University of San Francisco: San Francisco, California

About the University of San Francisco

The University of San Francisco (USF, USFCA) is a private, Catholic, not-for-profit accredited university. As San Francisco’s first urban university, USF was founded with foresight by Father Maraschi in 1855. A Jesuit from Italy, he imagined that USF would sit at the heart of a great city.

Since its first class of three students, USF has grown in size and student body. Here you could now find programs at all levels, from post-bachelor certificates, to masters degrees, post-masters certificates and doctoral research/scholarship and professional practice degrees.

Degrees are conferred online, through six campus locations and five University of San Francisco Schools:

(1) The College of Arts and Sciences

(2) The School of Education

(3) The School of Law

(4) The School of Management

(5) The School of Nursing and Health Professions

USF’s Six Campus Locations

With six campuses, adult learners at University of San Francisco may find one that more readily fits into a busy work life or one that is closer to home. Each campus may feature distinct program choices.

USF Downtown Campus - located in the heart of San Francisco and situated in the historic Folgers Coffee Company Building. Here you'll find School of Management graduate programs, College of Arts and Sciences graduate programs, the School of Law's LLM in Taxation, and the Data Institute

USF Orange County Campus - focuses on robust sports management and nursing programs. It provides students with access to all of USF’s services and offers curriculum options designed to suit diverse schedule needs.

USF Pleasanton Campus - serves five local counties and beyond as it is conveniently located near the 580/680 corridor and the West Dublin BART and Pleasanton ACE train stations. Here one could look for professional masters programs such as RN to MSN and MAT degrees.

USF Sacramento Campus – located in the capital city of the state of California, at this campus students could look for graduate programs in public health (e.g. MPH programs), education and counseling.

USF San Jose Campus – located in Silicon Valley, USF-San Jose offers programs in Information Systems, Nursing, Education, and Counseling. Most programs are built for at work professionals. As a result, many are two years with class meetings one night each week and some programs offer Saturday classes.

USF Santa Rosa – located in the North Bay Area, USF's Santa Rosa Campus currently offers two graduate programs: Masters in Counseling Psychology with a Concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) and Teaching Credential with MA Degree.

USF's Mission, Vision and Values

Jesuit tradition defines the mission and approach to education at the University of San Francisco, and candidates of every faith and no faith are welcome to apply. The university at large aims to better the community and may do so via partnerships with local organizations and scholarly work through the school's research centers and institutes.

USF strives to enable students to develop both personally and professionally through their curricula, attractive campus and resources. Students might take part in service-oriented courses, during which academic aspect is enhanced by volunteer work around San Francisco.

Enrollment, Attendance, Graduationi

Based on Fall 2016 data, of the 11,000 + students enrolled at USFCA, 4,255+ were graduate students.

  • 18% were enrolled part-time, 82% full-time
  • 85% were not enrolled in distance education, 9% were enrolled in only 6% were enrolled in some distance education
  • 1,356 masters degrees, 220+ doctoral degrees were awarded

Financial Aid

Some students may be eligible for federal financial aid.

Also, each graduate program in the College of Arts and Sciences offers a limited number of partial scholarships. These range from $1,000 to $15,000. Full-tuition scholarships may be available for Biology and Chemistry programs.

For those interested in an assistantship, several programs might offer a limited number of them. Writing MFA, Environmental Management and Economics are some examples.

Graduate Admission Requirements

At the University of San Francisco, online forms make it easy to apply. One thing all applicants need by the start of enrollment in a USF grad program is a bachelors degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution.

Other items such as a personal essay, resume, transcripts and letters of recommendation are also commonly required. Some programs may require GRE and/or GMAT scores. This information is clearly stated on the main USF admissions page. It is also suggested that students first check whether the program they want to apply to has any other prerequisites.

Start Dates

There are four main start dates at University of San Francisco: Fall, Intersession, Spring, and Summer.


In Fall 2016, USFCA reported a total of 688 part-time and 505 full-time faculty.i

Why Consider the School?

If you are looking into universities in California, the University of San Francisco is situated in a world-famous, global city known for the Golden Gate Bridge, tech start-ups, diversity and beyond.

It terms of academics, USF offers over 60 masters, doctoral, and credential programs that could foster scholarly and professional growth for nurses, lawyers, teachers, activists, scientists, environmentalists, financial analysts, and more.

How is USF Ranked?

Per U.S. News and World Report, University of San Francisco is ranked #110 in National Universities.ii U.S. News also ranked the graduate clinical nurse leader program at USF’s School of Nursing and Health Professions at number six nationwide in 2017.iii

Program Model

The University of San Francisco aims to provide what they call “engaged learning” which is based on a belief that students should be taught how to think, not what to think. They design rigorous curricula that may help students develop market-ready skills and knowhow.

