Looking for Housing?

Choosing where to live during your time at UC Berkeley might be one of the most important and time-sensitive decisions. If you need housing, we’re here to help you find the option that best fits your needs and interests. To help, we’ve compiled some tips and resources.

Need Advice?

As the Graduate Student Basic Needs and Housing Specialist, I work to help graduate students navigate needs like a daunting housing search. Join me for an upcoming session where we can talk about finding housing in Berkeley and the amazing Bay Area. 

Navigating the Housing Search

What is your desired living situation?

UC Berkeley Housing suggests that students begin their housing search by identifying their desired living situation. First, you should figure out the types of places where you would like to live and what you can afford — a studio, a one-bedroom, or a shared room or house.

Once you have narrowed your search, you should visit properties in person if possible. In many cases, listings offer limited information and photos may omit problems. It’s very important to document any defects or deficiencies prior to or as you are moving in to avoid disputes or loss of your deposit later. If you are unable to see a rental in person, try asking a friend or someone you know to visit for you. 

Graduate student apartments

If you prefer University-owned and -operated housing, please see UC Berkeley Housing’s list of options for students which includes a section targeting Graduate Students.

UC Berkeley graduate student apartments provide easy access to campus resources and enable you to live alongside your peers. Single graduate students may choose to live in one of the following campus-managed complexes: 

  • The newest Graduate Student Housing Community – xučyun ruwway is opening soon! (HOOCH-yoon ROO-why), a name in Chochenyo, the language of the Ohlone people. Apply early!
  • Ida Jackson House Apartments: Furnished shared apartments with single-occupancy bedrooms, located just steps from campus along bustling College Avenue.
  • Intersection Apartments: An exciting option in the nearby city of Emeryville, close to shopping, entertainment, and mass transit.  Some units feature breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Manville Apartments: Single-occupancy studio apartments in the heart of downtown Berkeley.

Family housing at University Village: Graduate students who are married/partnered or who have dependents may want to consider University Village, a 58-acre complex located 3.5 miles west of campus. University Village is a collection of 974 one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, and two-bedroom townhouses with its own recreational and community center, café, laundry rooms and childcare center.

Other types of housing

Many graduate students live in off-campus housing in Berkeley or one of the surrounding communities:

Neighborhoods & Commuting

Like many other metropolitan areas, Berkeley and the surrounding cities of the East Bay are composed of varying neighborhoods, each with a flavor of its own. South Berkeley, adjacent to south campus, is a bustling student-oriented area where you are likely to see more undergrads live. North Berkeley is quieter in comparison, with several student co-ops and apartment buildings interspersed among single-family homes. Many graduate students choose to live in neighborhoods further from campus, including Albany, Oakland, El Cerrito, Emeryville, and Richmond. Find the right neighborhood for you – Berkeley Law’s Neighborhood Guide includes descriptions of popular areas to live near campus.

If you plan to live farther from campus, there are many options for public transportation. Most graduate students are eligible for unlimited bus rides with the AC Transit Class Pass and Bear Transit Shuttles.

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) also has lines that connect many Bay Area neighborhoods, including a stop in downtown Berkeley, within walking distance from campus.

Summer and Short-Term Housing Options

Whether you are attending Summer Sessions, need a short-term place to land when you arrive in Berkeley, or simply want to stay in the Bay Area for the summer, UC Berkeley Housing now offers summer housing for newly-admitted undergraduate and graduate students and for students completing graduate work, research, professional training, and internships around San Francisco and Berkeley. Learn more or apply online now. Note: These applications are due before February 1st. 

The UC Berkeley Housing office is also offering short-term temporary housing contracts for newly-admitted graduate and undergraduate students, postdocs, and visiting scholars. Stay in a fully-furnished apartment while looking for permanent housing for the Fall.

Questions? Contact the Summer Housing Office at 510-642-5796.

The Berkeley International Office (BIO) has also compiled a list of some inexpensive places close to campus; if you mention that you are affiliated with UC Berkeley, you may be eligible for a discount.

Finding a Roommate

Given the high cost of rent in Berkeley, many students choose to live with roommates. In the event that you need to find a roommate, Cal Rentals has a roommate-searching tool at the top of their page where you can send messages to people who are also looking for roommates. In addition, there are a number of community-created groups and posting boards on Facebook and the Berkeley International Office (BIO), which allow current and incoming students to list their housing preferences and contact information to find a potential roommate.