The Graduate Division serves more than 13,000 students in over 100 graduate degree programs. We are here to help you from the time you are admitted until you complete your graduate program.
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This guide is intended for use by faculty and staff graduate advisors. It presents policies governing the sequence of steps involved in completing a graduate degree at Berkeley and procedures to implement them.
For changing information, such as deadlines, phone numbers, and email contact information, consult the Graduate Division website. When communicating about policies or making requests under any of the procedures listed, please use the operational email addresses listed on the Graduate Division website rather than the email addresses of individual staff members, to ensure prompt receipt of requests and proper routing.
Admissions, appointments, degrees, and fellowships handbooks supplement this guide with detailed step by step instructions intended for staff. For graduate students, the Graduate Division produces guides for filing the Master’s thesis and Doctoral dissertation, and an overview of appointments called What You Need to Know About Being a GSI, GSR, Reader, or Tutor. Information in those resources supplements this guide, but in case of apparent contradiction, the Guide to Graduate Policy is authoritative.
Each section of this guide begins with a discussion of specific issues, citing relevant policy. Policies are often based on memos from the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate Division, which are available on the Graduate Division website, and implement the regulations and decisions of the Graduate Council of the Academic Senate, which are published on the Academic Senate website.
Where appropriate, discussion of policy is followed by description of procedures to be used by programs to implement specific policies. Unless an alternative is described, requests for exceptions to policies should be made through a memo signed by the Head Graduate Advisor directed to the relevant Associate Dean for Admissions and Degrees or the Associate Dean for Fellowships and Appointments, submitted to the Graduate Divisions Degrees Office, Admissions Office, or Fellowships Office.
Throughout this guide, “program” refers to a degree granting program, whether housed in an academic department or administered by a graduate group; “student” means an admitted graduate student; “applicant” means a person who has applied for admission, but has not yet been offered admission and replied to the offer using the SIR form.
The Graduate Council, faculty Graduate Advisers, Faculty Advisers for GSI Affairs, Faculty Equity Advisers, and Graduate Student Affairs Officers are partners of the Graduate Division. Each has a unique role to play in graduate education.
The administrative arm of the Graduate Council of the Academic Senate, it is empowered to enforce regulations and policies developed through faculty governance. The Graduate Division appoints faculty Graduate Advisors and Faculty Advisors for GSI Affairs as its representatives in graduate programs. The Graduate Division supports Graduate Student Affairs Officers with online systems, information about policy updates, and training in new procedures.
Within the Graduate Division, different offices provide support for graduate students, faculty, and staff addressing distinct issues. The Admissions Office handles all aspects of the admissions process. The Fellowships Office manages university fellowship competitions and administration of fellowships managed through the graduate division. Appointments reviews all proposed academic appointments for graduate students for compliance with policy. The Degrees Office monitors graduate student progress through benchmarks, and receives and processes all petitions concerning course enrollment, changes or additions of majors, appointment and changes of committees, and the filing of the thesis or dissertation.
The Graduate Division also offers professional development for graduate students, primarily through its GSI Teaching and Resource Center and Academic Services.
Assistant Deans and Associate Deans are consulted by these offices when needed, but unless noted specifically in the Guide, requests addressed to the Deans normally are routed first to one of these offices. The Assistant and Associate Deans are responsible for policy development and implementation, strategic planning for new and existing programs, and handle student grievances and student and faculty consultations about less routine aspects of policy.
The Graduate Council is the committee of the faculty Academic Senate charged with safeguarding the excellence of graduate education at Berkeley. It consists of 12 faculty members, plus three graduate students nominated by the Graduate Assembly. The Dean of the Graduate Division is an ex officio voting member of the council and chairs its Administrative Committee.
The Graduate Council sets the policies and standards for graduate admission, fellowships, and degrees. The Council reviews established degree programs and proposals for new fields of study or degrees; establishes qualifications and policies for Graduate Student Instructors and Graduate Student Researchers; and responds to issues referred to it by the Dean of the Graduate Division, the Chancellor’s Office, and the Coordinating Committee on Graduate Affairs.
Graduate Advisers are faculty members responsible for the academic advising of graduate students. They are official deputies appointed by the Dean of the Graduate Division to act in matters affecting graduate students in their programs. When a program has more than one officially appointed Graduate Advisor, one is designated the Head Graduate Advisor. The Graduate Council requires that the Head Graduate Advisor be a tenured Academic Senate member. Other Graduate Advisors ideally are also tenured, but an Assistant Professor may serve with the Dean’s permission.
Graduate Advisers are responsible for assisting students in selecting programs of study, and acting on petitions to add or drop courses. Graduate Advisers should maintain records of their advisees and review the records of all graduate students in the program once a year and inform the Graduate Division, in writing, if a student is not making adequate progress toward a degree.
Only the Head Graduate Adviser can sign documents or make requests to the Graduate Division on matters concerning graduate enrollment, degrees, progress, and financial aid, such as admission, reenrollment, change or addition of major, graduate standing, and appointment of Qualifying Examination and dissertation committees.
The Faculty Adviser for GSI Affairs functions as a liaison among the Graduate Division, program faculty, and GSIs; provides information concerning policies relating to GSIs to faculty and GSIs in the program; and raises issues on their behalf with the administration. Like the Graduate Advisors, they are nominated by the program and appointed by the Dean of the Graduate Division, and must be tenured Academic Senate faculty unless the Dean approves an exception.
Faculty Advisers for GSI Affairs are expected to be thoroughly familiar with the Graduate Council’s policies on GSI mentoring. The staff of the GSI Teaching and Resource Center supports the Faculty Advisors for GSI Affairs through its programs.
The Equity Adviser, or, in units with more than one Equity Adviser, the Head Equity Adviser, is approved by the Vice Chancellor of Equity and Inclusion. Among their functions, they consult with the Head Graduate Adviser and the other Graduate Advisers in the program to ensure that diversity is taken into account in the recruitment, selection, and retention of graduate students. The Equity Advisor must be a tenured member of the Academic Senate. The Equity Advisors’ Workbook is available through the web site of the Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion.
Graduate Student Affairs Officers (GSAOs) are program staff members who are responsible for the administrative advising of graduate students. They remind students about registration and fellowship deadlines, stay abreast of admissions, degrees, fellowship, and appointments requirements, as well as manage administrative paperwork on behalf of the program and its graduate students. Departments may add other roles and responsibilities to the work of these staff graduate advisors.
Annually, the Graduate Division sends program chairs a form to nominate the next academic year’s Graduate Adviser and Faculty Advisor for GSI Affairs. The nominees are reviewed and appointed by the Dean of the Graduate Division, on behalf of the Graduate Council.
A “Delegation of Authority” form is provided to the program at the same time as the call for nominations, allowing the delegation to a Graduate Student Affairs Officer of signature authority for many student petitions and requests for exception.
Both forms must be returned by the stated deadline, or the Registrar and Graduate Division staff may not be able to act on submitted petitions signed by individuals not yet recognized by the Graduate Division.
If for some reason a Graduate Adviser can no longer serve, the program chair should immediately notify the Graduate Division in writing.
Faculty and staff working with graduate students can refer students with specific challenges to a number of offices and programs that work with graduate students or have resources specific to their needs, and/or are partners with the Graduate Division.
Faculty and staff may provide information about a student under the exception to FERPA for Health and Safety Emergencies authorized by the U.S. Department of Education:
“In an emergency, FERPA [Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act] permits school officials to disclose without student consent education records, including personally identifiable information from those records, to protect the health or safety of students or other individuals. At such times, records and information may be released to appropriate parties such as law enforcement officials, public health officials, and trained medical personnel….This exception to FERPA’s general [student] consent rule is limited to the period of the emergency and generally does not allow for a blanket release of personally identifiable information from a student’s education records. In addition, the Department interprets FERPA to permit institutions to disclose information from education records to parents if a health or safety emergency involves their son or daughter.”
The Ombuds Office provides neutral assistance in situations where students may feel they have been treated unfairly or need help with a procedural or academic problem.
Provides counseling and psychological services. Approves medical withdrawals recognized by the Graduate Division.
Works with international graduate students to ensure compliance with US visa requirements, advise on family and work issues, and lists resources for English as a second language.
Provides programs and guidance to university resources for LGBTQ students, faculty, and staff.
Provides students facing challenges from vision and hearing impairment, AD/HD, psychological impairment, mobility impairment, speech impairment, acquired brain injury, chronic illness, or other disabilities guidance about how to verify their disability and request accommodations.
The Student of Concern Committee “is a multi-disciplinary body of stakeholders from across the University which receives referrals pertaining to students of concern, collects additional information, and identifies and enacts appropriate strategies for addressing the situation”. The Graduate Division is represented on this committee. The committee website provides links to resources across the campus that may be useful in different situations.
A student can be brought to the attention of the Student of Concern Committee by submitting a report through a secure online form accessed on the committee website.
In immediate emergency situations, faculty or staff should contact Tang Center’s Counseling and Psychological Services, and/or the UC Police’s Threat Management Unit.
The Admissions office of the Graduate Division monitors all matters dealing with applications for graduate study and recommendations of admission. Changing information, including deadlines, contact information, and specific information needed, is available through other information sources made available by the Admissions office. An Admissions Handbook for staff supplements this Guide with changing information.
The Graduate Division sets targets for total enrollment, and determines the number of admission recommendations that may be made by each program. These numbers are sent annually to each graduate program in the fall semester. If a program admits for both fall and spring semesters, targets for both cycles are included in the same memo.
The Graduate Division provides a central platform for application to graduate study at Berkeley. Individual programs are responsible for reviewing applicants and recommending admission for the top applicants in each cycle. The Graduate Division monitors whether the minimum application requirements established by the systemwide Academic Senate and the Berkeley Division’s Graduate Council have been met and has the ultimate authority to approve or deny admission. An applicant is not officially admitted to the university until notification from the Dean of the Graduate Division is received.
The Graduate Division sets admission and enrollment allocations for each program. Graduate enrollment is carefully monitored by the state, and it is vital that programs adhere to their assigned allocation.
Graduate admissions allocations are calculated based on success in maintaining student progress, awarding degrees, and minimizing the number of students who leave without a degree. These factors are weighted to produce a projected number of openings for new students, which when added to expected continuing and returning students, will equal the enrollment target. This target number of newly admitted students is mutiplied by the “show rate” from recent years for that program (the proportion of applicants who were offered admission and then enrolled).
The enrollment target is the total number of students in a program; it is approximately equal to the annual number of students admitted times the Normative Time to degree for a program. Enrollment targets are set based on the ability of a program to support students financially, to provide academic advising, and to guide students to success in meeting benchmarks for retention, advancement within normative time, and completion of the degree. The Graduate Division produces reports for programs that provide standard measures of these progress benchmarks.
Programs may wish to make a one-time request for additional admissions allocations for the current admissions cycle, to admit specific, identified applicants. Requests are made using the cover form distributed with the admissions allocation notification, accompanied by a memo signed by either the Program Chair or the Head Graduate Advisor, following the instructions on the cover form.
Requests for additional admissions allocations can only be made after review of applicants, because they must be justified by comparing the applicants proposed for additional admissions nominations to previously recommended applicants. Both the form and the required memo should be submitted via email to the Associate Dean for Admissions and Degrees.
Programs may request consideration of an adjustment to increase or decrease their ongoing enrollment target, not affecting the current year’s admissions allocation, by responding to a questionnaire available by writing to the Associate Dean for Degrees. The questionnaire asks for assessment of financial and advising capacity, as well as any other bases to change the enrollment target, and will be reviewed in conjunction with data on program success in retention, advancement within normative time, and completion of the degree. Once set, a new enrollment target will stay in place for three years, and then be reviewed against program outcomes.
The online application provided by the Graduate Division is available to applicants in early September each year. Graduate programs normally consider applicants for the following fall semester. Some also consider applicants for spring admission of the following year. Individual programs set the deadline for completion of applications. For programs taking part in fellowship competition, deadlines may be set within the range of December 1–January 5. The final deadline for all applicants can be no later than February 10. (The Berkeley Law School oversees applications for law degrees, which may not follow all the procedures outlined here.)
Programs establish expectations for the content of a complete application within the Graduate Division regulations, and should post on their websites any specific information applicants might need to complete a competitive application.
Applicants may only apply to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.
Applicants previously formally enrolled at Berkeley, however briefly, who wish to be considered for a new degree program must apply to the new degree program through the Online Application for Admission per the program’s normal admissions and review cycle. This policy is to ensure a transparent, thorough, and fair application review process, independent from an applicant’s current or past enrollment at Berkeley. There is no need for these applicants to submit the former “Application for Readmission” or the “Change of Major” forms.
Note that students returning to the same degree program after a period of withdrawal are covered under the “re-enrollment” process in the new Student Information System; they do not need to use the Online Application for Admission.
Admission to graduate study at Berkeley is granted on a competitive and equitable basis. The Graduate Council encourages programs to develop diverse communities of graduate scholars. A transparent admissions process provides assurance to faculty, Graduate Council, and Graduate Division that all applicants are reviewed equitably. Accordingly, graduate programs are required to:
The following minimum requirements apply to all programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:
The Graduate Council views academic degrees as evidence of broad research training, not as vocational training certificates; therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to take up new subject matter on a serious level without undertaking a graduate program, unless the fields are completely dissimilar.
Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.
Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.
The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:
Beyond the uniform minimum requirements for admission, a program may choose any criteria that are appropriate as a basis for its evaluation, including but not limited to undergraduate and graduate grade-point averages, work experience, test scores, letters of recommendation, and evidence of past achievements.
Participation by current graduate students in admission review is permitted, at the discretion of the program. If students participate, they must be briefed on and abide by the standard rules of confidentiality.
Admissions criteria and ranking procedures are subject to review by the Graduate Division.
Programs can recommend that an applicant’s admission be deferred, once, if the applicant has been recommended for admission but is unable to enroll on schedule and wants to begin graduate school in a later semester. Departments that admit only for fall semester can recommend deferring an admission only until the next fall semester; those admitting for both semesters can recommend deferral until spring or the following fall.
Deferred admission may be offered only to superior applicants. Applicants admitted by exception may not be deferred. Applicants whose entry might be deferred must be reviewed and ranked with the current applicant pool. Under no circumstances can deferred admission be offered to an international applicant who has not yet received a basic degree or whose scholarship, preparation, or English proficiency does not meet the university’s minimum admission standards.
Applicants with serious deficiencies in preparation should be denied admission. Programs should recommend limited status for students who are making a radical change of field and who would need to complete an undergraduate major. Limited status is an undergraduate classification. Applicants who lack some course work but not the entire undergraduate major may be recommended for admission through an exception request. For more information on limited status and other options available to applicants who do not meet requirements for admission, see “Special Categories of Students” (section B1.8).
The Graduate Division maintains a record of the current procedures each program uses to evaluate applicants and make admissions decisions. Anytime procedures change, programs should send an updated description to the Associate Dean for Admissions and Degrees.
After a student has been admitted and has completed SIR, the academic program should submit the “Request for Deferred Admissions” form to the Graduate Admissions Office, justifying the reason for the deferral (deadline: June 1). Graduate Admissions will send a deferral status memo to the department once the deferral is processed.
A deferred student’s admission counts against a program’s admissions allocation only for the academic year in which the student was originally admitted. Unless special exceptions have been approved, a deferred student must join the program no later than one year after the original review date and recommendation for admission.
The Graduate Division wants to ensure that programs recruit from pools of applicants who have selected the best program for their interests. Given the richness of graduate program offerings, a prospective student can easily find more than one program which might fit their interests and experience. Sometimes an admissions committee judges that a well-qualified applicant would be better served by consideration by a different graduate program. This option should only be considered when the alternative program is either on the same level (e.g., a PhD applicant may be redirected to another PhD program) or is on a more advanced level (e.g. a masters’ applicant may be redirected to a PhD program). The program asking to redirect the applicant is affirming a belief that the applicant has the credentials for general admission to a Berkeley graduate program.
Both the original program and the suggested alternative program must agree to redirect the application. The applicant must have two weeks to decide whether to accept the proposed redirection or ask that the original program make a final decision. If both programs and the applicant agree to redirection, the original program should contact the Graduate Division’s Admissions office to arrange for the application to be made available to the alternative program by changing the requested major. The applicant’s consent must be confirmed directly.
Rankings provide an objective measure of a program’s basis to recommend admission or denial for a particular candidate. The applicant’s rank enables the program and the Graduate Division to be specific about the faculty judgment of an individual’s qualifications compared with competing applicants. If a disappointed candidate asks for a detailed explanation or takes legal action, rankings can be essential to explaining and defending the program’s recommendation. For these reasons, programs must rank all applicants, even those who are clearly inadmissable.
Candidates for admission who are ranked by the program within its admissions offer allocation are recommended for admission through the Graduate Admissions online application system. Applicants offered admission after review by the Graduate Division must complete the Statement of Intent to Register form online.
Programs directly enter recommendations for admission into the Graduate Admissions database.
Each recommendation for admission must specify:
The designated Program Administrator enters the recommendation information, GPA, and program ranking in the admissions database. After the application is reviewed and approved for admission, the applicant is notified of the official decision.
The program must outline how the applicant does not meet Graduate Division requirements and their justification for requesting permission to admit the applicant in a memo to the Associate Dean for Degrees and Admissions. The Graduate Division may approve the plan or make suggested changes as a condition of approving admission with deficiencies.
Once the Associate Dean for Degrees and Admissions approves admission, the program must provide the applicant in writing (with a copy to the Graduate Division) a description of:
This letter establishes the Graduate Division’s expectations for the admitted applicant to resolve the deficiencies. Students will not be permitted to continue to register if they do not meet the conditions of their admission within the stated period.
If a program wants to recommend admissions for a student already holding a masters or doctorate to a second Ph.D. or to a lesser degree, the head Graduate Advisor must request an exception in writing.
When a program recommends admission of an applicant, and the applicant fulfills the minimum requirements or an exception is sought and granted, and the program has not used up its admissions allocation or has sought and been granted an additional admissions allocation, the Graduate Division will issue an admission notification from the Dean of the Graduate Division to the student. Only written notice from the Dean of the Graduate Division constitutes an offer of admission.
Admissions decisions for programs admitting for fall semester should be finalized by June 1 (for programs admitting students to begin in fall). Programs are encouraged to review the response to offers of admission by May 15, and if necessary, request additional admissions offers based on lower than expected acceptance rates. Any applicants whose status is still “undecided” on July 1 will be changed to “declined”, to ensure that applicants receive notice of the final decision concerning their applications.
Applicants who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States must be recommended for admission no later than May 1 for fall semester and October 1 for spring semester in order to allow time for their visas to be processed.
After the program recommendation, the Graduate Admissions Office will send the student the official admissions notification. Admitted students must notify the Graduate Division of their intent by completing the Statement of Intent to Register form online. For students who accept the offer of admission, they will receive an email with their Student ID number and instructions on how to create a CalNet ID to access the student portal CalCentral to start the on-boarding process. The student must review the on-boarding messages and checklist items under “Tasks” on My Dashboard that they will need to complete in order to register.
