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Study in the heart of San Francisco at Golden Gate University. We are committed to helping international students like you, in F-1 or J-1 immigration status, find academic and career success. We offer a variety of affordable and flexible master's degrees designed to help advance your career.

About 17 percent of GGU's student body is made up of international students. They come from more than 50 countries, making our campus a diverse and welcoming place. Learn from our scholar-practitioners, who have decades of experience at San Francisco's biggest companies, and find your home in the Bay Area.

How to Apply

  1. Choose Your Admission Program: There is a separate application for each of our programs: graduate, certificates and open enrollment.

  2. Create an Account: The first time you visit, you’ll need to create an admissions account.

  3. Start Your Application: Check your application for the materials you will need. Make sure you have everything you need to complete your application.

  4. Apply and Submit: Fill out the required fields, review your application carefully, pay the application fee and submit.

Start Your Application

Frequently Asked Questions

When do I apply?

GGU international students are granted admission on a “rolling” basis. GGU does not have an application deadline. Students are encouraged to apply early to allow time for an admission decision, issuing the Form I-20 and visa appointment as necessary. Additional processing time may be needed to obtain government documents required for the admissions decision. Timely submission is important for students currently living outside the United States who will need to apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa in their home country.

Below are the recommended priority deadlines:


Fall 2022 Sep 04 Aug 04 Jul 01
Spring 2023 Jan 08 Dec 08 Oct 01
What are the admission requirements?

Degree Requirements

International students seeking admission to a Master’s degree program must have earned Bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally-accredited US institution or the equivalent from a recognized foreign (outside the US) institution.


Applicants must submit official transcripts -- and certified English translations -- from each school previously attended. Examination scores and mark sheets may be submitted if the institutions attended do not maintain transcripts.

Chinese Academic Documents: Applicants must submit credential reports in English for transcripts and degree certificates, issued by the China Academic Degree & Graduate Education Development Center at The documents should be sent directly to Golden Gate University, Office of Admissions.

Options for credential evaluations are as follows:

English Language Proficiency

See "English Requirements" below.

Financial Documents

A Certification of Finances form must be submitted by all applicants intending to study on F-1 or J-1 visas. This form provides information required by the US Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Download the Certification of Finances Form. This form must be accompanied by a bank letter.

GMAT / GRE Scores

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is NOT required for any graduate programs. However, you may be requested to submit a low GPA statement of purpose and resume if you have GPA below requirements.

What are the language requirements for Golden Gate University?

English Language Proficiency is required for all applicants whose degree is not from a regionally accredited US college/university or equivalent from recognized college/university in another English speaking country. You can see the list of qualifying countries below.

All international student applicants (undergraduate and graduate) must provide evidence of English language proficiency in the classroom by securely submitting their test scores from any of the following:


Graduate Minimum Score

Undergraduate Minimum Score

TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT)*

79 60


6.5 6.0

Pearson Test of English (PTE)

57 48


110 90

International Test of English Proficiency (iTEP Academic)

3.8 3.5
*Home editions are also accepted.

Qualifying through Alternative Methods
Applicants may also qualify for admission by meeting one of the following requirements:

  • Completion of the equivalent of GGU's English 1A, Expository Writing and 1B, Research Writing at regionally accredited US college or university with grades of B+ or better.
  • Bachelor's degree from regionally accredited US college/university or equivalent from recognized college / university in other English Speaking country with at least 60 of the units earned in the US or in the English Speaking country.*
  • Master's degrees from regionally accredited US college/university or equivalent from recognized college / university in another English-speaking country.*
  • Seven years of documented, increasingly responsible, professional experience in the US or other English-speaking country.
  • APIEL (College Board) Undergraduate: 3 or higher, Graduate: 4 or higher.
  • Completion of three (3) years of high school in the US or another acceptable English-speaking country*
  • Completion of a British-standard "O-level" examination in English Language / Literature with a mark of C or higher.**
  • Completion of a British-standard "A-level" examination in English Language / Literature with a mark of A/O or D or higher.**

* Not all English medium educational systems fulfill this requirement. Qualifying countries are Australia, Anglophone Canada, Great Britain, Ireland and New Zealand.

