Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve compiled many of the frequently asked questions we receive from prospective graduate students. We hope you can find the answer you’re seeking! If you cannot, please email us at


Q: How can I apply to graduate school?

At UC Berkeley, you may apply to only one graduate or concurrent degree program. Berkeley does not offer ad hoc joint degree programs or cotutelle agreements with other universities.

To get started, visit the Applying for Graduate Admission page, contact the department for information about the program in which you are interested, or review the information on the Department’s website. You can find contact information including links to the websites for each program at the Graduate Programs & Application Deadlines page.

Q. What are the requirements for admission to graduate programs at UC Berkeley?

The minimum graduate admission requirements are: (1) a bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution; (2) a satisfactory scholastic average, usually a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale, and (3) sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in your chosen field.

Many departments have additional or higher requirements than those mentioned above, and satisfying minimal standards does not guarantee your admission. Contact information for individual departments can be found at the Graduate Programs & Application Deadlines page.

International students requiring determination of their degree equivalency, should contact the Graduate Admissions office for more details at

Q. How does the admissions process work at UC Berkeley?

Submit an online application on or before the deadline for the program you are applying to. Deadlines for programs vary. The online application is available each year in September. Spring applications are only accepted by a few departments. Check the Graduate Programs & Application Deadlines page for more information.

Please follow departmental instructions on how to submit transcripts, supplementary information, department-specific material, statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation. The department reviews applications and recommends admission to the Graduate Division. Graduate Division issues the official notification of admission.

Q: I’m not sure which graduate program at UC Berkeley is best for me.

UC Berkeley offers a wide range of graduate programs. Go to the Career Center and see a Career Counselor to help map out which type of graduate education is best for you. Alternatively, review the different programs UC Berkeley offers and identify the ones of greatest interest to you. Visit the website of each program to research their requirements and expectations. Compare this to your academic background, professional experience, interests and goals.

You can get additional information by visiting UC Berkeley’s Career Center website.

Q: I just want to take graduate level courses. How can I do this?

There is a non-degree option called “Course Work Only” (CWO). You will need to meet all of the normal criteria for admission, and be approved by the department. Not all departments accept CWO students. There is a limit of two semesters of study and admission to this status precludes future admission or change of major into a degree program at Berkeley.

Some UC Berkeley faculty will grant permission to students to audit courses; this is an unofficial status and completely at the discretion of the individual faculty member. No record of attendance is provided by the Registrar’s Office.

Summer Sessions is also open to all individuals. Please go to the Summer Sessions website for the current course offerings.

Many courses are offered through University Extension. Details are available from their office located at 1995 University Avenue, or by calling (510) 642-4111.

Application Questions

Q: How much is the application fee?

For applicants that use the Graduate Division’s online application for admission, the application fee for U.S. Citizens and current Permanent Residents is $135. The application fee for all other applicants is $155.

Q: Can I request a waiver of the application fee?

Only United States citizens or Permanent Residents may request a fee waiver by following the instructions and completing the waiver form in the payment section of the application. International applicants are not eligible and must pay the application fee. Please see the Application Fee Waiver page. If you are AB540, please email Graduate Admissions at for more information on the fee waiver process.

Q: Can I send my application fee electronically or pay it with a credit card?

Payments are submitted by credit card only.

Q: My credit card payment was rejected. What can I do?

Make sure the information you enter in the payment page matches the information on the credit card exactly (name, address, security code). You can also try to use another credit card. In cases where your card is rejected, your bank may place a temporary hold on your funds. We cannot release the hold. If the hold stays on your account for more than 5 days, you will need to contact your bank.

Q: How do I calculate my GPA?

Please direct all GPA related questions to your department, they will be able to provide you with specific information on their GPA calculation requirements.

Q: My grades were impacted by COVID-19 or changed to a P/NP grading policy. How will the Graduate Division review these grades?

