Updated October 12, 2021 

Below are resources for graduate students, as well for faculty and staff who support graduate education. Please check back frequently, as updates will be made on an ongoing basis. Refer to the central campus resource hub, news.berkeley.edu/coronavirus, for general campus updates and information.

Office Hours + Virtual Appointments

  • Appointments with the Dean: Dean Lisa García Bedolla would love to hear your concerns related to your graduate education. Sign up for a 15-minute appointment with the Dean: https://calendly.com/graddeanberkeley/15min
  • Appointments with the Director of Graduate Student Life: For assistance navigating the resources listed below, sign up for a 15-minute virtual appointment with Graduate Student Life Director Larissa Charnsangavej: https://calendly.com/larissa-charn/graduate-life

Jump to:
AcademicsGuidance for GSIsAppointments + Employment (including loss of)Fellowships
Establishing ResidencyHousingBasic Needs + Financial AssistanceStudent ParentsUndocumented Students
International StudentsHealth & WellnessBilling + PaymentsEquity + Inclusion
Libraries, Student Spaces & EventsStudent Life Office HoursProspective Students



The default instructional mode for spring 2021 is planned to be in-person. The anticipated exceptions are class sections with enrollments of 200 or more, Berkeley Academic Senate-approved online courses, online degree programs, and a small number of classes in which instructors have requested and received approval to teach remotely exclusively. However, based on local public health conditions, some courses may need to return to reduced in-person capacity after the start of the fall semester. 

A plan is being developed to allow instructors to transition swiftly. Staff from the GSI Teaching & Resource Center, along with the Director of Digital Education in the Graduate Division, will provide consultations and support to GSIs who need to move to remote instruction. First-time GSIs will also be introduced to tools for remote instruction at the Fall Teaching Conference to ensure that they have basic preparation for teaching remotely in the event they need to switch from in-person to remote instruction.

If you need accommodations for a disability in order to fully participate in instructional activities you are enrolled in as a student, please visit the Disabled Students’ Program website to apply for services.

Assessments and Exams

To facilitate social distancing and improve accessibility, effective immediately, all examinations and assessments are to be conducted remotely.

Final Exams
Guidelines for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 final examinations will be the same as those for Spring 2020, listed below. The Committee on Courses of Instruction (COCI) has formulated the following guidelines regarding final examinations. We urge instructors to bear in mind that students are facing heightened levels of stress and anxiety in all aspects of their lives and that disparities relating to housing, family situation and internet access now that most students have left campus. The committee hopes that instructors will use some of the flexibility provided here in order to address, as much as possible, not simply instructional continuity, but student well-being as well.

The Academic Senate does not require final exams for graduate courses. Instructors in graduate courses currently approved with final exams may make adjustments such as:  

  • Providing alternate final examination methods such as take-home exams, term papers, etc., in lieu of an in-person (or proctored online) final exams. Departments should track such changes to final exam methods and report them to the Office of the Registrar. 
  • Altering the value of the final exam or final assessment from what was originally listed in the syllabus at the beginning of semester. For example, if a syllabus lists the final exam as being worth 40 percent of the total grade, the instructor may redistribute a portion of that 40 percent to one or more other assignments. It is vital that any such change be communicated to students in a clear and timely manner, and that an updated grading rubric be posted in a revised syllabus distributed to students via bCourses and/or other appropriate mode of communication. 
  • Expanding the timeframe for examination. For exams that will still be administered during the assigned time and day slot in the Final Exam Week, instructors should be mindful that many students are now in different time zones across the globe. Imposing the same examination time for all students, regardless of circumstances, on the other hand, may cause unneeded hardship for students who may thereby be forced to take the exam at an inopportune time. Where feasible, consider using available tools in bCourses to assign a time limit to an activity during a specified period (e.g., a 3-hour time limit in a 24-hour period).

All changes mentioned above should be made by the instructor of record with approval from the department chair. See also COCI’s statement on Fall 2020 Instruction.

Qualifying Exams and Milestone Exams

  • Effective October 4, 2021, the Graduate Council has approved a revision to the policy governing in-person and hybrid attendance of qualifying exams and all higher degree milestone exams. This revision is now reflected in our Guide to Graduate Policy, section F 2.6.