** Not all countries offering O- and A-level examinations meet British examining board standards. Countries with this standard include: Bahamas, Belize, Brunei, Ghana, Great Britain, Guyana, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

English is an Official Language

The following is a list of qualifying countries, territories, or commonwealths where English is an official language: American Samoa, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Dominica, Gambia, Ghana, Grand Cayman Islands, Grenada, Guam, Guyana, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mariana Islands, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Montserrat, Namibia. New Zealand, Nigeria, Palau, Philippines, Saint Kitts andNevis, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Swaziland, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Graduate students who satisfy the English Language Proficiency Admission Requirements are also expected to possess proficiencyin writing to ensure they are successful in their course of study. Students may meet this requirement by satisfying one of the screen-ing criteria listed under the Graduate Writing Proficiency Requirement .

Where can I find information about student visas?

For all international students at Golden Gate University, it is the student's responsibility to maintain legal F-1 or J-1 visa status. Visa information provided by the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs can be found at the following resources:

What immigration policies should I be aware of?

Experienced advisors (Designated School Officials, DSOs) at GGU assist students with a variety of immigration related issues including: travel and visa renewals, employment eligibility and other topics. The information provided on this website is meant to serve as a general guideline. It is not considered legal advice.

Immigration regulations are constantly changing, so international students are encouraged to carefully read messages sent by the University Advising Center and review this website for updates. Students are ultimately responsible for understanding and abiding by the guidelines imposed by current immigration status requirements. The University Advising Center strongly encourages students to contact our office with any immigration related questions.

Maintaining Status

F-1 or J-1 status students are required to abide by various federal regulations to maintain immigration status. A few of these requirements include: providing the University Advising Center with a current address, enrolling in a full course of study, and keeping appropriate immigration documents up to date.

Full Time Enrollment

Immigration regulations require F-1 students enroll in a full course of study while completing degree programs in the US. GGU defines a full course of study depending upon the academic level and degree program. The chart below summarizes enrollment requirements.

Full Time Enrollment Requirements

Degree Level

Units Required

Graduate 8+ units per academic term or more
Doctorate 7+ units per academic term or more

Only one online course may used to meet the full time enrollment requirement. Students may enroll in more than one online course after meeting the full time enrollment requirement. Full time enrollment also requires students to be enrolled over the course of the entire term. This means students must enroll in at least one 16-week course or a combination of 8-week terms including both B term and C term.

Students may be authorized to enroll in less than a full course of study if they have academic difficulties, a valid medical condition, or are eligible for a vacation term. Students must receive permission from the University Advising Center Services PRIOR to enrolling in a reduced course load or dropping below a full course of study. Failure to receive permission could jeopardize your immigration status.

Students are eligible for a vacation term after completing two consecutive terms as a full time student at Golden Gate University. Students should inform the University Advising Center of intent to take a vacation term by submitting a Reduced Course Load Form before the beginning of the term.

Address Changes

F-1 and J-1 visa students are required to report a change of address within ten days of moving to a new location. Address updates can be made by logging in to GGU4YOU.

Immigration Documents

While in the US, international students should always be aware of the following:

  • Maintain a valid I-20 which reflects your current degree level and program of study. You are responsible for making sure the dates on your I-20 are current and valid.
  • If you are unable to finish all degree requirements before the completion date listed on your I-20, you must request a program extension before your I-20 expires. An extension cannot be granted after the program completion date has passed.
  • Maintain a valid passport at all times. Contact your Embassy or Consulate to extend your passport.

On Campus Employment

F-1 visa status students are eligible to work part-time while school is in session and full-time during approved vacation terms. Part-time work is considered less than 20 hours per week. Many international students who would like to work on campus at GGU are able to secure positions. 在校园里张贴在职位空缺 GGU Careers.

