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Application Requirements

As a practice, the School of Education takes a holistic approach to reviewing applications. We assess each applicant with a balanced consideration, looking at their life experiences, personal attributes, and academic metrics. We also evaluate how applicants may contribute to the school and to their chosen field.

The School of Education has application requirements that pertain to all students and certain programs. Please refer to the "Other Requirements" section on this page for information about your program’s requirements.

The application process is entirely online. No items need to be mailed, upload all of your application items to your application account.

  1. Create an account. Then, complete the application at your own pace.
  2. Ensure that your uploaded documents are easy to view online.
  3. Complete all required sections.
  4. Save often, submit once. You may access and update your application as many times as you like before submission. You are encouraged to submit your completed application a few weeks before the deadline.

Apply or Check Your Status

General Admission Requirements

  1. Completed online application with non-refundable $55 application fee.
  2. One set of unofficial transcripts from each university/college previously attended. For U.S. applicants, the degree must be from a regionally accredited university/college. An applicant with a pending degree must provide official verification of expected degree completion from institution's Registrar or school official. An undergraduate degree is required to apply to a master's program. A master's degree is required to apply for a doctoral program. Please note: if admitted you will need to submit official transcripts prior to enrolling.
  3. Applicants must have earned their Bachelor's and/or Masters' degrees from a regionally accredited institution. They must provide a background of academic preparation and/or professional experience that demonstrates their ability to pursue graduate level programs.
  4. MA and Credential applicants: Recommended GPA of 2.75. 
    Doctoral applicants: Recommended GPA of 3.0 from a graduate program.
  5. Two current letters of recommendation, noting suitability for graduate work. Please note Teacher Education program applicants should seek out recommendations from an instructor or supervisor (past or present).
  6. Current résumé.
  7. A Statement of Intent - Unless the program you are applying to has a specific prompt below, applicants should address the following prompt in their application: Outline the purpose for seeking admission to the specific School of Education graduate program being chosen; include career and academic goals. For details on each program's statement of intent, see program specific instructions. 

Other Requirements

  • Applicants to the following programs should address these specific areas in their statement:

    • Higher Education and Student Affairs: Reflecting on your own experiences, identify and analyze a current issue related to equity in higher education that is important to you. Explain the role you see higher education and student affairs practitioners playing in addressing inequity and promoting equity and social justice in relation to this issue, and share how this aligns with your professional goals (limit is 2 pages, double-spaced).
    • International & Multicultural Education EdD: Applicants should address the following prompt in their application: Discuss your past experiences highlighting any specific link to international, multicultural, and or social justice education. What issues are you passionate about? What are your academic and research goals for this doctoral program and beyond? (Limit is 3 pages, single-spaced).
    • Marriage and Family Therapy: Marriage and Family Therapy: Articulate your knowledge and interest in the field, connection to our social justice mission, and a rationale for wanting to attend the USF MFT program (3-5 pages double-spaced). Also indicate if you are applying for either the 2-year or 3-year program by selecting the choice from the drop down on the admissions page.
    • Organization & Leadership, EdD: The EdD in O&L prepares leaders to transform themselves and organizations, broadly defined, across K-12, higher education, and community contexts by creating knowledge that informs research and practice for justice. To help the admissions committee understand your alignment with this goal, please submit two statements that speak to your interest and fit with the O&L program:
      1. Personal statement (suggested length: 1-2 pages): How have your background and experience motivated you to seek an EdD in Organization and Leadership at the University of San Francisco?
      2. Research / Professional Interest Statement (suggested length: 1 page): What are potential areas of interest for your doctoral studies and how does this align with the O&L program at USF? Further, how do these interests align with your professional goals?"
    • School Counseling: Describe previous experience and professional goals in counseling children, adolescents, or young adults. State your specific interest in the School Counseling program at USF and how you hope to promote social justice and equitable conditions as a school counselor.
    • Special Education MA/Credential: How will you support and advocate for culturally and linguistically diverse K - 12 students with mild to moderate disabilities? In addition, outline the purpose for seeking admission to the Special Education MA/Credential program; include career and academic goals.
    • Teacher Education (all programs except Urban Education and Social Justice, and the San Francisco Teacher Residency): Describe your interest in becoming a classroom teacher, relevant experience, connection to our social justice mission, and qualities/aspirations you would bring to our program. Also tell us why you have chosen to apply to Teacher Education and USF (2-4 pages, double spaced).
    • Teacher Education – San Francisco Teacher Residency MA/Credential: Why do you want to become a teacher in San Francisco, particularly in an underserved community? What role do you see yourself and other teachers/community members playing in addressing inequity and promoting social justice in our local schools? (two to three pages, double-spaced)
    • Teacher Education – Urban Education and Social Justice: Outline the purpose for seeking admission to the Urban Education and Social Justice Teacher Education program; include career and academic goals. In addition, include your experiences working with urban youth and your vision for enacting social justice as a teacher.
    • If your academic program is not listed above, please address the following prompt: Outline the purpose for seeking admission to the specific School of Education graduate program being chosen; include career and academic goals.
  • Applicants will need to submit a Copy of a Certificate of Clearance.

