International Students

International students find the city of San Francisco a cosmopolitan and welcoming place to live and study. International students are an essential and valuable part of the USF community. Of the 10,700 students at USF, approximately 1,750 are international students.

How to Apply

First, please review the main How to Apply page and the sections on your individual program’s How to Apply page.

In addition, international applicants are required to upload additional items to the online application. No documents should be mailed or emailed to USF at time of application:

English Language Exam
Your language exam needs to be taken within two years of the program’s application deadline. For minimums and exceptions, please see below.

Proof of Funding for F-1 Visa
Proof of funding is required for any applicant seeking an F-1 visa. If the funds are not in your name, a sponsor statement of support is also required. For detailed instructions, please read the Proof for Funding for F-1 Visa section below.

International Address
Your permanent address on the application needs to be an international address.

International Transcripts
Your transcripts need to be in the original language of your university, and in English translation. Include proof of degree conferral in the original language and in English. If you have not graduated yet, include proof of enrollment. Three-year Bachelor’s degrees are accepted for admission review.

Upload your passport’s photo/information page.

English Language Exam – Minimums

International applicants must request that their testing agency send an official test score to USF. The TOEFL school code for USF is 4850. IELTS and PTE do not require a school code.

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
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
Migration 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, 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 AEM Graduate Writing/Speaking course at USF in the first semester. This information is included in the admission letter.

English Language Exam – Exceptions

Each graduate program determines exceptions for the English Language Exam requirement. Applicants who meet one of the following may be considered for an exception:

Applicants who complete 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, New Zealand or one of the countries in the chart below.

Applicants who complete a Bachelor's Degree or a Master's Degree at an institution where the institution's medium of instruction is English. Your university’s academic record must indicate that all classes were conducted in English, or upload some other proof from your university.

Students from countries where the government requires 11 years of mandatory English instruction. These countries include: Norway and possibly Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland and the Netherlands.

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

Proof of Funding for F-1 Visa

Students who require an F-1 visa must demonstrate that they can fund educational and living expenses in the U.S. for the first year of the program. Even though a graduate program may award financial aid, students still must verify that they have funds to cover their costs in order to qualify for an F-1 visa.

Proof of funding is required at the time of application in order for the university to issue the I-20 form for the F-1 visa interview in a timely fashion. If you bring family members with you that require an I-20, you will need to provide additional proof of funding to cover their living expenses.

Use the following documents to determine the minimum amount that you will need to confirm for your application:

Applicants upload all proof of funding documents into their application account.

Bank Statement(s) are required if you do not have government or agency sponsorship or loans. Bank statements need to show a total amount that meets or exceeds the required funds for the first year of your graduate program, as list in the above PDF. Bank statements must show money held in cash account(s), which can include: checking, savings, certificates of deposit, money market accounts or cash in an investment account. Stock accounts and lines of credit cannot be used.

If the funds are not in your name, please upload a Statement of Support that should include your full name, your sponsor’s full name and signature in English characters, and a brief statement that they are willing to provide financial assistance for your first year of studies.

Scholarships and sponsorships provided by a government or other agency can be uploaded to your application account for the proof of funding.

If your scholarship or loan program requires an admission letter to apply, please contact our office at

Scholarships and Financial Aid

At time of admission review, all international students are considered for scholarships or assistantships that may be offered by a graduate program. There is no separate application for these scholarships and teaching assistantships. Learn more about non-USF funding resources for international students.

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)

ISSS provides important advice to international students about the visa application process, immigration documents, immunization requirements, pre-departure information and mandatory International Student Orientation.

You are also required to attend your graduate program’s orientation, as well as the International Student Orientation.

Contact Info

Office of Graduate Programs

Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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