Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

Below you can find many of the frequently asked questions we receive from prospective graduate students. We hope you can find the answer you’re seeking!


Q: How can I apply to graduate school?

Explore our Steps to Apply to learn more about the application process or contact departments for more details on each program you are interested in. You can find contact information including links to the websites for each program at Graduate Programs & Application Deadlines.

Q: Can I apply to more than one program?

No, you may apply to only one graduate or concurrent degree program per admissions cycle (Fall, Spring, and Summer term).

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

The minimum application requirements are listed on our Application Requirements page.

Many departments have additional requirements than those mentioned above, and satisfying minimal standards does not guarantee your admission. Please check with the program to which you’re applying for more information on our Graduate Programs & Application Deadlines page.

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

Submit an online application on or before the deadline for the program in which you are applying. Deadlines for programs vary. 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. The 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, and we encourage you to visit our Choosing Your Program page for tips.

Q: I already have a doctoral degree from another university. Can I still apply to a doctoral degree program at Berkeley?

Students who already hold a doctoral level degree cannot be admitted to another doctoral degree. However, in extraordinary circumstances, the faculty of the department may request an exception from the Dean of the Graduate Division. The department must demonstrate that the second degree field of study and program are distinctly different from that of the original degree, and that there is a professional or scholarly purpose that requires this second degree.

Q: I would like to transfer to Berkeley. How do I go about this?

You cannot transfer credit from other institutions if you are seeking a Ph.D. degree. A master’s student may transfer up to 4 semester units or 6 quarter units of course work completed as a graduate student at another institution if (a) the work was taken in graduate status at an accredited institution, (b) it did not form part of a program for a degree previously awarded at UC Berkeley or elsewhere, and (c) the grade received was at least a “B” and the student’s overall GPA at both institutions was at least 3.3. Acceptance is subject to the approval of the Graduate Division upon recommendation of the department concerned. Transfer of credit will not reduce your academic residence requirements or the required minimum of 200-series courses in the major field.

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.

Concurrent Enrollment is an option through University Extension that allows you to enroll without being admitted to a degree program.

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.

Q: How much is the application fee?

The non-refundable application fee for U.S. citizens and current permanent residents is $135; for all other applicants, the fee is $155.

Please pay the application fee immediately upon submitting your application through the application status portal. If you fail to pay the application fee or to obtain a fee waiver, your application will not be reviewed.

Q: Am I eligible for an application fee waiver?

Each year, we are able to accommodate only a limited number of application fee waivers. To be eligible for a fee waiver, you must be a U.S. citizen or current permanent resident who demonstrates financial need or participated in certain programs. Please see the Application Fee Waiver page. We regret to share that we are unable to accommodate other requests at this time.

If none of these apply to you and if you haven’t already, please reach out to your program of interest to ask if they might have any options to assist you.

Q: I am eligible for an application fee waiver based on the criteria, but do not see the option to select it.

To be eligible for a fee waiver, you must be a U.S. citizen or current permanent resident who demonstrates financial need or participated in certain programs. Once you complete the Biographical Information and Personal Background sections of the application, the fee waiver will automatically appear in the Payment / Fee Waiver section if you are eligible.

Q: How do I pay my application fee? 

Payments are submitted by credit card only.

Q: My credit card payment for the application fee 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. The department 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 receive 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. That said, we 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, and contact your program of interest 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?

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

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

While decisions are typically sent out between February and April, every department has different timelines. Contact the department for more information.

Q: My department recommended me for admission, but I haven’t received an official notification from the Graduate Division.

Congratulations on being recommended for admission! It can take up to two weeks for the department and Graduate Division to process the recommendation. 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?

Visit our Accepting Your Offer of Admissions page for next steps. Log into your application status page and view your admission letter. The “Reply to Offer of Admissions (SIR form)” will appear at the bottom of your status page.

Q: How does my recommender submit their Letter 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 along 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?

Please ask your recommender(s) to check their junk/spam folders. If they still haven’t received the email, we recommend asking them to use a different server or web browser. If the issue persists, ask if they have a personal email address that you may use instead. Please add the recommender again using the new email address, send the invitation, and exclude the original invitation. If your recommender is still unable to receive the invitation, please have them email their letter to us directly at [email protected].

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: I am not sure if I have to fulfill the evidence of English Language Proficiency requirement and take the TOEFL or IELTS exam. Can you please share what the exemption criteria is?

All applicants who have completed a basic degree in a country/region in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This requirement applies to institutions from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, Israel, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asian countries, most European countries, and countries in Africa in which English is not the official language.

If you have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better in residence at a recognized U.S. institution, you do not need to take a standardized test. Instead, you must upload an unofficial transcript from the recognized U.S. institution.

We are accepting the TOEFL IBT Home Edition and IELTS Online; we do not accept the Duolingo or IELTS Indicator exams.

To see if you qualify for an exemption, please read our criteria here.

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: I am taking the TOEFL or IELTS exam, but my test date is after the application deadline. How should I report my score?

In the application, please add your future test date and leave the scores empty. From the test center, please send your score reports directly to UC Berkeley. See the below question for instructions.

Q: My GRE, TOEFL, and/or IELTS score is still showing up as “Awaiting.” Did you receive my score report?

Please confirm that you sent your GRE and TOEFL score report via ETS to institution code 4833 for Graduate Organizations; no department code is needed.

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.

It typically takes 7-10 days for the GRE, TOEFL, and/or IELTS score reports to match in our system, and we accept score reports past the application deadline. If your score report isn’t marked as “Verified” within 2 weeks, please contact us again.

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: My program does not require the GRE score. If I self-reported scores on my application, do I need to send an official score report?

If your program of interest does not require the GRE score, you do not need to send a score report, as this will not be evaluated with the application. If your program is GRE optional and you would like your score to be considered with your application, please send your score report via ETS to institution code 4833 for Graduate Organizations.

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: 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 an application fee waiver?

Undocumented students may be considered for an application fee waiver if they demonstrate financial need. Visit Prospective Undocumented Graduate Students for additional information.

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: [email protected] or visit the undocugrads website.

Still have an unanswered question?

We want you to get the answers you need as fast as possible. To do that – please be sure to review all the FAQs above. If the above information does not answer your question, please contact us via the online form below.