Applicants indicate their intent to accept admission by completing the online Statement of Intent to Register (SIR).
UC Berkeley subscribes to the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) policy, “Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees, and Assistants,” which states: “Students are under no obligation to respond to offers of financial support prior to April 15; earlier deadlines for acceptance of such offers violate the intent of this Resolution.”
Programs may set a response deadline that conforms to this resolution, as long as applicants offered admission with financial support are not required to respond before April 15. There is currently no Graduate Division deposit required for those who accept the offer of admission, and no Graduate Division deadline for students offered admission unless they are offered fellowships requiring response by April 15.
All applicants denied admission should be notified in writing. Programs must enter the denial decision into the admissions system before July 1. The program must retain supplemental materials (transcripts, forms, letters of recommendation, etc.) for at least two years. To ensure that all applicants receive a final decision, unless an exception has been made, any applicant whose status is still “undecided” on July 1 will be changed to “denied”.
While mistakes are rare and we strive to avoid them at all costs, UC Berkeley Graduate Division may rescind an offer of admission if that offer was made in the case of administrative error, or due to incomplete or inaccurate information submitted on the application.
Graduate students at Berkeley are normally engaged in full-time study leading to a degree. Course work only status, visiting student researcher status, Education Abroad Program Reciprocity status, and limited enrollment status for undergraduates, are special categories each of which has specific requirements, and limitations in relation to graduate programs.
Course-work-only status permits students who are not working toward a higher degree to enroll in a maximum of two semesters of graduate work. These students must meet the same requirements for admission as those set for other entering graduate students. Course-work-only applicants, therefore, must be evaluated and ranked with all other applicants.
Course-work-only status is appropriate only for students who want to enroll in courses that are not available elsewhere or who want to complete a limited amount of course work for professional advancement. After two semesters, the registration of course-work-only students will be blocked. Course-work-only status cannot be used as a probationary status preliminary to being admitted to a degree program. These students will not be permitted to enter a degree program at a later date, unless they are current UC employees.
Course-work-only students, except UC employees and students in the Education Abroad Program (EAP), count in program admission allocations. Course-work-only students are not eligible for the fellowship competition and may not be appointed as Academic Student Employees or Graduate Student Researchers.
Applicants who want to study at Berkeley before they have completed work toward a graduate degree at another institution may apply for admission to
In 1980, the Education Abroad Program (EAP) inaugurated non-degree/no-fee direct exchange programs with a number of universities abroad. Prospective participants apply initially to the University of California Study Center located at their home institution abroad. The individual study centers select the successful participants and submit applications for those students to the Systemwide EAP office located in Santa Barbara. The Systemwide EAP office will complete an online application for Course Work Only status for the specific program. Students who enroll in this non-degree category are not eligible to continue in a degree program upon completion of their course work, and their registration is limited to a maximum of one year.
EAP Reciprocity applicants do not count against the program’s admissions allocation. They are not required to pay the application fee. If accepted, they are admitted to course-work-only status (see above). Applicants must meet all minimum University requirements for admission, including an appropriate basic degree, an acceptable GPA, and English language proficiency. If a program has a GRE requirement, it should notify the EAP applicant. Applicants are required to submit official transcripts from U.S. colleges or universities in sealed envelopes. Academic records from abroad certified by the Systemwide EAP Coordinator are acceptable in lieu of official copies normally required of international students applying for degree programs, since EAP reciprocity is not admission to a degree program.
The applications of EAP applicants should be reviewed following procedures used for all other applicants, and they must be recommended for admission or denial. Programs must report the rank for all EAP applicants recommended for admission. Since EAP applicants recommended for admission will not count in the program’s allocation, the program may rank them as a separate group, i.e., EAP-1, EAP-2, and so on.
Final decisions on EAP applicants should be made no later than June 1, particularly for those denied admission, to enable the Systemwide EAP Coordinator to place them at another UC campus. Admission of EAP applicants may not be deferred because their home institution abroad determines their selection for eligibility.
Students enrolled in this category do not pay nonresident tuition or educational fees. Although the campuses do not receive instructional support resources from the state or the Office of the President for these students, the Education Abroad Program transfers an amount equivalent to the registration fee to the receiving campus. Note that the Office of the President does not include EAP students in the census of campus FTE enrollments.
Upon completion of two semesters, the registration of admitted EAP students will automatically be blocked. If a former participant in an EAP program at the graduate level subsequently applies for a graduate degree, the program would need to request an exception to recommend admission. Payment of retroactive fees for the time spent in graduate study would then be required.
The Colleges of Chemistry, Natural Resources, and Engineering may consider admitting students in limited status, which is not a graduate status. The limited status program allows an undergraduate who has received a recognized undergraduate degree with a record of good scholarship (an overall grade-point average of at least 3.3) to pursue course work in a field unrelated to any prior degrees, for a specific and clearly defined purpose. Often this involves preparation for graduate study.
Students who complete a program in limited status are not automatically eligible for graduate study at Berkeley. To be admitted, a person who has completed limited study must submit an application for admission by the required deadline. They must be evaluated for graduate admission on the same basis as other applicants. While on limited status, students are not allowed to take graduate courses (200 series). Undergraduate courses completed while on limited status cannot be used to satisfy subject or residence requirements for an advanced degree or credential, if the applicant is admitted.
These records may be needed to respond to legal complaints. Federal agencies require the University to summarize the qualifications of successful as well as unsuccessful applicants in order to demonstrate that a complainant’s qualifications were below the level of those admitted for a particular program and semester, according to the program’s criteria for evaluation. The Graduate Division can compile most of the statistical information needed to respond to legal investigations, but programs alone have information on their assessment of the particular strengths and weaknesses that contributed to decisions about individual applicants. Programs should keep records to support their response, such as letters of recommendation, the results of interviews, and computations of applicant scores or ranks.
In compliance with California’s Information Practices Act of 1977 (IPA), the Graduate Admissions Office will release information on an applicant’s status only to the applicant. Applicant records can only be released to an alternate contact listed in the section of the online graduate application for admission that grants permission to release information, or if the applicant submits a written statement giving permission to a person specifically named.
The Graduate Division’s policy, based on IPA guidelines, is to hold in confidence all information provided in application materials except the names of applicants, and the programs to which they applied, which is considered public information. An applicant can include a written request to withhold that information with the application, and must also inform the program not to release this information.
Under this Information Practices Act, letters and statements of recommendation and admission committee appraisals are considered “personal information.” The IPA requires disclosure of personal information to the individual concerned. Applicants legally have access to letters of recommendation and admission committee evaluation material unless they have formally waived that access.
Applicants complete the waiver question on the letter of recommendation page online and submit it with their letters of recommendation. If an applicant has not waived the right of access, then the program must disclose the letters of recommendation to the individual upon request, regardless of where the letters are filed.
Programs may wish to consider adding a waiver of access rights form specifically for comments that might be recorded during review. Any such waiver would have to be voluntary and could not be required as a condition of admission or review.
Under the CalCentral registration system, most new graduate students receive their registration information from their programs when they arrive on campus. The Graduate Admissions Office will block the registration of entering students who have not yet submitted required proof of degree and academic records. Students who received bachelor’s degrees the preceding spring or summer have until the fourth week of the fall semester to submit proof of degree. For further information on admission status, programs can contact the Graduate Admissions Office.
The University of California, Berkeley, is committed to encouraging diversity in graduate education. The Graduate Diversity Program, reporting to the Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion and the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate Division, provides primary guidance in efforts to maintain and increase diversity.
The University has moved into the post-affirmative action era as defined by Proposition 209. There is no doubt that the recruitment, selection, and support of graduate students has been and will continue to be affected by these new realities. However, the policies of the Graduate Council relating to student recruitment and selection, as formulated in 1985 and reaffirmed most recently in January 1996, remain unaltered, as do the assumptions upon which they are based. In particular, we believe that the educational experience is enhanced by a graduate student body that is heterogeneous with respect to economic circumstances, gender, and ethnicity, as three of many markers of diversity. A diverse student body also serves California’s future needs for a diverse body of academics and practitioners. To this end we reaffirm the following policies governing admission to graduate study at Berkeley.
Adopted by the Assembly of the Academic Senate May 10, 2006
Endorsed by the President of the University of California June 30, 2006
Adopted by the Regents of the University of California, September 19, 2007
The diversity of the people of California has been the source of innovative ideas and creative accomplishments throughout the state’s history into the present. Diversity — a defining feature of California’s past, present, and future — refers to the variety of personal experiences, values, and worldviews that arise from differences of culture and circumstance. Such differences include race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, language, abilities/disabilities, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and geographic region, and more.
Because the core mission of the University of California is to serve the interests of the State of California, it must seek to achieve diversity among its student bodies and among its employees. The State of California has a compelling interest in making sure that people from all backgrounds perceive that access to the University is possible for talented students, staff, and faculty from all groups. The knowledge that the University of California is open to qualified students from all groups, and thus serves all parts of the community equitably, helps sustain the social fabric of the State.
Diversity should also be integral to the University’s achievement of excellence. Diversity can enhance the ability of the University to accomplish its academic mission. Diversity aims to broaden and deepen both the educational experience and the scholarly environment, as students and faculty learn to interact effectively with each other, preparing them to participate in an increasingly complex and pluralistic society. Ideas, and practices based on those ideas, can be made richer by the process of being born and nurtured in a diverse community. The pluralistic university can model a process of proposing and testing ideas through respectful, civil communication. Educational excellence that truly incorporates diversity thus can promote mutual respect and make possible the full, effective use of the talents and abilities of all to foster innovation and train future leadership.
Therefore, the University of California renews its commitment to the full realization of its historic promise to recognize and nurture merit, talent, and achievement by supporting diversity and equal opportunity in its education, services, and administration, as well as research and creative activity. The University particularly acknowledges the acute need to remove barriers to the recruitment, retention, and advancement of talented students, faculty, and staff from historically excluded populations who are currently underrepresented.
Every department has a designated Faculty Equity Adviser. The Graduate Division considers the Faculty Equity Adviser to be the departmental liaison in all matters related to recruitment, selection, and retention of graduate students in order to promote diversity in graduate programs. To enhance their efforts, the Graduate Division and Office of the Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion encourage cooperation with Divisional Diversity Coordinators and with the Graduate Diversity Program.
All faculty Graduate Advisers and Graduate Student Affairs Officers should be aware of the importance of diversity and the ways in which they can assist their departments in implementing the goals of the university:
The Faculty Equity Adviser must be a member of the departmental admission committee (and also the fellowships committee, if it is separate from the admission committee) by decision of the Graduate Council in 1986. Since 1999, the Graduate Council has required the signature endorsement of Faculty Equity Advisers when graduate students are being recommended for admission and fellowship support.
All admission recommendations and fellowship recommendations for diversity applicants must be signed by the Faculty Equity Adviser as well as by the Head Graduate Adviser in each department.
The Graduate Division and the Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion encourage the use of comprehensive assessment of graduate applicants. Comprehensive approaches infer an applicant’s potential for success from those indicators shown by research to be reliable predictors of success, such as the general academic record and record of special achievement, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose and writing samples, research experience and drive to succeed, and their personal circumstances and goals. This approach avoids over-reliance on GRE scores, especially in the preliminary stages of assessment, in determining a candidate’s worthiness for admission.
The Graduate Council discontinued requiring the use of GRE scores in assessing applications for graduate admission, allowing individual programs to determine whether and how to use GRE scores. The Graduate Division encourages programs in which GRE scores still figure prominently as a criterion in graduate admissions, especially in the preliminary selection and de-selection of applicants, to move toward comprehensive approaches to evaluation. It encourages programs to consider de-emphasizing GRE scores in favor of a relatively comprehensive review in those cases in which the applicant’s scores clearly contrast with other aspects of the academic profile considered for preliminary review.
Consideration may be given to applicants’ backgrounds and life experiences that contribute significantly to an educationally beneficial mix of students and enhance educational diversity. This may include applicants who have had limited access to educational resources, or who are physically disabled, or who are in the first generation of their family to achieve a college degree, or who come from families headed by a single parent, or who enhance geographic diversity (such as growing up in a severely depressed area), or who have persevered over economic disadvantage, or who have shown exceptional fortitude by working many hours to support themselves during their education, or whose experiences have brought about a perspective not widely represented within the discipline. Race, religion, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin may not be used as categorical criteria for admission under California state law. The University of California is governed by Federal legislation that requires tracking and reporting of data on access to higher education using recognized categories and requests self-identification by applicants on a voluntary basis in compliance with Federal law and policy. Reports on program performance in maintaining equity and inclusion and increasing access over time are provided to programs by the Graduate Division.
Programs may request additional admissions allocations to expand admission to include well qualified applicants not selected within the original admissions allocation, whose addition to the admitted cohort would increase diversity in the ways described above. Requests are made using the cover form distributed with the admissions allocation notification, accompanied by a memo signed by either the program Chair or the Head Graduate Advisor, following the instructions on the form.
The Graduate Division, in cooperation with the Graduate Diversity Program (GDP) and Divisional Diversity Directors, provides a number of programs to ensure the success and retention of a diverse student body.
The GDP produces a student list-serve and hosts receptions and professional development workshops throughout the year. The Graduate Division sponsors and/or provides funding for dissertation workshops, grant proposal writing, and networking receptions and seminars, including some conducted by the Graduate Assembly.
The Graduate Division administers fellowships intended to support diversity (such as the Mentored Research Fellowship and Chancellor’s Dissertation Fellowship). The Graduate Diversity Program and Divisional Diversity Directors support efforts by programs to seek federal and private funding sources on behalf of underrepresented students, and research grants that require a diversity outreach and retention component.
The Graduate Division collects data on student benchmarks that can be used by programs to analyze their own success, particularly in preparation for academic program reviews.
The GDP provides resources and recommends best practices for programs to promote creation of a diverse graduate student community. Many of these are also practices required or suggested by the Graduate Council and Graduate Division.
The Graduate Council requires review of first year students each semester; recommends written review of all graduate students at least annually thereafter prior to advancement to candidacy; and requires an Doctoral Candidate Review for each student after advancement to candidacy for the doctorate, involving a meeting with at least two dissertation committee members.
Identify faculty and senior graduate students who understand and appreciate the unique difficulties that students from diverse backgrounds might face; ask them to serve as mentors to incoming students.
Head Graduate Advisors should ensure information about the program, as well as about university-wide opportunities, reaches all students.
The Mentored Research Fellowship administered by the Graduate Division provides support for graduate students whose backgrounds, life experiences, and/or work contribute to diversity to conduct pre-doctoral research while developing and strengthening relationships with faculty advisers.
Provide events where all students and faculty in your program can engage socially.
Seek and obtain federal and private funding to provide fellowships and research assistantships to support a diverse student population through each stage of students’ academic careers.
The Graduate Division provides fellowship support to students whose backgrounds, life experiences, and/or work contribute to diversity within their discipline or in the graduate community at large. Programs nominate incoming students in doctoral programs at the time of admission who are eligible for the Chancellor’s and Eugene Cota Robles multi-year fellowships. Terminal masters and professional degree programs can nominate new students students for one year GOP awards. Continuing students who have shown strong academic achievement in the face of economic, social, and/or educational disadvantages can be nominated by departments for the Mentored Research and Dissertation Year Fellowships.
The Graduate Diversity Program Director can assist programs with fellowship questions regarding nominations and general assistance to enhance the procurement of student fellowships.
All graduate students are subject to policies concerning registration that are administered by the Graduate Division, through the Degrees office. Deadlines and contact information for many specific registration issues are set by the university Registrar, and forms required may be available through the Registrar’s website, as noted in this section.
Students must be registered whenever they are using University facilities or faculty time. Students are expected to be registered continuously throughout their graduate careers. Students satisfy the continuous registration requirement by enrolling during regular academic semesters (fall and spring); registration during the spring semester maintains graduate status until the beginning of fall semester. Students may not register and enroll the semester after the award of the degree for which they were admitted unless they have been approved for a new degree goal or major.
The Office of the Registrar considers a student officially registered for the semester once the student:
The minimum enrollment requirement for all graduate students who are not yet advanced to doctoral candidacy, including those holding academic appointments, is 12 units per semester. There may be exceptional circumstances in which an international student on an F-1 or J-1 visa may enroll in fewer units and be considered full-time in compliance with the regulations of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
Filing Fee status allows students to file their dissertations or theses but they are not registered (as defined above). They are ineligible for university services.
See Section F1.2 for academic residence requirements for a master’s degree.
See Section F2.2 for academic residence requirements for a doctoral degree.
Students must register no later than the Friday of the third week of instruction (fourth week of the semester), and are responsible for paying fees by August 15 for the fall semester and January 15 for the spring semester.
Students who miss the registration deadline will be subject to late fees and must submit the Petition for Late Enrollment/Registration, for which there is an additional processing fee.
Students with academic appointments at 25 percent time or greater may lose their fee remissions if they are not registered and enrolled by the deadline.
Most international students have non-immigrant visas (F-1 or J-1) that require registration for the fall and spring semesters of each academic year. In order to comply with federal immigration requirements under the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), the University must report whether students with F or J status are registered by the 30th day after the first day of classes. Failure to register in a timely manner can result in jeopardizing a student’s visa status, leading to possible deportation and ineligibility to re-enter the United States. International students who do not register by the deadline should be advised to immediately contact the Berkeley International Office (BIO).
Students enroll in classes via the CalCentral Dashboard, which can be accessed online. CalCentral provides immediate, up-to-the-minute feedback on the status of registration and class requests. CalCentral is a system within the Student Information Systems (SIS) Project.
If students fail to enroll through CalCentral by the end of the fifth week of instruction, already active students must file a Petition for Late Enrollment/Registration to enroll in classes, available from the Office of the Registrar. Inactive students (e.g. after a withdrawal period) will need to apply for re-enrollment and should start by contacting their department’s GSAO.
International students with F or J visas who fail to enroll in at least one class by the end of the third week of classes must consult with an adviser at the Berkeley International Office (BIO) as soon as possible. Not doing this could result in invalidation of the student’s immigration status and lead to deportation and ineligibility to reenter the United States. A Petition for Late Enrollment/Registration must also be submitted but it is essential that the Berkeley International Office be consulted immediately.
Students may add or drop classes through CalCentral without a fee during Phases I and II or the Adjustment Period, which ends the third week of instruction. Students may also petition to change the grading option for classes.
After the third week, and up to the end of the semester, students must fill out a Petition to Change Class Schedule available from the Registrar’s website. Each instructor for a course to be added must sign. The Head Graduate Adviser approves the petition by signing it. The petition is filed by the student with the program office for processing via the On-Line Add/Drop System (OLADS). The Graduate Division does not review petitions filed any time through the last day of instruction.
A Petition to Change Class Schedule to the Graduate Division, endorsed by the Head Graduate Adviser, must be submitted to the Degrees Office of the Graduate Division. A letter of explanation must accompany the petition.
In absentia registration is available to eligible academic and professional graduate students. Students registered in absentia are assessed full health insurance fees, and 15 percent of the combined University Tuition and Student Services Fees. If applicable, students are also assessed the full non-resident tuition and/or professional school fees. Students in self-supporting programs or exchange programs are not eligible for in absentia registration. For more information contact the Degrees Office. Law students should contact the School of Law.
