Graduate Admission

Requirements & Process

Returning to school is convenient at Golden Gate University. The following are the requirements to get started in a degree or certificate program.

Admission Requirements

Degree Program Admission

For admission to degree programs and certificate programs you must:
  • Hold an earned bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited US institution or the equivalent from a recognized foreign (outside the US) institution;
  • Demonstrate academic and professional capability to study at the graduate level;
  • Possess quantitative, writing, and computing skills needed to succeed in a competitive and dynamic environment.
  • Satisfy any additional criteria as required for admission to a specific degree program.
To be considered for admission to the graduate program, you should provide the following:

  • Admission Application Form and Fee: The completed application form with the nonrefundable application fee ($65 for domestic graduate degree applicants; $65 for domestic graduate certificate applicants; $65 for domestic doctoral candidates; and $65 for all international applicants) should be sent to the Office of Admissions.

  • Official Academic Transcripts: Graduate applicants must submit transcripts from the degree-granting undergraduate institution. The transcripts must clearly state that a bachelor's degree or an industry standard equivalents been conferred. However, to maximize transfer credit, we recommend submitting transcripts from all institutions attended. Note: Applicants for the master of accountancy degree must meet the criteria for the English Language Proficiency Admission Requirements stated in the university catalog. Provide official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended. Transcripts must be sent to the Office of Enrollment Services directly from other schools, colleges, or universities issuing the documents.

  • Test Scores:
    • A GMAT or GRE score is required of MBA degree applicants unless the applicant meets the criteria for an exception (see the MBA program).
    • The GMAT or GRE may be required of other master's degree applicants if academic transcripts do not indicate sufficient academic preparation.
    • Applicants whose first (native) language is not English, must meet the English Language Proficiency Admission Requirements. Most applicants take the TOEFL exam and submit the official test score from ETS. For a list of alternative options for satisfying this requirement, refer to the English Language Requirement section of the University Catalog.
    • Test score reports must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to the Admissions Office.

  • Personal Statement (Optional): In cases where the academic history of an applicant does not meet the minimum admission requirements, it is recommended that a written personal evaluation be submitted with the application materials. The statement should give a realistic appraisal of any academic work since graduation from high school. Note any inconsistencies in the academic record and the reasons for them. In addition, include a plan to affirm a commitment to academic success while attending Golden Gate University. Applicants are encouraged to be as forthright and open as possible, and should feel free to discuss unusual circumstances or situations of adversity that may have influenced their current values. Be aware that both the quality of the writing and the thoughtfulness of the statement will be evaluated.

  • Certification of Finances: If you are an international student who will be attending on a student or scholar visa, you must also provide a Certification of Finances form.

Please note: All application materials become the property of the university and cannot be returned.

Graduate Writing Proficiency

Graduate degree programs require proficiency in writing to ensure that students are successful in their course of study. All students are required to take the Graduate Writing Placement Exam a minimum of five (5) business days prior to the term start.

Prospective students who do not take the placement exam by this deadline will be registered in English 200 Graduate Communications. The exam asks students to read an article and write a multi-paragraph response. Students will have an hour and 35 minutes to complete the test.

The graduate writing proficiency may be waived for students who meet the requirements of the relevant school, as follows:

Ageno School of Business

  • Earned a score on the Graduate Writing Placement Exam high enough to receive a waiver, or
  • Earned a graduate degree from a regionally accredited US institution of higher learning or the equivalent from a recognized foreign institution from an English speaking country (limited to Australia, Anglophone Canada, Great Britain, Ireland and New Zealand), or
  • Earned a GMAT score of 4.5 on the analytical writing section, or
  • Earned a GRE combined score of 4.5 on the analytical writing sections, or
  • Passed a nationally recognized US exam that includes a significant written component such as the CPA, CFP, or Bar Exam.

School of Accounting & Braden School of Taxation

  • Earned a score on the Graduate Writing Placement Exam high enough to receive a waiver, or
  • Earned at least the grade of “B” in upper division undergraduate writing course taken in English speaking college, or
  • Earned at least the grade of "B" in an upper division graduate writing course at an institution from an English speaking country (limited to Australia, Anglophone Canada, Great Britain, Ireland and New Zealand), or
  • Earned an UG degree in an accredited college from an English speaking country (limited to Australia, Anglophone Canada, Great Britain, Ireland and New Zealand), or
  • Earned a graduate degree from a regionally accredited US institution of higher learning or the equivalent from a recognized foreign institution from an English speaking country (limited to Australia, Anglophone Canada, Great Britain, Ireland and New Zealand), or
  • Earned a GMAT score of 4.5 on the analytical writing section, or
  • Earned a GRE combined score of 4.5 on the analytical writing sections, or
  • Passed a nationally recognized US exam that includes a significant writing component such as the CPA, CFP, or Bar Exam, or
  • Waived by the Dean.

Schedule a Writing Placement Exam


Graduate Business Proficiency

Graduate students in the Edward S. Ageno School of Business (except DBA, EMPA, and Psychology) and Braden School of Tax are required to possess an understanding of United States business practices. Students can meet this requirement with one of the following:


Graduate Math Proficiency

Graduate programs may require a math proficiency to ensure that you are successful in your course of study. Please refer to the required Math proficiency on the degree program page of interest for specific details.