    Remote Participation by Committee Members or Hybrid Format

    If the student requests and/or agrees, a Qualifying Exam may be held entirely remotely or in a hybrid format (i.e., some members are physically present and some are remote). Remote participants will interact via Zoom or other technology that allows them to communicate and share visuals from different locations. Student consent to the format must be obtained before the exam is conducted. All students and examiners are urged to review “Best Practices for Zoom Qualifying Exams” prior to the exam to ensure that there are no technical issues or other impediments to the conduct of the exam.

    If the exam is hybrid and the student is physically present, then the chair or a co-chair of the committee also needs to be physically present. This requirement has a dual rationale. First, the chair or co-chair is responsible for ensuring that the exam is conducted properly, but a chair who is not present in person could be unaware of some of what is happening in the exam room. Second, if the hybrid nature of the exam negatively affects the student’s ability to answer questions, then the exam chair or co-chair’s presence can help them make an assessment and determine how best to proceed. Any exceptions to this requirement need the approval of the academic unit’s Head Graduate Advisor before the exam.

    In all instances, the exam must be held with the entire committee present for the length of the exam. A student may not be examined separately by committee members.

    If any committee member cannot attend either in-person or remotely, the exam should be rescheduled or the committee reconstituted. The Graduate Division can expedite reconstitution of committees under these circumstances.

  • Exams need to be scheduled with enough advance notice so that students can seek accommodations through the Disabled Students’ Program if needed. For each unique test and circumstance, we advise you to arrange for an exam location that is not excessively private or to use a virtual background to obscure personal effects, if possible. Read this Best Practices for Zoom Qualifying Exams page for recommendations on exam conduct and committee members’ responsibilities.

Academic Progress

Below are updates, extensions and accommodations regarding graduate student degree progress.

  • Plan II Master’s Student Summer Filing Update
    As of summer 2021,
    Plan II master’s students will also be allowed to file in the summer without enrolling in Summer Sessions IF they were registered in the immediately-preceding spring semester and IF they have not previously held Filing Fee status. Read our memo for complete information.
  • Filing Deadlines
    The Graduate Division will be extremely flexible with the logistical procedures for filing (including obtaining signatures, submitting paperwork, etc.) International students should consult with the Berkeley International Office (BIO) before making any enrollment decisions.
    Please review the doctoral and thesis filing guidelines on our website for specifics:

  • Normative Time
    The Graduate Division and Graduate Council have approved an additional blanket one-year extension of normative time (applied automatically) for doctoral students. The Graduate Division will automatically apply the additional one-year extension of normative time for each doctoral student in SIS Campus Solutions during the Spring 2021 semester; this will bring the total COVID-19 normative time adjustment to two years. If students need this change made immediately, Graduate Student Affairs Officers (GSAOs) should contact their program’s Academic Progress Advisor. International students should consult the Berkeley International Office regarding any changes to their degree plans. International students should consult the Berkeley International Office regarding any changes to their degree plan.
  • NRST Waivers
    The EVCP has approved a two-semester extension of eligibility for non-residential supplemental tuition (NRST) waivers.
    For students in candidacy or who advanced to candidacy during the semesters heavily impacted by COVID-19 (Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, or Fall 2021), these semesters will not count toward the student’s three years of NRST waiver eligibility. Similar to previous terms, we will identify in advance students eligible for this extension and apply the waiver prior to the tuition and fee payment deadline. Students who do not see the waiver applied appropriately or who have questions about their eligibility for NRST waivers should contact their GSAO.
  • Milestones
    Departments are encouraged to be extremely flexible in accommodating disruptions to graduate students’ academic milestones. If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch with the appropriate Graduate Degrees Office staff member.
  • Other Extensions to Program Length
    Please consult your Head Graduate Advisor (HGA) and GSAO regarding master’s and professional degree program extensions or variances. Those administrators may write to Linda Song, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, to seek guidance regarding specific programs or student cases. The Graduate Division aims to support student and program needs and to streamline processes where possible.
  • Filing Fee Status
    The Graduate Division will allow students on Filing Fee in Spring 2020 to continue on filing fee status in Fall 2020. To request a continuation of filing fee status, Graduate Student Affairs Officers should request a “Second Use of Filing Fee” exception through the Graduate Division Exceptions eForm. Students who continue their filing fee status in Fall 2020 will be billed for this second usage. 
  • Petitions/forms (such as in Absentia, Leave of Absence, Committee Forms etc.)
    We are still reviewing and processing all requests made through the Special Enrollment Petition, Degrees Exceptions eForm, and the Higher Degree Committees eForm. Work with your department on any concerns or status inquiries.
  • Master’s and Professional Degree Completion
    Please consult your Head Graduate Advisor (HGA) and GSAO regarding completion of non-thesis based master’s and professional degree completion in light of disruptions this spring. Concerns about completion of coursework and capstone projects should be addressed with your department which will work with the Graduate Division (contact Asst. Dean for Academic Affairs Linda Song) to explore options. The Graduate Division will be extremely flexible regarding processes and policies that we control and will work with the Academic Senate and the Office of the President (UCOP) on policies that are beyond our authority. The Graduate Division aims to support student and program needs and to streamline processes where possible..