By University policy, summer course unit fees are based on the fees to be charged in the subsequent academic year. Besides fees per unit, other fees may apply and are subject to change.
In absentia registration is available to eligible academic and professional graduate students. Students registered in absentia are assessed full health insurance fees, and 15 percent of the combined University Tuition and Student Services Fees. If applicable, students are also assessed the full non-resident tuition and/or professional school fees. Students in self-supporting programs or exchange programs are not eligible for in absentia registration. For more information contact the Degrees Office. Law students should contact the School of Law.
Students must enroll full-time (that is, at least 12 units). To be eligible, students must be undertaking research or coursework approved by their program that takes them outside of the Bay Area counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, Marin, and Solano (aka “local designated region”).
Students may hold University fellowships and GSR appointments while registered in absentia, but may not hold GSI, Reader, or Tutor appointments.
Those students in F and J status who plan to be outside California but still within the U.S. or to go in and out of the U.S., if otherwise qualified, may register in absentia but also must inform the Berkeley International Office (BIO) of their plans.
Students who have not qualified as residents by the time they advance to candidacy for the doctorate receive a full (100%) reduction in the annual nonresident tuition for a maximum of three calendar years (calculated from the semester after which they advanced). This time period applies whether the student is registered or not during these six semesters. A nonresident student who enrolls after the three-year calendar period will be charged the full nonresident tuition rate in effect at that time.
To qualify for reduced non-resident tuition, the application for doctoral advancement must be received in the Degrees Office by the first day of instruction of the semester for which the reduced tuition will be assessed. For the reduced fee to be reflected on their first billing statement (viewable in the “My Finances” section of CalCentral), students should apply for advancement at least 6-8 weeks before the beginning of the semester for which the reduced tuition will be assessed. A student who files the application later than this will have to pay at least 20 percent of their assessed fees by the first fee payment deadline.
Students are classified as residents or nonresidents after completing the Statement of Legal Residence after being admitted to the University. Many graduate students (US Citizens, permanent residents, and some eligible non-immigrants) who enter UC Berkeley as nonresidents may be classified as residents for tuition purposes after maintaining required residency for one year. These students then receive the benefit of paying fees at the lower resident rate. International students with F-1 or J-1 visas are not eligible to establish residency.
The campus residency policy, which fully explains residency classification, how to establish or maintain residency, and what deadlines pertain, can be found at the Residence Affairs webpage on the Registrar’s website.
All registered students may use University Health Services (UHS) at the Tang Center for comprehensive outpatient primary care as well as counseling services. Registration fees support much of the care provided at UHS. Moderate fees may be charged for certain services at UHS.
All students are required, as a condition of registration, to have major medical health insurance to cover hospitalization and other care outside UHS. Students are automatically enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP), administered by UHS, and assessed fees for SHIP in CalCentral. SHIP coverage is year-round and worldwide and includes coverage for medical, dental, vision, and mental health services. SHIP also covers most UHS fees. SHIP coverage periods are August 15-January 14 for the fall semester and January 15-August 14 for the spring semester.
If entering students begin programs in the summer or are hired as Graduate Student Researchers in July, they will not be covered by health insurance through SHIP until August 15 when they become registered for the fall semester. Programs for students taking place before August 15 should ensure that students have other medical coverage.
Students may waive enrollment in SHIP if they have comparable major medical insurance. Deadlines for submission of waiver forms must be met in order to receive credit for the health insurance fee.
Continuing students covered by SHIP during the spring term may use UHS services during the summer. Students not registered spring term but registered in Summer Sessions are not eligible for SHIP coverage, but may use UHS services. Students who are without SHIP and not enrolled in a Summer Session course will be charged fees for all UHS services.
If a student’s registration fees have not been paid in full by the end of the semester, the student may be dropped from the rolls or considered as lapsed, meaning the student’s grades for the semester will not be posted to their transcript and a block will be placed on the student’s future registration. Although they may have otherwise completed all requirements for award of a degree, students who are dropped from the rolls will also be removed from that semester’s degree list.
Once registration fees and any applicable late fees are fully paid, the student will be automatically reinstated, grades will be posted to the transcript, and the block will be removed. Students dropped from a degree list will be placed on the degree list for the next term. A reinstatement fee will be charged automatically to the student’s CalCentral account.
The Registrar’s Office will cancel a student’s registration by the end of the eighth week of classes if there are no course enrollments regardless of whether fees have been paid, either by the student or by some form of financial assistance.
Students who have paid fees and then cancel their registration before the first day of classes may be reimbursed for all fees paid, except for a processing fee.
Students can cancel their registration via CalCentral, notify the Registrar’s Office in writing, or contact their program.
International students in F or J status who plan to cancel their registration must first discuss their plans with an adviser at the Berkeley International Office (BIO). Not doing so could result in invalidation of the student’s immigration status that may result in deportation and ineligibility to re-enter the United States.
If instruction has already begun and a student wishes to discontinue study, a withdrawal must be formally requested and processed by the student’s program. Withdrawing results in dropping enrollment in all classes and the student will no longer be able to attend for that semester or any future semester until readmitted. A program is not obligated to readmit any student who has withdrawn. Students should be advised that readmission is not guaranteed. The only exception is for students who withdraw to complete a professional internship that has been approved by their program, as long as they have met the conditions outlined below (“Withdrawal to Pursue a Professional Internship”) prior to their withdrawal.
Graduate students who withdraw may not use any University facilities except those available to the general public, nor may they make demands on faculty time.
To register for subsequent semesters, students who have withdrawn must obtain the approval of the Head Graduate Adviser in their program and apply for readmission. A student who chooses to withdraw is not guaranteed readmission.
International students are expected to remain registered at all times. Continuing students may be able to withdraw for extremely limited reasons and still remain in compliance with the federal Students and Exchange Visitors Information System (SEVIS) requirements. Before applying for withdrawal through their program, international students must meet with an adviser at the Berkeley International Office (BIO). If an international student fails to register or withdraw without consulting with BIO, the student’s visa will be in jeopardy, which could result in deportation and denial of re-entry to the United States.
Students initiate withdrawal requests through CalCentral through the fifth week of the semester and through their GSAO until the last week of the semester. Students may withdraw up to and including the last day of a given semester. The withdrawal covers the entire semester. Students who withdraw may still be responsible for some or all of their registration fees, prorated according to the effective date of the withdrawal.
Students who want to withdraw after the semester has ended must complete a “Notice of Withdrawal” form available from the Registrar. The form must be signed by the Head Graduate Adviser. It must be accompanied by a memo of explanation and support from the Head Graduate Adviser addressed to the Associate Dean for Degrees. The student submits the form and memo to the Degrees Office. If the request is approved, the withdrawal form will be forwarded to the Registrar’s Office for processing.
Students are guaranteed readmission upon completion of a professional internship, subject to the following conditions being met prior to withdrawal.
Former or current students seeking a different degree and/or an additional degree, whether the initial degree is completed or not, must apply for admission to that additional or new degree and be evaluated within the applicant pool for that admission cycle. This will ensure a fair and thorough application review, independent from an applicant’s current or former enrollment at Berkeley.
Students who were previously registered at Berkeley in a graduate program, withdrew for a period of time, and wish to return within five years to the same degree program (i.e. “stopped out”), will re-enroll, rather than re-apply. Re-enrollment (sometimes known as readmission) is recommended at the judgment of the program, which assesses the strength of the student’s academic record in weighing its approval. A program is not obliged to re-enroll a student who has withdrawn for any reason, including an official medical withdrawal with the exception of students on official parental leave or internship leave status. Some programs weigh petitions for re-enrollment against their pool of new applicants for admission, who may be stronger candidates, even if the student withdrew having made satisfactory academic progress. Students who were in good academic standing when they withdrew and are denied re-enrollment have a right to appeal under the Graduate Appeal Procedure.
Students who choose to take a leave of absence due to pregnancy, childbirth, and/or to care for and bond with their newborn child or a child placed with the student for adoption or foster care shall be granted a Parenting Leave for up to one academic year (two semesters). See the Policy on Parenting Leave with Re-enrollment section here for specific requirements and restrictions.
(Students registered in absentia have maintained registration and do not need to apply for re-enrollment.)
Students who have been away from the University for more than five years must submit all the documentation required from applicants for initial admission to the program. At the department’s discretion, students may be required to apply via the Online Application for Admission.
Students must apply for admission for graduate study in a different program or for a different degree goal. This requires the same documentation required from applicants for initial admission to the program.
A program may request that a student be re-enrolled on probationary status if there is a question about the student’s ability to make good academic progress.
A program may request reinstatement of the degree candidacy of a student who has exceeded Normative Time in Candidacy when requesting re-enrollment.
NOTE: Many procedures formerly managed with paper forms are transitioning to electronic form processing in the new Student Information System (SIS). During this period of implementation, please contact your department’s Graduate Student Affairs Officer (GSAO) for advisement on current procedure.
To apply for re-enrollment, students must request that their Graduate Student Affairs Officer submit a Re-enrollment eform on their behalf. This eform will be reviewed by the Graduate Division and the Office of the Registrar, before approval, depending on the circumstances. If a program denies a student’s request for re-enrollment and that student was in good academic standing when they withdrew, then the program is expected to inform the student of their right to appeal the decision.
Students who are seeking readmission after more than five years, or who are seeking readmission to a different program or degree goal, must also submit all the documentation required of new applicants: letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, copies of academic recommendations, transcripts of work completed in the interim, and any other documents required by the program requirements, by the deadline set for new applicants to the program.
The program advisor submits the “Application for Re-Enrollment” (eForm) in Campus Solutions. The Head Graduate Adviser should include a memo of explanation if readmission on probation is recommended. If a student being recommended for readmission had exceeded Normative Time in Candidacy, the Head Graduate Adviser must include a letter addressed to the Associate Dean for Degrees requesting that candidacy be reinstated, affirming that previously completed requirements are still valid, and including a specific plan for completion of degree requirements with a projected date of completion.
In the case of a change of major, if a program decides to deny a student’s application for readmission, rather than forward the denied application to the Graduate Division for processing, the program may send the student a letter, with a copy to the Degrees Office, informing the student of its decision to deny readmission.
Final decisions on all recommendations for readmission rest with the Dean of the Graduate Division. The Degrees Office will notify the student of the program’s decision and the Graduate Division’s concurrence to readmit or deny readmission.
The Filing Fee is a reduced fee, one-half of the Student Services Fee (formerly the University Registration fee), for doctoral students who have completed all requirements for the degree except for filing the dissertation (Plans A and B) and presenting the Final Defense (Plan A). It is also available to master’s students with no requirements remaining except for filing the thesis (Plan I) or taking the final comprehensive examination (Plan II). Filing Fee is available for the fall and spring semesters only.
The Filing Fee is not a form of registration. If students wish to use University services that are supported by registration fees, they must pay those fees. Students on Filing Fee status are not eligible to receive university funding or hold academic appointments because they are not registered. The Filing Fee may be used only once during a student’s career.
If a student does not complete the final degree requirements (filing the dissertation or thesis, or passing the final comprehensive exam) during the semester for which the Filing Fee is approved, the student must apply for readmission and pay regular registration fees during a subsequent semester to complete the requirements.
Filing Fee status is only available for students registered in the immediately previous term: fall semester to be on Filing Fee in spring; spring semester or Summer Session (registered for at least one unit) to be on Filing Fee in fall. Filing Fee status is not available for Summer Sessions. (Students are permitted to file a thesis or dissertation while registered for Summer Session.)
The Filing Fee applies for the length of the semester for which Filing Fee status has been approved, up to the last working day of the term, which is the deadline for filing a thesis or dissertation.
In most cases, Filing Fee status can satisfy the SEVIS registration requirement for F-1/J-1 international students. To avoid visa problems with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, international students must contact the Berkeley International Office well before the beginning of the semester during which they plan to use the Filing Fee.
Students may purchase Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) coverage for the semester they are on approved filing fee status if they have not already purchased SHIP during a period of withdrawal.
Students must apply for the Filing Fee by the first day of the semester. Students do so by completing the Special Enrollment Petition (SEP) eForm available through CalCentral.. Students are billed the Filing Fee on their CalCentral “My Finances” statement.
Graduate students in good standing may participate in campus exchange programs which enable them to take advantage of research facilities, courses, and faculty expertise that might not be available at Berkeley. To avoid jeopardizing their immigration status, international students with F or J visas intending to participate in any exchange program must consult with an international student adviser at the Berkeley International Office (BIO).
Students may transfer no more than 4 semester or 6 quarter units toward the master’s degree. Course work taken at another institution does not count toward academic residency for the doctoral degree. Berkeley students will not automatically receive credit for courses taken at schools outside of the University of California system.
This program allows students to study at any of the other UC campuses. The Berkeley registration fee entitles students to library, health service, and other privileges at the host campus. Students who participate in the intercampus exchange program can receive credit for courses they take at the host campus.
Students in self-supporting programs at Berkeley cannot enroll in state-supported courses at another UC.
To be eligible for the Intercampus Exchange Program, a student must be registered at Berkeley by the Berkeley semester deadline and have the approval of the Head Graduate Adviser, the Chair of the host program, and the Deans of the Graduate Divisions at both Berkeley and the host campus. Students must apply for this program at least three weeks before the beginning of the term of enrollment at the host campus (all other UC campuses except Merced are on the quarter system). Students should make personal arrangements with faculty members on both campuses to ensure that courses, seminars, and facilities will be available to them.
Students may participate in this program if they want to take courses that are not offered at Berkeley. Their participation must be approved by the Graduate Division, their programs, and Stanford University. Usually, students are not allowed to participate in the Stanford program until they have completed a year of graduate study at Berkeley. Participants register and pay the applicable fees at Berkeley and are exempt from tuition and fees at Stanford. Students who want to apply for this program must enroll in at least one course at Berkeley.
This program permits doctoral students from Berkeley, Brown, the University of Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, MIT, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale to study at one of the other participating universities. Berkeley registration entitles students to student privileges at the host campus for up to a year. Usually, students are not eligible for this program until they have completed one year in a Berkeley graduate degree program. Students who wish to enter this program should familiarize themselves with its “Terms and Conditions” statement, which provides information on additional fees for which the student is responsible. For example, the host institution is responsible for assuring that hospitalization and health services are locally available. However, the host institution may charge the student additional fees for local health services. Students are eligible for in absentia registration while in the Exchange Scholar Program.
With the approval of the Graduate Division and the programs involved, students may attend any of the campuses of the California State University or the Community Colleges systems, as well as Dominican, Holy Names, Mills, and St. Mary’s Colleges, and John F. Kennedy University. Students may enroll for only one course per semester, and they must register and pay applicable fees at Berkeley.
Students registered at either UC Berkeley or GTU may take courses at the other institution, subject to appropriate academic approvals.
Graduate students may be granted permission to study abroad. To be eligible, they must have completed at least one year in residence at Berkeley before departing for study abroad, and they must demonstrate appropriate language proficiency when required. Graduate students may be eligible to apply to most of the study centers under the University-wide Education Abroad Program. Graduate students who study abroad must have the approval of their programs and the Graduate Division. Students in an EAP program are eligible for in absentia registration.
In general, matters concerning graduate student coursework are monitored by the Degrees office of the Graduate Division. Authority to place students on probation or dismiss them is reserved for the Dean of the Graduate Division.
Students enroll in units to account for coursework, research, and teaching development. With the exception of selected degree programs specifically approved by the Graduate Council for part-time study, all students must be fully enrolled. Courses in the 100, 200, 300, or 400 series can be taken by students prior to advancement to candidacy. Units in the 600 series may be substituted for 200-level units when appropriate. Lower division units taken to prepare for specific program requirements (e.g., requirements in languages, mathematics, or statistics) may be substituted for 100-level units.
The minimum enrollment requirement is 12 units per semester for all graduate students prior to advancement to candidacy, unless they are subject to a specific categorical or individual exception.
A full program of study for International students on F-1 or J-1 visas is normally 12 units. The student’s academic program may advise fewer units in exceptional circumstances. International students with exceptional circumstances should consult with the Berkeley International Office (BIO) to ensure compliance with the regulations of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
If the Graduate Adviser agrees, students may take more than 12 units. Graduate Advisers should feel free to deny, on behalf of the Dean of the Graduate Division, student requests for excessively heavy programs that would not be in the best interests of the student.
A modified schedule incorporating a lower course load may be arranged for women anticipating childbirth, as part of the university’s family friendly policies.
Students who receive veterans’ benefits are required to be enrolled in a minimum of 8 units to receive educational benefits. This requirement is met by compliance with the 12-unit enrollment requirement per semester.
Students who receive financial assistance from the Financial Aid Office must be enrolled for a minimum of 6 units. This requirement is met by compliance with the general 12-unit minimum enrollment requirement per semester. If, due to exceptional circumstances, a student receiving financial aid will be enrolled in less than 6 units, they must notify the Financial Aid Office.
As required by the U.S. Department of Education, students who wish to defer repayment of Federal Direct Loans (formerly Stafford Loans) must register for at least a half-time program (6 units) to qualify for deferred repayment.
In order for students to be in good standing, they must maintain an overall grade-point average of at least 3.0 on the basis of all upper division and graduate courses (100- and 200-level) taken in graduate standing. Some programs may have higher performance standards than the minimum 3.0 average required by the Graduate Division. Grades earned in Berkeley courses numbered below 100 or 300 and above are not included in determining a student’s grade-point average for good standing or earning a degree. No more than one-third of a student’s total units may be graded S/U.
Students’ grade-point averages are computed on letter-graded courses completed at UC Berkeley, not including courses taken through University Extension. The basic scale is as follows: A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, F=zero. (Plus and minus grade designations provide three-tenths more or less than the base grade, except for A+, which carries 4.0 grade points only.) Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory, Incomplete, and In Progress grades carry no grade-points and are excluded from all grade-point computations.
A Satisfactory grade implies work of B minus quality or better. Courses graded S/U are not included in the grade-point average. Units from a course graded U may not be counted toward fulfillment of students’ degree programs. For these reasons, the Graduate Division encourages enrollment in courses for letter grades. Graduate students in good standing may take courses on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) basis only with the consent of their faculty Graduate Adviser (before advancement to candidacy, the departmental faculty Graduate Adviser; after advancement to candidacy, the doctoral chair and committee).
Academic Senate regulations limit credit for courses taken on an S/U basis to one-third of a student’s total units (excluding courses numbered 299 and those in the 300, 400, or 600 series). Units completed in an Education Abroad Program, a UC intercampus exchange program, or course work undertaken at the institutional partner of a Berkeley joint doctoral program are included in this one-third calculation.
For master’s degrees, two-thirds of all course work (unless otherwise excluded) must be letter-graded. Courses in the 100 and 200 series graded Satisfactory may be accepted for academic residence as long as two-thirds of all course work is letter-graded. This includes all courses undertaken, not just the required core courses included on the master’s advancement to candidacy form.
