Prospective Graduate Students

Application to San Francisco State University is a two-part process.

You must complete both parts for your application to be reviewed.



Applications for Fall 2017 are now closed.

Thank you for your interest. The Department accepts applications for the Graduate Program between the 2nd week of January and March 1st every year for fall admission in the same year. If you miss the deadline, please contact the Graduate Coordinator at:

To see when the University accepts applications, please visit Cal State Apply.

Admission Criteria—Department of International Relations

To receive serious consideration, applicants will have a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) with relevant course work and a grade point average of at least 3.3 (out of 4.0) in the last 60 units of undergraduate study. Students below the 3.3 GPA standard are unlikely to receive serious consideration unless the other elements of their application portfolio are quite strong. Students with a less than 3.0 GPA will not receive consideration because they do not meet University requirements.

Ideally, applicants also will have several upper division courses in international relations. Applicants are looked on favorably if they have skills in statistics, computer applications, media production, foreign languages, or international experience.

The department recommends (but does not require) GRE scores to be submitted with the application.  If GRE scores are available, scores above median in verbal and analytical sections of the GRE and at least median in the quantitative section will enhance the success of the application. Where relevant, students should meet minimum English Language Proficiency requirements.

The graduate coordinator may require successful applicants to supplement their background in international relations with coursework, readings, and/or essays prior to or during their first year in the program. In such instances, applicants will be admitted to the program with conditionally classified standing.

Part One—Apply to SFSU Online Via Cal State Apply

Online applications are uploaded to SF State Student Systems in 24 hours. You do not need to respond on Cal State Apply to the question related to "Statement of Purpose." Just write in that space, "See attached."

Submit two (2) sets of official transcripts from all post- secondary (post-high school) programs attended. Send one set to the University (San Francisco State University, Graduate Admissions, 1600 Holloway Avenue, ADM 254, San Francisco, CA 94132). Send the second set to the department/program. Unofficial transcripts can be submitted to departments, official transcripts, however, must be on file with the Office of Graduate Admission.

View information on SFSU Division of Graduate Study admission criteria here

Part Two—Apply to the Department

You must submit materials by March 1 in order to ensure full consideration for admission in the fall semester (we may, but do not guarantee we will, examine files received after that date). Note: Please make sure you put your name on all documents. We only accept applications in the spring for the following fall semester. We do not retain old application files so you will need to submit entirely new materials if you reapply.

Required materials:

  1. An unofficial transcript from all programs attended. Note: Please circle all upper division international relations courses, all upper division social sciences courses having substantial international relations content, and all statistics courses and methodology courses.
  2. Three letters of recommendation which comment on your abilities, achievements, and likelihood of success in a Master's program. Note: They must be in signed and sealed envelopes, and should be on official letterhead (emailed letters will be accepted if they are followed with hardcopy letters). We desire at least two letters from former instructors who are knowledgeable about your academic skills and potential.
  3. A personal statement offering your reasons for embarking on graduate study in international relations, your reasons for selecting our program, your theoretical, functional, or geographic interests, and resume type information. Your personal statement should not exceed 1,000 words. Note: This must be sent directly to the department.
  4. A research paper in English on a social science topic (1,500 to 9,000 words). If you do not have such a paper in English, please submit a short essay (1,500 words or less) on an international issue of your choice with adequate citations.
  5. GRE scores (recommended). Please check with ETS for the latest school code information.
  6. TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores (required for students whose undergraduate degree was obtained in a language other than English). Foreign students also are encouraged to provide results for the TOEFL listening test or equivalent as well. Please check with ETS for the latest school code information.

Please submit all materials with your Cal State Apply application.

If you have any questions about application materials or the application process, please feel free to send an email to