Our research community is directed to immediately transition to work remotely whenever possible. Principal Investigators should suspend on-campus research to the greatest extent possible, immediately, and implement plans to operate remotely. Essential access, limited to sustaining research capability, such as animal care, servicing of critical instrumentation, and maintenance of germ lines, will be authorized by the Vice Chancellor for Research Office in coordination with Deans and Chairs. Exceptional access will be considered by a campus review process, which is currently being developed, modeled on the one at the University of California, San Francisco. 

Please visit the Vice Chancellor for Research website for specific information, answers to frequently asked questions, and more detailed guidance.

Disability Accommodations

The Disabled Students’ Program will continue to partner with instructors to ensure students’ disability accommodations are provided.

The following are email addresses that instructors and students can contact for disability accommodations.

Please contact dsp@berkeley.edu for additional questions or assistance regarding student accommodations. Faculty and instructors should work with DSP to ensure that all content is accessible to their students with disabilities before the content is posted. To ensure accessibility, use university-provided platforms, such as bCourses and Zoom. Posting public videos or other content via non-supported tools (e.g., YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) is prohibited.

Technology Resources and Access

The university aims to ensure that all students have equitable access to the technology resources they need to support research, teaching, and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you require additional technology to teach a course, first reach out to your supervisor or department chair.

  • Student Technology Equity Program (STEP)
    This program will provide freely loaned laptops, WiFI hotspots with paid 12-month service plans, and peripherals like headphones and webcams to UC Berkeley students (including graduate students) who meet the eligibility criteria, while supplies last. Devices will be mailed to students’ homes directly. The priority deadline to apply for the STEP Program is Wednesday, July 15, 2020 for the fall semester.
  • Zoom Pro Accounts for Students
    All registered undergraduate, graduate and professional school students now have access to Zoom Pro accounts at no additional cost to them. Among other features, this enables students to unlimited meeting minutes and 300-person meeting capacity. More details are available at studenttech.berkeley.edu/zoompro. Students who already have basic Zoom accounts can find instructions on how to transition to Zoom Pro accounts.
  • Student Tech Support Helpdesk 
    The help desk is available to assist students with tech-related questions or challenges and continues to be available Monday through Friday by phone at (510) 642-HELP and email at sts-help@berkeley.edu. Remote support by Zoom is available on a limited basis.

Advising Resources for Staff

UC Berkeley’s advising team has developed a COVID-19 resource hub for UC Berkeley student services staff.

Guidance for GSIs

GSI Fall 2021 Instruction FAQ

Please read our updated Graduate Student Instructor FAQs on our Return-to-Campus webpage.

For GSIs: Reducing and Discouraging Cheating on Exams

The most significant challenges with exams delivered remotely are the need to deliver asynchronous exams to accommodate students in different time zones, and the issue of cheating. The campus is working to secure a browser lockdown product that locks the browser into a single screen, disabling copy/paste functionality, during an exam. The use of other proctoring products, and Zoom proctoring, are not permitted for the spring 2020 semester. Details on this executive order are available via the CalMessages archive. There is no fool-proof solution to the challenge of cheating on online exams. The most effective solution is probably to deploy other forms of assessment that are less susceptible to cheating: oral exams, papers, group projects, poster sessions, discussion boards, etc. If exams must be administered, there are ways to discourage, if not eliminate, cheating and to mitigate its effects on other students. Please read this Best Practice and Resource Guide on the Center for Teaching and Learning‘s website.

Teaching Resources

The Keep Teaching website has been developed to provide new approaches, effective strategies and resources, and best practices to support remote learning.