Courses that extend over more than one semester are graded at the end of each intervening term with the provisional grade of In Progress (“IP”). At the end of the final term, the instructor reports a letter grade for both semesters to the Office of the Registrar. The IP grade is not included in the grade-point average. Students who do not complete a course sequence may petition to drop the course retroactively without academic penalty.
Instructors can give an Incomplete grade (“I”) when a student’s work is of passing quality but is incomplete because of circumstances beyond the student’s control, such as sudden illness. The Registrar will automatically change an IP grade to an Incomplete grade if the student has a break in a course sequence.
There is no Graduate Council mandated time limit for graduate students to make up Incompletes. Programs may set their own more restrictive policies requiring completion of Incomplete grades within a set time limit.
While there is no Graduate Council time limit for completing Incompletes, the following academic penalties apply to graduate students with Incompletes:
Graduate students may repeat courses in which they received a D+, D, D-, F, or U for up to a total of 12 units. They must repeat courses for which they received a grade below C- if a passing grade in the course is required as part of the degree program.
If a student repeats a course in which they received a grade of D+, D, D-, or F, the units are counted only once, and only the most recently earned grade and grade points are counted for the total of 12 units of repeated work.
Students may substitute a different course for one in which they received a D+, D, D-, F, or U if the following conditions exist:
Any substitution of courses in a student’s master’s degree program requires the approval of the Head Graduate Adviser and the Graduate Division.
Students who elect to repeat a course, or wish to substitute another course for one in which they received a letter grade of D+ or lower must get written approval from the Head Graduate Adviser and endorsement by the Graduate Division, to prevent the Registrar from counting the units and grades more than once.
Students may petition for a limited amount of course credit toward their degrees by passing examinations on material covered in certain courses in lieu of taking those courses. To have a Petition for Credit by Examination approved by the Registrar’s Office and the Graduate Division, the following conditions must be met:
The instructor of the course, Associate Dean of the Graduate Division, and Registrar must all approve the proposal. According to Academic Senate regulations governing the assignment of grades, the final result of an exam taken for credit can be reported to the Registrar only as Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory.
Students may petition to change from a letter grade option to Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory or from S/U to a letter grade with the approval of the Head Graduate Adviser. Changes made after the last day of instruction must be approved by the Graduate Division. The Graduate Division will not approve a retroactive petition to change grading option simply because the student anticipates a low grade or wants to convert a letter grade to S/U if the student did not earn at least a B minus in the course.
Procedure to Change Grade Option:
Students change from a letter grade option to Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory or from S/U to a letter grade before the deadline either by making the change themselves in CalCentral or contacting their GSAO to make the change on their behalf. In the case of a retroactive petition, the GSAO can submit an exception request in the Graduate Division’s eForm system. A memo of justification and support from the Head Graduate Advisor must be included. An additional memo of support from the instructor of record for the course is also required.
Procedure to Replace Incomplete Grades:
Instructors are expected to grade the work a student submits in a timely fashion and to replace the Incomplete grade. To replace an Incomplete grade on their records, students file a Petition to Remove an Incomplete Grade, available in program offices and through the Registar’s Office website. After the program records the grade replacing the Incomplete, the petition is submitted to the Registrar’s Office. When the earned grade is recorded by the Registrar, the student receives full unit credit and the grade points are added to the student’s grade-point average.
Procedure for Documenting Course Grades for Master’s Students to Receive the Degree:
Final grades for required courses for master’s degrees must be submitted by faculty and recorded by the Registrar before the Graduate Division submits the degree list to the Academic Senate for approval (about two months after final examinations).
Graduate Services Degrees Office staff check the records of master’s students programs indicate will be receiving the degree each term. Courses listed on the advancement to candidacy form are assumed to be required for the degree. If any course is listed as as Incomplete (I) or In Progress (IP) the Head Graduate Adviser must submit a memo stating which outstanding I or IP grades are not required for the degree. If an explanation was submitted for the same courses when the student applied for advancement to candidacy, the Head Graduate Adviser does not need to resubmit the information.
Procedure to Petition for Credit by Examination:
The Petition for Credit by Examination is available through the Registrar’s Office website. The student should have the petition approved by the instructor of the course, and then submit it to the Graduate Division Degrees office for approval by the Associate Dean for Degrees. Once the Graduate Division has endorsed the petition, the student submits the petition to the Registrar’s Office for approval and pays a processing fee. The Registrar’s Office will either forward the petition to the instructor for the exam to proceed, or notify the student that the petition has been denied. The instructor records the grade of Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory on the petition and returns it to the Office of the Registrar.
Individual study courses give students credit for preparing for master’s comprehensive and language exams (601) and for doctoral qualifying and language exams (602). Both 601 and 602 courses must be taken on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) basis. Units of 601 or 602 do not count toward academic residence requirements for a graduate degree or the unit requirements for a master’s degree.
With some limitations, these courses count toward a full course load. Students may earn 1–8 units of 601 or 602 per semester or 1–4 units per summer session.
Students may not enroll in 601 or 602 courses once they have passed the master’s comprehensive (for 601) or the doctoral Qualifying Examination (for 602).
Graduate students are either a) in good academic standing, b) on probation, or c) subject to dismissal.
Students are normally in good academic standing if they:
Programs are responsible for monitoring their students’ overall progress toward graduate degrees. Programs should let students know—by published program descriptions, by written evaluations, or both—what the faculty considers to be satisfactory progress.
Programs should evaluate graduate students at the middle and end of their first year of graduate study and annually thereafter. The yearly evaluation gives faculty an opportunity to review the performance of each student and, more importantly, to provide students with timely information about the faculty’s evaluation of their progress and performance. The Graduate Division advises that the results of all evaluations be sent to students in writing. A negative evaluation may be considered a letter of warning if it includes the information required by the Graduate Council (see “Warning Letters,” below). A copy should be sent to the Graduate Division Degrees Office.
The Graduate Council requires that all students advanced to candidacy meet a minimum of once a year with their dissertation committee members and complete the Doctoral Candidacy Review (DCR) annually. Graduate Council policy states that at least two members of the committee, including the chair, must meet with the student. The Graduate Division provides the DCR for committees to fulfill this Graduate Council requirement, through CalCentral. The DCR is initiated by the student in CalCentral. The committee chair (in the case of co-chairs, the chair inside the department) completes the DCR based on consultation with at least one other member of the dissertation committee and discussion with the student. The DCR is accessible to Graduate Division and via the GSAO to the program Faculty Graduate Advisors.
Because different programs assess progress in different ways, the definition of adequate progress is intentionally flexible. With the approval of the Graduate Council, programs may establish progress requirements beyond those set by uniform policy. Examples include:
Placement of a student on formal probation is required before the student can be dismissed from the program, except in instances when a student fails a comprehensive, preliminary, or Qualifying Examination.
If a program assesses a student’s performance as below program expectations, it should inform the Graduate Division and proceed either to a warning letter or request that the student be placed on probation.
The Graduate Council requires that the program supply the following information in writing for the student’s information:
Such warning letters should be copied to the Graduate Division Degrees Office.
Probation is intended to provide a student whose performance is less than satisfactory with a period in which to correct identified deficiencies and to raise the student’s performance to a level consistent with the minimum standards set by the Graduate Division in consultation with the program. Students on probationary status may register and enroll, but they may not hold academic appointments, receive graduate fellowships, or be awarded advanced degrees.
Students may be placed on probation by the Graduate Division for failing to meet uniform requirements. Programs may recommend probation and dismissal on the basis of a written evaluation of the student’s progress, including program specific requirements. Programs may choose to issue warning letters to apprise students that they are not making satisfactory progress rather than request formal probation. Only the Dean of the Graduate Division has the authority to place a student on probation, to remove probationary status, and, if necessary, to dismiss a student from graduate standing.
At the end of each semester, the Graduate Division reviews the records of all registered graduate students. Following this review, students whose grade-point average is below 3.0 will receive a letter from the Graduate Division informing them that they have been placed on probation and are subject to dismissal if their GPA at the end of the following semester remains below the minimum 3.0 requirement, or below the program’s requirement, which may be higher. A copy of the letter will be sent to the program.
In most instances, if a student begins a program in a new field of study, or is readmitted to a new major, only the grades in the current program will be included in the computation of GPA by the Graduate Division. However, courses taken in an “old” major that are directly relevant to the new major (e.g., English courses for a graduate student in Comparative Literature) will be included in the overall grade-point average.
If a program wishes to put a student on probation for not complying with its own Incompletes policy, it can recommend to the Dean of the Graduate Division that the student be placed on probation until the deficiencies are rectified.
The Graduate Division does not place students on probation for having more than two Incompletes, but such students will not be approved to hold a GSI or GSR appointments.
The probationary period is normally for one semester, during which the student is expected to remove academic deficiencies. Probation may be extended based on departmental recommendation. Students may not remain on probation indefinitely. Graduate Advisers should inform students that, while on probation, they cannot take courses on an S/U basis unless the course is required for the degree and is offered only on an S/U basis.
Students may be placed on, or removed from, probation only by the Dean of the Graduate Division. They are removed from probationary status imposed for failing to maintain the minimum grade-point average when the Graduate Division determines they have raised their grade-point averages to at least 3.0 (or higher if required by the program). If a student was placed on probation because the program and the Graduate Division determined that the student was not making adequate progress, the Head Graduate Adviser must inform the Associate Dean for Degrees in writing that the student has met the conditions for removing probation, requesting that probation be cleared.
If at the end of the probationary period the student has failed to correct identified deficiencies, the Graduate Division will contact the program to request a recommendation from the Head Graduate Adviser on whether an extension of the academic probationary period is warranted. If the probationary period is not extended, the program should formally request that the Dean of the Graduate Division dismiss the student. A registration block would then be placed on the student’s future registration.
There are generally two reasons a graduate student may be dismissed: for disciplinary reasons due to violations of the Code of Student Conduct, or for academic deficiencies. Violations of the Code of Student Conduct are determined by the Vice Chancellor, Division of Student Affairs at the recommendation of the Office of Student Conduct and with the concurrence of the Dean of the Graduate Division.
Dismissal for academic reasons is the purview of the Deanof the Graduate Division, under the auspices of the Graduate Council.
A student is subject to academic dismissal if:
The Graduate Council requires that students who fail a program-required examination on the first attempt be given an opportunity for reexamination following a reasonable delay for additional preparation. A student permitted to undertake a second examination is not placed on probation while preparing to retake the exam.
In the case of a comprehensive or preliminary examination, the examining committee, with the concurrence of the Head Graduate Adviser, can recommend that no second examination be given and that the student’s status in that program be terminated. Programs must appropriately inform students before the examination that the program’s policy includes the possibility to not recommend a second examination, and that a student may be subject to dismissal if the committee does not recommend a second attempt.
After the student’s record and the program’s recommendations, if applicable, are reviewed by the Graduate Division, the Dean of the Graduate Division sends a letter of dismissal to the student and so informs the program, and the Office of the Registrar. The Graduate Degrees Office requests the Registrar’s Office to block the student from further registration and the Registrar’s Office notates the student’s transcript with the following: “Further registration subject to the approval of the Dean of the Graduate Division.”
A student dismissed for academic deficiencies is ineligible to apply for re-enrollment to the program from which they have been academically dismissed. However, the student is not excluded from applying to another graduate program. In this case the alternative program has the right to review the student’s academic records in their earlier program to inform its decision on whether or not to admit the student.
When a student is dismissed for reasons of misconduct, they are not allowed to apply for any program in the UC system, unless with the express permission of the Chancellor of the UC campus to which the former student wishes to apply.
The decision to dismiss a student is reserved to the Dean of the Graduate Division. The Graduate Division reviews the records of all students on probation to determine if they should be dismissed.
If the Head Graduate Adviser of a program provides no justification for extending probation of a student who has been placed on probation at the request of the program, the Associate Dean for Degrees may recommend to the Dean of the Graduate Division that the student be formally dismissed.
Programs can recommend dismissal only after a student has been informed in writing of their deficiencies and given adequate time to correct them and to meet acceptable criteria (unless consultation with the Graduate Division identifies exceptional circumstances). If the Head Graduate Adviser believes that it is unlikely that a student on probation can improve their record, or that the student is unable to meet requirements for the degree, the Head Graduate Adviser should write a memo concerning the specific student, addressed to the Graduate Dean, in care of the Degrees Office, to recommend dismissal.
If an examination committee does not recommend a reexamination after a failed exam, a written explanation from the committee chair, addressed to the Associate Dean for Degrees, must be sent to the Degrees Office, along with the Report on the Qualifying Examination. The examination committee’s opinion should be that the student’s performance on the exam was so poor that it is unlikely the student will pass in a second attempt taken within an acceptable period of time.
The Graduate Student Appeal procedure is to be used by continuing and returning graduate students in the Graduate Division on the Berkeley campus. It may not be used by applicants for admission, Juris Doctor students in the School of Law who are appealing disqualification or the terms of probation, or students registered in graduate courses through the University Extension, the Graduate Theological Union, or other cross-registration agreements, for complaints about dismissal from graduate standing, placement on probationary status, denial of re-enrollment, and other administrative or academic decisions that terminate or otherwise impede progress toward academic or professional degree goals. For graduate students, this procedure may also be used to resolve disputes over joint authorship of research in accordance with joint authorship policies of campus programs or units. A student may bring a complaint individually or may file a complaint jointly with other students when each claims injury as a result of the same alleged action(s).
Through the Graduate Appeal Procedure, graduate students have the right to appeal academic or administrative decisions that have resulted in termination or have interfered with their progress toward a degree if the decision is alleged to have been based on the following criteria:
Please note that the Graduate Appeal Procedure is distinct from the Berkeley Campus Student Grievance Procedure. The Grievance Procedure also addresses discrimination complaints but not in relation to alleged interference with a student’s academic progress. For information concerning the Berkeley Campus Student Grievance Procedure, please see Division of Student Affairs webpage.
To pursue an appeal, students must follow the Graduate Appeal Procedure (PDF), which is available from the Graduate Degrees Office and on the Graduate Division website.
Students must initiate an appeal at the unit level (e.g., school, department, graduate group) at which the disputed action took place within 30 calendar days from the time at which the student knew or could reasonably be expected to have known of the action being appealed. (Summer and inter-semester recesses are not included with these appeal timeframes.) The Graduate Council requires each academic unit to maintain copies of its current internal appeal procedure for information and use by its graduate students. After the student has submitted a unit-level appeal, the unit must make all reasonable efforts at informal and formal resolution, as stated in the Graduate Appeal Procedure, before the student may take the matter to the next level, which is the Graduate Division. Students seeking unit-level resolution are also strongly encouraged to seek the advice of the Ombuds for Students and may also consult with the Assistant Dean for Student Services.
If the student’s unit-level appeal has been denied, then, within 15 calendar days of receiving that notification, the student must submit a Graduate Appeal Form accompanied by all supporting documentation the student wishes to be considered in substantiation of the student’s appeal. The Graduate Division is not obliged to accept any documentation submitted after the 15-day deadline. The Graduate Appeal Procedure Form (PDF) is available on the Graduate Division website. Send the completed form and accompanying documents to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the action being appealed originated with the Graduate Division or the Administrative Committee of the Graduate Council, the written appeal must be received in the Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate Division within 30 days from the time the student knew or could reasonably be expected to have known of the action being appealed, or within 15 days of the notification of the result of the informal resolution process if the student attempted informal resolution through the Graduate Division.
The Graduate Division will notify the student regarding which individual or committee will be in charge of processing the Formal Appeal within 15 days of the receipt of the written statement initiating the Formal Appeal. For details on the procedures involved, including how they relate to other appeal procedures on the campus, students are referred to the full Graduate Appeal Procedure (PDF) posted on the Graduate Division website. The Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs can answer questions about the policy and process.
All policies and procedures dealing with graduate student progress are monitored by the Degrees office of the Graduate Division. Graduate students at Berkeley may be pursuing a Master’s degree or a Doctoral degree. In addition, doctoral students may add a Designated Emphasis, a form of interdisciplinary concentration in addition to the doctoral degree. Specific policies that govern the Master’s and Doctoral degree programs are discussed first, followed by policies that apply to both. Most matters should be referred to the Degrees Office. Some requests for exceptions are addressed to the Associate Dean for Degrees, submitted via the Degrees office.
The Master’s degree recognizes mastery of the fundamentals of a field demonstrated through coursework culminating in a final examination, capstone project, or thesis. To be eligible to receive the Master’s degree, the student must complete at least two semesters in residency and undertake the total coursework units defined for the program, earning a GPA of at least 3.0 based on letter grades of C- or better on two-thirds of all course work. Master’s students pursue Plan I (thesis) or Plan II (comprehensive exam or capstone project), depending on their program.
Programs set their own subject requirements for degrees. When programs propose to change requirements, they must inform the Graduate Division for approval before implementation. If the proposed changes are substantive, the Graduate Division will submit them to the Graduate Council for its approval. All students must be informed in writing of any requirement changes. Programs must permit students who entered under one set of requirements to elect to follow either the new or old rules.
requires a minimum of 20 semester units of upper division and graduate courses, and completion of a thesis. For the 20 unit minimum, the Academic Senate has established that a minimum of 8 units be in 200 series courses in the student’s major subject. Majors may require more than the minimum of 20 units. If the degree requires more than the 20-unit minimum, 40% of the unit total must be 200-level course work.
requires a minimum of 24 semester units of upper division and graduate courses, followed by a comprehensive final examination or, if approved by the Graduate Council, a capstone project administered by the program. Of the 24 units, Academic Senate regulations state that a minimum of 12 units must be in 200-level courses in the student’s major subject. Majors may require more than the 24-unit minimum. If the degree requires more than 24 units, half of the unit total must be 200-level course work.
The Graduate Council has stated that joint or group work is not acceptable as the basis for awarding graduate degrees. Students may collaborate on research projects under the supervision of a faculty guidance committee. However, each student must write a thesis or capstone project report that represents a cohesive presentation of the research conducted and is capable of standing independently from the project. Each student’s work must be evaluated individually.
Academic residence is defined as payment of registration fees, and enrollment in at least 4 units in 100 or 200 series courses each semester of academic residence. A Master’s degree requires a minimum of two semesters of academic residence, with variations as follows:
For a master’s degree, residence during Summer Sessions may be counted under the following conditions:
See Section D1.1 for the minimum enrollment requirement for graduate students who are not yet advanced to candidacy.
Established concurrent degree programs combine two separate master’s degree programs. Students are permitted to count a limited number of courses towards fulfillment of both degrees. Since “double counting” is otherwise not allowed, an official concurrent degree program generally decreases the time required to earn both degrees. Although requirements for one degree may be completed during an earlier term, the two degrees of the concurrent program are awarded the same semester the second one is completed.
Courses in the 300 series or higher do not count toward the unit requirements for either Plan I or Plan II Master’s degrees. For either the 20-unit Plan I or 24-unit Plan II, a maximum of 6 units of 299 course work may be used toward fulfilling degree unit requirements. For degree programs requiring more than 24 units, up to 25% of the unit total may be units in 299 courses.
The same course work cannot be used toward two different master’s degrees unless that course work has been permitted as part of a concurrent master’s program officially approved by the campus.
