are grades earned in all college preparatory "a–g" subject requirements, and bonus points for approved honors courses. (See Honors Courses below).

The CSU Eligibility Index (EI) can be calculated by multiplying the grade point average by 800 and adding the total score on the mathematics and critical reading scores of the SAT. Students who took the ACT, multiply the grade point average by 200 and add ten times the ACT composite score. California high school graduates (or residents of California for tuition purposes) need a minimum index of 2900 old test or 2950 revised test using the SAT or 694 using the ACT. The Eligibility Index Tables illustrate several combinations of required test scores and averages (California High School Graduates or Residents Eligibility Index Table / Nonresidents or Graduates of High Schools Outside of California Eligibility Index Table).

For admission to terms during the 2018–2019 college year, the University has no current plans to include the writing scores from either of the admissions tests in the computation of the CSU Eligibility Index.

Persons who have not graduated from a California high school and are residents of California for tuition purposes need a minimum index of 3502 old (SAT) or 3570 new (SAT) or 842 (ACT).  Graduates of secondary schools outside of the U.S. must be found to have academic preparation and abilities equivalent to applicants eligible under this section.

All applicants for admission are required to take the SAT or ACT and provide the scores of those tests to each CSU to which they seek admission. Campuses use these test results for advising and placement purposes and may require them for admission to impacted majors or programs. Impacted CSU campuses require SAT or ACT scores of all applicants for freshman admission.

Honors Courses

Up to eight semesters of honors courses taken in the last three years of high school, including up to two approved courses taken in the tenth grade, can be accepted. Each unit of A in an honors course will receive a total of 5 points; B, 4 points; and C, 3 points.

Note: A grade point average of 3.0 and above qualifies with any score on the ACT or SAT. Applicants from outside of SF State’s six-county service area may be held to different requirements. A grade point average of below 2.0 does not qualify for regular admission.

Subject Requirements

The California State University requires that first-time freshman applicants complete, with grades of C or better, a comprehensive pattern of college preparatory study totaling 15 units. A “unit” is one year of study in high school.

  • Two years of social science, including one year of U.S. history, or U.S. history and government;
  • Four years of English;
  • Three years of mathematics (algebra, geometry, and intermediate algebra);
  • Two years of laboratory science (one year of biological science and one year of physical science, both must include laboratory instruction);
  • Two years in the same language other than English (subject to waiver for applicants demonstrating equivalent competence);
  • One year of visual and performing arts (art, dance, drama/theater, or music);
  • One year of electives selected from English, advanced mathematics, social science, history, laboratory science, foreign language, visual and performing arts, or other courses approved and included on the UC/CSU “a-g” list.

Subject Requirement Substitution for Students with Disabilities

All freshman applicants are encouraged to complete 15 units of college preparatory subjects. If an applicant is otherwise qualified but unable to complete certain subjects because of a disability, an appeal can be made to the Admissions Office. The appeal committee recommends that the appeal include disability documentation by a qualified professional that illustrates how the disability has affected academic performance.

Subject Substitutions for Students with Disabilities: After admission to and enrollment in the University, students with disabilities who find they need to seek a course substitution should consult with the Disability Programs and Resource Center and be aware that course substitutions may limit later enrollment in certain majors.

Language Other Than English (LOTE) Requirement

The language other than English subject requirement may be satisfied by applicants who demonstrate equivalent competence in another language comparable to two years of high school foreign language study. Consult with a school counselor or the campus admissions office or Student Outreach Services for further information.

Making Up Missing College Preparatory Subject Requirements

Lower-division applicants who did not complete subject requirements while in high school may make up missing subjects in any of the following ways.

  • Complete appropriate courses with a C or better in adult school or high school summer sessions.
  • Complete appropriate college courses with a C or better. One college course of at least 3-semester or 4-quarter units is considered equivalent to one year of high school study.
  • Earn acceptable scores on specified examinations, e.g., SAT subject tests.

Please consult with any CSU admissions office for further information about alternative ways to satisfy the subject requirements.

Note: Many CSU campuses, including San Francisco State University, are not accepting lower-division transfers. Ask the CSU campus if you can apply as a freshman or sophomore transfer before taking college courses to make up high school subject requirements.

Conditional Admission

San Francisco State University may conditionally admit first-time freshmen applicants using self-reported academic preparation through the junior year of high school and planned courses for the senior year. Students are required to submit an official transcript after graduation to certify that all college preparatory coursework has been satisfactorily completed as well as proof of high school graduation. Official high school transcripts must be received prior to the deadline set by the University. Documentation of high school graduation may not be received any later than the census date for a student’s first term of enrollment. The University may rescind admission decisions, cancel financial aid awards, withdraw housing contracts, and cancel any University registration for students who are found not to be eligible after the final transcript has been evaluated.