Instructional Resilience Resources

The Center for Teaching & Learning’s Instructional Resilience resources page has best practices, webinars, tips, and resources. Resources and ideas for instructors will be posted on an ongoing basis and we encourage you to visit this site regularly.

Employment (including loss of) and Academic Appointments

Academic Student Employee Length of Service

August 10, 2021 update: The UC Provost has approved a continuation of the temporary seventh year (two semester) extension to the total length of service performed by Academic Student Employees, including Readers and Tutors on annual stipends, and Graduate Student Instructors.

Please read the updated UC memo online

This temporary extension “is permissible for matriculated students at UC during the quarters/semesters in which instruction is substantially impacted by COVID-19.”

COVID-19-Related Leave Policies

August 31, 2020 update: In the most recent guidance, ASEs/GSRs are eligible for EPAL, EPSL and EFML. However, at UC, instruction is deemed an essential service of the University. GSIs would not be eligible to take EPAL. They are eligible for EPSL and EFML as these are federal leaves where the identified group of essential workers are health care workers and emergency responders. For more detail, please refer to the Academic Personnel Guidance Regarding COVID-19 Related Leaves and Job Protections (issued 4/27/20), which can be found on APO’s COVID-19 page.

Paid Administrative Leave

For academic student employees, Paid Administrative Leave for COVID-19-related incidents is available for up to 16 working days or 128 hours.

Paid Administrative Leave may be taken only when at least one of the following circumstances are met:

  1. When an employee is unable to work due to the employee’s own COVID-19-related illness or that of a family member; or
  2. When an employee is unable to work because the employee has been directed not to come to the worksite for COVID-19-related reasons and/or the worksite has implemented a COVID-19-related remote-work program or is under a shelter in place order and it is not operationally feasible for the employee to work remotely; or
  3. When an employee is unable to work because a COVID-19-related school or daycare closure requires the employee to be at home with a child or dependent, and it is not operationally feasible for the employee to work remotely or in conjunction with the childcare commitment.

Paid Administrative Leave is available for all academic appointees, policy-covered and represented, as of March 1, 2020, but is not available for academic appointees with non-paid or without salary appointments.

Please first read this guidance for supervisors [PDF], updated on March 20, 2020. If you have additional questions, contact UC Berkeley’s Academic Personnel Office at appolicy@berkeley.edu.

Employees Temporarily Working Outside of California

Department managers or HR personnel of staff and student employees who temporarily relocated out-of-state are asked to complete and submit this form. For now, these employees will continue to be paid without adjusting their current California payroll withholding.

If the shelter-in-place order is rescinded in the near future, a reconciliation for tax purposes may be needed to adjust an individual’s tax withholding to align with their work location of temporary residence. If the shelter-in-place order is extended even further, employee records may need to be adjusted in UCPath to reflect the tax withholding of the location in which employees are working.

Reporting Lost Wages

If you have lost work-study wages due to the COVID-19 crisis, wages, please open a case in Cal Student Central.

Unemployment Due to COVID-19

If you have lost your job or had a reduction in hours, California unemployment benefits will come with an extra $600 per week on top of the state benefit (standard state benefit ranges from $40 to $450 per week) and an additional 13 weeks of coverage (standard state benefit duration ranges from 12-26 weeks). You will need to apply. Also, if you cannot work because you relied on child or elder care facilities that are now closed (only applies to work, not school), you may also be eligible for unemployment benefits.

If you rely on a school, a daycare or another facility to care for a child, elderly parent or another household member so that you can work (only applies to work, not school), and that facility has been shut down because of coronavirus, you may also be eligible for unemployment benefits. While the state is still awaiting specifics from the federal government, you can find current information and frequently asked questions online.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

If you are an independent contractor, self-employed worker, freelancer, or gig worker and only received a 1099 tax form last year, you are most likely eligible for PUA. You can apply for benefits starting April 28, 2020. Read more about PUA and how to apply on California’s Labor and Workforce Development website.

To be eligible for PUA, you must meet any of the following criteria:

Any criteria related to changes in employment status due to COVID-19:

  • You had a definite date to begin work, but the job is no longer available, or you could not reach the job as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • You are unable to travel to your job as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • You quit your job as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • Your workplace is closed as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • You are self-employed or work as an independent contractor (with reportable income, such as a 1099) and you are unemployed, partially employed, or unable to work because COVID-19 has forced you to stop working.

