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Universities in San Francisco, the USA

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San Francisco is home to a famous cable car system

San Francisco, also referred to as ‘The City by the Bay’, is a city located in California, right on the west coast of the US. It sits right on the North Pacific Ocean, and is renowned for its natural beauty.

The city is home to many world class universities and colleges, all of which mirror the city’s diverse roots and progressive attitude. From the historic Chinatown to the Latino influenced Mission District, San Francisco can feel like home for international students.

Due to its proximity to Silicon Valley, San Francisco is an appealing choice for students who are interested in technology and business courses. As well as this, the attractions such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and the manmade Treasure Island, mean that there will always be something new to explore.

All Universities in San Francisco

  • Academy of Art University
  • Bay Area Medical Academy
  • California College of the Arts
  • California Institute of Integral Studies
  • City College of San Francisco
  • Golden Gate University
  • Heald College
  • Hult International Business School – San Francisco
  • Minerva University
  • New College of California
  • Presidio Graduate School
  • San Francisco Conservatory of Music
  • San Francisco Film School
  • San Francisco Law School
  • San Francisco State University
  • University of California, San Francisco
  • University of California College of the Law, San Francisco
  • University of San Francisco

Top Universities in San Francisco

University of San Francisco

The University of San Francisco (USF) is a highly ranked Jesuit university, emphasising social responsibility and ethics. The university offers a wide range of programs, with a focus on critical thinking and global thinking. The main campus of USF is located on a hilltop, meaning that it benefits from panoramic views. International students will find that USF is a great option for their study abroad experience.

San Francisco State University

San Francisco State University (SFSU) is a melting pot of culture, innovation and education. It offers a vast range of programs, and has a unique emphasis on social justice. International students will feel welcomed by its diverse community, and will be able to take advantage of the easy access to the surrounding city.

San Francisco Universities World Ranking 2025

Below are the top-ranked San Francisco universities for international students, with their ranks in two of the world’s most well-respected international university rankings, the QS 2025 University World rankings and the Times Higher Education 2024 Rankings.

For more information about rankings systems and methodologies see our University rankings explained guide.

UniversityQS World Ranking 2025Times Higher Education Ranking 2024
University of San Francisco1,201-1,400
San Francisco State University1,201-1,400

Tuition and Living Costs in San Francisco

San Francisco is among the more expensive cities in the US, but can still be a realistic goal for international students with help from scholarships and grants, if needed. International students should expect to pay between $25,000 and $55,000 for tuition fees, depending on the university and program. If you are able to budget properly and stay within your financial means, San Francisco could definitely be an incredible place to live and study.

Life in San Francisco for International Students

San Francisco is very welcoming for international students, with its diverse neighbourhoods and progressive spirit. Students can take advantage of the big city environment, but also soak in the beautiful scenery that surrounds the city. A university or college in San Francisco could be an excellent choice for any international student.

See all universities in the USA.

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