International students do not require authorization from USCIS to work on campus. Once a job offer has been received, the University Advising Center will help students with the documents needed to apply for a Social Security Number. You will not be permitted to begin work until you have obtained a Social Security Number.


F-1 student visa applicants are required to pay a one-time fee of $350 to supplement the administration and maintenance costs of the Student and Exchange Information System (SEVIS).

Basic Travel Guidelines

In general, when traveling outside the US, F-1 students will need the following documents:

  • A valid I-20 with the second page endorsed for travel by a DSO
  • A passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of re-entry to the US
  • A valid F-1 visa. The visa only needs to be valid through the date of re-entry to the US
  • Verification of financial support

If you are traveling to a country other than your own, be sure to check with the consulate or embassy of that country. You may need to apply for a tourist visa.

Anytime you travel, please complete the I-20 Travel Signature Request and leave your I-20 at the University Advising Center at least one week before leaving San Francisco. If you have dependents in the US, they will also need to obtain a travel signature on their dependent I-20 if they plan to travel.

The US Department of State and the Citizenship and Immigration Service have increased the level of review international visitors face at US Consulates and Embassies abroad, US airports, and border crossing posts with Canada and Mexico.

If you choose to travel, please follow these recommendations:

  • Carry proof of current enrollment at GGU and an official or unofficial copy of academic transcripts.
  • Be honest, patient and courteous with all government officials, even if they are not the same way in return.
  • Consult the US Department of State website for alerts and information on visa issuance at particular US Embassies and Consulates abroad.

Be prepared when you travel for the following possibilities:

  • Delays in appointment scheduling and visa processing at US Consulates.
  • Change of visa processing at some US Consulates to include mail-in or "drop box" service for visa applications.
  • Delays in flights within the US and returning to the US from abroad due to heightened security measures at airports and delays along the Canadian border.
  • Inquiries and increased review of documents at all ports of entry for non-US citizens.
  • Multiple inspections of the same person by Immigration Service and/or Customs Officials.
  • Possible photocopying of documents by USCIS officials and possible videotaping of USCIS, Customs or FBI interviews.
  • Inspection of personal belongings, luggage, pockets or other searches.
  • For students in certain technologically sensitive fields, the Department of State is required to conduct a security clearance prior to issuing an initial US entry visa or extension of visa through a US Consulate abroad. The fields are listed on the Technology Alert List. Clearance may take one month to several months.


Given the current rapidness of changes to immigration regulations and practices, this information is subject to change.
What do I need to know about health insurance in the United States?

Overview of Policy on Health Insurance

Golden Gate University does not administer a group insurance plan for F1 and J1 visa holders in the Schools of Business, Tax, and Accounting. Students are now responsible for obtaining health insurance coverage independently. For more information about several different insurance options see below.

U.S. Health Insurance Introduction

Although GGU will no longer require that F1 visa holders* show proof of health insurance coverage, we very strongly recommend that you have health insurance while in the United States. It is important to be aware that the United States healthcare system is likely quite different from the system in your home country. Having health insurance coverage while in the U.S. is crucial as costs can be extremely high if you are injured or sick and do not have coverage. For a brief overview of the U.S. healthcare system, please take a look at this International Student Insurance video.

*Note for J1 visa holders: J1 visa holders are still required to show proof of health insurance that meets certain coverage requirements. If you are a J1 student attending GGU through a sponsoring organization, your sponsor will likely provide health insurance coverage. If you will be studying on a J1 visa at GGU and you do not have pre-arranged insurance coverage, the below ISO plan meets government requirements.

Health Insurance Options

The information below can help you start to find the right plan for you. Please note that the time required to enroll in a new plan can vary depending on individual circumstances, therefore it is important to plan ahead and apply early to avoid gaps in your coverage.

Insurance Through Family:

If your spouse or domestic partner is employed in the U.S., consider enrolling in a health insurance plan through his or her employer.