Any criteria related to health issues due to COVID-19:

  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms and are seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • You are caring for a family member or a member of your household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • You are caring for a dependent because their school or another care facility has closed due to COVID-19 and you are now caring for them during the work day.
  • Your healthcare provider has told you to self-quarantine because of COVID-19.
  • You have become the main income provider due to a COVID-19 death in your household.

Academic Student Employee Hiring in Light of Staff Hiring Freeze

While UC Berkeley is instituting a campuswide hiring freeze effective April 1, 2020, academic student employee positions such as readers, tutors, graduate student instructors can be filled. Please read the Hiring Freeze FAQ page for more information. Additionally, student staff titles are exempt from this freeze.


The Graduate Division and Graduate Council have approved a blanket two-semester increase in normative time for doctoral students. This increase in normative time applies to  Doctoral Completion Fellowship eligibility and one’s accompanying normative time +1 calculation. The normative time adjustment will be reflected in our CS fellowship reports so no additional action, such as an exception request, is required for DCF eligibility.

Establishing Residency

For Fall 2021, in order to receive in-state status, as specified under Regents Policy 3105, a student must demonstrate: (1) physical presence in California for more than one year and (2) intent to make a primary and permanent home in California. (Regents Policy 3105 I.B.1-2.). Read more on the Office of the Registrar website.


Any graduate student can apply for a housing contract by submitting this application form on the Berkeley Housing website. Eligible housing includes single student apartments, family housing, and summer transition housing. Family housing does currently carry a wait list, and units are unfurnished.

For more the most up-to-date information on housing, visit sa.berkeley.edu/covid19/housing.


Basic Needs + Financial Assistance

Basic Needs Center

The Basic Needs Center’s priority is to ensure that services will continue remotely. The Center, including the Food Pantry, has moved to 103 Sproul Hall.  Please visit this Google doc for up-to-the-minute information on resources and services related to basic needs: tinyurl.com/UCB-BNC-C19. 

Resources for Student Parents and Caregivers

Below you will find highlighted resources and accommodations for balancing caregiving responsibilities during the pandemic. For a more extensive list of pregnancy and parenting accommodations, visit grad.berkeley.edu/financial/families.

Financial Assistance

The Graduate Division has two grant programs for students with dependents:

  • Student Parent Grant for graduate students with dependents under the age of 18 (deadline to apply: August 31, 2020)
  • Graduate Division Caregiver Grant This new caregiver grant can provide assistance to graduate students who are the primary live-in caregiver for an adult individual. Examples of those eligible for this grant include graduate students who live with and serve as the primary caregiver for an elderly parent or other individual that may qualify as a dependent adult. Deadline to apply: August 15, 2020.

If you have questions about applying for these grants, please email gradfell@berkeley.edu.

Dependent Care Assistance

Student Parent Academic Accommodations

Extension of Time for Academic Milestones: Research doctoral students who experience substantial parenting responsibilities are eligible for additional time to meet established deadlines for certain academic milestones, including:  

  • passing preliminary and/or Qualifying Examinations, 
  • completing their dissertations, and 
  • calculating Normative Time for purposes of qualification for certain fellowships.

For more information, please see the Guide to Graduate Policy.

Other Resources

Support for Undocumented Students

In efforts to limit coronavirus risk on campus, the Undocumented Community Resource Center (UCRC) is temporarily closed. However, USP services remain open and accessible. Graduate Division is offering $100 grocery gift cards to undocumented graduate students. To receive one, please go here.

Please visit the USP website for information on how to access services:

  • Financial Aid
    The financial aid office is offering virtual satellite advising. Please follow the link for instructions to sign up for an appointment: https://www.wejoinin.com/sheets/cyogi
  • Financial Support
    The emergency grant and USP scholarship application is still open and can be accessed here. If you have any questions, please, email uspemergencygrant@gmail.com.
  • Academic Counseling
    All appointments with Valeria have been moved to virtual (phone or video) appointments through March 30, 2020. We continue to be committed to providing access and support to you during this ever-evolving time. You can schedule an appointment with Valeria here.
  • Immigration Legal Support
    EBCLC is the legal service provider for USP. As one of the largest providers of free legal services in the East Bay and home to eight of Berkeley Law’s community-based clinics, EBCLC places tremendous importance on the health of our staff, students, clients and the public. In an effort to support community well-being, we have closed our offices and have cancelled our drop-in appointments and in-person clinics from Thursday, March 12, 2020 through Thursday, April 30, 2020. We are committed to providing responsive legal services in the areas of housing, health, immigration, education, and economic security, and we will continue to do so with the utmost respect for our clients. Please schedule remote appointments through our online booking system, email us at usplegal@ebclc.org, or contact your caseworker for assistance with a legal matter. Thank you for your cooperation and support.
    Current Clients of EBCLC : For current clients of EBCLC, please reach out to your caseworker directly regarding any questions or concerns.
    General Consultations: As of March 12, 2020, all general consultations scheduled through our online booking system will take place by phone or Zoom.