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. The student must have received at least a B in the course(s) and have a grade-point average of at least 3.3 at both Berkeley and the other institution. Students cannot use units from another institution to satisfy the minimum unit requirement in 200 series courses or the minimum academic residence requirement. In addition, they may not present course work previously used to satisfy requirements for another degree program at Berkeley or at another in another institution.
Academic Senate Regulation 726 allows for the possibility for graduate students to receive credit for more than 4 semester or 6 quarter units of 200-level courses completed on another UC campus, by exception. The Graduate Division will consider such petitions on a case-by-case basis.
Transfer of summer session course work completed at another institution is generally not permitted. An entering student admitted for fall semester may petition to receive unit/course credit toward the degree for UC Berkeley Summer Session courses taken in the immediately preceding summer, if the Admissions Office of the Graduate Division issued the offer of admission before the end of that Summer Session.
Berkeley undergraduates who take graduate course work during their last undergraduate semester may petition to backdate graduate standing in order to receive graduate credit for that course work. Graduate standing may be backdated for only one semester, and students may petition for credit only for course work that was not required for the undergraduate degree. In addition, if the last undergraduate semester was used to satisfy students’ senior residency requirement, then the petition must note this.
Berkeley Division Regulation A208 allows UC Berkeley Extension courses carrying the “XB” designation on University Extension transcripts to be accepted for unit requirement and grade-point credit on the Berkeley campus. Without these designations, extension courses generally cannot be applied to a Berkeley degree. Exceptions are made only when there is clear evidence that the student took the courses while a graduate student at another institution, and intended to apply those units toward a graduate degree at that institution.
Matriculated Berkeley PhD students may enroll in a master’s program in a different academic unit subject to the following conditions.
Students in joint degree programs are also required to have Berkeley designated as their home campus during the semesters in which they are working toward the master’s degree.
For programs that do not offer a stand-alone master’s degree, PhD students may earn a master’s degree on the following additional conditions.
Any program wishing to admit matriculated Berkeley PhD students may waive the requirement of letters of recommendation and of GRE scores. Additionally, matriculated PhD students will not count against a program’s admissions allotment.
Exception requests must come from the Head Graduate Adviser, in a memo addressed to the Associate Dean for Degrees, submitted in care of the Graduate Degrees Office. The memo must specify the units and courses to be credited. It can be submitted either before or when a student applies for advancement to candidacy.
In a request for backdating graduate standing, the memo must be accompanied by a written statement from the student’s undergraduate college confirming that the course work was not undertaken in fulfillment of an undergraduate degree requirement. If the last semester was used to satisfy the senior residency requirement, then the memo must note this, as well.
For transfer of summer session course work completed at another institution, the memo must be accompanied by (a) an official transcript from the other school showing that the student was in graduate standing at the other institution and (b) a statement from the other institution that the courses are acceptable toward a master’s degree but were not used at that university.
By Academic Senate regulation, students must formally advance to candidacy before the master’s degree can be conferred. Plan I students must be advanced to candidacy before filing their theses. Plan II students must be advanced prior to taking the comprehensive examination or submitting the capstone project.
Students advancing under Plan I submit individual applications for candidacy that list the proposed thesis committee. Students advancing to candidacy under Plan II are included on a list submitted by their program to the Graduate Degrees office.
Every candidacy form must be signed by the Head Graduate Adviser. For students under Plan I, the Chair of the Thesis Committee must also sign the form.
Students must pass any required program language examinations before they are advanced to candidacy.
Two-thirds of all course work (not only those courses required for the master’s program) must be letter-graded, and only courses graded C- or better, or Satisfactory, may be counted toward degree requirements.
For the degree to be awarded, the student’s overall grade-point average must be at least 3.0, computed on the basis of all upper division and graduate courses taken in graduate standing up through the student’s final semester (not only those required for the master’s program). If the grade-point average is above 2.85 at the time of application for advancement to candidacy (but below 3.0), the student may apply for advancement if it is numerically feasible to achieve the required 3.0 through completion of current course work.
A student may be advanced to candidacy with the following course deficiencies, but these must be rectified for award of the master’s degree:
Students must have a properly constituted thesis committee of three members, who must belong to the Academic Senate unless an exception has been granted. It is optional for students following Plan I to have an Academic Senate Representative on the thesis committee. If a proposed committee member does not belong to the Academic Senate, then a request for an exception must accompany the application for advancement to candidacy. For more information on faculty committees and requesting exceptional appointments, see “Faculty Committees for Higher Degrees” in the section below on “Policies Affecting Both Master’s and Doctoral Students.”
Students who are using human subjects in their research must complete the “Course in the Protection of Human Subjects” (referred to as the CITI course) available online and print out the certificate of completion. This certificate must be submitted with the advancement form.
Students advancing under Plan I submit individual applications for candidacy that list the proposed thesis committee. GSAOs notify the Graduate Degrees office that students advancing to candidacy under Plan II have completed their milestone (i.e., comprehensive final exam or project) in Campus Solutions. The Graduate Division reviews each student’s application against their record to determine eligibility for advancement to candidacy. If the student is eligible, a formal notice of advancement to candidacy will be sent to the student, to the program, and for Plan I students, to the thesis committee members. If a student is not eligible, the program and the student will be notified that advancement has been deferred. The application will be held for future review once the student has notified the Graduate Degrees Office that the deficiency has been cleared and can be verified.
For an academic master’s degree, students must show that they will complete the minimum program for their plan (20 units required for Plan I or 24 units required for Plan II, in the 100 or 200 series). A minimum of 8 units for Plan I or 12 units for Plan II must be completed in the 200 series in the major subject. No more than 6 units of a 20-unit Plan I or a 24-unit Plan II program may be research units. If the program requires more than 24 units, up to 25% of the unit total may be research units.
A change in committee is requested by submitting a completed Change in Higher Degree Committee form. The Head Graduate Adviser has the final authority to approve changes. The Head Graduate Adviser must state the reason for the change and sign the form. The Head Graduate Adviser should consult with faculty members to assure that they are aware of membership changes.
If a proposed committee member does not belong to the Academic Senate, a request for an exception from the Head Graduate Advisor justifying the inclusion must accompany the application for advancement to candidacy. The curriculum vitae of the proposed committee member must be included.
The Master’s Thesis is required for Plan I programs. “Policies Affecting Both Master’s and Doctoral Students” (below) covers preparing the thesis, required registration status, and use of human or animal subjects.
A completed “Master’s Thesis Release Form” stating whether or not the student is willing to allow the University Library to supply copies of the thesis to any interested persons immediately, or if permission to do so should be withheld (for two years), must accompany the submitted Master’s Thesis.
For master’s students under Plan II, each program decides the content and format of the capstone element (either a comprehensive final examination or a capstone project), which should cover the knowledge and skills reasonably expected of a master’s degree recipient in the field. For comprehensive final exams, a committee of at least two (and preferably three) Academic Senate faculty members should conduct the exam. The exam may be written, oral, or a combination of the two.
For capstone projects, a committee of at least two members needs to evaluate the capstone project. At least one of them needs to be an Academic Senate member, at least one of them should have no direct vested interest in the student’s success (e.g., the student is not the reviewer’s GSR or collaborator), and both of them must be affiliated with UC Berkeley.
Students must be registered or on approved Filing Fee status to be eligible to file for a degree in either the spring or fall term. Students registered in spring, who have not previously used their filing fee, may file during summer for a summer degree. Academic Senate regulations state that in order to receive a degree in any given term, all work for the degree must be completed by the last day of the term. See “Policies Affecting Both Master’s and Doctoral Students” (below) for information on the Filing Fee.
At the end of the fall and spring semesters, the Graduate Division sends to programs a list of all Plan II master’s candidates who are advanced to candidacy. The Head Graduate Adviser should indicate whether or not each student has passed or failed the exam, the date of the exam, the date the student filed the capstone project if applicable, and whether any of the student’s Incompletes, No Reports, or In Progress grades are required for the degree.
Master’s students must finish all courses required for the degree by the last day of the semester in which they expect the degree to be conferred. For award of the Master’s degree, a student can have no more than one Incomplete per year of the degree program in a non-required course, up to a maximum of two incompletes. If the program is longer than two years, no more than two Incompletes total can be included to remain in good standing.
After completion of requirements for the degree for which they were admitted, students may not register and enroll for a subsequent semester unless they have been previously approved for a new degree goal or a new major.
At the end of the fall and spring semesters, the Graduate Division sends to programs a list of all Plan II master’s candidates who are advanced to candidacy. If students have Incompletes, No Reports, or In Progress grades, the program must indicate on the list of Plan II master’s candidates whether the courses would be required for the degree.
Master’s students have six semesters after advancement to candidacy in which to complete requirements for their degrees. If they do not finish in that period, their candidacy will lapse unless the Head Graduate Adviser requests an extension of time and it is granted by the Associate Dean for Degrees.
Reinstated students must be registered or qualify for Filing Fee status during the semester in which they complete the final requirements for their degree. The student’s thesis committee must have approved a final draft of the thesis, or the student must indicate readiness to take the comprehensive final examination or submit a capstone project, to be eligible for reinstatement.
Programs may request that the Graduate Division terminate the candidacy of a master’s student if, after a period on lapsed status, the student does not show ability to complete the degree.
To reinstate candidacy, the Head Graduate Adviser must certify that the student’s previously completed course work is still valid. For all fields, there is a time limit of four years on use of previously completed coursework for the Masters degree.
The Head Graduate Adviser should submit a separate memo for each student recommended for termination, addressed to the Graduate Degrees Office.
In the first stage of doctoral programs, students are guided by faculty in their programs, operating under the policies of the Academic Senate Graduate Council, intended to ensure their progress through advancement to candidacy.
Administered by departments, Schools, or Graduate Groups, the doctorate is awarded in recognition of a student’s knowledge of a broad field of learning and for distinguished accomplishment in that field through an original contribution of significant knowledge and ideas. To be eligible to receive the doctorate, the student must complete at least two years (four semesters) of academic residence, pass a Qualifying Examination administered by a committee approved by the Graduate Division on behalf of the Graduate Council, and submit an approved dissertation completed under the guidance of Berkeley Academic Senate faculty members. The dissertation must reveal high critical ability and powers of imagination and synthesis. There are two dissertation plans:
1) Plan A, which requires a five-member committee (three members charged with approving the dissertation who are joined by two additional members for the student’s required final oral defense of the dissertation)
2) Plan B, which is followed by most doctoral programs, requires a three-member committee with a final defense at the discretion of the committee.
The Graduate Division has established a procedure by which students may propose to pursue an interdisciplinary major of their own design, with the support of a committee of five sponsoring faculty members. Fulfillment of academic residency, passage of the Qualifying Examination, and completion of a dissertation are all required of interdisciplinary doctoral students. Only students who have completed at least two semesters of a doctoral program at Berkeley with a superior academic record may be considered for an individual interdisciplinary doctoral program. The Interdisciplinary PhD follows Plan A requirements.
The doctorate is based on a course of study tailored to fit the needs of individual students, and to fulfill the curriculum approved for each program. Each program defines specific coursework required, which must be completed before admission to candidacy. Departments, Schools, and Graduate Groups may informally recognize that students have completed relevant courses at other institutions, if they wish, but no units will be officially transferred for the doctoral degree, unlike the master’s degree, as there are no university unit requirements. Thus, with the exception of the units required to fulfill residency requirements (see below), and the policy requiring students to be continuously enrolled for at least 12 units (absent an exception), doctoral students do not have specific unit requirements.
All doctoral programs of the University of California system have an established length of time for completion of a doctoral program, which is called Normative Time. Each doctoral program submitted its Normative Time for review and approval by the local Graduate Council and the University-wide Coordinating Committee on Graduate Affairs.
There are two components of Normative Time: NTA – normative time to advancement to doctoral candidacy; and NTIC – normative time in candidacy, which begins after advancement and ends when the degree is awarded. The Graduate Division monitors a student’s Normative Time progress since it affects, among other things, the allocation of new admissions slots for academic programs, and is one measure of a program’s ability to successfully conduct its students through the degree program.
A “Designated Emphasis” is defined as an area of study constituting a new method of inquiry or an important field of application relevant to two or more existing doctoral degree programs. It is not a free-standing degree program, but must be added as an additional major along with an existing doctoral degree program. Students electing to add a Designated Emphasis are required to complete the academic work in the Designated Emphasis in addition to all the requirements of the doctoral program. There are no adjustments made to the normative time of the student’s major when a student undertakes a Designated Emphasis.
To qualify for the Designated Emphasis, students must have on the Qualifying Examination committee a representative of the DE and must be examined in that area of study. Students are consequently required to be admitted to the DE before taking the Qualifying Examination. When students also enrolled in a DE are advanced to candidacy, the advancement application must include the signature of the Head Graduate Adviser for the DE to signify that the dissertation committee had an appropriate representative of the DE in its membership and that the student was examined on the area of the Designated Emphasis.
Prior to filing for the degree, a Final Report for the Designated Emphasis, verifying that all of the requirements for the DE have been met, must be submitted. Students approved for a DE must include the name of the DE on the title page of the dissertation, following the major name.
The following Designated Emphases have been approved by the Graduate Council:
Students apply for admission by the Designated Emphasis, following procedures described by the Graduate Group sponsoring the DE. Once approved, staff in the student’s home department must use the Acad Plan eForm in CalCentral to add the DE to the student’s record.
Doctoral students must register at Berkeley and complete a minimum of four semesters of academic residence, which is defined as payment of registration fees and enrollment in at least 4 units in the 100 or 200 series per required semester of academic residence. A minimum of six semesters of academic residence are required to complete both a master’s and a doctoral degree. A student in a joint doctoral program must pay fees and fulfill enrollment requirements for at least one year at each campus to complete academic residence requirements.
For a doctoral degree, residence during Summer Sessions may be counted under the following conditions: (1) enrollment in two consecutive six-week Summer Sessions counts as one term of residence provided the candidate is enrolled in each session for the equivalent of at least two units of upper division and/or graduate work as given in a regular term (four units total); or (2) enrollment in an eight-week Summer Session counts as one term of residence provided the candidate is enrolled for the equivalent of at least four units of upper division and/or graduate work as given in a regular term. No degrees are awarded for work completed during Summer Session only.
See Section D1.1 for the minimum enrollment requirement for graduate students who are not yet advanced to candidacy.
The Graduate Council suggests that programs should evaluate graduate students at the middle and end of their first year of graduate study. Many programs require that all first-year doctoral students be formally reviewed at the end of their first year of study. Programs should inform newly-admitted students if they will be reviewed.
The Graduate Division advises that the results of all evaluations be sent to students in writing. A negative evaluation may be considered a letter of warning if it includes the information required by the Graduate Council. A copy should be sent to the Graduate Division Degrees Office.
Doctoral students must satisfy a foreign language requirement, unless a blanket exemption has been approved by the Graduate Council at the request of the doctoral program. Students should satisfy the requirement as early as possible in their graduate careers. The requirement must be satisfied before students will be eligible to take the Qualifying Examination.
The Graduate Division will accept any natural language with a system of writing (with the exception of English and any pidgin or Creole of which English is the base), if the department or group certifies that
1) the language has scholarly value in the field;
2) the language is integral to the training of a particular student or group of students in the field; and
3) a person qualified to administer the examination is available.
Computer languages are not acceptable for use in satisfying foreign language requirements.
Each student selects the language(s) used to satisfy this requirement from a set of languages certified by the Graduate Council for that department or group. Students may substitute an uncertified language if the Head Graduate Adviser makes such a request based on academic relevance for the student’s research and it is approved by the Associate Dean for Degrees.
Academic Senate regulations allow programs to change or drop their foreign language requirements following review and approval by the Graduate Council. In 1985, the Graduate Council decided that “a program wishing to change its current foreign language requirement will be expected to notify the Dean of the Graduate Division in accordance with regulation 2001B of the Regulations of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate; a program wishing to reduce its foreign language requirement will be expected to present a detailed justification for the proposed reduction” for review and approval by the Graduate Council.
Programs that have a foreign language requirement may select from the following options for students to complete the requirement. A program may establish more stringent requirements than those required by the Graduate Council.
This option requires a reading knowledge of two languages. Students may pass both by examination, or one by examination and the second by completing a four-semester (or six-quarter) course sequence with an average grade of C or better.
The Graduate Council directs that for a language requirement to be fulfilled by examination, a passage of at least 300 words be translated into English within a time limit of 90 minutes, with or without a dictionary at the option of the program faculty. Examinations may be conducted by departments, Graduate Groups, or any outside testing agency that has been approved by the Graduate Division, such as the Educational Testing Service.
For one language to be fulfilled through course work, the student must have completed coursework within four years of admission to Berkeley. Completion of an upper division foreign language course at Berkeley that requires a four-semester (or six-quarter) course sequence as a prerequisite can satisfy the requirement for one language. Course sequences of four semesters (six quarters) in a certified language completed at any UC campus automatically fulfill the requirement for one of the languages. If students wish to use courses at other institutions to fulfill the requirement for one of the languages, the Graduate Division must validate the courses.
If a student completed an appropriate course sequence as an undergraduate, or if the student’s high school or undergraduate institution conducted courses in an approved language, the program can petition the Graduate Division at the time the student is admitted to graduate standing at Berkeley to recognize that the student has fulfilled the language requirement
The student is expected to demonstrate an exceptionally thorough reading knowledge of one language, as well as an adequate knowledge of the grammatical structure of the language. Knowledge is tested by a written examination consisting of a translation of a passage of about 1,000 words on a subject appropriate to the student’s major field of interest. The examination is limited to three hours and the translation is to be made without the aid of a dictionary. The translation must show an accurate comprehension of the meaning of the exam text, and since the exam text is in the student’s discipline, the translation should use the correct English technical terms.
As with Option 1, students may pass by examination or by course work, but the program requires competence in only one foreign language. The examination requires the translation of a passage of at least 300 words into English within a time limit of 90 minutes, with or without a dictionary at the choice of the program faculty. As in the case of Option 1, examinations may be conducted by a department, a graduate group, or an approved outside agency. To fulfill the requirement through course work, a course sequence of four semesters (or six quarters), whether taken at UC or elsewhere, must have been completed within four years of admission to Berkeley or during enrollment as a student at Berkeley.
A native speaker of a language other than English may petition the department to use that language to fulfill the program requirement if the language is appropriate to advanced research in that particular discipline, as shown by important journals and research that has been carried out in that language.
As soon as a student completes all or part of the language requirement, the Head Graduate Adviser notifies the Graduate Division by sending a memo.
If a student satisfied the requirement for Option 3, or for one of the two languages for Option 1, by completing a four-semester (or six-quarter) course sequence, the Head Graduate Adviser should certify in the memo that the course sequence was acceptable to the program.
The program must retain the graded program exam, if applicable, in the student’s file. The program must provide a copy of any completed language examination to the Graduate Division when petitioning for the student to advance to doctoral candidacy.
The Head Graduate Adviser can petition the Graduate Division to recognize that a student has fulfilled the requirement for a language at the time the student is admitted to graduate standing at Berkeley, if the student completed an appropriate course sequence as an undergraduate, or if the student’s high school or undergraduate institution conducted courses in an approved language.