Applicants will qualify for regular (non-conditional) admission when the University verifies that they have graduated and received a diploma from high school, meet the minimum eligibility index, have completed the comprehensive pattern of college preparatory “a–g” subjects, and, if applying to an impacted program, have met all supplementary criteria.

High School Students

Students still enrolled in high school are considered for enrollment in certain special programs if recommended by the principal and the appropriate campus department chair, and if preparation is equivalent to that required of eligible California high school graduates. Such admission is only for a specific program and does not constitute a right to continued enrollment.

California Promise

The California Promise Program enables a specific number of campuses of the California State University (CSU) to establish pledge programs for entering first-time students who are both interested and able to complete baccalaureate degrees in four years. Many campuses have also established programs for students with Associate Degrees for Transfer from any California Community College to complete their baccalaureate degrees in two years. The program is limited to students who are residents of California.

Students who commit to enter either the 4-year or 2-year pledge will be given a priority registration appointment for each state-supported enrollment period and will be provided with routine and thorough academic advisement. To remain in the program, students must meet with their advisors as prescribed, develop an enrollment plan, and complete 30-semester units or quarter equivalent within each academic year, including summer. Participating campuses may stipulate other important requirements as well. Interested students should contact the campus offices or visit www.calstate.edu/sas/california-promise.shtml.

Students with Disabilities

If an applicant is otherwise qualified but unable to complete certain subjects because of a disability, an appeal can be made to the Admissions Office. The appeal committee recommends that the appeal include disability documentation by a qualified professional that illustrates how the disability has affected academic performance.

Reentry Student Admission

As an alternative to regular admission criteria, an applicant who is 25 years of age or older may be considered for admission if they meet all of the following conditions:

  1. Possesses a high school diploma (or has established equivalence through either the General Educational Development or California High School Proficiency Examinations).
  2. Has not been enrolled in college as a full-time student for more than one term during the past five years.
  3. If there has been any college attendance in the last five years, has earned a C average or better in all college work attempted.
  4. Has taken coursework that demonstrates competence in the entry-level skills that those tests assess.
  5. Has applied to and been denied University admission based on regular admission criteria and has received a referral for an interview from Undergraduate Admissions.
  6. Has completed an interview to determine:
    1. the adequacy of the applicant's motivation, preparation, and ability for academic success and
    2. that other educational alternatives are not appropriate.

Upon the recommendation of the interviewer, the student may be admitted to the University under the aegis of CSU Executive Order No. 413.

Evaluation of Academic Records

Advanced Placement

San Francisco State University grants credit toward its undergraduate degrees for successful completion of examinations of the Advanced Placement (AP) Program of the College Board. Students who present scores of three or better may be granted up to 6-semester units of college credit.

The University also recognizes Advanced Placement (AP) courses undertaken by high school students in conjunction with a collegiate institution in those instances where the collegiate institution has recommended credit. For additional information, the student may call or write the Admissions Office or visit One Stop in the Student Services Building.

Credit from Colleges Holding Regional Accreditation

Credits earned in colleges holding regional accreditation are evaluated and advanced standing allowed on the basis of the evidence submitted on official transcripts. Credit toward the fulfillment of graduation requirements is allowed if the courses satisfactorily completed meet the standards and requirements of the University.

Credit from Colleges Lacking Regional Accreditation

Credits earned in colleges lacking regional accreditation may be accepted as a basis for advanced standing only when an applicant can demonstrate by examination after they have enrolled in the University, that a satisfactory degree of proficiency has been attained in the courses in question. See Credit by Examination (below) for further information.

Credit for Community College Courses

Credit earned in accredited community colleges will be evaluated by the Admissions Office in accordance with the following provisions:

  1. Community college credit is allowed up to a maximum of 70-semester units. Credits and grades earned after the student has the maximum allowable may be used on approval only to satisfy subject and grade point requirements, but under no circumstances may they be applied toward the total units required for graduation from the University.
  2. No upper-division credit may be allowed for community college work.
  3. Credit for one course may be transferred from a community college for a course in the introduction to education. No other credit is allowed for professional courses in education.

Credit by Examination

Students may challenge courses by taking examinations developed at San Francisco State University. Credit shall be awarded to those who pass them successfully. See Maximum Credit by Examination or Evaluation for additional information.

Credit for Non-Collegiate Instruction

San Francisco State University grants undergraduate degree credit for successful completion of non-collegiate instruction, either military or civilian, appropriate to the baccalaureate degree, which has been recommended by the Commission on Educational Credit and Credentials of the American Council on Education. The numbers of units allowed are those recommended in the Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experience in the Armed Services and the National Guide to Educational Credit for Training Programs.