Prospective Exchange Students

About the Exchange Program

San Francisco State University’s Exchange Student Program provides students from 100+ partner institutions around the world* the opportunity to study at SF State for one or two semesters as non-degree-seeking students. All exchange students come to SF State on university-sponsored J-1 visas.

*Please note, if you are not from one of our exchange partner institutions, you are not eligible for SF State's Exchange Student Program. You are still welcome to apply to SF State as a degree-seeking international student.

For further insight about life at SF State, please check out Advice from Past Exchange Students.

*If your university is not an Exchange Program Partner, you are not eligible for the exchange program. However, you are welcome to apply to SF State as a degree-seeking student.



1. Be nominated by one of SF State’s exchange partner universities. Students may not self-nominate. 

2. Demonstrate adequate financial funding to support themselves for the duration of their studies at SF State.* 

3. Maintain good academic standing at your home university. 

4. Demonstrate adequate English proficiency.

5. Be able to commit four to nine months to the exchange program.

 *Fall 2021 & 2022 Calendar Year Financial requirements

All SF State exchange program participants must provide proof of financial means adequate to support them for the duration of their studies at SF State. The total amount of funds required must equal or exceed the following, depending on the duration of the student's program of study. These numbers are based on the most recent estimates by the SF State Office of Student Financial Aid and health insurance quotes.

1 semester (Fall 2021): $11,748 (USD)

2 semesters (Fall 2021 & Spring 2022): $23,496 (USD)

Please note that Calendar Year students who will remain in the United States during the summer between the Spring and Fall semesters may be required to provide proof of additional funding as to be determined by the Office of International Programs. 


How to Apply


Your first step is to speak with your home university's study abroad advisor to determine whether SF State’s exchange program is a good fit. If our program is a good fit for you, your home university will nominate you for the program. 



After being nominated, you will be provided with instructions for completing SF State’s online application. Please fill out this application as accurately as possible. When applying, you will be asked to provide the following supplemental documentation:

  • A Personal Statement (500-word minimum) explaining your interest in the exchange program regarding education, personal growth, etc.
  • Proof of Funding equal to or exceeding the required funds stated on the Office of International Programs’ website. Accepted documents include personal bank statements, government scholarships/financial aid, and signed sponsorship letters (sponsorship template). We may be able to accept other forms of documentation. Please contact with any questions, but DO NOT send us digital copies of sensitive financial documents.
  • Your most recent Academic Transcript. 
  • Documentation verifying English proficiency OR enrollment in a primarily English-speaking university. 
  • Accepted documentation: iBT 61, IELTS 6.0, TOEFL 500 OR a Faculty/Staff recommendation letter (recommendation template). On a case-by-case basis, we may be able to accept other English proficiency documentation. Please address such questions to
  • A clear digital copy of your passport’s face page. Your passport must have a minimum of six months’ validity remaining.


Congratulations! Approximately four to six weeks after the application deadline, SF State’s Office of International Programs will contact applicants regarding their acceptance and the next steps in their exchange program journey.