Admission of Graduate Students

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The domestic applicant for admission as a graduate student must have a bachelor's degree or its equivalent (and a master's degree for doctoral programs) from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning. The student's academic record must give evidence of the ability and preparation necessary to pursue graduate work. Ordinarily the minimum GPA requirement for admission to regular graduate status is a record of 3.0 (B) in all upper division major courses and 2.70 (B-) overall average for upper division courses.

The applicant whose undergraduate preparation does not include a proper foundation for graduate work in the field of his or her choice may be required to take some specified undergraduate courses.

Applicants to graduate programs should consult the appropriate college section of this catalog for additional information concerning specific program requirements. Separate admission standards apply to the School of Law. Please contact them directly for a catalog and admission material.

To ensure the proper processing of applications for admission, applicants must:

  1. Observe all guidelines and application deadlines for the graduate program to which the student is applying.
  2. Submit an application form with the $55 non-refundable application fee for that graduate program. Applicants may request a paper application by contacting the appropriate Graduate Admission Office or by downloading a PDF of the application. Applicants may also apply electronically, which is the preferred method to apply. To secure a paper application or access the online form go to
  3. Submit all required materials to the appropriate Graduate Office. For a list of Graduate Admission Offices go to
  4. Request letters of recommendation from two persons (three for the Doctor of Nursing Practice program) who are familiar with the applicant's academic and personal achievements. Certain programs require only one letter of recommendation.
  5. Ask the registrar of each university attended to send one official copy of all transcripts directly to the appropriate Graduate Admission Office.
  6. For purposes of admission, the University normally disregards any failing grades that applicants may have received ten years or more prior to their application to USF.

Some graduate programs require additional information such as a statement of purpose, official test scores, and a resume.

Transfer of Credit

In exceptional cases, graduate course work taken at other colleges or post-baccalaureate courses completed at USF may be accepted in partial fulfillment of the graduate program requirements. The student must petition the dean through his or her faculty advisor and the program chairperson, if applicable. The petition must contain justification and explicit approval of the advisor and the chairperson, if applicable. Credit is typically limited to six credits - eight credits, or two courses. Doctoral students may transfer up to 12 credits. (General Education core requirements may not be satisfied by transfer of credit for School of Education students.)

To be acceptable for transfer of credit, courses must:

    • be regular graduate or post-baccalaureate level courses
    • be taken at an accredited institution of higher learning, or an institution that is a candidate for accreditation, within the last seven years
    • not be supervised field work, directed study, or field practice, and
    • have an earned minimum grade of "B".

The School of Education does not accept transfer of credit for Extended and/or Continuing Education courses. An official transcript record of the course work and course descriptions must accompany the approved transfer petition and should be sent to the Office of the University Registrar.

International Applicants to Graduate Programs

The international applicant for admission to USF master's level programs and the Doctor of Nursing Practice program must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher learning. Three year undergraduate (bachelor's) degrees within the Bologna Process signatory countries will be accepted by the following University of San Francisco School/Colleges: the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Nursing and Health Professions, the School of Management, and the School of Law (for the LLM program).

The School of Education will review 3-year bachelor's degrees from countries within the Bologna Process on a case-by-case basis, as California licensure and/or credential requirements may limit or prohibit acceptance into some School of Education programs based on these degrees.

Three-year undergraduate degrees from all other countries (e.g., in Africa, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan) will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by all schools and colleges at the University of San Francisco.

In all cases, the University of San Francisco will only accept degrees from colleges and universities that are recognized by a governmental ministry of education (or its equivalent) as a degree-granting institution for the country within which the institution of higher learning is located.

Applicants for admission to graduate programs must request that official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended be sent directly to USF. Applicants who attended institutions that do not issue complete academic records in English must submit official copies of native language records and literal translations prepared by an appropriate university or government official. Official transcripts must show all courses and subjects taken and all grades (marks) received. If the degree conferral date or graduation date is not posted on the transcript, additional documentation, such as degree and graduation certificate or a copy of the diploma must be submitted.

Diploma supplements must accompany transcripts from European institutions.

International students seeking an F or J visa must submit a Certification of Finances and supporting documentation of financial support for the first year of study at the University. In addition to the admission requirements specified by the individual graduate programs elsewhere in this catalog, and the general requirements stated above, an official TOEFL or IELTS score report is generally required of all non-native speakers of English before evaluation of academic credentials will take place. Official TOEFL or IELTS score reports must be forwarded directly to the Office of Graduate Admission by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) at the time of application.

TOEFL Requirements

Each school or program has its own minimum TOEFL Requirements that every applicant must meet.

Please see the specific program description elsewhere in this catalog, and on the application for admission, for further details.

Applicants are encouraged to apply online at Paper application forms for specific graduate programs may also be obtained at this same web address.

Please contact one of the following Graduate Admission offices for more information:

Office of Graduate Admission

University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117-1046
(415) 422-2090

College of Arts and Sciences

Office of Graduate Programs, Harney 141
University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, California 94117-1080
(415) 422-5101

School of Management

Graduate Admission Office
School of Management
2130 Fulton Street
Masonic 108
San Francisco, California 94117-1080

(415) 422-2221

School of Education

Admissions Coordinator, School of Education
Dean's Office - Room 107
University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, California 94117-1080
(415) 422-6525

School of Nursing and Health Professions

Cowell Hall, Room 102
University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, California 94117-1080
(415) 422-6681


Procedures for Obtaining and Maintaining Student Visa Status for Graduate Students

All admitted students of graduate programs at the University who are not citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. and plan to study at USF with an F or J Visa must obtain an I-20 form (Certificate of Eligibility for Student Visa) from the Office of Graduate Admission before entering the United States or transferring from another school within the United States. The I-20 form will be provided only to those students who have satisfied the admission requirements stated above and are accepted into a graduate program.

The I-20 form must be presented to an American Embassy or Consulate abroad in order to obtain a student visa (F-1) or, if the prospective student is already in the United States studying at another U.S. school, he or she must have his or her SEVIS record transferred to USF by the international advisor at the current institution. Students accepted by more than one school must present the I-20 form of the school they wish to attend at both the American Embassy and border crossing point. It is essential that admitted students of USF declare their intention to study at USF before leaving their own country and not expect to change their visa status after arrival in the U.S.

Anyone holding a B-2 (tourist) visa who wishes to attend USF will be mailed an I-20 form only to an address outside the U.S. and only prior to registration for classes. The University does not offer legal assistance to anyone attempting to change from tourist to student status.