Financing Your M.A. Degree

Information on costs, fellowships, scholarships, teaching assistantships and more.


Financing a master’s degree can be challenging. And while San Francisco State University’s (SFSU) in-state tuition is quite low compared to other universities, the cost of living in the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the highest in the United States.

Most WGS graduate students who complete the program in two years work part-time while they are enrolled as full-time students. Other students who maintain a full-time job usually complete their M.A. degree in three years. Many students take out student loans and apply for a range of scholarships.

WGS does not offer “admissions packages” with funding outlined at the onset of your degree. Each student has unique financial and personal circumstances. Instead, each semester the department offers GA teaching positions as well as various scholarships. We try to make your M.A. as affordable as possible, and support individual paths towards the degree.

How much does to cost to get an M.A. degree at SF State?

For important information about current fees and tuitions, visit the Bursar website.

For the most updated information about financial aid, housing and tuition, you can also contact the SFSU Graduate Division and the Office of Financial Aid.

Are teaching and research assistantships provided for WGS graduate students?

YES. The WGS department has between 5-8 graduate student teaching assistant positions each semester (they are called GA - graduate assistant, not teaching assistant, at SFSU). In August and January, the chair of the WGS department calls for applications for GA positions. WGS graduate students have priority for these positions. The GA positions carry a monthly stipend: $581/month for eight hours work per week for five months (total $2,905) (based on spring 2023 rates).

WGS students have also often been GAs for other departments such as Ethnic Studies, Sexuality Studies, Humanities, Journalism, etc. if other departments have needs for GAs with gender studies expertise.

When WGS faculty receive grants for research assistants, they can hire WGS graduate students. These are paid hourly, usually between $15-$20/hour, depending on the grant.

What other on-campus jobs are available to me?

WGS students have often worked as cross-campus tutors at the Tutoring and Academic Support Center (TASC).

WGS students have also worked in student services, as program coordinators for student groups such as the Queer and Trans Resource Center, and elsewhere on campus.

Visit the Associated Students website

Visit the Human Resources website to find student employment

What scholarships or fellowships am I eligible for as a graduate student in WGS at SFSU?

Marjorie Stern Graduate Scholarship

Every year, the WGS department offers a competitively awarded $500 scholarship. Applications are in the Fall, and the money is distributed in the Spring.

WGS Emergency Fund

The purpose of the WGS Student Emergency Fund Scholarship is to support students in need of “emergency” funding. An emergency is broadly defined to include those categories not covered as part of the regular cost of attendance (i.e. NOT “tuition fees, books and supplies, meals, housing, transportation, and personal expenses” per Financial Aid).

SFSU Scholarships and Grants

WGS graduate students are also often very successful in applying for other SFSU scholarships and grants: these follow the same calendar and are usually $500-$1,000 awards.

Some SFSU scholarships that WGS students have won in the past include the following:

  • CSU Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program
  • Judith Anne Ott Scholarship
  • Evans, Hsu, Kauffman Scholarship
  • Edward B. Kaufmann College of Liberal & Creative Arts Scholarship

For more information about SFSU scholarships, visit the Academic Works website. You can search by scholarship name or by keywords (such as “gender” or other words that relate to your own identity, history, research interests, etc.)

Other Scholarships and Grants

WGS M.A. students have been successful in applying to a range of non-SFSU funds as well. Here are some suggestions

This is a great resource, compiled in 2017 that includes information for graduate and undergraduate scholarships.

For students who are not US residents, from specific regions or countries, to study in the United States. A program of the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

This organization offers a range of scholarships and fellowships

Other SFSU graduate student funding

Conference travel

The College of Liberal & Creative Arts offers graduate students $400-$600 to attend a professional conference related to their areas of study. These funds are allotted each Fall on a first come, first served basis for students presenting work at qualifying conferences.

Is there SFSU campus housing for graduate students?

YES. There is on-campus graduate housing. The university also facilitates roommate referrals and housing information for graduate students. For this information, see the University Housing website.