University of San Francisco Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?


Classes in my school are small, which means the professor is more likely to know who you are. The smallest class I had there were 12 students and the biggest class had 60 students. Even my biggest class is small compared to other schools. I’ve had different types of professors, some just lecture and don’t ask feedback from students, and others are very engaged with the students. My favorite class so far is my current class, which is the sociology of hip-hop. I like the professor’s enthusiasm and passion for the class and everything I’m learning makes me question so many things in society. Students are competitive because everyone wants the highest grade and to do the best, but it’s not cutthroat. It is recommended that you study for a class two hours for every hour of class. What I really like that has worked is going to the school’s free tutoring center, professor and T.A. office hours, and partnering up with a classmate. I really think I am getting a good education, because apart from my Business major classes, we are required to take core classes, like Ethics and History. Taking these classes will help gain a broader perspective for life and work.


The academics at USF are exceptional. I have had some of the smartest and most inspiring teachers that far exceeded my expectations. Teachers are so willing to help students and are so readily available it makes failing not an option. The resources needed to succeed are abundant.


As a business major, most of my professors are highly qualified and encouraging. They want to help us begin our careers in the "Real world" and help us as much as possible. There are such a wide range of courses offered outside of my major that are often fun to take for a change.


Academics at USF are great here. All of the professors I've had so far really care about teaching their subject well as well as getting to know their students. Class sizes are generally very small, meaning that it's easy to get a more individual interaction with teachers. Also, no matter what your major, there are a lot of opportunities offered to students regarding things like internships and volunteering opportunities.


I have mixed feelings about the academics here at USF. I am found of saying that the classes are simultaneously too hard and too easy. Here's what I mean: many of the professors seem hellbent on "challenging" their students, but they go about it in the wrong way. It is not at all unusual for professors to cram an insane amount of material into a single semester. They will assign tons of reading and numerous (read: incessant) essays and papers. They will also impose strict deadlines. I have heard that USF tries to model its academics on Harvard, and that does not surprise me. But the result, in my opinion, is far from satisfactory. I feel as if I am constantly doing busy work, and often fear that I will "crack" under the pressure. There is so much reading, that I feel as if I do not have adequate time for reflection! There are so many rules and regulations, that I feel as if my creativity is being squelched! The constant onslaught of work prevents me from engaging with the material in a meaningful way. I often feel as if I am involved in an elaborate charade, where I complete assignments only in order to graduate, and NOT because of any intrinsic benefit. So, basically, for me, the structure of the classes at USF destroys my desire to learn. At the same time, the classes are too easy in the sense that, despite the high workload, the assignments are not profound. The professors will force us to do so much busy work, for example, that we do not end up having enough time to devote to our research papers. In my major, there is not even an option to pursue a "senior thesis," which is pretty deplorable for those of us hoping to go to grad school. I think that a lot of these problems are due to the vocational emphasis at USF. The school seems to be teaching students how to behave in the professional world, rather than how to think! If you want an ivory tower experience, USF may not be the best place for you. Likewise, if you want an avant-garde intellectual experience (where you can design your own major, or do a lot of inter-disciplinary exploration, or respond to assignments creatively, etc.), USF may not be the best place for you. If you are a practical person who is into things like time management, pre-professional behavior, multitasking, and deadlines, then USF is the perfect school for you!


The academics here are wonderful. As I stated in my overall experience, you are able to participate in class and most professors encourage it! If you are looking for one-on-one attention, it is easy to receive it here. The classes that I have taken are amazing and I have enjoyed everyone of them, except for maybe Rhetoric.


The academics at this school are challenging yet exciting. There is a lot of class participation involved in the classes and it provides for some interesting discussions. I like how a lot of the academics seem to have a focus on social justice and it is not just learning on an abstract level.


