Sproul Hall
Cal Student Central and Graduate Student Services offer many services to graduate students. Both are located in Sproul Hall.

As one of the world’s top-ranked research public universities, it’s fitting for UC Berkeley to have top-notch student services. Graduate students are assisted in their own academic programs, of course, but two central campus offices are the “go to” destinations for various needs: Cal Student Central and Graduate Student Services.

What exactly is the difference between these two offices and what can they offer you?

Graduate Student Services

A first recommended stop is the Graduate Student Service’s Resource webpage, which links to services and resources available to Berkeley’s 10,000 graduate students. Students will find information about,

“We tried to create a website designed from a student’s perspective,” said Andrea Rex, Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Services.

Graduate Student Services is a good place to start searching for grants, fellowships and outside awards, according to Rex. Her advice? “Start now.” Keep in mind, she added, that graduate fellowships and awards often have application deadlines in the fall semester. For in-person consultations, visit the dedicated staff at:

Graduate Student Services
318 Sproul Hall
Office hours: Monday – Friday, 9 am – noon and 1 – 4 pm
For more information, visit grad.berkeley.edu.

Cal Student Central

Cal Student Central has a big job: its staff of 15 advisors provide services to more than 37,000 students (both undergraduate and graduate). Cal Student Services follows four tenets: courtesy and respect, communication, efficiency and accountability, according to Carmen Ortiz, Director. “Everyone here is trying to serve people with a servant’s heart,” she said about the staff at Cal Student Central.

Graduate students can get help with registration and enrollment, financial aid (need-based loans), fees and billing, payments, and disbursements, although in most cases the student’s home department is the best place to initiate a question or concern. (See below for tips to reduce wait times and increase efficient advising for grads.)

Ortiz understands that visiting Cal Student Central can be daunting because of high peak times. “We understand that graduate students may not be on campus as often as undergraduates, and we want to respect their schedules,” she said. Ortiz recommends coming in the mornings, which tend to be less busy. “Noon to 2 pm is the busiest period,” she said, adding that any day near the 15th of the month is also busy, as that’s when most students pick up checks.

Cal Student Services now offers a new service for ordering official transcripts in PDF electronic form — more convenient than waiting for printed transcripts with an official seal. “It’s the way of the future, a way UC Berkeley is keeping up,” said Ortiz.

Have a Problem? Tips to Try Before Checking in with Cal Student Central

These steps could save you time and potential delays in service:

  1. Check your CalCentral My Finances or My Academics pages online to see if your question can be answered there.
  2. Contact your home department’s Graduate Student Affairs Officer (GSAO) for assistance.
  3. If referred by your home department to Graduate Division’s Student Services, you can visit 318 Sproul Hall 9 am – noon and 1 – 4 pm or email the relevant office:
  4. If you are referred to Cal Student Central by your home department for enrollment or financial aid (loans) assistance, please check in at 120 Sproul Hall for help.

Cal Student Central
120 Sproul Hall
(510) 664-9181
Phone hours: Monday – Friday, 9 am – noon and 1 – 4 pm
Office hours: Monday – Friday, 9 am – 4 pm

Categories: Headlines, October 2015, October 2016, September 2014
Tags: ,

About Sarah McClure

Sarah McClure is a Master's candidate in the Graduate School of Journalism. She is studying multimedia journalism and covers the environment and Latin America.