"Advisor" refers to faculty or staff who support and advise students primarily with their academics.

"Counselor" refers to staff who advise and support students primarily in other areas such as admissions, behavioral health services, career counseling, and financial aid.


Articulation is the determination about how transfer courses compare to specific SF State courses, or whether transfer courses meet specific SF State requirements such as GE.

Faculty in the major make formal determinations about course articulation. Once approved, this constitutes a formal agreement that applies to any students who take the course.

The CSU makes determinations about California Community College (CCC) courses and lower division GE articulation. Visit the ASSIST website to find GE information about courses taken at a CCC .

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment makes determinations about lower division GE articulation from other transfer institutions, in consultation with the Dean of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning.

This is the process of confirming that a student has earned an Associate Degree for Transfer based on review of an official transcript. This process usually takes place around the start of each semester.  The Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment oversees this process.

The University Bulletin is the official documentation of SF State's curriculum, degree requirements, and academic regulations governing admissions and award of the degree for undergraduate and graduate students. On many campuses, this document is referred to as a catalog.

Visit the Bulletin website.

The Bursar's office (also known as Student Financial Services) is responsible for accepting and processing tuition and fees along with other miscellaneous fee payments. In addition to fee collections, the Bursar’s office manages student and third-party invoicing, installment payment plans, financial aid disbursements, refunds, and the collection of outstanding amounts due to the University. 

Visit the Bursar's website.

College advisors are staff located in each College Resource Center. They advise and support students with understanding university requirements for graduation, including but not limited to: completion of SF State Studies, upper and lower division general education, US History, and US and California government. Your College advisors also perform an overall unit check when you are close to applying for graduation.

Find out more about SF State's College Resource Centers on the Advising Hub.

This term is commonly used for the graduation ceremony at colleges and universities. Visit the Commencement website.

Course substitutions for specific SF State requirements can be considered by faculty in your major. This happens when a formal articulation agreement is not in place. Your major advisor or your department support staff will support you with the process of requesting course substitutions for your transfer work.

Curriculum describes a course of study, generally speaking. The curriculum for the B.A. in Cinema refers to all courses offered in that program, as well as the learning objectives underlying the courses, the structure and categories of courses within the requirements, and students' experiences interacting with the material and their instructors.

A Dean is the head of a College. Each SF State College is administered by a Dean. Colleges have one or more Associate Deans, and may have Assistant Deans as well.

The DPR is an important tool that evaluates where you stand with all of your graduation requirements — General Education, university-wide, and major requirements. Access your DPR in your Student Center, and track your progress toward completing your degree.

Learn more about the DPR on the Advising Hub.

Department chairs are SF State faculty who serve as the head of academic departments. Within each academic department, the chair oversees processes related to the department's degree programs, such as curriculum, advising, operations, and faculty and staff coordination and management.

Faculty advisors in each academic department are trained to advise undergraduate and graduate students. In the undergraduate context, these faculty are often called Major advisors or Department advisors.  The student-faculty advisor relationship is very important!  Students ideally will visit their major advisor at least once every semester to ensure they are on track in their degree program. Faculty advisors also support students with questions related to careers and internships, and by writing letters of recommendation.

SF State Gateway is the campus online portal.  Use the Login link at the top of any SF State website and then click on SF State Gateway.

Enter your SF State credentials.

In Gateway, proceed to your Student Center using one of the Student links on the left menu. Gateway is your portal to accomplishing tasks such as:

  • Access your Student Center

  • Register for classes

  • Review unofficial transcripts 

  • Check your progress toward your degree 

  • Review and accept financial aid awards 

  • Update personal information 

General Education is a set of requirements intended to ensure that students receive a broad education, with knowledge of topics outside of their chosen field of study.  In GE courses, students acquire knowledge and skills that prepare them for a range of future experiences throughout life. General Education studies help develop one's intellectual agility for moving from one career to another, and for making future contributions in a number of possible communities.

