Graduate Business Admission Criteria

Admission Criteria

Updated as of August 2021

The criteria and information below applies to the MBA, MS in Business Analytics, and MS in Accountancy programs. To view admissions criteria for the MS in Quantitative Economics, visit the MSQE program page.

The admissions committee reviews an applicant's overall qualifications and takes the following requirements into consideration:

  • Completion of a degree equivalent to a four-year U.S. Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university
  • Grade point average: final GPA of bachelor’s degree, or the last 60 semester units or 90 quarter units of college coursework completed, must be at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). Or earned a master’s degree with a 3.0 GPA. Applicants with GPA between 2-75-2.99 may be admitted on an exceptional basis.
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume (full time work experience is recommended)
  • Two letters of recommendation from supervisors or professors
  • GMAT test: the verbal, quantitative, integrated reasoning and writing scores will be reviewed. A minimum analytical writing score of 5.0 is required on the GMAT. A lower analytical writing score may be accepted as conditional admission and student must take a writing course after joining the program.
  • or GRE test: The admissions committee accepts the GRE test in place of the GMAT. A minimum analytical writing score of 4.5 is required on the GRE test. A lower analytical writing score may be accepted for conditional admission and student must take a writing course after joining the program. (MS in Business Analytics applicants may refer to the MSBA program page for criteria specific to this program).

MBA & MSA Applicants: If you take the GMAT exam after April 1, 2020 and the test is administered online due to COVID-19 restrictions, it may cover only verbal, quantitative and IR sections with no analytical writing assessment. In this case, you will also need to schedule a 45-minute proctored online writing examination with our graduate business admissions staff. Collection of this writing assessment will allow us to determine if you have met the California State University (CSU) Level 1 writing admissions requirement. One of our graduate business programs staff will contact you to schedule this after we have reviewed your application and test scores.

  • MBA, and MSA applicants with a GPA of 3.2 or higher from a recognized university and five or more years of full-time professional work experience may waive the GMAT/GRE test and will instead be invited in for an interview and a 45-minute writing examination. The GMAT/GRE is waived for applicants with a doctoral degree.
  • A foreign language test is required of all applicants who have earned their undergraduate degree from a country where the official language is not English. Any of the following tests taken within the past two years are accepted:

    • TOEFL Internet Based Test minimum score of 88
    • IELTS score of at least 6.5
    • Pearson Test of English (PTE) minimum academic overall score of 59

Applicants who demonstrate outstanding professional experience, but do not meet some of the above criteria, may still be admitted into the program, conditional upon completing additional requirements that will be listed in the admissions offer.

International Student Admissions

Students who feel they may need additional English language skills training can consider studying first at San Francisco State University’s American Language Institute (ALI). At ALI, students have the opportunity to improve lecture listening, note-taking, oral presentation, and academic advancement in reading and writing skills. In addition, students will become better oriented with the American educational system. Attending the ALI program is strongly recommended if students have not met the GMAT verbal or TOEFL requirements or to improve their English proficiency and academic skills in preparation for graduate studies. For more information, see the SF State American Language Institute.

Please contact us at or call (415) 817-4300 for questions about your eligibility to apply to our programs.