A program may petition for a native speaker of a language other than English to use that language to fulfill the language requirement by submitting a memo to the Graduate Division specifying the language and certifying native ability, as well as explaining the language’s relevance to the student’s research. Evidence of native ability in a language may be demonstrated through secondary school or university transcripts.
The Head Graduate Advisor of the program should consult with the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs about the timing and content of a proposal to change or drop foreign language requirements, for review by an Associate Dean of the Graduate Division and approval by the Graduate Council.
Some doctoral programs require a preliminary examination before the student may apply to take the Qualifying Examination. This may entail the completion of a paper, a series of papers, a written examination, or some other requirement defined by the program.
The Graduate Council requires that students who fail a program’s preliminary examination on the first attempt be given an opportunity for reexamination following a reasonable delay for additional preparation.
If the performance on the exam was so poor that it is unlikely the student will pass it again within an acceptable period of time, the Graduate Council policy allows programs to petition for the student’s registration to be terminated, without allowing a second chance to pass the preliminary exam. With this exception, preliminary examination results need not be reported to the Graduate Division.
If the examining committee, with the concurrence of the Head Graduate Adviser, recommends that no second examination be given and that the student’s status as a degree candidate in that program be terminated, the chair of the committee must write a memo explaining this outcome, addressed to the Associate Dean for Degrees in care of the Graduate Degrees Office.
The Qualifying Examination is administered by the Graduate Division on behalf of the Graduate Council. Committee membership and the conduct of the examination are accordingly subject to the Graduate Division’s review and approval.
The exam is normally held on one day and lasts approximately two to three hours. The Qualifying Examination is an oral exam. The Qualifying Examination must be conducted in English; all members of the committee must be present either in person or through approved media.
A program may require written examinations or papers as preliminaries to the Qualifying Examination, but they are not a component of the Qualifying Examination required by the Graduate Council. Administration of the oral Qualifying Examination implies that the student has satisfactorily completed any written preliminaries.
The Graduate Council’s statement on the purpose and meaning of the Qualifying Examination should guide the conduct of the examination.
The intent of the Qualifying Examination is to ascertain the breadth of the student’s comprehension in at least three subject areas related to the major field of study, and to determine whether the student has the ability to think incisively and critically about the theoretical and the practical aspects of these areas. The examination may consider a number of academic points of view and the criteria by which they may be evaluated.
Some degree granting programs (departments, Schools, Graduate Groups) expect students to present a topic for the dissertation as part of the preliminaries for the Qualifying Examination, but the examination must not be narrowly limited to the dissertation topic.
The examiners should satisfy themselves, by unanimous vote, that the student demonstrated sufficient command of the three subject areas.
Please refer to Sections F4.7 and F4.8 for the configuration of the Qualifying Examination Committee and the role of the committee members, respectively.
To be eligible to take the exam, a student must:
Once an application for admission to the Qualifying Examination is approved by the Graduate Division, the program has 18 months to administer the examination. Eligibility continues if the student fails on the first attempt but is recommended for reexamination. If the student does not take the examination during the 18-month period, a new application must be filed.
Students should be encouraged to take the Qualifying Examination and be advanced to candidacy as soon as they are prepared, and unless exceptional circumstances exist, within the Normative Time to Advancement of the program.
The student should confer with the chair of the Qualifying Exam Committee when they are prepared to set the date of the examination. The student should begin this consultation well in advance of the planned exam date to ensure the availability of the examination committee and approval of the examination application by the Graduate Division. Students requiring accommodation for a disability must make this known before the exam so the chair can arrange appropriate accommodation. If, before the date of the approved examination, a change in the student’s health or personal situation makes it too difficult to take the examination as scheduled, the student must make this known to the examination chair so the chair can arrange for a postponement.
The Chair of the Qualifying Examination Committee is responsible for making sure that the committee administers the exam fairly and follows the procedures outlined in the next section. The committee’s Academic Senate Representative serves as the representative of the Dean of the Graduate Division to observe that the chair fulfills this responsibility and should report any infractions to the Graduate Division. An exam that is not conducted according to Graduate Division guidelines may be invalidated.
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 of the committee also needs to be physically present. This requirement has a dual rationale. First, the 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 goes on in the exam. Second, if the hybrid nature of the exam negatively affects the student’s ability to answer questions, then the exam 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.
Programs may require in-person only exams for all students, but the faculty must vote to approve this option and programs must state this requirement clearly in all written documentation about the exam requirement for students.
This policy applies to all graduate degree milestone exams (e.g., preliminary, comprehensive as defined in this guide).
October 28, 2019: Temporary Blanket Exception to Qualifying Exam Policy, and Extension to Fall 2019 Filing Deadline
All members of the Qualifying Examination committee must be present to vote on the exam, and each member is expected to vote either “pass,” “fail,” or “partial fail” on the student’s performance during the entire examination. Committees should make every attempt to reach a unanimous decision.
The committee’s final decision should reflect the student’s performance on the exam. A vote to pass the student is only warranted if the student’s academic performance was satisfactory and for no other reason.
It is not appropriate to add conditions to the examination verdict related to the dissertation topic, how the research should be conducted, who should be the dissertation chair, or how the student will be supported during the research phase. Conditions, such as subsequent service as a GSI in a particular course or presentation of a paper at a seminar, cannot be used to substitute for a student’s failure of any part of the examination and will not be accepted by the Graduate Division.
If allowed a retake, the student who has partially failed an examination must be orally examined before the full committee on all portions failed in the first Qualifying Examination.
If a student suffers from illness or psychological stress that prevents them from answering questions effectively during the exam, or if there are other problems that prevent the exam from proceeding properly, the chair should recess the examination immediately. The committee should meet without the student to decide whether or not to continue the exam.
If the committee decides that the exam cannot continue under the circumstances, the chair will adjourn the exam without a vote and immediately report the adjournment to the Graduate Degrees Office.
The committee should adjourn the exam only as a last step and only when other attempts to remedy the difficulty have been exhausted (such as a short recess to put the student at ease). Exams should not be adjourned simply because the student’s performance was not of passing quality, unless circumstances beyond the student’s control contributed to the failure. Committees should never recommend adjournment because a student’s English skills are not adequate for the exam.
An exam that lasts for more than one-and-a-half hours will be considered a complete examination by the Graduate Council and should not be reported as an adjournment but as a total or partial failure. If an adjourned exam is not resumed within 21 days, the reason must be reported and the exam may be judged to be a total or partial failure.
If a student is not present at the time of the scheduled Qualifying Examination, the Administrative Committee of the Graduate Council will review the case, based on reports from the committee and the student involved. Only the Administrative Committee of the Graduate Council can rule on whether the student’s non-appearance at the scheduled time constitutes a failed examination. The Administrative Committee may find instead that the program, the examination committee, or both acted improperly, and act to monitor a rescheduled examination to ensure proper conduct of the exam.
Students must apply to take the Qualifying Examination no later than three weeks before the examination date, to allow the Graduate Division time to review and approve the application. Students must list on their applications at least three subject areas to be covered during the examination.
The application form must be endorsed by the Head Graduate Adviser. The Head Graduate Adviser must be certain that students who are non-native speakers possess the language skills necessary for participating in an oral exam in English.
The application form should be accompanied by the student’s foreign language examination (both text and translation) or certification of native fluency, unless the program has already submitted these materials.
Approval of the proposed committee by the Graduate Division is absolutely required before the exam may take place. An examination held before the student and the committee members have been notified by the Graduate Division of admission to the Qualifying Examination will not be accepted, and the committee will need to wait for approval and administer an approved examination.
If the committee decides that an exam cannot continue, the chair will adjourn the exam without a vote and immediately report the adjournment to the Graduate Degrees Office. The chair must explain why this step was taken and give the committee’s recommendation for further action. The committee can recommend that the exam be continued, but no later than 21 days from the date of the adjourned exam. The student may be informed of the recommended action by the chair but must also be told that the recommendation must be reviewed by the Administrative Committee of the Graduate Council for approval.
If a student is not present at the time of the scheduled Qualifying Examination, both the committee chair and the student must submit written reports explaining the circumstances to the Associate Dean for Degrees, via the Graduate Division Degrees Office, within six working days following the date of the exam. The Administrative Committee of the Graduate Council will review the case, and rule on whether the student’s non-appearance constitutes a failed examination or a rescheduled examination should take place.
If an illness, accident, or other emergency occurs just before the scheduled exam, the committee chair should call the Graduate Degrees Office, explain the problem, and request permission from the cognizant Associate Dean, via the Degrees Office, to conduct the exam under special circumstances.
If an emergency situation compels a committee member to depart before the exam is concluded, a memo must be written to the cognizant Associate Dean, in care of the Graduate Degrees Office, explaining the reason for the absence and presenting an opinion of the student’s performance on topics covered during the time the committee member attended the exam. This information and a memo from the chair of the examining committee will be considered in determining the final results of the examination.
The Qualifying Examination Committee ideally will reach unanimous consensus on whether the exam was a pass, failure, or partial failure. If there is no unanimity, the result is a “split vote.” These categories are described below.
The Qualifying Examination committee unanimously votes that the student passed the examination with scholarship that is at least acceptable.
A total failure occurs if the Qualifying Examination committee votes unanimously that the student failed the entire examination. The committee either:
If a second and final examination is recommended, committee membership for the student’s retake should be the same as for the first exam, unless an original member of the committee is unavailable because of sabbatical leave, medical leave, or similar circumstances. A memo from the Head Graduate Advisor explaining the need for a committee member to be replaced should accompany the Reconstitution of Higher Degree Committee form. The student may not retake the exam until 3 months after the first exam unless an exception is approved by the Associate Dean for Degrees. A third examination is not permitted. If the committee wishes to suggest preparation for the second examination through additional course work or special tutoring, this must be communicated to the student in writing with a copy to the Graduate Division Degrees Office.
If the committee does not recommend a reexamination, a written explanation by the committee chair must accompany the completed “Report to the Graduate Division on the Qualifying Examination”. If the Graduate Division concurs with the chair’s explanation, the student will be sent a letter of dismissal from the program by the Dean of the Graduate Division, with a copy to the program.
A partial failure occurs if the Qualifying Examination committee votes unanimously that the student passed some topics but failed others. In this instance, a second and final examination is required. The chair of the committee must write a letter to the student, with a copy to the Graduate Division, conveying information about performance (pass, partial fail, or fail) on each of the three subject areas covered during the examination. The committee may choose to examine the student on all topics or only on those failed during the first exam, but must communicate its decision in the letter regarding the student’s performance. The retake must be scheduled no earlier than three months after the first examination unless an exception is approved by the Associate Dean for Degrees. A third attempt to pass the Qualifying Examination is not permitted.
If the Qualifying Examination Committee cannot reach a unanimous decision concerning a pass, total failure, or partial failure, the chair should determine the areas of disagreement. The committee chair must request, and each committee member must write, a detailed assessment of the student’s performance for submission to the Administrative Committee of the Graduate Council. Such letters may be released to the student under provisions of the 1972 Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), current Department of Health and Human Services regulations, and California public records legislation.
If the exam results in a split vote, the committee should only inform the student that the matter was sent to the Administrative Committee for a final decision. The student has neither passed nor failed the exam until the Administrative Committee decides the results.
No later than two weeks after the Qualifying Examination, the committee must send the formal Report to the Graduate Division on the Qualifying Examination, signed by all committee members, to the Graduate Degrees Office.
If a re-examination is recommended, the committee may suggest preparation for the second examination through additional course work or special tutoring, communicated to the student in writing, with a copy to the Graduate Division.
The chair of the committee of a student who partially fails an examination must write a letter to the student, with a copy to the Graduate Division, conveying information about performance (pass, partial fail, or fail) on each of the three subject areas covered during the examination. The committee may choose to examine the student on all topics or only on those failed during the first exam, but must communicate its decision in the letter regarding the student’s performance.
If the committee does not recommend a reexamination, a written explanation by the committee chair of why no re-examination is recommended must accompany the Report.
In the event of a split vote, each committee member must write a detailed assessment of the student’s performance for submission to the Administrative Committee of the Graduate Council by the Assistant Dean for Degrees, submitted to the Graduate Degrees Office. The chair’s letter should outline the progress of the examination itself, the efforts made by the committee to reach a unanimous agreement, the remaining areas of disagreement, and the chair’s own assessment of the student’s performance.
To be advanced to candidacy, doctoral students must:
Approval of a human subjects protocol must be procured from the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects before any dissertation research is conducted. Completion of required CITI modules must take place before research is conducted.
When doctoral students are advanced to candidacy, the Graduate Division posts a certificate of candidacy on GLOW that includes information regarding the length of candidacy and dissertation completion guidelines as well as information about meeting requirements if research will include animal or human subjects.
The student submits the “Application for Candidacy to the Doctoral Degree” (Plan A or B) to the Graduate Degrees Office. The advancement form should be filed no later than the end of the semester after the semester in which the student passed the Qualifying Examination. A $90 Advancement to Candidacy Fee is required; revenue from this fee is used to support graduate student professional development.
The Head Graduate Adviser of the student’s major, the Chair of the Dissertation Committee, and, if applicable, the Head Graduate Adviser of the Designated Emphasis, must sign this form.
The student must indicate on the form whether human subjects or animal research will be involved in the dissertation research.
The term “normative time” refers to the elapsed time (calculated to the nearest semester) that students would need to complete all requirements for the doctorate. Normative times for doctoral programs have been recommended by program faculty and approved by the Graduate Council. The usual total normative time for doctoral programs is 12 semesters.
The Graduate Division computes a student’s normative time from the time a student first enrolled as a graduate student at Berkeley.Policies That Modify Calculation of Normative Time
Students in certain circumstances may request and be granted modifications in the calculation of normative time. These circumstances include:
Students who are parents: The Graduate Council Student Parent Policies allow certain modifications to Normative Time calculations for parents. These are discussed in subsequent sections regarding specific circumstances that are covered by this policy.
Students with disabilities: Modifications in normative time are provided to students who have received appropriate letters of accommodation from the Disabled Students Program (DSP).
Students previously enrolled in master’s programs at Berkeley: the normative time clock may be “reset” for a student in the following circumstances:
The student’s head graduate adviser should submit a memo of request to the Graduate Degrees Office, by way of the Graduate Exceptions eForm, citing the specific circumstances that justify the change (break in enrollment between graduate degree programs, or pursuit of a new graduate degree in a distinctly different field).
Once students advance to candidacy, they come under the jurisdiction of the Graduate Council, rather than that of the individual departments, Schools, or Graduate Groups, and are governed by a variety of policies intended to ensure their completion of the doctoral degree. The Graduate Council states that “the department must monitor the progress of students, but the completion of the dissertation is the responsibility of the student working with the dissertation committee, which is appointed on behalf of the Administrative Committee of the Graduate Council”.
The Doctoral Completion Fellowship (DCF) provides an incentive for students in certain graduate programs to complete their degree within a reasonable time. The DCF applies only to students admitted in Fall 2010 or later, in specific programs eligible for the fellowship.
The fellowship pays in-state tuition and a stipend for two semesters. Recipients of the DCF are limited to working, on average, no more than 25% time across the two semesters of DCF funding (e.g., 50% during one of the two semesters or 25% during both). No other positions or appointments may be held.
Eligible majors were selected after analysis of net stipends received by doctoral students in the program, recourse to loans by students in the program, and challenges with respect to time to degree and completion rate. Eligible majors were required to submit plans for improved advising and professional development of students; these plans were reviewed and approved by the Dean of the Graduate Division. Program eligibility is subject to review and could be discontinued.
 External fellowships are those awarded and funded by a non-campus organization, agency, or foundation and not open only to Berkeley students. Students must apply to the awarding organization and, if selected by that organization, funds are generally disbursed directly to the fellow.
Eligible students may use the fellowship at any time after advancement to candidacy, through the end of the year Normative Time to Degree (NTD) plus one year. Programs may establish more specific guidelines regarding the advisable timing for their students to use the DCF, which will normally be a dissertation writing year, not a research year.
A student wishing to activate the DCF must have initiated the online Doctoral Candidacy Review (DCR) in the previous year (ending the day before the start of fall semester) and their dissertation committee chair must attest that the student’s academic progress is satisfactory. For students who choose to use their DCF within the first semester of candidacy, the Application for Candidacy Form serves as the first Academic Progress Report. Students must file DCRs annually after the first year of candidacy.
Prior to Spring 2021, no university fellowship funding  could be awarded to a student who had activated the DCF beyond one year past Normative Time to Degree (Normative Time plus one year grace period). Effective spring 2021, students who have activated the DCF (including those who have activated the fellowship prior to Spring 2021) are no longer subject to university fellowship funding restrictions one year past normative time to degree. Thus, students who have activated DCF and continue beyond one year past normative time to degree remain eligible for university fellowship programs and block grant funding.
 University fellowship funding is defined as funding awarded or controlled by the Graduate Division or UC Berkeley. This includes departmental block grants, Graduate Division Conference Travel Grants and Summer Grants, Berkeley Connect, and Hellman Graduate Awards, etc. Exceptions include awards from departmentally restricted funds, reimbursement for travel and conferences from non-fellowship funds, tuition support for external fellowship awards, student parent grants, FLAS stipends used to pay non-Berkeley fees, and awards for meritorious service (e.g., Teaching Effectiveness Awards for GSIs, Outstanding GSI Awards). For more information, contact email@example.com.
The DCF requires students to maintain progress based on Normative Time for their degree program. Every semester enrolled or withdrawn, formally or informally, counts in the calculation of elapsed semesters of Normative Time, with limited exceptions for approved medical withdrawal or parenting accommodation (see below). Any withdrawal for research or other academic purposes will count in accrued time, as will semesters included in retroactive withdrawals (except approved retroactive medical withdrawals).
A maximum of two semesters of withdrawal for medical purposes, documented by a formal medical withdrawal, will not count in calculating a student’s eligibility for the DCF.
An adjustment to Normative Time calculation for the purposes of eligibility for the DCF will be granted to students in accord with Section F6.
Students are advanced to candidacy according to the dissertation plan followed by their programs.
Plan A requires a five-member committee and a final oral defense (also known as the Final Examination) is mandatory. Three members of a Plan A committee, including the Chair and the Academic Senate Representative must approve the dissertation and sign the signature page. The other two committee members may also sign off on the dissertation, but that is optional. Under the direction of the committee chair, the five members administer the student’s final oral defense of the dissertation.
Most doctoral programs follow Plan B, which requires a three-member committee to evaluate the dissertation. A final defense may be required at the discretion of the committee.
For Plan A dissertations, a written memo reporting the results of the Final Examination must be sent to the Graduate Degrees Office before the degree can be awarded.
A Final Report, which verifies that students have completed all requirements except for the dissertation, will be sent to programs for each doctoral student at the time the student is advanced to candidacy. Programs at that time must verify completion of requirements by returning to the Graduate Division an endorsed Final Report that all course work and other individual requirements have been completed.
If a student’s file does not have a Final Report, the student cannot be placed on the degrees list for award of thedegree even though the dissertation has been filed.