Online Graduate Programs

In addition to its different campus locations, USF offers a spectrum of online graduate programs with the adult learner in mind. These are adapted from their campus counterparts to provide a flexible way to earn a grad degree at the university. Classes make use of modern learning systems and technology and aim to engage students through dynamic lesson plans.

Student Support Services

At USFCA, there are a wide array of student services, activities and resources.

Student Services: Students could make use of health, counseling and psychological services, career advisors, and disability services. Learning, Writing, and Speaking Centers offer academic assistance to all students at no cost. The Library provides a host of encyclopedias, books, videos, and databases.

Activities: From diverse clubs and organizations to sports facilities and recreation, students could find many co-curricular programs to take part in.

Resources: As a major US city, San Francisco could be a place to tap into for internships, externships and other opportunities. The university also has many centers and institutes which could encourage and foster a sense of discovery through active research projects.

Services and Programs for Service Members and Veterans i

The University of San Francisco has signed the VA's 'Principles of Excellence'.iv It is known as a dedicated point of contact for support services for veterans, military service members and their families and has a recognized student veteran organization.

For any tuition policies regarding service members and veterans, the registrar's office acts as a link between the university, its students, and all agencies involved with Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. This office might be helpful for students who seek credit for military training as well as those who have questions about financial aid.

USF Accreditationi

USF is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission. Several of its graduate programs are also professionally accredited. To stay up to date with accreditation, students could visit the agency websites.

  • Public Health Graduate Program - Council on Education for Public Health
  • Nursing Education (Masters, Doctorate) - Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Professional Psychology Pre-Doctorate Internship programs - American Psychological Association
  • Law Professional Schools - American Bar Association, Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar

Academics and Degree Programs at USF

Do you want to sharpen your executive mindset? Conduct scientific research? Study how to bring your classroom to life? Develop your counseling skills? There are a wide range of programs that might meet your professional and academic goals. Review some highlights below, then scroll through other sponsored programs to find the one you want to apply to.

Program Highlights: Marriage and Family Therapy Masters Program 

A Masters in Counseling Psychology program with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) at USF is planned-out to prepare graduates to understand the behavioral health needs of children, families and couples.

Offered at the Main Campus, Sacramento, San Jose and Santa Rosa, the MFT program at USF is built as a 60-unit program that full-time students could complete in three years. The course plan melds active in class work with community mental health fieldwork. Plus, year three is when students typically enter a traineeship with Bay Area community-based and school-based partners.

The program meets all the educational requirements of the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) for both licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) and a Professional Clinical Counselor (PCC).

Graduates may be eligible to pursue the MFT license upon completion of the program requirements. Furthermore, they may have the option to pursue the PCC license with successful completion of additional fieldwork requirements during the program.

As part of the admissions process, the university first screens applications. Then, based on their selection, may invite some candidates for an in-person group interview.

Program Highlights: Master of Art in Teaching (MAT)

A Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree is all about how to plan lessons that motivate, respond to diversity, and foster student learning. Those drawn to the path of pedagogy could study to earn their MAT degree at the Main Campus, Pleasanton, Sacramento, San Jose, or Santa Rosa. At any of these locations, participants typically integrate coursework with field experience in local schools.

At USF, students could pursue a MAT degree with credential. Teacher candidates may be recommended by USF to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) for the Preliminary Multiple Subjects (36 credits), or Single Subject (34 credits) Teaching Credential with optional bilingual authorization in Spanish.

Teaching credential applicants should take note of specific admissions requirements for this program. For instance, a proof of Completion of one of the Basic Skills Requirements and proof of subject matter competency need to be submitted in addition to other specified material.

Program Highlights: EdD in Special Education

A Doctor of Education in Special Education is a professional doctoral degree. The EdD in Special Education at USF factors in the schedule need of at work adults, with classes planned out on weekends. Students might complete the EdD in Special Education program in five years or less depending upon how many courses are taken in a semester.

At USF, the coursework factors in modern points of view in disability studies and equity as well as both classic and critical theory. Program participants might also gain hands-on practice in faculty-guided and independent research projects as well as through apprenticeships.

Applicants need a MA thesis or graduate level paper, official GRE or MAT scores and other specified material.

Choose a Program at University of San Francisco

Easily scroll through graduate programs at USF. Find a school you want to apply to? Use the on-page form and contact the school right away.

School Headquarters: University of San Francisco, 2130 Fulton St, San Francisco, California 94117-1080

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