Semester at SDSU: FAQs

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What is SDSU ID?  SDSU ID is an email address that enables you to get access to everything you need at SDSU.  It’s very important.  You should have received an email from with instructions for activating this email address. If you don’t remember receiving this, please look for it now, and follow the instructions in the email. If you don’t have the email, please contact

What is ALI?  ALI is the American Language Institute. It is the department under the SDSU Global Campus, and the department that manages all Semester at SDSU Programs.  Therefore, most SDSU staff and professors will refer to you as “ALI students.”

What is SDSU Global Campus?  SDSU Global Campus is one of the eight colleges that make up San Diego State University. The ALI is a part of SDSU Global Campus.

What is my SDSU Global Campus portal?  Your Global Campus portal is where you log in to pay your tuition and other fees related to the program.  You will also need this account to register for Special Sessions or any other classes offered by SDSU Global Campus, such as professional certificate programs.

What is Open University (Open U)? Open University is the platform by which students can enroll in SDSU classes without being fully admitted to a degree program. You will add your SDSU classes by using your Open University account, which will be given to you during orientation.

What is Canvas?  Canvas is SDSU’s Learning Management System.  Most professors use Canvas to teach their classes.  You will read documents posted on Canvas, submit assignments, tests, and quizzes on Canvas, and communicate with your professor and classmates via Canvas.  Most professors keep your progress posted on Canvas so that you can see how you’re doing in the class.  Please note: not all professors use Canvas, just most of them.

New Students

What do I need before I arrive?
In general, all students should pay tuition and submit health insurance information at least one month prior to the first date of the program.

Where can I find housing information?
ALI Housing Website

When can I turn in my BafoG or Learning Agreement?
You can turn in the BafoG or Learning Agreement after the add/drop deadline. Students are able to make schedule changes until the add/drop deadline, so schedules can change and we must wait until all enrollments and charges are final before we can sign/stamp any documents.

Can I get a tuition waiver?
Students are not able to receive a tuition waiver. On the BaFoG, there is a check box that asks about applying for a tuition waiver. We will complete this section and this is sufficient evidence for the tuition waiver request.

Is it possible to continue as a student in Semester at SDSU program for another semester?
Yes, you will receive an e-mail during your semester here that will ask if you would like to apply as a continuing student for the following semester. Academic performance in your first semester will greatly influence your ability to continue to a second semester.

Can I smoke on campus?
No, SDSU is a Smoke and Tobacco Free Campus. Smoking and using other tobacco products on campus is not allowed, and there are no smoking areas. Please do not smoke while you are anywhere on the SDSU campus.

Can I play sports at SDSU?

Yes, you can play intramural sports at SDSU.  You can also visit the Aztec Recreation Center at SDSU which has a lot of sports and exercise opportunities.  However, non-matriculated students are not eligible to play official SDSU sports teams or clubs.

Payment Information

How do I pay tuition, housing, or other fees?
Students may choose from many payment options: wire transfer, credit card, cashier’s check, or money order.

When do I pay tuition?
In general, all students should pay tuition at least one month prior to the first date of the program.

How can I get a receipt for proof of payment?
The cashier’s office will email a receipt once tuition payment is received and confirmed. Students will receive an itemized invoice regarding all payments after the add/drop deadline for the semester. This is because students may be charged for additional units.


Where is the Semester at SDSU Advising? 
Advising sessions, including location and schedule, during the semester can be found on the Advising page.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with an adviser before the program starts, please contact us at

Special Sessions

Are Special Sessions the same as ALI classes?
No, ALI classes are English-language classes that are taken by students who wish to improve their English skills and do not count for university credit. Special Session classes are university classes set up for Semester at SDSU students who wish to receive university credits.

Will Special Session grades be on my SDSU transcript?

Are Special Sessions designed to be easier for international students?
No, the material, content, and grading are the same as the on-campus course.

How do I add a Special Session?
Please refer to the information provided during Orientation for details.

Do the Special Session courses appear on Canvas?
Yes, if the professor is using Canvas.


I need certain classes for my degree back in my country. Can you guarantee that I will get these classes?
No, we cannot. Semester at SDSU students adds classes on a space-available basis, after SDSU matriculated students have enrolled. It is very important that all students are flexible in their class choices.

Can I contact the professor months before classes begin to secure a spot in that course?
No, students are not permitted to contact, email, call, or visit the professor or department. Reasons include: the professor for that course may change; and SDSU students have priority for enrollment, so professors may not have an estimate regarding space for ALI students.

Will I have classes with American students?
In most courses, you will be studying with American students.. However, some classes within the business department are in very high demand, and as a result, we open Special Sessions of some of these classes. The Special Session classes have students in the Semester at SDSU programs only.

Will my SDSU transcript say that I am a graduate student?
No, SDSU transcripts will only say “undergraduate” because you have not received a baccalaureate degree from SDSU. Students will get a standard transcript, but the classes will still be transferable since the course number will indicate that the class was graduate level. If your university needs proof of course numbering, they may view the Graduate Bulletin, and contact us at

Can graduate students take more than nine units?
Graduate students may take more than 9 units at an additional per-unit fee. In most cases.

Can students take a combination of graduate and undergraduate classes?
Yes, graduate students are able to take a combination of graduate and undergraduate classes. Please visit advising regarding your academic plan and to clarify the policies.

What does a student need to show the professor in order to take an upper-division or graduate class?
A copy of the student’s university transcript with proof of equivalent prerequisites and Bachelor’s diploma, if applicable. The decision on whether a student may or may not join a class is determined by class availability and academic coursework.

Where can I find the conversion rate of U.S. units to ECTS?
Please contact for more information.

Extra Units

Can students take more than 12 units?
Yes. You may enroll in up to 18 units without extra permission, and drop extra units by the add/drop deadline. If you need to officially enroll in over 15 units, you must receive permission from the Semester at SDSU Director. We verify the reason and if you are academically qualified to enroll in over 15 units.

How much do extra units cost?
For fall 2022, it is $300 per undergraduate unit (levels 100-599) and $360 per graduate unit (levels 600-799).

Do students have to pay for extra units if the extra units are in Special Sessions?

When do students need to pay for extra units?
Students can pay for extra units after the add/drop deadline, students will be invoiced for extra units if they have not paid.