Programs which are approved to offer the Candidate in Philosophy (C.Phil.) degree may recommend students for the C.Phil. each semester. Nominated students must
1) already be advanced to candidacy;
2) be candidates in good standing;
3) be eligible for the Ph.D. upon completion of an acceptable doctoral dissertation;
4) possess the intellectual capacity to complete the requirements for the doctorate, according to Academic Senate regulations; and
5) be planning to file for the doctorate during a subsequent semester.
If faculty have any doubts about whether or not a student can complete the requirements, they should not recommend the student for the Candidate in Philosophy degree.
The list of students recommended for the C.Phil. should be sent to the Graduate Degrees Office no later than the end of the fifth week of instruction for the semester in which the degree is to be conferred. The form must include the student’s name, SID, and major, and be signed by the Head Graduate Adviser of the program.
The Graduate Council requires that all doctoral students who have been advanced to candidacy meet annually with at least two members of the Dissertation Committee. The annual review is part of the Graduate Council’s efforts to improve the doctoral completion rate and to shorten the time it takes students to obtain a doctorate.
As of Fall 2013, this review includes the completion of an online Doctoral Candidacy Review. The Doctoral Candidacy Review is an eForm and can be submitted by students through a link in CalCentral.
The doctoral candidate initiates the review by beginning completion of the online form. The student is asked to state what progress has been made toward the degree in the previous year, and to outline expected steps toward completion in the coming year.
Once the student has submitted their part of the review form, the dissertation chair should be notified and then review the student’s submitted responses. The chair should then convene a conversation with the student and at least one other member of the dissertation committee. The members of the Dissertation Committee should comment on the student’s progress and objectives for the coming year. The agreed upon assessment is entered in the report by the dissertation chair, and submitted for the student to review.
Submission of the completed Doctoral Candidacy Review makes it available to the Graduate Division, the GSAO, and the dissertation chair, as well as the student.
The nonresident supplemental tuition (NRST) for nonresident graduate students who have been advanced to candidacy for the doctorate is reduced to zero for a maximum calendar period of three years calculated from the semester subsequent to the students’ advancement, whether registered or not. Any student who continues to be enrolled or who re-enrolls after the three-year period will be charged the full nonresident tuition rate that is in effect at the time.
Candidacy for the doctorate is of limited duration.
When a student exceeds their major’s total normative time, they enter a four semester period during which candidacy is still valid, but which is beyond the norm for their discipline.
Four semesters after the end of normative time for the particular program, candidacy ends, or “lapses”. Lapsed candidacy indicates that the student has exceeded the time that their doctoral program has indicated the Qualifying Examination should be considered valid. If otherwise in good academic standing, the student may continue to register, but to file the dissertation, the program must affirm that the student still possesses the currency of knowledge originally demonstrated in the Qualifying Examination. The program or the Dean of the Graduate Division may require a new Qualifying Examination or other evidence of currency of knowledge before recommending the award of the degree.
Candidacy can be extended when circumstances beyond the control of the student have delayed progress to the degree, using the procedure outlined below. Extension of time in candidacy should be requested at the time that the student experiences the circumstances leading to the delay, and in no case any later than the last semester in candidacy.
The dissertation may be filed any time during the period of candidacy, either within the normative time or the four semesters that follow. Unless extended, candidacy must be reinstated in the semester when the student will file the degree. Once candidacy has ended, it is not possible to request an extension of candidacy; instead, the program should request reinstatement of candidacy, following the procedure outlined below.
If a student in candidacy experiences a delay in progress that can be attributed to factors largely beyond the student’s control (for example, unavoidable problems with the scheduling of experimental facilities or disruption of data collection) or for which extensions of candidacy are part of policy (as a parental or medical accommodation), the Head Graduate Advisor may request an extension of the student’s candidacy.
When deciding whether to extend a student’s candidacy, the Dean of the Graduate Division will defer to the department’s Head Graduate Advisor and a student’s dissertation chair, provided a current Doctoral Candidacy Review (DCR) is submitted with the request. Extensions are granted on a one-year basis. Each subsequent request for extension will require an updated DCR.
Once Normative Time in Candidacy ends, filing of the dissertation will require reinstatement of candidacy. The student must submit a dissertation draft to the dissertation committee in a form complete enough that the committee determines that its approval and submission to the Graduate Division will take place by the next filing date.
Because the Graduate Council has established that the Qualifying Examination and submission of the dissertation are not separate “hurdles”, but together form an integrated educational experience for doctoral candidates, the program must determine that knowledge tested by the Qualifying Examination is still current.
The Graduate Division usually will not accept a Qualifying Examination more than five years old as representing current knowledge unless the student gives other evidence of continuing scholarly activity besides research for the dissertation.
The Graduate Division may terminate a doctoral student’s candidacy two years after the student’s candidacy lapses. Termination may be based on any of the following circumstances: 1) the student no longer holds the qualifications appropriate for the award of the degree, because knowledge tested by the Qualifying Examination is no longer current; 2) continued lack of progress indicates that the student will not be able to complete the remaining requirements; or 3) the student fails to correct major deficiencies in a dissertation previously submitted for committee review within the period determined by the Graduate Division and the program.
The Head Graduate Adviser may request an extension of the student’s candidacy by memo addressed to the Associate Dean for Degrees, in care of the Degrees Office. This memo must be accompanied by a current Doctoral Candidacy Review (DCR). Extensions are granted on a one-year basis. Each subsequent request for extension will require an updated DCR. To promote timely progress to degree, Graduate Division will require additional information regarding a student’s progress after repeated extension requests.
Reinstatement of candidacy should be requested in the term during which the student plans to file the dissertation. The Head Graduate Adviser must send a memo addressed to the Associate Dean for Degrees, in care of the Degrees Office, verifying: 1) that the student is still competent in any required foreign languages; 2) that the student has submitted a dissertation draft to the dissertation committee that the committee determines will be approved and submitted by the next filing date; and 3) that the results of the student’s Qualifying Examination are still valid and represent current mastery of relevant fields. If the Qualifying Examination is more than five years old the student should give other evidence of continuing scholarly activity besides research for the dissertation.
A program that intends to re-enroll a student who has exceeded Normative Time in Candidacy may request reinstatement of candidacy at the same time as re-enrollment, providing the assurances of competency in required foreign languages and currency of the Qualifying Examination, and indicating when the student is expected to file the dissertation.
A recommendation for reinstatement may be subject to review and approval by the Administrative Committee of the Graduate Council.
Each doctoral candidate is responsible for filing with the Graduate Division a dissertation representing their own contribution to original scholarship that has been approved as such by an appropriately constituted dissertation committee.
The Graduate Council has stated that joint or group work is not acceptable as the basis for awarding graduate degrees. Students may collaborate on research projects under the traditional supervision of a faculty guidance committee. However, each student must write a dissertation that represents a cohesive presentation of the research conducted and is capable of standing independently from the group project.
Both faculty and students alike should be aware of the requirements governing selection of the Dissertation Committee members described below in the section “Faculty Committees for Higher Degrees”.
A student’s choice of a Dissertation Chair is critical for completion of the doctorate. Dissertation Chairs also play an important role in assisting students in finding satisfying and appropriate career positions. If possible, students should apprise themselves of the history of a potential chair’s working relationships with former students. Head Graduate Advisers should make sure that students are aware that they may change their Dissertation Chair.
In order to eliminate potential conflicts of interest, the Graduate Division will not approve the appointment of a professor as Chair of the Dissertation Committee for a student who also works for the professor in an outside company. The alternative could be to appoint a co-chair.
The Dissertation Chair should discuss at length with the student the implications of the selected topic in terms of the development of the field and the topic’s significance. After the student chooses a topic, the Dissertation Chair and other members of the Dissertation Committee (and proposal committee, if applicable) should evaluate the dissertation proposal and clearly communicate their evaluation to the student.
Faculty should advise students that if proposed research activities involve human or animal subjects, the students must obtain permission from the Committee on the Protection of Human Subjects or the Animal Care and Use Committee.
During the period following approval of the dissertation proposal, the student will undertake independent or guided research and will write drafts of the dissertation, including papers presented for conferences or submitted for publication. The Dissertation Chair should set up a regular schedule of communication with the doctoral candidate throughout this period. If the student is away from Berkeley doing research, the communication might be less frequent, and in writing. An ideal schedule will vary; faculty working closely with students in their own labs often meet weekly with students, while those in more self-directed humanities and social science disciplines may find a monthly meeting most useful. In no case should a student go for more than a semester without communication.
The required annual progress meeting should be considered the minimum level of consultation with other members of the doctoral committee; the dissertation chair may wish to consult no less frequently than each semester with other committee members, and communicate the committee’s guidance to the dissertation writer.
Before the doctoral candidate completes the dissertation, the Dissertation Chair should discuss the student’s career plans and prospects. Dissertation chairs should be aware that up to 40% of Berkeley doctoral students pursue careers outside tenure track academic employment, and should initiate conversations with their advisees about multiple career paths in their discipline. The chair should encourage students to undertake activities that will benefit them in their eventual job search, such as presenting research at professional meetings and publishing, if these are customary for the field. The Dissertation Chair should encourage and help the student acquire teaching experience, if the student is planning for a teaching career. The Dissertation Chair should be prepared to write letters of recommendation for the student and should do so promptly.
It is very helpful for the student and the Dissertation Chair to agree in advance on how written material is to be submitted for review. Usually, both the student and faculty assume that the student is making good progress if the student meets mutually determined deadlines. If a student does not meet these deadlines, or if the quality of the work is unsatisfactory, it is the responsibility of the Dissertation Chair (possibly with another member of the Dissertation Committee) to discuss this with the student when these problems arise. Under no circumstances should a student be permitted to complete a dissertation that the Dissertation Chair finds mediocre and that consequently prevents the chair from writing a strong letter of support for subsequent career positions. Regular review of the student’s work, beginning with the proposal and ending with the final evaluation of the dissertation, can prevent this from happening. Faculty should make clear to the student what needs to be done to correct any problems, and both the dissertation adviser and the student should agree on a plan to make any necessary changes. When the student submits sections of the dissertation for review, the Dissertation Chair should return the sections and commentary in a timely manner.
During the semester in which the student plans to file the dissertation, the student should submit the dissertation to the Dissertation Committee at least two months before the Graduate Division filing deadline. If the entire manuscript of the dissertation is submitted to a reader, it should be returned within one month.
It is Graduate Council policy that the signature of a faculty member on a dissertation signature approval page is binding and cannot be withdrawn once it has been given. The faculty member should not sign a dissertation until they are convinced that the student’s work has been completed to the faculty member’s satisfaction. Disagreements among committee members should be resolved following the policies defined below for disagreements regarding theses and dissertations.
All doctoral dissertations and master’s theses are to be submitted electronically. All of the requirements for preparing the manuscript for submission are provided in the dissertation filing guidelines, published separately on the Graduate Division website. Master’s theses filing guidelines are also provided separately.
All members of the Dissertation Committee or the Thesis Committee must approve the student’s work and sign the approval page. Once committed, a signature cannot be rescinded. If any member doubts the acceptability of the student’s work, the chair must convene the committee to discuss the issues. If the committee reaches agreement on its acceptability, the approval page is signed and filed.
If the committee continues to disagree, the student’s work is sent to the Dean of the Graduate Division, together with a statement of opinion submitted by each committee member. If all members of the committee reject the student’s work, it is sent to the Dean of the Graduate Division with a statement to that effect from the committee chair. In all cases of rejection or split vote, the Administrative Committee of the Graduate Council makes the final decision.
By default, dissertations are withheld from the UC Berkeley Library & ProQuest/UMI for 2 years. Occasionally, there are unusual circumstances in which students prefer that their thesis or dissertation not be published for a longer period of time. Such circumstances may include the disclosure of patentable rights in the work before a patent can be granted, similar disclosures detrimental to the rights of the author, or disclosures of facts about persons or institutions before professional ethics would permit. The Dean of the Graduate Division may permit the dissertation to be held for longer than 2 years, under substantiated circumstances of the kind indicated and with the endorsement and explanation from the chair of the dissertation or thesis committee.
The University does not provide a copyright service. Students may copyright their work independently through the Library of Congress. Dissertation students may elect to pay ProQuest Dissertations Publishing service to copyright their manuscripts (see Instructions for Preparing and Filing Your Thesis or Dissertation).
Students must be registered or on approved Filing Fee status to be eligible to file for a degree in either the spring or fall term. Students registered in spring, who have not previously used their filing fee, may file during summer sessions for a summer degree. Academic Senate regulations state that in order to receive a degree in any given term, all work for the degree must be completed by the last day of the term.
To use the Filing Fee in a fall semester, the student must have been registered in the previous spring or summer. Summer Sessions enrollment must be for a minimum of one unit. To use the Filing Fee in spring, the student must have been registered in the previous fall.
If a student has fees that have not been paid by the end of a semester, the student may be “dropped from the rolls” and removed from the degree list for that semester. If this happens, the student will need to be reinstated as a registered student prior to the degree being awarded.
Degrees are awarded three times each year, at the end of the fall semester in December, at the end of the spring semester in May, and at the end of Summer Session in August. While students may file any time during a semester or the Summer Session, the degree award date remains the same.
If the research for a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation involves the use of human subjects, the student is required to complete the online “Course in the Protection of Human Subjects” (referred to as the CITI [Collaborative Institutional Review Board Training Initiative] course).
Students who plan research or development activities that involve human subjects must also have their work reviewed and approved by the Committee for Protection of Human Subjects (CPHS) before they begin their research. The research must be carried out according to the Berkeley campus policy.
The Graduate Division will not accept dissertations or theses that include materials obtained or produced without authorization from the CPHS.
The Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC) meets monthly to review written animal use protocols for compliance with federal and campus standards. Only individuals with Principal Investigator (PI) status on the Berkeley campus may submit protocols to the ACUC. Thus, any proposed use of animals by a student must be described in an approved animal use protocol for a Berkeley PI. In addition, the ACUC must be notified of any proposed plans to obtain custom antibodies from commercial sources or other laboratories.
The Graduate Division will not accept dissertations or theses that include material obtained or produced without authorization from the ACUC.
Students must print out the certificate of completion of the relevant CITI course for submission with the advancement to candidacy form. Protocols involving human subjects or animals must be filed with the Graduate Services Degrees Office within six months of advancement to candidacy. When they file the thesis or dissertation, students must submit copies of the relevant PI’s annual approval letter from the ACUC for each of the years in which the student conducted animal research.
Students returning to the University after an absence sometimes request to re-enter a graduate program and use units that they completed in the past. The following time limits have been established for use of such units:
A student who pursues a master’s degree in the same major as the doctoral program for which they were admitted does not need Graduate Division approval if the master’s degree is earned along the way to the doctorate but the master’s degree plan must be formally added to the student’s record. A student admitted to a doctoral program who does not intend to pursue the doctorate but decides to finish their graduate career with the master’s degree must formally change the degree goal from the Ph.D. to the master’s degree.
Graduate students may petition to add a designated emphasis (see F2.1). Students who wish to change degree plans or programs must apply for admission per that program’s procedures and deadlines.
Students may enroll for a second academic or professional master’s degree if the second degree is in an unrelated field. An applicant who is admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite will automatically be permitted to receive a second master’s degree, even if the applicant has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study.
It is the policy of both the Graduate Council and the Graduate Division not to approve requests to enroll in a second doctoral program. Requests for exceptions to this policy will be reviewed only if they meet the following guidelines:
Special approval from the Graduate Division is required to submit the dissertation or the thesis in a foreign language. If approval is given, an abstract in English must be included with the dissertation or thesis. Requests should be submitted before the student begins to write the dissertation.
A memo signed by the Head Graduate Adviser justifying the use of a foreign language for the writing of the dissertation should be addressed to the Associate Dean for Degrees, and submitted in care of the Graduate Degrees Office.
All faculty committees for higher degrees (master’s thesis, Qualifying Examination, and doctoral dissertation) are ad hoc committees acting on behalf of the Graduate Council, which delegates authority for appointing the committees to the Dean of the Graduate Division.
The Head Graduate Adviser, usually with input from the research supervisor, helps students to identify appropriate faculty members for the thesis committee, Qualifying Examination committee, dissertation committee, and other graduate degree committees, and then recommends the appointment of appropriate faculty members to the Graduate Division. Each academic program is expected to develop a protocol by which the Head Graduate Adviser approves the composition of all higher degree committees on behalf of the program to ensure academic rigor, consistency within the unit, and adherence to policy.
The Head Graduate Adviser recommends five members for Plan A doctoral dissertation committees. For dissertation committees and thesis committees, the Head Graduate Adviser recommends three members. Four or five members are recommended for the Qualifying Examination committee, depending on the program. Final approval for committee appointments rests with the Dean of the Graduate Division.
Head Graduate Advisers, prospective committee chairs, and graduate students can help avoid problems with committee appointments by:
Occasionally, committee members, particularly those from other institutions (see Section F4.9), incur travel expenses to participate in a qualifying examination. Should the student’s academic unit choose to cover these expenses, consistent with the University of California travel policy, the Head Graduate Adviser would approve these expenses. The Graduate Division is unable to cover such expenses. To avoid any conflict of interest, students are never allowed to pay travel costs and expenses for their committee members.
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As of December 18, 2019, the Graduate Division has published new minimum requirements for the composition of higher degree committees. Please check with your department’s Graduate Student Affairs Officer and/or Head Graduate Advisor to see if your degree program has adopted these new minimum requirements, detailed below, or has requirements above the minimum.
Head Graduate Advisors of degree granting programs are responsible for reviewing committee membership before submission to the Graduate Division. For the purposes of this policy, academic unit membership is defined as follows: 1) for departments and schools, faculty must have voting rights in the academic unit offering the degree (in the case of emeriti, they must have had voting rights before retirement), and 2) for graduate groups, faculty must be core members in that group (and on file as such in the Graduate Division).
The requirements described below for the academic program affiliation of committee members are minimum requirements. Programs may establish higher requirements but the programs must then 1) inform Graduate Division of the requirements, 2) apply those requirements to all students uniformly, and 3) publish those requirements in a student handbook and/or on a departmental website. The Head Graduate Advisor for programs that establish higher requirements may approve exceptions. Programs must retain documentation of such approvals, but do not need to inform Graduate Division.
A single faculty member cannot serve simultaneously as the chair and Academic Senate representative. If the Head Graduate Adviser is to serve either role on any committee, the Chair or Dean of the department, graduate group, or school should approve the committee.
In all instances, committee members must be members of the Academic Senate unless an exception has been granted (see Section F4.6 for a list of titles conferring Senate membership and Section F4.9 for possible exceptions). Note that Professors Emeriti or Professors of the Graduate School are members of the Academic Senate and, as such, may serve on committees as long as they had voting rights in the department or school before retirement or are a core member of the graduate group (see beginning of Section F4.7) in their home degree granting program or joint or affiliated degree granting program, as appropriate to each status.
Chair or Co-Chairs
Academic Senate Representative (optional)
Academic Senate Representative
At least two Additional Members
Chair or Co-Chairs
Academic Senate Representative
If a committee must be changed, the Request for Change in Higher Degree Committee petition should be submitted to the Graduate Division as soon as possible. The Head Graduate Adviser should consult with all parties involved concerning the change before approving the petition and submitting it to the Graduate Division. A committee member who disagrees with being removed from the committee cannot block this action if it is approved by the Head Graduate Adviser.
