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How to Apply

Apply Online for Fall Admission!

The M.A. in International Studies Program (MAIS) starts every fall (late August). The priority application date is February 15. Applications are accepted and reviewed for fall 2015 admission on a space-available basis after the February 15 deadline.

Application Process

Apply online and upload* all required application documents listed below. Once all application items have been received, applications will be reviewed for admission and for a limited number of scholarships. It is best to apply as early as possible, before the deadline.

Completed applications on file at USF at the time of the deadline will be given priority consideration for admission and financial assistance offered by the International Studies program. Applications are accepted and reviewed after the deadline until the upcoming program is full. Applicants are encouraged to submit all of their application items earlier than the date listed above.

Admission decisions are mailed after the February 15 deadline. Included in the admission decision letter will be notification of any scholarship awarded by the graduate program. Once the class for the fall program is filled, later qualified applicants may be placed on a waiting list.

*We understand that in some regions of the world accessing reliable internet and a scanner is a hardship. If you are unable to upload your documents online, please contact the Office of Graduate Programs at or 415-422-5101 for assistance.

Required Application Items

  • Create an online application account.
  • Transcript – Applicants need to hold a Bachelor's Degree (or equivalent) in any academic subject from a recognized university-level institution. Upload one transcript from each university or college (university-level institution) attended. Evidence of a second semester university level non-English language course or fluency in a non-English language is recommended for entrance into the program.
  • Letters of Recommendation – Two letters of recommendation (at least one is an academic recommendation from a professor; preferably both letters are academic recommendations). Recommendation letters are submitted by individuals who can attest to the applicant's ability and competence to succeed in the studies, research and writing required by this graduate program.
  • Statement of Purpose – A two-to-three page Statement of Purpose that describes the strengths and any weaknesses of your academic background, research interests, reasons for pursuing a Master's Program in International Studies at the University of San Francisco and your educational and career goals.
  • International students are required to submit their official TOEFL or IELTS score and a copy of their passport. If an F-1 visa is sought by the applicant, then a completed Certification of Finance form with supplemental official bank statements or bank letter (see International Students) must be submitted before the application can be considered for admission. Applicants seeking an F-1 visa need to provide a non-U.S. mailing address in their application, in addition to any other address provided.

Tests and GPA Requirements

The GRE (Graduate Record Exam) is optional and not required for admission. An applicant may want to submit their GRE results if they believe it might strengthen their application.

An official TOEFL, IELTS or PTE score is required of international applicants. A minimum TOEFL score of 90 (internet-based) is required for consideration. The USF school code for the GRE and the TOEFL is 4850. The department code is not necessary. A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 or higher and a PTE score of 60 or higher is required for admission review.

After review of an application, coursework in USF's Intensive English Program may be recommended or required.

There is no strict GPA requirement for admission to the graduate program. In general, however, a GPA of 3.0 or higher strengthens an application to any graduate program.

Application Status

Start your application online and complete all required sections, including uploading required unofficial documents. All application items (for example, resume, official transcripts, English language test scores, and recommender information) must be uploaded before you submit your application. Once you submit, your application will be incomplete until your recommenders submit their online letter of recommendation. Check your online application frequently to monitor the status of your application.

Admission decisions will be posted on the application status page. Please contact the MAIS Program office directly with questions about an admission decision after your application is complete.

Notification of Admission Decision

When an application and all application items have been submitted and verified, then an application is complete and ready for admission review by the MAIS Program. Admission review begins after the February 15 deadline. Admission decisions are released beginning 4 to 6 weeks after the deadline.

Included in the admission decision letter is notification of any scholarship awarded by the graduate program. Applicants receive email notification when the admission decision is available online. Admitted applicants also receive an admission package in the mail.

Tuition Deposit

All students who are admitted to the graduate program are required to submit a tuition deposit to reserve a space in the program after notification of admission is received. The tuition deposit deadline is included in the student's letter of admission. The tuition deposit must be received at the MAIS Program at USF on, or before, that date or the admitted student is not guaranteed a place in the graduate program and the admission will be canceled.

Financial Aid Application

If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you can begin the free application process for a U.S. federal student loan at The USF federal school code for the FAFSA is 001325. All U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible for $20,500 in U.S. federal student loans in each year of graduate studies, unless if a student has defaulted on a previous student loan. There is no application deadline for these loans, although students are encouraged to submit a FAFSA as soon as possible since the loan process can take eight weeks to complete.

For any financial assistance offered by the MAIS Program, all applicants (US domestic and international) will be considered and notified of such an award in the admission letter. There is no separate application for this assistance. International students, and U.S. students, can contact the One Stop/Financial Aid Office for other student loan programs available to graduate students.

Advising, Registration, Orientation and Start of Classes

Admitted students should contact the MAIS Program for details about the advising and registration schedule in late August for new students each fall. The MAIS Program can be contacted at 415.422.5541 or

International students are highly recommended to arrive at USF at least 10 days before the first day of classes in the fall in order to finalize housing arrangements and attend the International Student Orientation. Contact the Office of International Student and Scholar Services for details and dates about the International Student Orientation at

International students should note that 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.