The RIPTIDES application period is open for Fall 2018 Admission.  
The application period closes Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. 

**Contact potential RIPTIDES program mentors by e-mail now.**

Applying to SF State’s RIPTIDES graduate program is all done on Cal State Apply: Please create an account at After you have created an account, please follow the instructions for applying to SF State + RIPTIDES below and on the SF State Graduate Division website:

Application Instructions

Part 1: Before you begin the application-process do the following:


  1. Research the RIPTIDES program on this website to determine if this is the right program for you.
  2. Research potential RIPTIDES faculty mentors to decide who may line up with your research interests here:
  3. Contact potential RIPTIDES faculty mentors by email and conduct a phone or video interview with them and/or with the graduate advisor, Dr. Ellen Hines:
  4. Speak with current graduate students who are working with faculty mentors. 
  5. Contact us at for any further questions. 

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

Part 2: 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 Science 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 RIPTIDES 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 RIPTIDES "Program Details" Application Dashboard on Cal State Apply.
  5. GRE Score Report (OPTIONAL): 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.

Part 3: 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 RIPTIDES 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. For each of the RIPTIDES Faculty Advisors you are interested in working with (identified in the list), please describe how your intellectual interests fit within their research areas.

Part 4: Apply to RIPTIDES 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 any other supporting information to your account as shown here on the SF State Graduate Division website:
  3. Click on the "Add a program" link and select "Interdisciplinary Marine and Estuarine Science - RIPTIDES" from the list of SF State Graduate Programs.
  4. Under the "Program materials" link on your account, submit all of your prepared RIPTIDES application materials to the "Documents" and "Questions" tabs.

Admission Timeline:

The RIPTIDES Admission Committee will evaluate completed applications beginning after the February application deadline. Only applications complete by the deadline will be reviewed. Admission decisions for Fall 2018 will occur by Saturday, March 31, 2018. You will receive notification of admission to the RIPTIDES program via email and/or phone. 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.

More Questions? Contact the RIPTIDES Program Coordinator, Adam Paganini, M.S. - or 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.

The Prospective Graduate Student Workshops are held in the SF State Library, Room 244.  To register, click on the date that works best for you below:


For advising services see the flyer below to meet with a Graduate Studies Advisor!