Transfer students have usually already completed all or most of the 39 lower division GE units required for graduation.. This leaves 9 remaining units of upper division GE to be completed after transfer. Upper division GE must be completed in residence (note: UD GE units earned at other CSUs are considered to be in residence.)

Visit the General Education website in the University Bulletin.

Students who continue their academic studies after earning a Bachelor’s degree usually attend "grad school. This term refers to programs of advanced study that typically culminate in the award of Master's and/or doctoral degrees. Many universities offer graduate programs in addition to Bachelor’s programs. A Master's program typically takes two years to complete.

iLearn is SFSU's learning management system, where instructors can organize their courses and materials and students can efficiently interact with resources and participate in classes.

Visit the iLearn website.

Letters of recommendation are written by professors, employers, or mentors, explaining why someone would be a good fit, or successful, or a particularly beneficial addition to a program or setting where selection may be based on certain criteria. Traditionally, letters of recommendation are required when applying for graduate programs, scholarships, competitive internships, certain employment position, and similar contexts.

Lower Division  

Lower division curriculum is designed for freshmen and sophomore students. By definition, any course taken at a community college where only two-year degrees are offered is a lower division course.  Lower division courses at a four-year college or university are also designed for freshmen and sophomore students.  At SF State, lower division courses are numbered 100 – 299. 

Upper Division

Upper division curriculum is designed for students at the junior and senior levels of a college or university.  Lower division courses may not be formally articulated to upper division requirements (either GE or the major).  At SF State, lower division courses are numbered 300 – 699. Courses numbered 700 and higher are graduate level.  

A minor program provides students an opportunity for students to engage in a secondary focus of study. A minor is typically earned in tandem with a major. For example, transfers students might graduate with a degree in biology and a minor in chemistry.  

Visit the Bulletin website to view a list of all Minors.

Navigator is a student success platform and online tool to connect undergraduate students to faculty, staff and campus resources. Students can use Navigator to request advising appointments, and to connect directly with many campus support areas.

Visit the Navigator website.

The Office of the University Registrar is responsible for the overall management and integrity of student academic records. The staff supports all campus constituents (students, faculty, staff, and administrators) with support and resources that enable them to accomplish their objectives. 

Everything related to student academic record is managed by the Registrar's staff: official and unofficial SF State transcripts; grade submission; petitions related to grades, requirements, and graduation; declaring majors and minors, class registration and registration holds, and the Degree Progress Report.

The Registrar also is the recipient of students' verification of immunization records.

Visit the Registrar's website.

Teaching assistants are employed  to assist professors of large classes. A TA may lead study groups or review sessions outside of a lecture, in which smaller groups of students review the material covered in the lecture. A TA may also hold office hours where students can come ask questions. At SF State, most paid teaching assistant positions are held by graduate students (GTAs).

SF State Studies is the title of a set of graduation requirements. Units are not attached to the SF State Studies requirements, but approved courses reflect one of more of the four themes below.  Courses that satisfy GE, major and/or minor requirements can carry SF State Studies designations.

  • American Ethnic and Racial Minorities (AERM)
  • Environmental Sustainability (ES)
  • Global Perspectives (GP)
  • Social Justice (SJ)

Visit the Bulletin to view courses with SF State Studies designations.

In your Student Center, you can view your Transfer Credit report and track your progress towards graduation on your Degree Progress report. After you register, your current and past schedules are stored in your Student Center. You can view your current fee balance, as well as any holds.

Access your Student Center through SF State Gateway, the campus online portal.

 Use the Login link at the top of any SF State website and then click on SF State Gateway.

Enter your SF State credentials.

In Gateway, proceed to your Student Center using one of the Student links on the left menu.

The Cesar Chavez Student Center is located in the center of campus. The center is operated by Associated Students and is the location of the campus bookstore, a wide array of dining options, the offices of Associated Students and many student-run organizations, and more.

Visit the Associated Students website for operating hours and maps of Cesar Chavez Student Center, and to learn more about Associated Students.

A student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree is an undergraduate.