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 public research universities, it’s fitting for UC Berkeley to have top-notch student services. Graduate students receive most advisement 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

Graduate Student Services includes five units that support graduate students: Admissions, Appointments (GSI/GSR, Reader and Tutor appointments), Degrees, Fellowships, and Student Life. Staff in each of these units offer individual advisement as needed but a first recommended stop is the Graduate Student Services Resource webpage, which links to services and resources available to Berkeley’s 11,000+ graduate and professional 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. “We are continually striving to improve our communications to our students and their departmental advisors. The website is a tool for ensuring students and their advisors have information and resources they need to be their most productive. Keep checking back to see updates and let us know your needs so we can make the website even more helpful.”

Whether you are looking for funding, information about a fee remission, or need advice about a higher-degree committee, the staff of Graduate Student Services are here for you!

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 11 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 graduate students.)

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 the 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

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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.