Schedule a Math Placement Exam


Two Masters Degrees in Different Fields

Many students who have previously earned a master's degree either from GGU or another regional accredited institution enroll for a second master's degree. Applicants in this may transfer up to 12 units of credit from the first degree to the second, subject to approval by the department chair, program director, or dean.


International Applicants

See Additional Requirements & Considerations


Certificate Program Admission

Requirements for Admission to a GGU Certificate Program:
  • Many certificate courses require prerequisite courses that must also be satisfied. It is not guaranteed that every course required for each certificate is offered every term.
  • Admitted certificate program students are required to maintain applicable academic progress standards, including grade-point average.
  • All courses for a certificate program must be completed in residence at Golden Gate University. No transfer credit is granted. Courses earned at GGU in a certificate program may also be used toward a degree program at the university.
  • The certificate will be awarded at the end of the trimester in which the student successfully completes all of the coursework and submits a Certificate Order form to the Office of Records and Registration.

To apply for certificate studies, students should submit an admission application and a $40 application fee for US applicants to the Office of Enrollment Services.


Open Enrollment Admission

The Open Enrollment Program is intended for students enrolling in courses for the purposes of continuing education and personal enrichment or students who have applied for admission to a program of study and, as yet, have not been notified of their admission status. Students in the latter category may register in Open Enrollment for a maximum of twelve (12) undergraduate units or nine (9) graduate units prior to admission.

To register for graduate courses in open enrollment status, you must have an earned bachelor's degree; to take undergraduate courses, you must have earned a high school diploma or GED. Open enrollment does not require submission of GMAT scores.

Open enrollment is not available to international students in Student Visa/ Scholar Visa status who have applied for, but have not received, admission to the university, unless they are in valid immigration status at another college-level institution, have written authorization from that institution to enroll in classes at Golden Gate University and have met GGU's academic and TOEFL requirements.

Non-native speakers of English must meet the English Language Proficiency Admission Requirements.

Students registered in open enrollment status are not eligible for financial aid.

Open Enrollment students are required to have each course approved by an advisor prior to registering each term. Permission to register for individual courses is based on prior academic performance and preparation in appropriate prerequisites.

Students registered in open enrollment status are not eligible to earn certificates or degrees. However, after gaining admission to a program, courses completed in open enrollment status are applicable to degree and certificate programs on a limited basis. A maximum of nine units of coursework completed in Open Enrollment status may be used toward meeting requirements for a graduate degree or certificate program and a maximum of 12 units may be used toward meeting the requirements of an undergraduate degree or certificate program.

Open Enrollment students are subject to the same Academic Progress and Grade Standards as degree or certificate students.


Admission Process

The Office of Enrollment Services, in consultation with the appropriate faculty, reviews all documents received, including official academic records from other institutions, standardized test scores, personal statement, professional resumes, letters of recommendation, personal interviews, and any other relevant information.

  • Applicants whose academic preparation does not meet the university admission criteria, but who show potential for academic achievement, may be offered conditional or exceptional admission with the approval of the appropriate academic department.
  • Applicants who have been denied admission may not register for classes, and must wait a minimum of one year before applying again at the same academic level.
  • Once submitted, all application materials become the property of the university and cannot be returned.

An application may remain in pending status for up to one calendar year from the date on which it was received in the Office of Enrollment Services. If the file is not completed within that year, the application will expire and the documents associated with that application will be destroyed. Admission is valid for the term for which you were admitted, and the two subsequent terms. If you do not enroll during that time period (approximately one year), the offer of admission is cancelled and the documents associated with that application will be destroyed. Re-applying after that time will require a new application, application fee, and the submission of all transcripts and other required credentials.


Degree students wishing to change their degree objective or area of concentration must file a "Change of Degree Program/Major" and submit it to the Office of Records and Registration or. Students on academic probation may apply for a change of program. If the dean of the school in which the new program is housed determines that your qualifications meet the requirements of the new program, the application will be forwarded to the Committee for Admissions and Academic Probation (CAAP) for review. Applicants who want to change their degree program prior to an admission decision should submit the request to the Office of Enrollment Services. There is no charge for this process.

Contact your enrollment counselor at 1-415-442-7800 to find out about the status of your application.

Certificate students who wish to enter a degree program should submit the appropriate admission application and all required supporting documents and fees. If admitted to a degree program, students will be required to fulfill the degree requirements to that program in effect at the time of admission. In addition to prior school records and test scores, performance in certificate course work at Golden Gate is used as a criterion for admission to degree programs.

Applicants to undergraduate and graduate studies may enroll as open enrollment students while the admission application is pending final admissions decision. All rules applicable to Open Enrollment must be followed. Applicants should be familiar with open enrollment application and policies.

Open enrollment is a registration program, but does not constitute admission to the university. Students who wish to change from open enrollment to a degree or certificate program should apply for admission online or request a mailed application.