Prof. Ron Marzke


Prof. Maarten Golterman


Prof. Jeff Greensite


Prof. Susan Lea

Application for Graduate Study

Our department offers the M.S. degree in Physics, and an M.S. degree in Physics with concentration in Astronomy. Applications for the Spring 2017 semester will be accepted starting Aug. 1, 2016. Applications for the Fall 2017 semester will be accepted starting on Oct. 1, 2016.


    Applications for Spring 2017 admission must be received by Nov. 1, 2016. Applications for Fall 2017 admission must be received no later than May 1, 2017. Students who wish to be considered for teaching assistant positions for Fall 2017 should apply as soon as possible, but preferably before March 15, 2017.

Minimum Requirements
     The minimum requirement for admission to the MS degree program is an undergraduate degree, very preferably in Physics, with a grade point average of 3.0 or above.  For foreign students, the equivalent grade point average will be determined by the Graduate Division, from official transcripts.  We sometimes accept students with undergraduate degrees in majors other than physics.  However it should be understood that in such cases a student must begin his or her graduate studies by taking some number of undergraduate physics classes, depending on prior coursework, until the level required for graduate physics studies is achieved.

Application Process
There are two parts to the application process:
  1.  The Physics Applicant Information Form
  2.  The All-Science Transcript Form
  3.  A one to three page typed Statement of Purpose, which should state your scientific interests and goals.
  4.  Two letters of recommendation
  5.  Your scores on GRE General Exam (see below)
  6.  Optional:  copies of your official transcripts sent to the Graduate Division.  These are not required, but may speed  processing of your application.
The Physics Applicant Information Form is obtained here
The All-Science Transcript Form is obtained here.   Please enter all pertinent science courses that will also appear on your official transcripts.   If you enter all of your units and gradepoints (number of units times 4 for A, 3 for B etc), the form will automatically compute your grade point average.  Foreign applicants, whose institutions may use a different grading system, should simply enter courses taken and grades received.
Your letters of recommendation should preferably be from professors who can address your potential for graduate studies. The letters can either be sent to us directly by your recommenders, or else you can ask them to give you the letters in sealed envelopes with the recommender’s signature over the sealed flap.  These can then be included with the rest of your application.
The Physics Applicant Application Form, All-Science Transcript form, Statement of Purpose, and Letters of Recommendation, should be mailed to
Graduate Admissions Committee
Department of Physics and Astronomy,
San Francisco State University,
1600 Holloway Avenue,
San Francisco, CA 94132
Alternatively, you may scan and send your completed forms and Statement of Purpose by e-mail to the graduate admissions coordinator (Prof. Jeff Greensite), greensit (at) Your recommenders can also send their recommendation letters by e-mail to this address.
Finally, you should arrange to take the GRE General Exam well before the application deadline.  Your scores should be sent by ETS directly to us at code 4684. The GRE Physics subject exam is not required for admission, but it may be helpful in obtaining an exception, if your GPA falls below the 3.0 cutoff.
The application file should be complete no later than one month after the application deadline. This includes letters, official transcripts and official GRE scores sent by ETS.  Under no circumstances will applications be considered if they are not completed at least one month before the start of the semester of desired entry.
After Admission   
     All students are admitted as conditionally classified.
     A conditionally classified student must meet certain conditions (such as specific course equivalencies) as stated in the letter of acceptance to the Graduate Program. Any specific conditional course requirements must be taken on a letter grade basis and may not be used as part of the 30-unit Master's course requirements. Students are advanced to candidacy (and full classified status) upon filing the Advancement to Candidacy (ATC)- usually at the beginning of your final year of study. Other than conditions that must be satisfied prior to filing their ATC, conditionally classified graduate students have the full privileges and opportunities of all graduate students.
     All students will take a placement test prior to enrolling in classes.  After the test each student will meet with the graduate coordinator to work out an appropriate program of study.  The Graduate Studies section of the San Francisco State University Bulletin is a comprehensive source of all the Master's degree requirements. It is a university catalog which describes all programs, requirements, and courses offered at the University.

Further Information

     If you have any questions about the graduate admissions process, please contact Prof. Jeff Greensite, Graduate Admissions Coordinator, at greensit (at)  You may also contact the Graduate Division  at (415) 338-2234.
Updated March 26, 2017.