Notes for Newly Admitted Students

Welcome to the CS Department at SFSU!

Our desire is to work with you to ensure you are successful in our program and meet your individual goals.

Advising and Office hours are posted on our Faculty and Staff web page. To schedule an advising appointment contact the CS Department office, in Thornton Hall room 906 (TH 906), send an email to, or phone 415-338-1008.

Please familiarize yourself with the content found at these links:

  1. University Computer Science Graduate Program Bulletin Web Page
  2. Overview of Graduate Program Powerpoint from Profs. Kaz Okada and Bill Hsu

Trees from the quad on campus

Please note the following important points:



Graduate Advising begins on our "Advising Day" typically scheduled for the Friday before classes begin on Monday. (Please check the CS department home page for the link to the current Advising Day flyer). On Advising Day, Graduate Advisors will be available to meet with students for Academic advising. Our NEW STUDENT ORIENTATION session is held at the end of the advising appointments on ADVISING DAY.


Computer Science students admitted to the M.S. program are required by the university to satisfy English Level I prior to the end of their first year of study at SFSU, or by the date set within your admission letter. English Level I is satisfied by obtaining either a) a score of 4 or better on the GRE Analytical Writing Exam or b) a passing grade in SCI 614 or CHS 514 (Graduate Writing Skills classes offered through the College of Extended Learning - CEL, follow this link for more information: College of Extended Learning Website). Students may enroll in CHS 514 if all sections of SCI 614 are full. SCI 614 is strongly recommended for all students who wish to develop their skills in professional writing.


The Computer Science MS Degree requirements are posted in the SFSU Bulletin: University Computer Science Graduate Program Bulletin Web Page. Course descriptions of both Undergraduate and Graduate courses are posted in the SFSU Bulletin as well.

ADVISING: Graduate

  • Advising will formally begin on our "Advising Day" and prior to that date, informal advising will be available through the Computer Science Department office. All incoming graduate students should meet with a CS Graduate Advisor at the beginning of the first semester in the program. Thereafter, students should meet with a graduate advisor at least once per term. All Conditionally Classified students must meet with the graduate coordinator or adviser within the first two weeks of the semester.
  • All Graduate advising is by appointment only during the regular academic year. To schedule an appointment with an advisor, come by the Computer Science department office: TH 906.


  • All new students MUST attend the first Graduate Seminar during their FIRST term. The seminar series will take place on Wednesdays, 5:30 - 7:00 pm, in TH 331 unless otherwise noted, and the schedule of seminars will be posted on our web site: Department Graduate Seminar Schedule Web Page. The Chair will discuss many important issues regarding our graduate program at the first "Overview of MS in CS" seminar meeting.
  • All new students are strongly encouraged to attend the Chair’s orientation meeting on Advising Day, as well as his presentation of the MS in CS overview at the first scheduled graduate seminar of the semester.


If you are a Conditionally Classified student with specific prerequisite courses assigned,you should sign up for those classes first before registering for the graduate level core courses. The online registration system may prevent you from enrolling in lower level undergraduate classes during your assigned registration period. When this happens, simply pay your fees before the deadline, and attend the first class meeting of the class in which you are hoping to enroll, let the instructor know you need a permit number to add the class because you were unable to register for the class ahead of time. Our instructors are aware of this problem and will save seats for our conditionally classified graduate students who must enroll in these lower level courses.


If you are a Classified student unsure of which classes to enroll, you can either:

  • Check the CS website and follow the recommended sequence of study and sign up for core courses. Please be aware of the Bursar's office refund schedule and the ADD and DROP deadlines. For more information see Bursar's office website:University Bursar Website
  • Wait until you arrive on campus and register for courses after advising; however please be aware of the university fee payment schedule. See previous link for details.


Most of the usual questions that incoming graduate students have are answered on the university or department web site. The University web site (San Francisco State University Website) has an excellent search engine, so if you don’t see what you are looking for in the following list you might check there as well. Here are some of the most useful University Web Sites:


Best of luck in your graduate studies at SFSU!

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The documents linked on this page may have accessibility issues. If you encounter problems with accessing or filling out the document, please contact: Department of Computer Science