Prospective Graduate Students

Applying to the Program

Graduate applications to SF State are reviewed through a two-step process.

First, the Division of Graduate Studies reviews applications to ensure they meet the general university admission requirements. The Graduate Studies website provides further information on these requirements as they pertain to domestic and international applicants.

Second, the Department of International Relations reviews applications for program specific eligibility. Further information about departmental admission criteria is available in the section below.

Cal State Apply streamlines this two-step review process, allowing applicants to complete one online application that is sent to the Division of Graduate Studies and then, following approval, to the department.

Through Cal State Apply, applicants complete an online application form and upload supplemental materials for review by Graduate Studies and the department. More information about this process is available below.

The International Relations Masters program begins accepting applications in October and starts reviewing them the following February for fall admission in the same year. To assure full consideration, applicants should submit materials by March 1st. If you miss the deadline, please contact the graduate coordinatorat juanitad@sfsu.edu.

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.

Accessing the Online Application Via Cal State Apply

All CSU applications are now submitted and paid for using Cal State Apply, which provides step-by-step instructions throughout the process as well as a PDF guide.

If you are a domestic applicant, start your online application here.

If you are an international applicant, start your online application here.

Providing Supplemental Materials

The department also requires applicants to submit supplemental materials through Cal State Apply. You must upload materials by March 1st in order to ensure full consideration for admission in the fall semester.

Note: 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: An official transcript will be required upon acceptance.
  2. The names and email addresses of three recommenders who can comment on your abilities, achievements, and likelihood of success in a Master's program. Use Cal State Apply’s Program Evaluation feature to request and manage letters of recommendation. Note: 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.
  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.

If you have any questions about application materials or the application process, please feel free to send an email to juanitad@sfsu.edu.