For up-to-date information, visit the Undocumented Student Program website.

Support for International Students

Berkeley International Office

The Berkeley International Office has created a COVID-19 webpage to answer frequently asked questions and share support resources. Please visit this page for information on domestic and international travel, F-1 and J-1 visas, advising hours, enrollment, grading, deferrals, extensions, and more. For other important information regarding current U.S. immigration policy, Executive Orders, and travel advisories, please see BIO’s Immigration Policy Updates & FAQ webpage.

For one-on-one advising with an international office advisor, visit BIO’s virtual student advising page. For non-urgent issues, email internationaloffice@berkeley.edu.

For more information on academic student appointments and how they relate to international students, please read this memo from the Academic Personnel Office and contact the Berkeley International Office directly.

Non-Resident Supplemental (NRST) Tuition Waivers for Post-Candidacy International Students

Feb. 3, 2021 Update:

The UC Office of the President has delegated the decision about NRST (non-resident supplemental tuition) waivers to each campus. This week the UC Berkeley campus Finance Committee agreed to Dean Lisa García Bedolla’s request that the Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, or Fall 2021 semesters not count towards students’ three years of NRST waiver eligibility for those students currently in candidacy. Please consult your department for questions.

Graduate Student Appointments for International Students

The practice around the hiring of international students living outside the U.S. to work as GSI/GSRs is currently under review by campus leadership and guidance from the campus has been shared with departments. If you have questions about your employment options for the fall semester, please consult with your GSAO or other departmental administrator that manages academic hiring. A list of department contacts for Academic Student Employee (ASE) job opportunities can be found in Labor Relations in the Berkeley People & Culture website.

Health & Wellness

Vaccines and Eligibility

According to California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidelines, anyone working in higher education (meaning all UC Berkeley employees — faculty and staff alike), is working in the education sector (as defined by CDPH) and is therefore eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.”

Therefore, if you are a graduate student employed by the campus, we encourage you to contact your health care provider and/or visit the CDPH “My Turn” website to check your eligibility, receive a notification when vaccines and appointments are available in your area, or to book an appointment. Please be sure to review instructions from providers carefully; their criteria may be more restrictive than the state’s, and may change daily depending on vaccine allocation and changing state guidelines.

Face Coverings

The City of Berkeley is requiring a face covering be worn in common areas indoors, such as hallways, elevators, stairwells, laundry and mail rooms, and dining halls. If you work for the university on campus, please contact your supervisor for instructions about wearing a face covering at work. This health order also stipulates that face coverings must be worn when you go grocery shopping, visit the pharmacy, or enter other stores.

Please read the city’s order, as well as UC Berkeley’s guidance on when to wear face coverings on campus and in shared residence buildings.

Keep Berkeley Healthy Pledge

All students using campus facilities will be required to sign a Keep Berkeley Healthy Pledge before being able to access physical spaces. Our approach focuses on accountability with developmental and educational principles, reserving punitive sanctions for repeat and/or egregious offenses (such as deliberately wiping your face on someone). While we hope that it is rare, refusing to comply with requirements such as physical distancing and facial coverings will result in consequences that could include being excluded from campus altogether. Be aware that off campus, the City of Berkeley (and possibly Oakland and other surrounding communities) can impose fines and even cite people criminally for failing to comply with public health orders.

Surveillance Testing for Asymptomatic Students on Campus

Testing is required for on campus residence hall students on the day of your scheduled move-in prior to receiving your keys, after a 7-10 day self-sequester period, then initially twice per week throughout the fall 2020 semester. This testing will be free of charge, regardless of your insurance. On-campus residence hall students have received an email about where to go to get tested and how to make an appointment for the initial move-in test; guidance regarding ongoing surveillance testing will be communicated shortly.

