Admissions for Fall 2023 open October 1st, 2022

Interested in applying to IMES? Follow these preliminary steps:

  1. Research the IMES program on this website to determine if this is the right Master of Science program for you.

  2. Research the IMES faculty mentors on the Estuary & Ocean Science (EOS) Center faculty page to decide who may line up with your research interests.

  3. Contact Faculty mentors by email and conduct a phone or video interview with them.

  4. Speak with current graduate students in the IMES program who are working with faculty mentors. 

  5. Meet with the grad coordinator, Dr. Ellen Hines ( for any further questions.

Note: We would be happy to host you here at The EOS Center for a visit. It would be beneficial, but is not required.

Application Instructions

Applying to SF State’s IMES graduate program is all done via Cal State Apply. Please create an account on Cal State Apply, then follow the instructions below. 

(You are not allowed to apply to more than one program at a time on Cal State Apply.)

Step 1: Prepare the following "Program Materials" to be submitted on the Cal State Apply website:

  1. CV or Resume
  2. Personal Statement: Please write a 500-word essay in which you describe the reasons for your interest in interdisciplinary marine and estuarine science, your career and professional goals, and your reasons for wanting an Master's Degree in Interdisciplinary Marine and Estuarine Sciences at San Francisco State University. This statement should reflect on your creative and intellectual goals as a graduate student and in your future career. This is a very important part of your application. Please describe your educational background and preparation for graduate study. This statement is your opportunity to highlight academic and professional achievements and to describe any challenges faced while pursuing your education.
  3. Unofficial Transcripts: The Division of Graduate Studies requires you to upload unofficial copies of transcripts from every college or university attended, including study abroad coursework and community college coursework even if transfer credit appears on your degree transcript. Upload all transcripts to the documents section of this application. The Division of Graduate Studies may request official transcripts from you at any time during the application process in order to complete our review. Photographs of documents are not accepted. *(If selected for admission, you must submit official transcripts to the Division of Graduate Studies in order to secure your admission offer.)
  4. 3 letters of recommendation (to be submitted by the letter writer): You must have three (3) letters of recommendation submitted directly to the IMES program via Cal State Apply. Two of these letters, but preferably three, must come from academic mentors or professional scientific agency mentors. Letters should be written by individuals who can speak to your ability to carry on graduate study and research, general character, stability, and preparation for a career in the field of Marine and Estuarine Science. Letter of recommendation writers should submit this critical component of your application for graduate study through the “evaluations” section in your account on the Cal State Apply site. Writer's email addresses should be from academic institutions, professional organizations or other institutions (ex.,, or @ Full instructions are located on the "Evaluations" tab of the IMES "Program Details" Application Dashboard on Cal State Apply.
  5. The GRE is OPTIONAL: YOU DO NOT NEED TO TAKE THE GRE TO BE ADMITTED INTO IMES.  If you desire, you may upload unofficial GRE score reports. Be sure to request ETS send an official score to SF State using school code: 4684.
  6. English Language Proficiency Score Report (OPTIONAL): Students whose native language is not English and whose preparatory education was principally in a language other than English must submit an English language proficiency score report.


Step 2: Prepare answers to the following questions to be submitted to the “Questions” tab located under "Program Materials" on the Cal State Apply website. Each answer should be less than 150 words.

  1. What specific aspects of the IMES program are most appealing to you, and why?
  2. Why are you interested in a graduate program that emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach at the intersections of global change, urban coastal areas and societal challenges?
  3. In what ways does your background fit within this programmatic context?
  4. How does interdisciplinary graduate training fit within your career goals?
  5. You will have to choose one (or more) faculty mentors to be your sponsor from the list provided on the EOS Center faculty page (or write-in their name here if they are not listed). For each of the IMES Faculty Advisors you are interested in working with, please describe how your intellectual interests fit within their research areas.


Step 3: Apply to IMES on Cal State Apply:

  1. Log onto Cal State Apply's website.
  2. After you have made an account, please add your personal, academic, and supporting information to your account.
  3. Click on the "Add a program" link and select "Interdisciplinary Marine and Estuarine Sciences" from the list of Fall SF State Graduate Programs.
  4. Under the "Program materials" link on your account, submit all of your prepared IMES application materials to the "Documents" and "Questions" tabs.

Admissions Timeline

The IMES Admissions Committee will evaluate completed applications beginning after the March 1st, 2023 application deadline. Only applications completed by the deadline will be reviewed. Admission decisions for Fall 2023 will begin to be annouced in mid-April 2023. You will receive notification of admission to the IMES program via email. SF State will also send you official notification of admission, along with registration information. Please alert us to any changes in your street address, phone number or email address that occur during the application and admission period. The Fall 2023 semester begins on August 23rd, 2023.

More Questions? Contact Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Ellen Hines -

Need help with your application?

The SF State Division of Graduate Studies is holding workshops to provide you with strategies for submitting a competitive graduate school application. This workshop will provide you with an overview of the graduate school application timeline, researching potential faculty mentors, preparing personal statements, tips for obtaining strong letters of recommendation, and preparing for entrance exams.

See a Graduate Studies Advisor by going to the Graduate Division advising website!