Insurance Purchased from a Provider:

  • Kaiser: Continue coverage with Kaiser by purchasing a plan directly.
  • ISO: Offers reasonably priced options which meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act.
  • Covered California: An insurance marketplace established in California following the Affordable Care Act. Available to F1 and J1 visa holders.

It is advisable to seek US health insurance that offers the following coverage at or above the following:

  • The policy has a low annual deductible ($150 - 500 USD) per year.
  • Understand whether your insurance offers "per incident" deductibles.
  • Policy covers at least $100,000 USD per injury or sickness.
  • Benefits are payable at least 70% within the provider network

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I really need health insurance in the U.S.? It's so expensive, and I'm healthy, anyways.

Yes, you still need it! In the United States, the cost of health care is not covered by the government as it is in some other countries, so it is important to have a private health insurance plan. Even though you may be healthy, it is necessary to have health insurance in case you get injured or become sick. If you do not have insurance, fall ill or get into an accident, and have to pay for your care completely out of pocket, the cost of care could end up being in the many thousands of dollars. For example, as this International Student Insurance video demonstrates, treating a broken bone can cost $18,000 - $47,000 out of pocket.

I really like the doctor I currently have through Kaiser Permanente. Can I keep seeing him/her?

Yes, you may be able to continue working with your current doctor by purchasing insurance coverage through Kaiser directly (here) or by selecting a Kaiser plan through Covered California (here).

Why is GGU no longer administering a health insurance plan for international students?

We spent a lot of time considering whether to continue administering a health insurance plan. We ultimately decided to stop due to feedback from students and our determination that the resources used to administer an insurance plan will be better used to improve our services in other ways.

US Health Insurance: Key Terms


This is a fixed fee that you pay out of pocket at the time a medical service is rendered (e.g. visiting the doctor, obtaining prescription medicine). Your health insurance company will pay the remaining costs.


This is similar to co-pay in that co-insurance represents a shared cost between you and the insurer for a service rendered. With co-insurance, however, the amount each party pays is not a fixed fee, but rather, is a percentage of the total cost of the service.

Annual Deductible

A deductible is a specific amount of covered medical expenses that you must incur and pay for out of pocket within one calendar-year before benefits are payable under the health insurance plan.

An example: If your plan has a $150 co-pay for ambulance services, after the deductible, this means that if you are transported by ambulance on January 1, 2016, and an ambulance ride costs $800, you will pay $650: $500 for the annual deductible, plus the $150 co-pay. If you need to be transported by ambulance again in 2016 (which we hope you wouldn't!), you will just pay the $150 co-pay the second time around, since you will have already paid the full deductible.

Depending on your plan, the deductible may be waived for some services.

Annual Out-of-Pocket Maximum

This is the maximum amount that you will have to pay from your own pocket for medical expenses in a plan year.

Maximum Lifetime Coverage

Some plans limit the total amount of money they will pay for your medical expenses during your lifetime. This will be listed in your insurance plan description as a "lifetime maximum" or a "maximum lifetime benefit" or "maximum benefit per condition."

Are there any other considerations that I should be aware of?

Transfer Credits

Eligibility to transfer academic credits from other institutions is dependent on a number of factors. For more details see:

Additional Coursework

International applicants admitted to graduate degree programs may be required to complete more than the number of units specified as required for degree completion -- regardless of the extent of previous work -- if determined by Golden Gate University additional academic preparation is necessary.

Non-Immigrant Aliens

The university is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students. The university will not issue appropriate documentation until the student has been admitted as a full graduate degree or graduate certificate candidate, and has been financially certified by the university's Certification of Finances approval process.

Residency Requirements

Students holding F-1 or J-1 student or scholar visas may only attend the physical San Francisco campus.

Minimum Course Units and Terms

The US Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement requires international students holding F-1 or J-1 student or scholar visas to be enrolled for consecutive terms of sufficient duration and units, typically consisting of no fewer than nine (9) units per term at the graduate level.