    Applicants are eligible to apply and be offered admission to USF before they complete the Basic Skills Requirement (BSR). If offered admission, USF will evaluate your previous coursework to determine if you have already met the BSR requirement. Please note that we do not review coursework prior to admission.

    These requirements will need to be fulfilled by the start of the 2nd semester of your program.

  • The Basic Skills Requirement (BSR) and the Subject Matter Requirement (SMR) are not required for admission to USF.

    The BSR and SMR are requirements defined by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) and must be met at specific times during your USF program.

    New legal options have created opportunities for students to meet these requirements using previous coursework or exams. You can review CTC-approved options for meeting the BSR and SMR requirements here.

    Many students find that their previous coursework satisfies one or both of these requirements. If you are planning to meet BSR or SMR by previous coursework, please note that your coursework will be reviewed for BSR in your first semester at USF and for SMR in your second semester. USF does not review previous coursework prior to enrollment.

    If it is determined that you will need to take additional tests to meet the BSR or SMR requirements, USF offers a free, weekly CSET support class to enrolled USF Teacher Education Department students. A portion of the class also covers the BSR.

    Additionally, the USF School of Education will pay for a two-month subscription to 240 Tutoring, an online CSET testing support program, for enrolled Teacher Education Department students. Students may choose to enroll in 240 Tutoring after, or in place of, the CSET support class.

    Note: International students who will study on a F-1 student visa must complete the BSR and SMR requirements prior to applying to a USF credential program. Contact if you have questions about these requirements.

  • In addition to the general application requirements, doctoral applicants must also submit an MA thesis (excerpt or complete copy) or graduate level paper.

    Note to all Doctoral Applicants: The initial admission to a School of Education doctoral program is a preliminary decision. During their first year, students develop a portfolio in order to demonstrate competence in research methodology and department-specific content. Completion of portfolio requirements is necessary for final admission into a doctoral program.

  • In addition to the general application requirements, international applicants must also submit:

    1. Copy of passing scores for one of the following: TOEFL, IELTS or Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE). Passing scores are listed below. Please refer to the Graduate Admission website for exceptions to the required international applicant testing and additional information.
    2. TOEFL* (Note: The USF TOEFL code is 4850.) - 580 (paper test) or 92 with no sub score lower than 20 (Internet-based test) for master's applicants, 600 (paper test) or 100 with no sub score lower than 20 (Internet-based test) for doctoral applicants
    3. IELTS - 7.0 for master's applicants and doctoral applicants
    4. PTE - 62 for master's applicants, 68 for doctoral applicants
    5. Certificate of Finances

    Please visit our International Student page for more information.

    If you are an international student applying to a teaching credential program, please contact to discuss your application requirements.

    Note: International students who will study on a F-1 student visa and are applying to one of USF's credential programs must complete the Basic Skills Requirement (BSR) and Subject Matter Requirement (SMR) prior to applying to USF. Contact if you have questions about these requirements.

    • All requirements listed above
    • Proof of Basic Skills requirement
    • Valid Clear teaching or services credential
    • Verification of a minimum of four years successful, full-time experience in public, non-public, or private schools under a credential with specialization in either; a) pupil personnel services, library services, health services, clinical or rehabilitation services, b) designated subjects, or c) teaching credential.

    *Verification of four (4) years full-time experience under a valid credential must be completed by the start of the program documented on original school letterhead signed by the superintendent, director of personnel, or director of human resources. Substitute or part-time service does not apply.


    • Candidates must also satisfy the Basic Skills Requirement for graduate programs. 
    • See full details on CTC website.
    • Copies of passing scores can be accepted until official scores are submitted.