Graduate Admissions

Admission Criteria

The minimum requirements for admission with normal (“classified”) standing include an undergraduate major in Communication Studies, an upper-division grade-point average of 3.0 or higher and scores on the General Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Applicants are expected to receive a 4.0 or higher on the Analytical Writing section of the GRE. Those who receive a score lower than 4.0 may be considered for conditional admission in some cases, but will be required to either re-take the GRE and earn at least 4.0 before program start, or take and pass a department approved writing skills course (such as CEL courses CA 514 or CHS 514) in their first semester.

Applicants who have not majored in Communication Studies as undergraduates are often required to complete upper-division courses in Communication Studies as prerequisites to classified standing. Students who have not demonstrated full writing proficiency before entering the program will be considered conditionally admitted until it is clear that the student has achieved satisfactory writing skills to be successful in the program. Classes completed as prerequisites for advancement to classified standing can not be applied toward the 35-unit program requirement.

How to apply

Timelines, instructions, and related information are available at SF State’s Division of Graduate Studies.


  1. Submit an online application for admission to SF State using Cal State Apply.
  2. Send official transcripts from all colleges and universities previously attended to the Division of Graduate Studies.
  3. Take the Graduate Record Examination and send the scores to the Division of Graduate Studies (Use code: 4684).

In addition to the steps above, applicants should send the following items directly to the Communication Studies graduate coordinator at the address below:

  • A statement of purpose should identify the applicant’s undergraduate major and the objectives for pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies at San Francisco State. The statement of purpose should also ideally demonstrate that the applicant has considered the characteristics of this particular program and should address how it fits with the applicant’s background, interests and goals.
  • Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities previously attended (Note: While transcripts sent to SF State Graduate Studies must be official, unofficial transcripts may be sent to the department).
  • Two to three letters of recommendation from former professors who can evaluate the applicant’s capacity for doing graduate-level work in communication studies. Assessment of the applicant’s oral and written communication skills are important and a percentile ranking among other students recommended for graduate study are helpful. The letters should be on letterhead and must be signed, sealed and mailed to the address below or sent as part of a larger packet with all the application materials.
  • Copy of GRE scores (These may be in the form of a copy of a report).
  • A sample of academic writing, such as a significant research paper written for an upper-division undergraduate course.

These items should be mailed to:

Graduate Program Coordinator

c/o Communication Studies Department

San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132

Please e-mail if you have any questions.