International Students

As an international applicant you need to submit the same items as U.S. applicants plus additional items.

Application Items for U.S. Applicants

International Applicant Items

  • TOEFL, IELTS or PTE English language Exam
    Official TOEFL, IELTS or PTE English language exam scores that are less than two years old at the time of admission review. Additionally, upload a copy of your score report to your online application. This will help us match your official score.

    Please see more details on score requirements below.

  • Passport
    Copy of Passport Photo/Information page.

  • Transcript
    Official, sealed transcript (record) from your university in English translation and in original language is required only if you are admitted to USF. For admission review purposes, please upload a copy of your transcript(s) to your online application account. Also, please upload a copy of a diploma or diploma certificate (with proof of graduation) that indicates a Bachelor's Degree was completed, unless the conferral date for your Bachelor's Degree is posted on your transcript/university record. Three-year Bachelor's Degrees are accepted for admission review.

  • F-1 Visa
    The Certification of Finances form or Letter of Support from your sponsor(s), for F-1 seeking applicants. Proof of funds in the form of a bank statement, bank letter or scholarship letter will be required.

    See F-1 Visa Information below.

  • International Address
    An international address must be provided on your application form.

How To Submit Documents

Upload all of the requested documents in the appropriate sections of the online application. DO NOT mail or email any documents to us unless you receive specific instructions.

F-1 Visa

Students who require an F-1 student visa must demonstrate that they (and/or other sponsors in their home country) can fund all or a significant amount of their educational and living expenses in the United States. To verify this requirement, the Certification of Finances form and supplemental bank statements must be completed and uploaded with the online application to the program. Even when a graduate program awards financial assistance, students still must verify the remaining funds of their own in order to qualify for an F-1 student visa.

The earliest arrival in the United States that an F-1 visa allows is 30 days before the start date on the I-20 form issued to you.

  • The Certification of Finances form or Letter of Support

    Complete the appropriate sections, sign it, and upload it to your application.

    If you have a sponsor they need to complete and sign the "Sponsor's Funds" section. Or, they can submit a short Letter of Support where they indicate: your full name, their full name and signature in English characters, that they are willing to provide financial assistance for your first year of studies, and a copy of the supporting bank statement(s).

    Download the Certification of Finances form

  • Bank Statement
    Bank statement(s) that indicate funds for the total costs (or more) of your graduate program for the first year as detailed on the Certification of Finances. The Certification of Finances or Letter of Support, and bank statement(s), must be uploaded before your application will be reviewed by your graduate program.

    Submit a bank statement(s) that indicates enough financial funds for the total costs of the first year of studies in your graduate program. For first-year costs (both tuition and living expenses) see the Certification of Finances form.

    Bank statement(s) must show money held in checking, savings, certificates of deposit, or money market accounts. Stock/investment accounts and lines of credit cannot be used.

    Scholarships provided by your government or other agencies can be used for the Certification of Finances, include scholarship document or letter provided by your government or other agency.

TOEFL, IELTS or PTE English language Exam

The TOEFL/GRE school code for USF is 4850.

Minimum English language Test Scores
Analytics 90 6.5 61
Asia Pacific Studies 100 7.0 65
Biology 100 7.0 65
Biotechnology 100 7.0 65
Chemistry 90 6.5 61
Collegiate Athletics 90 6.5 61
Computer Science 79 6.5 53
Economics 79 6.5 53
Environmental Management 90 6.5 61
International and Development Economics 79 6.5 53
International Studies 90 6.5 61
Museum Studies 90 6.5 61
Public Affairs 100 7.0 65
Sport Management 79 6.5 53
Urban Affairs 100 7.0 65
Writing MFA 79 6.5 53

TOEFL iBT section scores for Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing must be 17 or higher, unless an individual graduate program grants an exception.

In addition, Economics, International and Development Economics, International Studies and Sport Management, and other programs require that students with scores between 79 and 100 on the TOEFL iBT and under 7.0 on the IELTS complete an ESL Graduate Writing/Speaking course at USF in the first semester. This information is included in the admission letter.

All international applicants must request that their testing agency send an official test score to USF's Office of Graduate Programs in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Exception Policy

  • Applicants who completed a Bachelor's Degree, a Master's Degree or two years or more of studies in a degree program in English at a higher education institution in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand.
  • Applicants who completed a Bachelor's Degree or a Master's Degree at an institution where the institution's medium of instruction is English. Documentation of English instruction needs to be provided to the Office of Graduate Programs in the College of Arts and Sciences. The student's official academic record from the university must indicate that all classes were conducted in English.
  • Students from countries where the government requires 11 years of mandatory English instruction may be exempt from providing English language test scores according to the discretion of an individual graduate program. These countries include Norway, and may also include Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland and the Netherlands.
  • Exceptions for English language test scores are decided by each graduate program. If an exception is granted, students may be required by their graduate program to successfully complete an ESL graduate writing/speaking course or other Intensive English Program at USF.
Countries of Bachelor's Degree Institution Exempted From English Proficiency Tests
American Samoa







Grand Cayman





Marshall Islands, Republic of the

Micronesia, Federated States of

New Zealand

Northern Mariana Islands


Palau, Republic of

St. Vincent and the Grenadines


Turks and Caicos Islands

United Kingdom

United States of America

Exceptions for English language test scores are decided by each graduate program that may have their own individual requirements or policies pertaining to Exceptions for English language test scores.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

At the time of admission review, all international students are considered for scholarships, fellowships or teaching assistantships offered by each graduate program. There is no separate application for these scholarships and teaching assistantships, except for the Ferlinghetti Fellowships offered by the MFA in Writing program.

Non-USF Financial Aid

The Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)

ISSS provides valuable information and advice to both admitted and enrolled international students for:

  • visa application process
  • immigration documents
  • immunization requirements
  • pre-departure information
  • orientation for international students

International Student & Scholar Services

Health Insurance

International students who enroll at the university for classes will also be enrolled in a university-sponsored health insurance program.

Student Health Insurance office

Arriving & Orientation

ISSS provides valuable information and advice to both admitted and enrolled international students for:

  • International Student Orientation
    New international students are required to attend the in spring (late January) or fall (late August). International students are highly recommended to arrive at USF at least 10 days before the first day of classes in the fall and spring to finalize housing arrangements and attend the orientation.

    International Graduate Student Orientation

  • Program Orientation
    In addition, most graduate programs also hold an orientation/advising session for the individual program. All new students are required to attend their program orientation as well as the International Student Orientation.

    If your graduate program begins in June, July, early August or at another time that differs from the regular start of classes at the university, then contact the Office of International Student and Scholar Services to arrange an individual International Student Orientation upon your arrival at USF.

Contact Info

Office of Graduate Programs

M-F, 8:30a.m. - 5:00p.m.

Harney Science Center, Room 141, San Francisco, CA 94117-1082 (415) 422-5101