UC Berkeley evaluates applicants for admission to its graduate and professional schools holistically, meaning that we consider an applicant’s combination of personal accomplishments, letters of recommendation, personal statements, academic record, and test scores in making our admissions decisions. Such a review will take into account the significant disruptions of COVID-19 when reviewing students’ transcripts and other admissions materials from Spring 2020. We understand that many institutions across the country instituted P/NP grading policies during that semester. Thus, we will not penalize students for the adoption of P/NP and other grading options during this unprecedented period, whether the choices were made by institutions or by individual students. Our admissions evaluation will focus primarily on a student’s academic performance prior to this period, and if applicable, following this period. What is most important is that applicants demonstrate that they pursued a challenging curriculum that was relevant to their plan for graduate or professional school.

Q: Did you get my application?

Once you submit your online application, you will receive an email confirming your submission. You may log back into your application to monitor the status of the materials received or processed, such as: fee waivers, test scores, letters of recommendation, and admission decision. Please contact your department if you need to make any changes or need to provide additional application materials.

Q: Can I submit an application after the deadline? What if I have extenuating circumstances (e.g. natural disasters, network outages, civil unrest) that will prevent me from submitting by the deadline, are there any options? 

The application system will not allow you to submit your application after the deadline. The faculty and staff of UC Berkeley understand that exceptional circumstances may arise that make it difficult to complete the university’s graduate application on time. Please visit our Exceptions for Applicants with Extenuating Circumstances page for flexible options and exceptions to help you complete your application. Please contact your department/program directly. Contact information can be found on the Graduate Programs & Application Deadlines page.

Q: Can I submit materials or make changes on my application after the application deadline?

For any changes please contact your department/program directly. Contact information can be found on the Graduate Programs & Application Deadlines page. Only departments may decide whether to accept application materials submitted after the deadline.

Q: When will a decision be made on my application?

Every department has different timelines. Contact the department for more information.

Q: My department told me I was admitted but I haven’t received anything from the Graduate Division.

It can take up to two weeks for the department to forward the recommendation and for the paperwork to be processed. If it has been more than three weeks and you have not received notice of admission, please contact your department directly to inquire about your application status.

Q: How do I accept or decline the offer of admission?

Log into your application status page and view your admission letter. The Reply Form (SIR) will appear at the bottom of your status page.

Q: Where do my recommenders send their letters of recommendation?

In the Recommendations page of the application, enter the recommender’s name and email address and send the invitation. An email request will be sent to them with a link to upload their letter into your application.

Q: How do I edit a recommender entry (i.e. name, email, waive your right to view letter option)?

If the invitation has been sent, you will need to exclude the original entry and create a new recommender entry with the correct information. In order to upload their letter, your recommender will need to use the new link, as the old link will be deactivated.

Q: What do I do if my recommender is not receiving the email request or they cannot upload their letter?

Ask your recommender to check their SPAM folder for an email from If no email is found, you have two options: (1) Exclude your recommender listing and enter them again using a personal email address. (2) Have your recommender send their letter to and we will upload it for them.

Q: Can I submit my application even if my recommenders have not yet submitted their letters?

Yes, you can submit your application before all of your letters are submitted.

Q: Can I add recommendations after I have submitted my application?

Yes, you can add recommenders if you have not already had three letters submitted on your behalf. You can add additional recommenders through your status page.

Q: How do I follow up with my recommender?

After sending the initial invitation to your recommenders, you can send reminder emails via the Recommendations page even after you have submitted your application. There will be a link back to the Recommendations page at the bottom of your status page.

Q: Can I use Interfolio for my recommendations?

Yes, Interfolio will provide you with a specific email address for each letter that can be entered into the recommendation field.

Q: How do I check the status of my recommendations?

When a letter is uploaded into your application you will receive an email. You can also check by logging back in to your application status page.

Q: Can my recommender submit their letter after the deadline?

