About the University

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

The University has been the launchpad for thousands of successful, world-changing alumni, including Black Lives Matter co-creator Alicia Garza, San Francisco’s first African American mayor, Willie Brown, Jr., and tech pioneers who played pivotal roles in the development of the microprocessor and the Internet. At last count, San Francisco State graduates had won 21 Pulitzers, 16 Oscars, 49 Emmys, 10 Grammys, and 12 Tonys. And the University itself has won top honors while encouraging innovations that put it at the forefront of academia. Home to the nation’s first and only College of Ethnic Studies, SF State was #7 for ethnic diversity among national universities in the 2019 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings. Both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter have named SF State’s School of Cinema one of the top film programs in the country, and the University’s Estuary & Ocean Science Center makes it the only institution of higher education with a marine science laboratory on San Francisco Bay.

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 72 academic areas with an additional 39 areas of concentration, master’s degrees in 62 academic areas with an additional 28 areas of concentration and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. The University also offers a clinical doctorate, Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.), jointly 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.

Student Life

Student life is continually growing at SF State with various ways for students to get involved on campus. More than 200 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 also get involved by forming an intramural team, joining a sports club, or participating in one of the campus’ many open rec opportunities.

Intercollegiate sports for women are basketball, indoor and outdoor track and field, soccer, softball, and volleyball. For men, SF State offers baseball, basketball, track and field (outdoor), 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.

SF State is an arts and culture center, with hundreds of workshops, guest lectures and exhibits 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, and 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 townhomes 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

San Francisco State University educates and equips students to thrive in a global society. We deliver academic excellence by pursuing knowledge, inspiring creativity, supporting our diverse community and advancing social justice and positive change in the world.


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
Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences MS American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Counseling MS Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
Dietetics BS and Graduate Internship Program Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
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 Community 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

Programs Leading to Licensure and Credentialing

Admission into programs leading to licensure and credentialing does not guarantee that students will obtain a license or credential. Licensure and credentialing requirements are set by agencies that are not controlled by or affiliated with the CSU and requirements can change at any time. For example, licensure or credentialing requirements can include evidence of the right to work in the United States (e.g., social security number or taxpayer identification number) or successfully passing a criminal background check. Students are responsible for determining whether they can meet licensure or credentialing requirements. The CSU will not refund tuition, fees or any associated costs to students who determine subsequent to admission that they cannot meet licensure or credentialing requirements. Information concerning licensure and credentialing requirements are available from Graduate Advisors.

The California State University has not determined whether its programs meet other states’ educational or professional requirements for licensure and certification. Students enrolled in a California State University program who are planning to pursue licensure or certification in other states are responsible for determining whether they will meet their state’s requirements for licensure or certification. This disclosure is made pursuant to 34 CFR §668.43(a)(5)(v)(C).