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San Francisco State University

Program Overview 

Location: San Francisco, California
Culture: Progressive, civic
Neighborhood: Cosmopolitan, waterside
Housing: Homestay
English level: Intermediate/high intermediate

Originally founded as a small teacher-training school in 1899, San Francisco State University (SFSU) has transformed into a large public research university with more than 25,000 students. Over the years, SFSU has been referred to as the “gold standard” university for its commitment to diversity, civic engagement and exceptional teaching.

Located just a short distance from the heart of downtown San Francisco, SFSU is a vibrant urban campus with great city views and abundant trees. SFSU has a rich history of activism and service to the community that are still apparent and embedded in the architecture and student culture of the campus today.

SAF Scholars who study English language at SFSU are choosing to study in America’s most international city, where the intensive English program emphasizes university preparation and academic skills.

San Francisco is ranked as one of the best American cities in the United States. With Silicon Valley as its neighbor, the San Francisco Bay Area has been well-known for its progressive thinking, creativity and innovation. This city successfully blends both cosmopolitan and natural elements–making it one of the best cities for outdoor enthusiasts. It is surrounded by hilly neighborhoods, waterfront towns, wine country and beaches. The San Francisco landscape is fitting for SAF Scholars who desire a study abroad experience that extends outside of the academic realm.

Student Profile

SFSU is a good fit for SAF scholars interested in joining a diverse, urban community with a high level of academic support and guidance. At SFSU, SAF Scholars not only receive English learning skills, but are provided with opportunities to visit and learn about important places within San Francisco. Students who attend SFSU language are enthusiastic to study and live in a colorful, lively city that can be easily explored by walking and public transportation.

Other Programs at University

San Francisco State University Academic

Other Comparable Programs

San Jose State University

Program Details

Program Dates by Term Availability

Fall (Early September - Early December)
Spring (Late May - Mid August)

Program Strengths

The English program at SFSU provides conditional eligibility to students who wish to proceed to academic coursework at SFSU. This is a big draw for a lot of students who need English study prior to an academic program at a university.

Number of Classroom Hours Per Week


Number of Levels

There are five levels of English:
  • 40 – Beginning
  • 42 – High Beginning
  • 44 – Intermediate
  • 46 – High Intermediate
  • 48 - Advanced

Elective Courses Offered

SFSU Language offers SAF Scholars several electives.
  • Grammar for Writing
  • Pronunciation
  • American Culture
  • Business English
  • American Literature
  • San Francisco Neighborhoods

Progression or Concurrent Notes

Progression: If an SAF Scholar progresses, they must achieve academic GPA minimum and must meet the following requirements:
  • Achieve a minimum TOEFL score of 450 (51 iBT) or higher at the beginning of the semester provided by language program or achieve a final TOEFL score of 500 
    or higher at the end of the program provided by the language program.
  • Be enrolled in level 46 or higher
  • Complete all language courses with a “B” average or better.

Concurrent: Concurrent is not an option at SFSU.


Housing Type



5 meals a week

Type of Room

Guaranteed, varies
Student Life

Co-/Extra-Curricular Opportunities or Programs

For a wholesome study abroad experience, SAF Scholars can experience the bay area through organized student activities such as local sporting events, tours of the city, and join other students to volunteer at different areas throughout San Francisco.

SAF Scholars can enhance their English speaking and listening skills by joining in a conversation program where they can engage in casual and friendly environment on campus with other American students.

Life on Campus

SFSU is an energetic and eclectic community where innovation and creativity are deeply rooted and valued. The staff and faculty at SFSU are dedicated to assisting students find their unique path in life. As a result of this mentality, many of the alumni have been agents of change, activists, inventors and company founders.

Furthermore, SFSU is commuter-friendly campus. There are multiple bus stops near the university that easily connects SFSU students to every corner of the city. With this accessibility,

SAF Scholars can easily take a short bus ride to downtown San Francisco where they can explore the historic neighborhoods and eat at award-winning restaurants, all the while having a beautiful view of the San Francisco Bay.

Last Updated: 1/9/19