San Francisco State University Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?


I can only speak for the business department since I transfered from a Junior College and had all my general education out of the way. I wasn't impressed. I felt that the classes were just as easy, if not easier, than my JC. There was only one class that I felt what I was learning was really relevant and I felt the professor was easily the best at the school in my experience. Hands down, without a doubt, best professor. International Business 680: Global Strategic Management with Professor Ungson. He taught his course based on being able to break down a company to figure out their business model and then using that information to create a business report that displayed the information in a concise way that executives would want to see. He's brilliant. One of his students actually turned his teaching into a product that he sold to businesses. Not an SFSU student. He's taught at a couple different institutions. I attended every class meeting because I knew what I was experiencing was real education. While I was in his class I felt like I was at Harvard. His lectures were once a week for three hours yet they went by quicker than all of my ninety minute classes that met twice a week. I can't say enough good things about Professor Ungson. I wish he taught all my classes. I feel like then my education would mean something. Which brings me to my biggest complaint. I was content with the ease I went through the business school to get my degree. It's all I wanted really. Just the piece of paper that said I did it, I graduated. But I don't feel that my degree has any merit. I feel it's like a high school diploma. SFSU has a lot of international students, especially in the business department. And there were a lot of these students who had English as a second language. They weren't very good at presentations, it was difficult for them to read and write in English, and yet they passed the same classes as me. I'm not trying to insult those students, it's just a fact. They received a degree from the United States and their English was limited. How well were they able to understand the material? I wonder. It didn't matter, though. They passed their classes and got the same piece of paper as me. After attending SFSU I feel as though I settled for a second rate education. I felt like I should've gone to a Cal Berkeley or a UCLA. Or course I would've had to take my education more seriously when I was younger, but that's besides the point. The point is that SFSU isn't that great academically. I'd say that about 75% of my general classes only had reading and multiple choice tests. After taking the tests the material was often forgotten. The material wasn't presented in a way that stimulated my retention. Now that's not entirely the professor's fault. Some of the material I just didn't find that exciting, like accounting for instance. But I felt as though the grade scales were often designed to pass students. In my accounting 100 course, a passing grade was a 55%. After all, you can't get money from students if they're dropping out. When I got into my major course work the classes changed slightly. Instead of just reading and taking tests, they added group work. During my last semester I was taking six classes. Each class had a group project due. Six classes, six groups. Besides the IBUS680 class I talked about earlier, all the group work did was teach us how to divide work and complete our specific parts. They didn't necessarily help me learn or retain the material.


I think the classes are great. Professors really do take time to get to know students and make the classes as interactive and interesting as they possibly can. I've definitely had the opportunity to build relationships with professors so that I could get the most out of the class. Ocean Matt is a great teacher that leaves an impact on his students -- a must for all SFSU students. I've had a few crazy teachers that I could have done without, however without teachers you aren't so crazy about you wouldn't have a sense of just how amazing the good teachers are. Students are certainly intellectual, and take their education outside of the four walls of the classroom, but the students at SFSU also know how to have a good time, which is something that's in abundance in the area. I think people can come to SFSU to get an education with the goal of getting a job, but I think the classes really promote learning for the sake of learning, which is my favorite part of the school.


Most of my classes are fairly big in size, except for my communications class which I consider to be the best. Class participation is required in all my classes, but I enjoy participating in my communications class the best. I can be shy at times, and communication is great in preparing you to give speeches and stand in front of your piers confidently and comfortably. My teacher, Mr. Bray, is awesome. He allures the classroom's attention in whatever he teaches, engages students in learning activities, and allows students to give eachother and him feedback. His class is a great example of how SFSU is geared for developing productive skills that is necessary outside of school. The learning experience is both fun, and educational.


Professors don't know my name because I haven't yet introduced myself to them. Classes are fairly large so it's not unusual for a student to go a whole semester without their professor knowing them by name. My favorite course is Humanities 415 (Contemporary Culture.) Professor Steier's lectures are like getting hit in the face with a baseball bat (his words, not mine.) They're very "stream of consciousness" yet at once coherent and poignant. Today he talked to us about Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" and why it's an uninterpretable work and why he [Steier] is an "asshole" for telling us it's uninterpretable, because in essence he's interpreted it for us...yeah, this course is nothing if not interesting. My least favorite course is probably English 462: 20th c. Lit. Don't get me wrong though, I like this course, but it is my least favorite. Dr. Green's lectures can get pretty dry sometimes, and the authors we're reading right now (Conrad, Wolfe, Joyce, Premchand) aren't my top picks by any stretch. I can't speak for other students yet, but if I'm any indication I'd say students study quite frequently. The workload for 12 units is definitely not light, so at least ~10 hours/week is my estimate. I hear snippets of intellectual conversation every day walking around campus, so yes! The most unique class I've taken is Humanities 415 as I desribed above. My major (for now) is English with a concentration in literature, and so far the department seems quite excellent--the lectures, readings and assignments are all interesting and challenging! SFSU's academic requirements seem very fair to me--not too rigid, not too lax. I'd say the curriculum at SFSU is a good mix of career prep. and knowledge for its own sake.

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