Person writing on chalkboard.

Admission & Aid

International Students

International students find the city of San Francisco a welcoming place to live and study. International students are an essential and valuable part of the richly diverse community at USF. Of the 10,200 students at the university, approximately 1,500 students are international students.

How to Apply

For application instructions unique to your graduate program, please read the "How to Apply" section on your individual program's website.

As an international applicant you need to submit the same items as a U.S. applicant, and these additional items:

  • Certification of Finances form or Letter of Support from your sponsor(s). Certificate of Finances form and instructions. Complete the appropriate sections of the Certification of Finances form, sign it, and upload it to your application.
  • 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.
  • 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 and exceptions below.
  • Copy of Passport Photo/Information page.
  • 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. Candidates who have completed a three-year bachelor’s degree should contact the School of Education before applying at or (415) 422-5467.
  • An international address must be provided on your application form.

Test Scores

The TOEFL school code for USF is 4850.

The following scores are minimum English language test scores for all School of Education graduate programs:

Exception Policy

To find out if you are exempt from the english proficiency requirement, please review the exemption information.

Where to Send Application Documents

Upload all of the requested documents in the appropriate sections of the online application. You must upload a copy of each of the documents listed above. DO NOT mail or email any documents to us at the time of application unless you receive an email requesting specific documents.

Certification of Finances

  • Certification of Finances form or Letter of Support – Please complete this form with your name and contact information. 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 the following: 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).
  • Bank statements – Submit a bank statement(s) that indicates enough financial funds for the total costs of the first year of studies in your graduate program. Please download the Certification of Finances form below for first-year costs (both tuition and living expenses). 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).

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Most international students are not eligible for Federal Financial Aid. However, the U.S. Department of Education has identified special circumstances in which non-U.S. citizens may qualify for student aid. Visit the Student Enrollment Services page for more information. Additionally, all international students are considered for scholarships, fellowships or teaching assistantships offered by the individual graduate programs. Visit our Financial Resources page for scholarship opportunities.

International Student Scholar Services at USF

The Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is an excellent resource for international students. ISSS provides valuable information and advice to international students who are admitted to the university, and to international students currently enrolled at USF. This information includes the visa application process, immigration documents, immunization requirements, pre-departure information and orientation for international students each spring and fall.

Health Insurance for Students

International students who enroll at the university for classes will also be enrolled in a university-sponsored health insurance program. For details about student health insurance, visit the Student Health Insurance website. Student Health Insurance can be contacted by email at or by phone at (415) 422-6809.

International Student Orientation

New international students are required to attend the International Graduate Student Orientation in spring (late January) or fall (late August). Please visit the International Student and Scholar Services website orientation page for the latest details. 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 International Student Orientation. Contact International Student and Scholar Services for details and dates about International Student Orientation at

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.

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.

F-1 Visa Information

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.

Arrival at USF for F-1 Visa Students

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.