Symptomatic Testing for COVID-19 on Campus

For any student experiencing symptoms or who may have been exposed to COVID-19 (or any students with concerns), please call the University Health Services Advice Line 24/7 at 510-643-7197 for consultation or an appointment. You do NOT need to be enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP) to get tested or be assessed by UHS. There is no out-of-pocket cost to be tested at UHS.

Online Training Module

Essential student researchers and student workers who must work on campus are required to take a 10 minute online training (consult your PI or your supervisor for details). In the coming weeks, all students who will be on campus, including residential students, will be required to take a similar training. Stay tuned for additional information about this important training.

University Health Services

Please visit uhs.berkeley.edu for the most up-to-date information on hours and appointments. If you feel unwell, please call your healthcare provider or contact University Health Services (UHS) for advice or care. Please take all precautionary hygiene steps recommended by the university.

The following UHS changes are now in place until further notice to help make using your insurance and getting care easier wherever you may be:

  • No referrals from University Health Services are needed before accessing medical and mental health care. Most providers should not require any documentation of this, but if needed, you can take this UHS letter with you.

  • 90-day refills are now available for most prescriptions at any pharmacy.

  • For students who are now away from campus and living internationally, international coverage now includes routine care along with emergency care.

  • The student health center (SHC) at each University of California campus gladly offers reciprocal access to currently registered students from all other UC campuses under the same conditions that apply to its own students.

Visit https://uhs.berkeley.edu/ship-updates for ongoing updates.

Counseling and Psychological Services

Watch this presentation from Amy Honigman, CAPS Senior Clinical Psychologist and Graduate Assembly Wellness Specialist, on how graduate students can cope with the current COVID-19 situation.

  • Brief counseling model has been adjusted to meet the immediate needs of students and to preserve the health of students and staff.
  • All initial visits with counselors are by phone.
  • Students who need support and do not have an assigned counselor should call (510) 642-9494 to schedule a phone appointment.
  • Students who have scheduled follow-up appointments should check their secure messages for updates from their counselor.
  • Drop-in urgent counseling has been suspended.  Students with urgent needs should call (510) 642-9494 to speak with a counselor.
  • Many of our satellite offices are closed.  Location-specific information is available on the satellite counseling page.
  • All “Let’s Talk” drop-in at satellite locations has been suspended until further notice
  • Hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Be sure to check the UHS website for current hours.
  • For after-hours support, please call (855) 817-5667.

Center for Support and Intervention

The Center for Support and Intervention addresses prevention and intervention for harm and violence on campus, and provides support to students experiencing or causing distress in the campus community. They are open for remote/virtual appointments and consultations during this period of alternative instruction. Please contact them at csi@berkeley.edu with any questions, and visit their website at sa.berkeley.edu/csi.


We understand that the sudden shifts in social and academic guidelines can feel overwhelming and isolating. We recommend trying the following to decrease the negative impact of social isolation:

  • Have Zoom dates with friends. This can be a good time to totally decompress or to chat with people about your research. 
  • For those of you caring for kids, parents, or partners during this time, don’t be alone, even if you are physically isolated. Have a virtual date via video call or check in with an online support group.
  • Practice verbal gratitude. Giving thanks fosters a cycle of altruism, building trust and care with others.
  • Play music and sing out loud. Music has been shown to help modulate your stress and strengthen empathy.
  • Practice relaxation and mindfulness exercises. 

Billing and Payments

Temporary suspension of onsite check payment processing

With the shelter-in-place order in effect for the Bay Area, Billing and Payment Services will suspend onsite cashiering of student and vendor check payments, effective March 17, 2020. This action is expected to remain in effect through the planned shelter-in-place period. Please note that Bill and Payment Services staff will continue to serve students by working remotely and that all payments submitted through CalCentral or via direct wire will continue to process as usual.

If you would like to make a payment on your student account, please submit the payment online through CalCentral. UC Berkeley offers alternative payment options to students and delegates through CalCentral and we encourage students to submit payments online. You can make payments online through ACH, credit card, and IFT for our international students. Payments submitted through CalCentral will continue to post to student accounts as normal.

Temporary suspension of late fees

We understand that some students may have already mailed payments that will not be processed in as timely a manner as usual. We also understand that some of our students may be experiencing hardships as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. In light of these challenges and to alleviate students of these potential pressures, UC Berkeley will temporarily suspend the assessment of late fees on student accounts. Effective as of March 16, 2020, late fees will not post to student accounts. We will revisit the late fee assessment as appropriate and will continue to update you with current information.

