Transfer Students

Transfer Policies of CSU Campuses

Authority for decisions regarding the transfer of undergraduate credits is delegated to each California State University (CSU) campus. Most commonly, college-level credits earned from an institution of higher education accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education are accepted for transfer to campuses of the CSU.

General Education requirements are the same for all CSU campuses, so articulation of California Community College courses approved for General Education (about one-third of degree requirements) are handled centrally and may be accessed at

Campuses may enter into articulation agreements involving major requirements on either a course to course or program to program basis. Such articulations are common between CSU campuses and any or all of the California Community Colleges. Also, articulation agreements may exist between CSU campuses and other institutions outside of the California Community College system. Approved CSU/CCC articulations may be found on www.assist.orgClick to view information about approved articulation with other institutions.

No more than 70-semester units from an institution that does not offer bachelor’s degrees or their equivalents (e.g., community colleges) may be applied to an undergraduate degree from a CSU. Given the University’s 30 unit residency requirement, no more than 90 total units from all sources may be applied to an undergraduate degree.

First-Time Freshmen with Transfer Units

Students who complete college units during high school or through the summer immediately following high school graduation are considered first-time freshmen and must meet those admission requirements.

Lower-Division Transfer Requirements

SF State accepts admission applications from lower-division transfer students. Students who have completed fewer than 60 transferable semester college units (fewer than 90-quarter units) at the time of entrance are considered lower-division transfer students. Generally, applicants qualify for admission as lower-division transfer students if they meet all of the following requirements:

  1. Have completed the "a-g" course requirements in high school.
  2. Have graduated from high school (received a high school diploma or General Educational Development, or GED, certificate).
  3. Earned a qualifying "a-g" grade point average (GPA) as described below.
    1. California residents and graduates of California high schools will be eligible for admission by earning a 2.50 or greater “a-g” GPA.
    2. Non-California residents may be eligible for admission to the CSU by earning a 3.00 or greater “a-g” GPA.
  4. Have a grade point average of 2.0 (C) or better in all transferable units attempted.
  5. Are in good standing at the last college or university attended.
  6. Receive a grade of C– or better in each course used to meet CSU General Education requirements for Written Communication and Quantitative Reasoning.

Upper-Division Transfer Requirements

Students who have completed 60 or more transferable semester college units (90 or more quarter units) at the time of entrance are considered upper-division transfer students. Generally, applicants qualify for admission as upper-division transfer students if they meet all of the following requirements:

  1. Have a grade point average of 2.0 (C) or better in all transferable units attempted.
  2. Are in good standing at the last college or university attended and have completed at least 60 transferable semester units of college coursework with a GPA of 2.0 or better.
  3. Receive a grade of C– or better in each course used to meet CSU General Education requirements commonly referred to as the Golden 4, which includes Written Communication, Oral Communication, Critical Thinking, and Quantitative Reasoning.
  4. The 60 units must include the Golden 4 requirements listed above.

Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT)

Student Transfer Achievement Reform (STAR) Act (SB 1440)

The Student Transfer Achievement Reform (STAR) Act (SB 1440) establishes an Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) for California Community College students and is designed to provide a clear pathway to the CSU degree major.

Students will submit official transcripts documenting the conferral of the ADT upon request. Upon final verification of conferral of the ADT, students earning either a transfer associate (AA–T or AS–T) degree prior to matriculation at SF State are guaranteed admission with junior standing to the CSU and given priority admission over other transfer students when applying to a local campus or non-impacted program. AA–T or AS–T admission applicants are given priority consideration to an impacted campus/program or campuses/programs if following an approved ADT pathway. (Approval of ADT pathways is based on faculty determination that the SF State major is similar to the awarded ADT and can be completed in no more than 60 units after transfer).

In most cases, students who earn an AA-T or AS-T have met all lower-division General Education (GE) requirements in transfer. (The Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science AS-T degrees each postpone 3 units in lower-division GE Area C and 3 units in lower-division GE Area D until after transfer.) Students should consult their Degree Progress Report (DPR) to see whether they have satisfied American Institutions and any other lower-division graduation requirements prior to transfer.

Students who earn an AA-T or AS-T degree but change to a major that is not an approved ADT pathway (the SF State major is not 'similar') have satisfied all lower-division GE requirements, but may not be able to complete all graduation requirements for the new major within 60-semester units. This also applies to students who choose to pursue a second major or a minor, certificate, or credential simultaneously.

Students with verified ADTs admitted during the 2014-2015 academic years and after, and who are following approved ADT pathways, are waived from the SF State Studies (previously Overlay) requirements. 

Click to view a list of approved ADT pathways for students attending SF State.

The degree sections in this Bulletin include sample roadmaps describing a possible pathway through the major based on four semesters of full-time attendance. Although the STAR Act guarantees completion of a similar BA or BS degree in 60 units, a timeframe for degree completion is not specified or guaranteed, particularly if options chosen as part of the AA-T or AS-T were not consistent with the prerequisite structure of the major at SF State. However, students following an approved ADT pathway may be eligible for the California Promise program (see below).

Conditional Admission of Transfer Applicants

San Francisco State University may conditionally admit transfer applicants based on their self-reported academic preparation and courses planned for completion. All accepted applicants are required to submit official transcripts of all college-level work completed and a final review will be conducted prior to the start of the semester to ensure that those admitted completed all required courses satisfactorily. The University may rescind admission for any student who is found not to be eligible after the final transcript has been evaluated. In no case may such documents be received and validated by the University any later than a student’s registration for their second term of CSU 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 entering the CSU should contact the campus offices or visit to view information about SF State's California Promise Program.