I love classes at USF. The professors really take time to learn your names and offer a million resources to help you out in class if you're every feeling lost of confused. The class sizes are also perfect, in my opinion, with about 30 people in a standard classroom. There also do offer auditorium style classes if you are taking more science-based courses and those class can reach up to about 150 students. People do take classes seriously here: they study, participate, ask questions in class, attend study groups, and more. One of the most unique classes I took at this university was my sculpture class during summer where we would go on a scavenger hunt around the city to find objects to create a meaningful sculpture to us. Also, in my astronomy class, the teacher had us go to a free museum day to the Center of Arts and Science in Golden Gate Park to go to the planetarium. Also, we went on top of a dorm building to do a telescope viewing as well; I saw Saturn's rings and I loved it! I am a Psychology Major with a double minor in Neuroscience and Classical Studies. In every single department, I have never meet such wonderful teachers and mentors in my life. It honestly feels like a great big family. Teachers really take pride in what they teach and it shows. All of the majors, classes, and curriculums are geared towards making you a much more well-rounded student and you feel like your education is specialized in helping you achieve your successful career.


Academics are rigorous but not overbearing. All my professors know my name. One of my classes I am in has only 8 people and we sit around a table. Most classes end up being a discussion more than a lecture. Depending on majors, students can end up studying a lot or hardly ever. It is commonly known at USF that Business majors leave the school with great jobs but hardly ever have a lot of homework through their four years. However, if you are a science or architecture major be prepared to pull a few all nighters. Rather than students being competitive, our school encourages students to work together because that is how the real world is going to be.


very similar to high school, professors are very involved and care about our academics. group projects, students are in the same classes


Academics are really important at USF, and the professors definitely make it a point to know everyone's names each semester. Students typically study on campus and take advantage of the study rooms made available in the Library, University Center, and even in some open classrooms. Every semester, you meet with your departmnet advisor and review your class plans for the following semster in order to register. This is a great way to stay on track, discuss class options, or even to just ask questions about your career goals and plans.


In this small university, not only are the classes small and intimate, but the limited number of students in each major normally means that you've attended all four years with the same faces and have developed close relationship with most of them. Most of my professors have been interesting and informative, and several of them welcome previous students to sit in on lectures and contribute to the class discussions. I'm always happy, ans this gives me the opportunity to participate in classes that I couldn't register for due to conflicts or heavy workloads. Although the discussions can become fiery, most of the students maintain friendships that enable the conversations to leave the class. I can still remember debating the merit of Marie de France's "Lanval" on a public bus as a few classmates and I ventured out for gourmet ice cream.


Academic life at the University is both rigorous and enjoyable. I constantly find myself motivated for class due to all of my professors' dedication and interest in their material. All of my professors know my name and the classroom environment is welcoming. Our library on campus is full of staff who are all willing and able to help with whatever academic need students require. Participation in class is both necessary and encouraged due to the intimate class, which breeds a sense of academic freedom. During my first semester I enrolled in an Opera appreciation class. Having no knowledge of opera whatsoever, I found myself in a class which was both comprehensive and inviting regarding the teaching of such a unique subject. The most interesting aspect of this class however was not in the classroom itself, but the performances which the students attended at the San Francisco Opera. This holistic approach to out-of-class learning is found in most classes at the University. My experience with the concept of education at the University is one of education for educations sake. While getting a job and career planning is a part of the education mission at the school, it seems the pursuit of knowledge lies at the core of every class.


I have never had a professor not know my name. My favorite classes have been my classes for learning communities such as The St. Ignatius Institute or The Honors in Humanities Program; they tend to be smaller and require more participation on the students behalf. My classes for my major, Literature, and my minor, Philosophy, tend to be slightly larger but they have never exceeded 25 kids. The professor still knows your name and typically encourages a lot of participation. It would be difficult for me to pick a favorite class or professor because I've so thoroughly enjoyed the majority of my classes and they have all been so different in range since the university requires students receive a diverse education. I have had professors invite classes to their homes for a class or for a lunch and it has always been a wonderful opportunity to get to know your professors on a more personal level. The learning requirements at USF are perfectly reasonable; they expect you to be responsible. The classes are too small, typically, for you to get away with not doing homework or to miss too many classes. Finally, it depends on the major but most majors are geared towards learning for its own sake, in my opinion but some, such as Nursing, are geared towards getting a really good job.