If you have any questions, please open a case in Cal Student Central or call 510-664-9181.

Equity & Inclusion

For information about how UC Berkeley’s Division of Equity & Inclusion is supporting the university’s diverse community members through virtual classrooms, virtual advising, webinar events, and remote work, visit diversity.berkeley.edu/covid-19-ei-here-serve-you.

Office for Graduate Diversity

The Office for Graduate Diversity (OGD) provides support services for prospective and continuing students on the Berkeley campus in an effort to maintain a more diverse graduate student community. The Office for Graduate Diversity will be closed until further notice, though OGD staff are working remotely and responsive to emails. Getting into Graduate School (GiGS) classes are continuing remotely, STEM*FYI programming is postponed, and information for the Firebaugh program can be found at tinyul.com/FirebaughAppGuide.

Students can contact OGD staff at grad.diversity@berkeley.edu with any questions or concerns.

American Indian Graduate Program

The American Indian Graduate Program (AIGP) seeks, through outreach, individual recruitment, and student services to remove perceived barriers which prevent the full participation of American Indian and Alaska Native students participating in graduate level research at UC Berkeley. For COVID-19 updates related to AIGP, visit the program’s website.

Berkeley Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

For updates on the Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, visit diversity.berkeley.edu/programs-services/postdoctoral-diversity

Libraries, Student Spaces and Events


It is likely that pandemic conditions and/or public health guidelines will make it inadvisable to hold in-person events as we have done in the past; this consideration will likely cause us to greatly restrict the use of campus facilities for events and meetings this fall. Students will be supported in engaging in clubs, activities and events remotely and we will do all that we can to enrich the student experience for all.

The Graduate Division’s New Graduate Student Orientation (NGSO) for incoming students will be offered remotely as a weeklong series of afternoon workshops from August 18-25, 2020. Many of the workshops will be repeated, and some will be recorded and posted for later viewing. New graduate students will receive a series of informational messages throughout the summer that will include a schedule of workshops and events. Please check with your academic program for information about program-specific orientations.


All libraries are closed, but library staff are working to provide as many remote services as possible. Visit the Berkeley Library COVID-19 portal for ongoing updates.  You are welcome to contact your subject librarian for assistance or chat with a librarian 24/7.

Student Spaces

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union, Eshleman Hall, Cesar Chavez Hall and the Recreational Sports Facility (RSF) are closed. Many other campus facilities are closed as well. Please check their websites for current information. As public health conditions and testing capacity allow us to resume more activities on campus, the top priorities will be instructional and research spaces. We will then prioritize study spaces for students.

Open study spaces for students
We plan to create structured outdoor spaces using, for example, chalk circles for physical distancing and enhanced wireless internet signals. As public health conditions permit, we plan to have a student-centered space, such as the MLK Student Union or the library, open to students for limited amounts of time. Access would be controlled to limit the number of people in at one time; facial coverings and physical distancing would be required. If study spaces become possible, the amount of time spent there by any single student will be limited — these have been identified as typical spaces to spend no more than several hours in.

Please note: we are still awaiting state guidelines for colleges and universities which may provide further restrictions and limitations.

Visit news.berkeley.edu/coronavirus for the most up-to-date information.

Student Life Office Hours

If you would like assistance navigating these resources, sign up for a 15-minute virtual appointment with Graduate Student Life Director Larissa Charnsangavej: https://calendly.com/larissa-charn/graduate-life

Prospective Students

In Spring 2020, the Council of Deans endorsed a statement indicating that departments would  not penalize students who adopt P/NP grades during the spring 2020 semester.

Below is an updated statement from the Graduate Division which reaffirms this holistic review: 

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 during the pandemic. Thus, we will not penalize students for the adoption of P/NP grades and reduced research experiences during this unprecedented period, whether the choices were made by institutions or by individual students. 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.

As we have continued to observe in admissions cycles, Berkeley graduates have a remarkable track record of success in graduate school admissions to the most competitive programs in the country. Our graduates are admired for their academic abilities and resilience, and are assessed, as always, on their overall performance. We are confident that graduate admissions committees will make generous allowances for the academic challenges produced by the COVID-19 pandemic.