Graduate Certificates

We welcome applications from current enrolled SF State graduate students (domestic and international) and non-enrolled post-baccalaureate domestic students interested in Software Engineering and Ethical Artificial Intelligence Graduate Certificates.

Applications are due by August 15 for Fall admission or January 15 for Spring admission, unless the academic department requires an earlier deadline.

Two Graduate Certificates Options

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Ethical Artificial Intelligence

Students in the Certificate Program will be guided and advised by the Supervisory Committee comprising faculty from SF State’s programs in Computer Science, Business and Philosophy, and these programs’ graduate advisors.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming an integral technology in many areas (medicine, health, autonomous driving cars, business, loan approvals, law enforcement, distribution of government and health services, news filtering, etc.) and is often considered the driving force of a 4th technological revolution.

The impact of AI is expanding rapidly, but due to its complexity it offers challenges to ensuring proper, ethical, unbiased and transparent operations. This is evidenced by increasing reporting on the use and misuse of AI in government and media, and calls for greater scrutiny and oversight. Skills related to ethical use of AI will be more and more important for both developers and users of AI technology.

To address these needs, SF State’s Computer Science Department, College of Business and Philosophy Department established a multi-College Graduate Certificate in Ethical AI. Our approach to this certificate is unique in its multidisciplinary and multi-College nature, which involves three critical areas necessary to understanding this subject, as outlined below. Students must take one course from each of these three areas (total of 9 units) and also complete a self reflection research paper (1 unit):

  • AI Technologies and Applications: courses in this core area focus on algorithmic and technical principles of AI and can be selected to fit the background of graduate students from Computer Science, Business or Philosophy.
  • Ethics and Compliance in Business: focus on integrity, understanding and applying managerial ethical decision-making; understanding regulatory compliance as it relates to organizational functions; developing ethics training, and evaluating stakeholder impacts.
  • Ethics Principles: courses on the ethical, political, and social ramifications of current and emerging uses of AI.
  • Self-reflection Research Paper: the certificate program requires a culminating research paper to demonstrate student self-reflection on specific issues in AI ethics. Students take a 1-unit independent study in conjunction with this course, to be supervised by one of the faculty advisors (see below for a list of advisors).

Since the Certificate has multiple overlapping courses with current MS, MBA and MA programs in Computer Science, Management, and Philosophy, our matriculated graduate students can easily complete the Certificate with minimal overhead. This certificate is also designed to fit the needs of professionals from industry who can use it to continue their education and gain an additional credential that will be appealing to employers who are concerned about being good stewards of AI and responsibly managing their business practices as more regulation and public scrutiny of AI comes to pass.

Please contact one of the following faculty in the AI Certificate Supervisory Committee:

  • Professor Denise Kleinrichert, College of Business, SF State. Expertise in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, risk management, and environmental sustainability has been at SF State since 2007.
  • Professor Carlos Montemayor, Philosophy Department, SF State. Expertise in philosophy of mind, cognitive science, philosophy of psychology and epistemology has been at SF State since 2009.
  • Professor Dragutin Petkovic, CS Department, SF State, IEEE Life fellow. Expertise in AI, Usability and SW Engineering. Twenty years of industry experience has been at SF State since 2003.

All are available to respond to inquiries, but it is best to contact the faculty whose field of research most closely aligns with your background and interests.

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Software Engineering

We are witnessing ever increasing demand for CS graduates in multiple industries worldwide. Successful professionals in computing-related industries must attain and continuously update skills in Software Engineering (SE) in order to have successful careers.

The Graduate Certificate in SE is an opportunity to meet the critical needs of matriculated as well as non-matriculated students in attaining and updating highly sought-after skills for their success in their careers as software (SW) engineers.

Since the Certificate has multiple overlapping courses with SF State’s current MS in CS program, students in the program can easily complete the Certificate with minimal overhead, and gain an additional credential to showcase their Software Engineering skills.

Professionals from industry can efficiently continue their software education and gain additional credentials by completing the Certificate.

Here are the basis for the three core areas of our Graduate Certificate in SW Engineering:

  • Students will be able to complete the SE Certificate in 2 to 3 semesters. Courses in each group in the certificate are offered regularly by the CS Department.
  • Students in the certificate program will be guided/advised by the Supervisory Committee, and the Computer Science Department’s graduate advisors.
  • Both matriculated and non-matriculated students can apply for this certificate provided they have adequate qualifications as described in application process.

On completion of this certificate, students will attain skills in three categories:

  • Basic SW systems and technologies (large SW development, cloud computing, WWW engineering, mobile technologies, distributed and large scale systems etc.)
  • SE modern processes covering the full SE lifecycle (Agile, SCRUM, User Centered Design, SE teamwork and organization etc.)
  • Exposure to modern SE applications and technologies

The three core areas covered in this certificate are:

  • Core requirements focusing on SE best practices, teamwork and organization (two courses, 6 units)
  • Core options focusing on important SE applications and technologies (one course, 3 units)
  • Electives including a number of SE related courses (one course, 3 units)

Please contact one of the following faculty in the Software Engineering Supervisory Committee:

  • Professor Dragutin Petkovic has industry and startup experience in media content management, SW Engineering and usability. Current research in SW engineering, ML and AI explainability. IEEE Life Fellow.
  • Professor Isabel Hyo Jung Song has a long-term industry-scale software engineering experience. Her research interest includes large-scale software engineering, agile management, software engineering & entrepreneurship.
  • Professor Jozo Dujmovic works in the area of quantitative models of software performance. His research is focused on development of benchmark program generators, workload characterization models, benchmark design, performance measurement, and models for evaluation and comparison of software products.

All are available to respond to inquiries, but it is best to contact the faculty whose field of research most closely aligns with your background and interests.

How to Apply

Eligibility Processing

Applying for Certificate Award

In consultation with your faculty mentor and upon completion of certificate requirements, you must apply for award of the graduate certificate in Software Engineering. To apply for award, you must submit a Certificate Approved Program (CAP) form to the Division of Graduate Studies and submit a $7.00 processing fee to the Bursar's Office.

Visit the academic bulletin for more information about SF State Certificate programs, including the application process.

Current enrolled domestic and intentional graduate students at SF State follow these steps:

Domestic not enrolled students process:

First you must have an account with Cal State. Secondly, apply to the graduate certificate.

Once you are logged into your account follow these steps. 

  • Visit your extended profile.
  • Under degree goal, select certificate.
  • Choose the Graduate Certificate you wish to apply for
  • Click save.

Please note, as part of the Cal State Apply application, applicants are required to include:

  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Statement of Interest
  • Current CV/Resume
  • Preferred Faculty Member whose field of research most closely aligns with your background and interests



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