The academics at USF can be described as both thorough and varied. Classes are taught in a wide range of sometimes highly specified topics; everything from Great Ideas in Mathematics to Evolution & Human Origins to Literature and the Environment to Philosophy of Human Person. Classes are small so my professors know my name, and what's more is they set aside time when I or other students can meet with them to discuss anything about the class or class related issues. My favorite class last semester was Hinduism which I found infinitely interesting. The professor went out of her way to give us a real life perspective on what being a Hindu means, she even took us on a field trip to two Hindu temples. My least favorite class was a literature class because the class discussions became a bit redundant at times, but even then some of what was said had real value for me. My friends and I are always being introduced to new ideas in our classes and we discuss them with each other outside of class regularly, even if it's only in jest at times. My major is English because I wish to be a professional writer. USF doesn't offer a Creative Writing major at the undergraduate level or else I would be in it, but there are enough English and writing classes for my satisfaction. Although I came to USF to study English I was surprised during my first year to discover my love of gardening. I took a couple Urban Agriculture classes in which I worked in a community garden on campus and learned how to grow food locally and sustainably. Gardening classes quickly became my favorite and I met a great group of people who now make up a portion of my closest friends. USF also offers extensive resources to help prepare students for work after college. People in the career center will help students draft resumes, prepare for interviews, and even apply for internships and jobs. I am confident that I will be ready and able to begin my career when I am done at USF.


I really enjoy the classes at USF. The biggest class I have been in is around 42 students. This was because it was part of the core curriculum for USF and these classes always have more students. For classes that are specific to your major the number of students tends to be smaller. At least for myself, as an English major, the most students I have in those classes is about 25. All of my professors learn the names of their students, and know me by name whenever I talk in class or ask them for help privately. They are also very helpful with providing time for students to ask questions in class and ask questions or get help outside of class. All of my professors have told students when they have office hours and all of them have worked with student schedules if students cannot make office hours or need additional help. Professors encourage class participation and discussion, and in the majority of my courses students have taken advantage of this to understand the topic and present their own ideas and opinions on what is being learned. Students are competitive, but not with each other. They all just want to do the best they can in their courses, and because USF gives great internship and career opportunities. A lot of the time this leads to study sessions with fellow classmates and further discussion to gain better understanding of a difficult subject. Within my own friend group I often had discussions about courses for my major and their majors that leads to an exchange of opinions and has aided all of us when trying to understand a concept when studying or when trying to clearly state an idea in a paper. Since I am studying English, this has especially benefited me as my classes have become more rigorous in analytical discussion and critical opinions on literary works I read. The academic requirements and expectations of my professors and the University of San Francisco are fair. They have challenged me in the subject matter and in the requirements of my assignments, and have made me more open in how I approach a topic and pushed me to think outside the box. When working on projects and papers I am expected to find information that is considered well researched and respectable, and provides good evidence to my argument. The education you are getting at USF is designed to prepare you for your future career, but also encourages students to study and learn more about subject matter whether it be for a core class or a class for the students major. Being successfully launched into your career is important to the staff at USF, however the school's motto promotes the continual education of individuals to achieve an open-minded perspective, and the desire to help and accept people in our world.


Class sizes at this school are generally small, and in my experience never more than 30 students in one class. This allows students to get to know their teachers and meet with their teachers outside of class with ease. Students at this school take academics seriously, throughout the campus there are many places to study, often it's hard to find a table with a group of friends in the library or various other buildings. The school offers many majors and therefore many classes to expose students to different occupational fields. Many students do come in with a declared major, but students are just as welcome even when undeclared, like myself. When declared you have a path, but when you aren't, you don't entirely know what classes to take. Counselors then are very helpful in choosing said classes. Counselors are always available via email and willing to meet. Academics, with all it's aspects, are a big part of this school and it's not a place where slacking off gets you far.


The academics at USF are up to par. The core curriculum is evidently unbalanced, with an excess of humanities classes compared to science classes, and can be insipid at times. However, once you move into your upper division and major specific classes, things become interesting. As an English major, with a concentration in literature, I find great enjoyment in my classes. My literature classes are small- no more than 25 kids- and encourage discussion. Students are competitive, but, not necessarily with each other. Students generally realize that school is not a competition with one another, meaning they strive to do well, but do not concern themselves with "beating everyone". Professors are generally reasonable, but, like all schools, some are more enjoyable than others.