The system does allow recommendations to be submitted after the deadline. Please check with the program you are applying to regarding their recommendation deadline requirements.

Q: What is the minimum requirement for English Language Proficiency tests?

TOEFL IBT: 90, IELTS: 7 out of 9. We are currently not accepting the TOEFL ITP Plus for Mainland China. Please check this website in September for any updates.

Q: GRE or TOEFL scores are not ready. Should I wait until I get them to send my application?

Do not miss the application deadline waiting for your test scores. Be sure to note your test type and date on your application.

Q: Did you receive my GRE or TOEFL scores?

Once your application is submitted, you may check the status of your scores on your online application status page. When the scores are matched they will show as “verified”.

Q: What is the Berkeley institution code for reporting the GRE or TOEFL?

4833 for Graduate Programs

Q: Is the department code required for the GRE or TOEFL?

No, the department code is not required for your GRE or TOEFL scores to match up with your application.

Q: How long are GRE and TOEFL/IELTS scores valid for?

The GRE is a departmental requirement, all questions should be referred to the program. Scores are reported for 5 years after taking the test. Specific information can be found at the GRE website. For the TOEFL/IELTS please see the application requirements page.

Q: Where do I send my official IELTS score report?

All IELTS scores must be sent electronically from the testing center, no institution code is required. Our address for identification purposes is: University of California, Berkeley, Graduate Division, Sproul Hall Rm 318, MC 5900, Berkeley, CA 94720. Please do not mail any score reports to us.

Q: I have a question about my visa.

For questions about your visa documents, contact the Berkeley International Office at or visit their website.

Q: Are International Students required to submit a financial certificate or affidavits when applying for admission?

No. Financial certification is not required to apply for admission. Once an international student accepts UC Berkeley’s offer of admission, the Berkeley International Office will work with the student to collect financial certifications and all other documents required for the student visa.

Registration Questions

Q: How do I register?

Once you have submitted your Statement of Intent to Register, you will receive an email with your student ID and information on how to create a CalNet ID and passphrase.

Please log into the UC Berkeley’s online student portal CalCentral using your CalNet ID and passphrase to view your on boarding tasks. If you don’t remember your CalNet ID or passphrase, please contact the Cal 1 Card Office.

You are required to submit your official academic records/transcripts that show evidence of Bachelor (or Bachelor equivalent) degree conferral.

All records submitted to our office become the property of the University, and we cannot return them to you. If your academic records cannot be replaced, you should bring them to our office and we will certify/photocopy them and return the originals. The deadline to submit final official transcripts is October 1st.

Note: Students with a UC Berkeley undergraduate degree do not have to submit official transcripts.

Q: I want to request a deferral.

You will need to contact your department for deferral information.

Q: What do I do in order to become a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI)?

To learn about academic appointments, you should read the Appointments Handbook. Hiring of GSIs is done directly by the departments. Please contact the programs directly, information can be found on the Graduate Programs & Application Deadlines page.


Q: As an undocumented student, am I eligible to apply to UC Berkeley graduate programs?

Yes, undocumented students are eligible to apply to any UC Berkeley graduate program.

Q: As an undocumented student, am I eligible for a fee waiver?

AB540 students may apply for the fee waiver if they meet the eligibility criteria. Please contact the Graduate Admissions Office at for instructions.

Q: How do I respond to questions about residency/visa status when I apply? 

The application has a Personal Background section, for example: 

Residency/Visa status: What type of residency or visa status do you expect to hold at the start of the term for which you applied?

For protection purposes, there is no option to disclose any type of undocumented status (DACA-mented and AB540 included). If no residency/visa status listed feels appropriate for you, there is the option to list “OT” – Other visa type” 

Residency/Visa status: What type of residency or visa status do you currently hold?

Undocumented students should select “unknown” as a visa would not be applicable. 


For questions related to navigating UC Berkeley as an undocumented graduate student, contact Undocumented Graduate Student Specialist at: or visit the undocugrads website.