San Diego State University

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Prospective Masters Students FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

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What type of degree do I need to apply?

B.S. or B.A., although it does not need to be in related field as long as all prerequisite courses are completed (see question below).

Do I have to finish all prerequisite courses listed before admission to the degree program?

Priority consideration will be given to those students with all prerequisites fulfilled. Students not meeting all prerequisites can be recommended for conditional admission by approval of the faculty; however, all prerequisites must be completed in the first year of graduate study.  Students lacking any prerequisites noted with an * will not be accepted on a conditional basis.

How do I know if the classes I’ve taken count as prerequisites or not?

If you are currently attending a university and believe you have fulfilled the prerequisite courses, you will need to send an email to the graduate advising office containing the name of the school, course name, credit hours, any prerequisites for the course, and course(s)’ description from the syllabus or catalog; and which prerequisite you believe it meets.

If you will be attending school in California, you can check on to see if the classes you took will fulfill our requirements.

If you cannot find your school on the web-site, we can evaluate it via e-mail as noted above.

What is the minimum GPA to apply?

3.0 overall or in last 60 units of bachelor’s coursework.

What are the minimum GRE scores I need to apply?

Verbal score 151 (or 475 for old test) and Quantitative score 142 (or 475 for old test). The writing section must also be completed and may be considered for program application.

How recent must my GRE scores be?

GRE scores do not “expire.” Hard copies of official scores can also be accepted if scores are not available in an online format.

What if I’m a foreign applicant?

A TOEFL ≥550 paper test (or 213 computer test) is required. Minimum score for iBT is 80 (or 550 for paper test). Scores must be no more than two years old.

Questions regarding international student admission should be directed to  Or visit:

Who has to take the TOEFL?

All graduate and post-baccalaureate applicants, regardless of citizenship, whose native language is not English and whose preparatory education was principally in a language other than English must demonstrate competence in English. Those applicants who do not possess a bachelor’s degree from a postsecondary institution where English is the principal language of instruction must submit official TOEFL or IELTS results

Do California residents get admission preference?

Yes, San Diego State University is a State school; therefore preference is given to residents of the State of California. However, this does not imply that California residents receive automatic acceptance. Admission to ENS master’s programs is competitive and all completed applications are processed. Consequently, several out-of-state students receive admission into our programs.

How is my residency status determined?

California residency of graduate students is in accordance with the regulations of the Board of Regents and the laws of the State of California. A full statement of the regulations is available in the SDSU Graduate Bulletin. Out-of-state residents must pay the out-of-state graduate student tuition rate.

Please visit for more detailed information on residency classification for tuition purposes.

Who writes my letters of recommendation and is there a form he/she needs to fill out?

Letters can be from professionals in academic or professional areas. You will be prompted to provide the names and email addresses of recommenders on the SDSU Decision Desk application. Letters will be uploaded by the recommenders to the SDSU Decision Desk online portal.

What should I include in my Statement of Purpose? How long should it be?

Statements should be1-2 pages describing applicant’s background, research interests/experiences, and goals relevant to degree being sought.  While you may include your Statement of Purpose with your CalState Apply application, you will also be prompted to upload your Statement of Purpose into the SDSU Decision Desk platform.  You have the option to indicate in that section of the CalState Apply application, “Statement sent directly to the department via SDSU Decision Desk”.

When will I know if I’m accepted?

Admission decisions will appear on your Webportal account in the weeks following the deadline. Email notification will also be provided by the ENS department.

If I’m accepted, when would I begin my master’s coursework in the program?

The Fall of the year in which you were offered an acceptance.

Are GA (Graduate Assistantships) or TA (Teaching Associateships) available?

Yes, ~15 GA/TA positions are awarded per semester.

How do I apply for a GA/TA position?

GA/TA applications are available on Decision Desk should be uploaded via the SDSU Decision Desk site.

How competitive are the programs?

Our graduate programs are becoming increasingly competitive with many qualified applicants vying for a limited number of spots.

In 2015, our applicants had the following average GPAs:

  • Kinesiology-Applied Movement Science – 3.46
  • Exercise Physiology- 3.51
  • Nutritional Sciences- 3.68
  • Dual (Exercise Physiology and Nutritional Sciences)- 3.61

Are there research opportunities in the program?

Yes, our students engage in a variety of research projects during their time in the program. Many students team up with faculty members or get involved with community-based projects as well.

Can I apply for more than one program?

No, you may only apply for one SDSU graduate program, including our Doctorate of Physical Therapy program.

When does the application open?

October 1st.

Can I enroll in classes at SDSU prior to acceptance?

Contact the Office of Extended Studies for information on Open University for taking classes prior to an acceptance. Please see Graduate Advisor if, upon acceptance, you wish to take prerequisite classes at SDSU the summer prior to your start date.

Can I apply for the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) too?

It is possible to complete the DPD coursework along with M.S. in Nutritional Sciences or Dual M.S. in Exercise Physiology and Nutritional Sciences.

Please visit: for more information.

How big is the ENS graduate department?

There are approximately 70 active graduate students enrolled in our four programs.

Do I have to complete a thesis?

There is an option to complete a Directed Readings, which is an alternative to a thesis project.  The Directed Readings course offers students several options for completing the research requirement, including a manuscript submission.

How much does it cost to attend SDSU?

  • California resident fees: $8,242 per year (full-time student) (08/15).
  • Non-resident fees: $8,242 plus $372 per credit unit (08/15).

For more tuition information, please visit:

Is Financial Aid available? How do I apply for Financial Aid?

The SDSU Financial Aid office can discuss information regarding specific financial aid options. Please contact the Financial Aid Office at (619) 594-6323 or for more specific information.

Are scholarships available? How do I apply for them?

There are scholarships available especially for ENS students. For more information, please visit:

How long does it take to complete the degree?

Length of program is 2 years (3 years for Dual M.S.). You must complete your degree in no more than 7 years.

Does the ENS department offer doctoral degrees?

We offer a clinical doctorate in Physical Therapy.  There are no PhD or other doctorate programs in our department at this time.

Can I visit before I come?

Visits are encouraged and can be arranged via email:





last updated: 6/6/2016