Classes at USF are amazing, in my opinion. I entered in the school as an English major, and just recently picked up a minor in philosophy because of my philosophy class. The English department is small, but it is connected and offers amazing resources. For example, I just received an internship at City Lights bookstore with my advisor's help. The philosophy department is a bit bigger, but the professors are just as engaged. The professors I have are incredibly passionate and eager to help their students. Yet they refuse to baby them - they want their students to genuinely learn because they are interested in the subject. My friends and I often discuss what we learned in class over lunch, and I usually meet with my professors regarding papers or assignments about three times a week. The classes are small, but they are very beneficial.


Every professor I've had knows my name, this is because our classes are about 20-30 students on average (the most I've ever had in a class was 40, the least 7 and these were both general eds.). Classes are more discussion based, which I personally find more conducive to my style of learning. One of my favorite classes I've had thus far that I have applied outside of the classroom has been my Rhetoric and Composition class Freshman year. My professor had lived in San Francisco for years and had watched it change with the times, so she shared her passion for the city with us through various "field studies" she'd send us on. She would write step-by-step instructions (as detailed as "don't forget to look up and note the architecture!") for us and every month or so we'd have a day off of class to, using her instructions as our guide, go out and explore San Francisco on our own. Our assignment was essentially to just be, to enjoy our city and write what we saw. We'd combine our field notes with the San Francisco-centered literature we'd read for class and write papers and speeches on various subjects using San Francisco as our base. It is because of this class that I am able to confidently speak in front of large audiences, write an effective argument, and find my voice.


Most professors know us by name. My favorite class was business law with professor Griffis and my least favorite classes are the accounting classes taught by Neilson and Roberts. Students are constantly studying throughout the week. Class participation is very common due to the small class sizes. I am an accounting major - part of the business department - and I would say I am getting a lot out of this major. The networks that USF has with the San Francisco community is AMAZING. The education at this school is definitely geared toward BOTH getting a job and learning.


I've been fortunate to have had teachers that are both inspirational and easy to approach especially in my Philippine studies courses. There have probably been one or two teachers that have put a damper on my my college experience. When its time to register for classes, be sure to talk with previous students rather than rely on rate my professor. Overall, the classes here attempt to engage you in every way possible and for the most part challenge you to do more than just learn.


One of the great things about USF's academics is that you know your professors and they know you. Rather than being one of 100 you actually are treated as a person in class and have the ability to ask questions or bring up interesting points.


This is a normal college experience when it comes to academics - although it is a small school, the classes are challenging and the ones specific to my major are difficult but also are teaching me things that I am already applying to nursing.


Academics at USF are pretty rigorous. I am a sociology student and the department is pretty small, which is great for me. All of the faculty are very hands-on and friendly. They know my name, even though I've only had one of the professors so far. I will say that it really depends on your major. My friends vary from nursing students to communications majors and they all have different ranges of academic intensity. But the one thing that helps is how involved faculty gets. These professors really want you to learn. They would rather have you get a B in class but really learn everything than be able to get straight As and walk away with little knowledge. One of the most interesting classes I've taken is for my performing arts credit. It was a class on Popular Dance Cultures and Subcultures. We learned about all different types of dance and even went into the city to take a Tribal Bellydancing class because our professor wanted us to really experience it. We all had a lot of fun and learned a lot, plus it was a full 4-credit class that was a great break from the rest of my academics.


Yes, the professors do know you by name. Most of the time the max. amount of students in a classroom will be 35-40. As a nursing major, some of my theory classes have had 45-50 students, which makes it a bit more difficult to interact with the professor(s); however, the professors are very flexible and truly care about the you (the students) education, so they often will meet with you and work around your schedule.


USF is a school where you can get as much or as little as you'd like out of it academically. I know people who scrape by doing the bare minimum and then say that they think the school is easy. That's probably true for some; however, the teachers (in my program, anyway) are excellent and eager to teach and those students who want make the most of their experience have the tools to push themselves.