Committees conforming to the normal size and composition are proposed using the applicable form available on the Graduate Division website: the Application for Admission to the Qualifying Exam for the Qualifying Examination committee; or the Application for Candidacy for the relevant degree and plan.
Two members beyond the required number for a Qualifying Examination may be requested by the Head Graduate Adviser in a memorandum addressed to the Associate Dean for Degrees, in care of the Graduate Degrees Office. A memorandum is also required to request a Doctoral Dissertation committee membership of 5 or more faculty.
The student submits a Request for Change in Higher Degree Committee petition signed by the Head Graduate Adviser.
The chair of any graduate degree committee must be a member of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate in the student’s degree granting program (see beginning of Section F4.7). A student’s Qualifying Examination chair cannot serve subsequently as the student’s Dissertation Chair, but may serve as a student’s Dissertation Co-Chair if the other Co-Chair is from the same degree granting program.
If an individual in another degree granting program seems more appropriate as committee Chair in a particular instance, appointment as Co-Chair can be approved. If there is a compelling academic reason why a member of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate from another degree granting program should be the sole Chair, then an exception can be requested.
There cannot be two Co-Chairs for the Qualifying Exam. There may be two Co-Chairs instead of one Chair for a Master’s Thesis Committee or a Dissertation Committee. One co-chair must be a member of the Berkeley Academic Senate in the student’s degree granting program (see beginning of Section F4.7). The second Co-Chair may be a Berkeley Academic Senate member in the student’s degree granting program, a Berkeley Academic Senate member outside the student’s degree granting program, or an approved non-Academic Senate member. See Section F4.9 for further information about exceptions allowing non-Senate committee members.
The Academic Senate Representative on all Qualifying Examination Committees and Dissertation Committees (and preferably on Master’s Thesis Committees as well) must be a member of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate (see Section F4.6 for a list of titles). No exceptions will be made. The Academic Senate Representative’s role is to ensure that the committee is conducted in a fair and professional manner that abides by graduate policy.
Additional members may be Berkeley Academic Senate members in the student’s degree granting program or another degree granting program, or an approved non-Academic Senate member (see Section F4.9 for information about exceptions allowing non-Senate committee members).
Two kinds of approval are granted to qualified persons: 1) particular approval for a single committee, and 2) permanent or “blanket” approval for higher degree committees at a given level.
Exceptions to serve on a single committee are based on the provision of special and necessary expertise that would facilitate the student’s work and that cannot be duplicated among the regular faculty, for a person holding a doctorate or its equivalent in research experience. The service must be performed without stipend. To avoid any conflict of interest, students are not allowed to pay travel costs and expenses for faculty from other institutions to serve on their committees.
Under certain circumstances, a non-Senate member may be appointed to a committee if the Head Graduate Adviser determines that the individual in question offers expertise not otherwise available among the regular faculty and if the Associate Dean for Degrees concurs. There may be no more than one person in this category on a committee. A non-Senate member may be appointed to co-chair a Thesis Committee or a Dissertation Committee if this assignment is shared with an Academic Senate faculty member.
The following administrative policies apply:
A committee for a higher degree may include one member of the regular faculty belonging to the Academic Senate of any UC campus as an Additional Member without special approval from the Dean of the Graduate Division as long as the UC Senate member is not replacing a UCB Senate member.
A regular faculty member from Stanford University does not need the approval of the Dean of the Graduate Division for appointment as an Additional Member as long as the Stanford faculty member is not replacing a UCB Senate member. The Stanford faculty member would need approval to serve as co-chair.
Lecturers with Security of Employment are members of the Academic Senate and are thus eligible to serve on student committees in any capacity.
Lecturers without Security of Employment (Unit 18 lecturers) are not eligible for “blanket” approval for committee service, but may serve under a one-time exception on a thesis or dissertation committee if they have 1) an active appointment, 2) the endorsement of the Head Graduate Adviser, and 3) approval from the program’s College or School Dean to reimburse the Lecturer in compliance with the Unit 18 contract, or agreement from the Lecturer to serve without compensation.
Although adjunct and clinical professors are not members of the Academic Senate, they may be appointed as co-chairs and additional members, but not as sole chairs, of single dissertation committees by exception. Requests for permanent or “blanket” approval for higher degree committee service may also be made, either at the time of appointment or after.
Persons who do not hold the doctorate, or are not members of the Berkeley Division, or are not members of faculty at another institution are occasionally permitted to be appointed to higher degrees committees on an exceptional basis after submission of appropriate documentation. Typically, such appointments are of persons who hold an “acting” professorial title, or that of Visiting Assistant Professor, or a title in the professional research series.
All requests for exceptions must be submitted by the Head Graduate Adviser to the Graduate Degrees Office. Requests for approval for a single committee are reviewed by the Associate Dean for Degrees after initial review by the Graduate Degrees Office. Requests must include a curriculum vitae (CV), which includes work published within the last 3 years, and a statement that the prospective appointee has a degree equivalent to that which is being examined or earned and has special and necessary expertise that cannot be duplicated among the regular faculty.
If a non-Academic Senate member has been approved for a single committee earlier but has no blanket approval, a new memorandum is required for each additional request for service on a single committee, but no CV need accompany subsequent requests if the one submitted earlier remains current.
In both cases, if the prospective appointee is not regularly affiliated with this campus, the request is to be accompanied by a statement that the service will be performed without stipend.
The Head Graduate Adviser should submit a memo detailing why the Lecturer’s expertise is relevant to the student’s field of study. This must be accompanied by submission of a CV that includes a publication list that illustrates relevance to the student’s thesis or dissertation. A statement that the program has received approval from the program’s College or School Dean to reimburse the Lecturer in compliance with the Unit 18 contract, or that the Lecturer has agreed to serve without compensation, is also required.
A Department Chair may request blanket approval for service as co-chair or additional member on higher degree committees from the Committee on Budget and Interdepartmental Relations during the regular review process for the appointment of a Clinical or Adjunct Professor. A copy of the document received by the Department indicating committee service approval by the Budget and Interdepartmental Relations Committee granted at the time of the person’s employment should be sent to the Graduate Degrees Office so that the individual’s committee eligibility may be appropriately noted.
After that point, a request for blanket approval for service as co-chair or additional member should be sent to the Graduate Degrees Office, addressed to the Associate Dean for Degrees. Requests are reviewed and forwarded with a recommendation to the Budget and Interdepartmental Relations Committee for final approval. The request should state what level of service the individual is to perform: master’s level only or master’s and doctoral level. The request must include a curriculum vitae, which includes published work within the last 3 years, and a statement that the prospective appointee has a degree equivalent to that which is being examined or earned and that qualifications are at least equal to those of regular faculty at Berkeley.
Student records are subject to the requirements of the 1974 Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), current Health and Human Services regulations, state legislation on applicant records (Stull Bill), and the elements of access rights under California public records legislation. In 1977, the Office of the President incorporated the provision of these laws and guidelines into a document entitled “University of California Policies Applying to the Disclosure of Information from Student Records.” This policy was revised in Fall 2002. Each campus was asked to develop its own policy and all campus offices that maintain records on students were asked to develop their own procedures to implement the policy. Each department, school, college, office, program, or entity that maintains student records is required to give public notice of the categories of information designated as directory information (which may be released without the student’s prior consent). Departments or units are not required to include all data elements considered directory information by the campus, but may not designate as directory information anything additional to those elements.
The full text of the campus policy can be found on the Office of the Registrar website. Questions regarding the disclosure of information from student records should be referred to the Office of the Registrar.
The information concerning registered graduate students maintained by the Graduate Division falls into two general categories: (1) directory information (unrestricted) and (2) confidential (restricted). Directory information will be released unless the student has requested that the record be kept confidential. (See “Right of students to have information withheld” below).
Name of student
Academic Appointment (confirmation of a “yes” or “no” only)
Major field of study
Current registration status
University fellowship or grant administered by the Graduate Division (confirmation of a yes” or “no” only)
Inquirers may be referred to the Office of the Registrar or the Financial Aid Office for information, as appropriate.
All other records, such as general correspondence, educational test scores, reports on examinations, etc., are confidential. Complete records of degree recipients are kept for five years after the degree is awarded and those of inactive students who have not finished their degrees are kept for 10 years after the last semester of registration.
Registered students are entitled by law and University policy to examine and challenge information maintained about them by campus offices. Specifically, they have the right to:
A student may request the University not to release personally identifiable information by sending a written request to the Dean of the Graduate Division, c/o Graduate Degrees Office. Other offices on campus, such as the Registrar’s Office and the student’s program, also maintain student records. Each campus unit must be separately contacted should the student want information withheld.
As many as one in ten of Berkeley’s graduate students is a parent of a young child or children. Recognizing the special challenges involved in balancing advanced degree programs and family responsibilities, the University is committed to supporting policies, programs, and services to help graduate student parents meet their family care obligations while they pursue their academic goals.
Since 1998, the Graduate Council has approved policies regarding academic accommodation of student parents, designed to encourage academic departments and programs to be as generous as possible in accommodating student parents. These policies have served as models for legislation adopted by the State of California in 2014, applying to all institutions of higher education.
This statement summarizes the policies and programs in place to support graduate student parents.
A graduate student requesting parental accommodations must have substantial parenting responsibilities. Substantial parenting responsibilities are defined as pregnancy, childbirth, care of a newborn or newly adopted young child, the serious illness of a child, and other exceptional circumstances relating to a child. The child may be the student’s child or that of a spouse or domestic partner.
Student Parent Policies apply to students regardless of State residency or visa status, with the exception that the three-year post-candidacy Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition reduction (to $0) does not fall within the purview of this policy. Note also that withdrawals, leaves, and delayed progress toward completion of degree may have implications for visa status; international students are urged to consult with the Office of Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS) before modifying their degree progress.
Research doctoral students who experience substantial parenting responsibilities must be granted additional time to meet established deadlines for passing preliminary and/or Qualifying Examinations and/or completing their dissertations, and for calculating Normative Time for purposes of qualification for certain fellowships.
In recognition of the physical demands of childbearing, a woman anticipating childbirth is entitled to receive an extension of up to one extra year for passing preliminary examinations and qualifying examinations, and an extension of up to one extra year toward Normative Time completion while in candidacy for the doctoral degree. Any graduate student experiencing other substantial parenting responsibilities is entitled to receive an extension of up to six extra months for passing preliminary examinations and qualifying examinations, and an extension of up to six extra months toward Normative Time completion while in candidacy.
An extension (for the preliminary exam, qualifying exam, or pre- or post-candidacy Normative Time clock) is granted, regardless of whether or for how long the student was on withdrawal status. The provision to stop the pre- or post-candidacy Normative Time clocks may be invoked even if a student with substantial parenting responsibilities does not take a formal leave (withdrawal) or have a modification of duties.
Total additional time granted by this policy cannot exceed two years, no matter how many children are involved. Academic units must acknowledge adjustments to their calculations of Normative Time for individual students both before and after advancement to candidacy.
To request an adjustment to the Normative Time calculation, the student must submit to the Graduate Degrees Office a written statement certifying having undergone childbirth and/or having substantial parenting responsibilities, along with a written endorsement by the Head Graduate Advisor.
In addition to being eligible for extensions of time under the Graduate Council’s Parental Accommodations provision, research doctoral students who are women anticipating childbirth and are supported by Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) and/or Researcher (GSR) appointments may be excused from regular duties for a period of six weeks without loss of financial support. (A longer period may be granted in the cases of exceptional medical circumstances experienced by the mother or child before or after birth.) Such students may choose to continue to work in some modified capacity during this six-week period but may not be required to do so. (Per the UC-UAW Academic Student Employee Agreement, eligible non-doctoral GSIs may also be on paid childbearing leave from regular duties for a period of time specified by the contract then in force.) In addition, the GSI and/or GSR will be approved for an additional two weeks of unpaid leave for baby bonding, provided such unpaid leave does not extend beyond the date of the appointment.
The academic unit’s cost for a GSI or GSR replacement during the six-week period will be charged to the campus’s Childbirth Accommodation Fund upon application and Graduate Division approval. (GSI replacement costs for eligible non-doctoral GSIs on childbearing leave are incurred by the department, not the Graduate Division.) Note that the replacement GSI or GSR does not qualify for fee remissions, because the appointment is limited to six weeks. (Implications of a longer appointment due to medically-necessary circumstances will be reviewed on an exceptional basis.) Replacement appointees who hold F-1 or J-1 visas are not eligible for exception to work more than 50% time.
Women research doctoral students supported by university fellowships will experience no change in their funding arrangements during the six-week childbearing leave. Those supported by fellowships external to UC must adhere to the rules of the granting agency in regard to leaves from work. If the granting agency defers to university policy regarding paid childbirth leave, the six-week leave will be paid by the grant. If the granting agency requires suspension of payment during the six-week period, the student will be eligible for substitute payment from the Childbirth Accommodation Fund. If continued funding is allowed by a grant supervised by a Principal Investigator (PI) but project deadlines require that a PI hire a temporary replacement, the replacement’s salary is eligible for reimbursement by the campus’s Childbirth Accommodation Fund for the six-week period.
Students who do not already hold a fellowship or academic appointment will not receive financial support under this provision.
The student must complete the Petition for Childbirth Accommodation Funding and secure the applicable verifications and signatures. The student’s academic unit must submit all required information via email to the Graduate Degrees Office at firstname.lastname@example.org at least 30 days prior to the beginning of the proposed leave.
A student who chooses to take a leave of absence due to pregnancy, childbirth, and/or to care for and bond with their newborn child or a child placed with the student for adoption or foster care shall be granted a Parenting Leave for up to one academic year (two semesters). This leave must be taken no later than twelve months after the child’s birth or adoption/placement. If there is a medical reason for a longer absence, an extension of leave may be granted for a total of up to two academic years (four semesters).
A student must have registered for the semester during which the leave will be taken, or the semester immediately preceding the beginning of the period of leave requested. If a student commences a leave during a semester in which they are enrolled, that semester shall be counted as one of the semesters of leave granted under this policy.
An international student wanting to take Parenting Leave must first consult with the Berkeley International Office (BIO) regarding implications for visa requirements.
Restrictions: A student on Parenting Leave shall not be eligible to work academically with faculty and shall not be eligible for campus employment, fellowships, or financial aid. A student on Parenting Leave shall remain eligible for campus email services, library privileges, campus housing, and voluntary purchase of health insurance (subject to applicable conditions of the providers of such benefits).
Dissemination and Training: Notice of this policy and its provisions shall be disseminated to graduate students, faculty, and staff, by email or other technologically appropriate media designed to ensure wide dissemination, and the policy shall be posted on the relevant Graduate Division website that is accessible to the public. A copy of this policy shall be made available to faculty, staff, and employees during onboarding, orientation, and/or training. This policy shall also be made available to all graduate students attending required orientation sessions.
Grievance Process: This policy supplements the written policies of the University of California, Berkeley, for graduate students on pregnancy and parenting discrimination and accommodations. To report complaints of discriminations under Title IX or this policy, contact the Office for Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (“OPHD”) and the campus’ Title IX Office at email@example.com.
The University of California conforms to Section 66281.7 of the Education Code of the State of California, adopted in 2014:
(a) It is the policy of the State of California, pursuant to Section 66251, that all persons, regardless of their sex, should enjoy freedom from discrimination of any kind, including, but not limited to, pregnancy discrimination as described in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1681, et seq.), in the postsecondary educational institutions of the state.
(b) Each of the following requirements shall be applicable to postsecondary educational institutions in this state:
(1) A postsecondary educational institution, including the faculty, staff, or other employees of the institution, shall not require a graduate student to take a leave of absence, withdraw from the graduate program, or limit graduate studies solely due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related issues.
(2) A postsecondary educational institution, including the faculty, staff, or other employees of the institution, shall reasonably accommodate pregnant graduate students so they may complete their graduate courses of study and research. Reasonable accommodation within the meaning of this subdivision may include, but is not necessarily limited to, allowances for the pregnant student’s health and safety, such as allowing the student to maintain a safe distance from hazardous substances, allowing the student to make up tests and assignments that are missed for pregnancy-related reasons, or allowing a student to take a leave of absence. Reasonable accommodation shall include the excusing of absences that are medically necessary, as required under Title IX.
(3) A graduate student who chooses to take a leave of absence because she is pregnant or has recently given birth shall be allowed a period consistent with the policies of the postsecondary educational institution, or a period of 12 additional months, whichever period is longer, to prepare for and take preliminary and qualifying examinations and an extension of at least 12 months toward normative time to degree while in candidacy for a graduate degree, unless a longer extension is medically necessary.
(4) A graduate student who is not the birth parent and who chooses to take a leave of absence because of the birth of a child shall be allowed a period consistent with the policies of the postsecondary educational institution, or a period of one month, whichever period is longer, to prepare for and take preliminary and qualifying examinations, and an extension of at least one month toward normative time to degree while in candidacy for a graduate degree, unless a longer period or extension is medically necessary to care for their partner or their child.
(5) An enrolled graduate student in good academic standing who chooses to take a leave of absence because she is pregnant or has recently given birth shall return to her program in good academic standing following a leave period consistent with the policies of the postsecondary educational institution or of up to one academic year, whichever period is longer, subject to the reasonable administrative requirements of the institution, unless there is a medical reason for a longer absence, in which case her standing in the graduate program shall be maintained during that period of absence.
(6) An enrolled graduate student in good academic standing who is not the birth parent and who chooses to take a leave of absence because of the birth of a child shall return to their program in good academic standing following a leave period consistent with the policies of the postsecondary educational institution, or of up to one month, whichever period is longer, subject to the reasonable administrative requirements of the institution.
(c) Each postsecondary educational institution shall have a written policy for graduate students on pregnancy discrimination and procedures for addressing pregnancy discrimination complaints under Title IX or this section. A copy of this policy shall be made available to faculty, staff, and employees in their required training. This policy shall be made available to all graduate students attending orientation sessions at a postsecondary educational institution.
The Appointments Unit of the Graduate Division monitors requirements for Graduate Student Researcher and teaching appointments. The Fellowships Office of the Graduate Division administers programs for entering and continuing students. The Associate Dean for Appointments and Fellowships has oversight in these areas. The Student Services Financial Aid Office administers loan and work study programs for graduate students.
Programs are encouraged to plan multi-year “packages” of financial assistance, especially for newly admitted students. Graduate advisers and assistants should inform students that some available funding is based on need. To be eligible for awards, including block awards, students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Details on nominating students for fellowships are included in the Fellowships Handbook, sent to programs every January. Inquiries should be directed to the Graduate Fellowships Office.
University-sponsored financial assistance falls into three main categories:
There are fellowship programs available for new, continuing, and returning students (domestic and international). These are all described on the Graduate Division Fellowships web page.
University-sponsored multi-year fellowships are awarded through an annual campus-wide competition administered by the Graduate Fellowships office.
Per a Graduate Council revision of policy effective academic year 2014-2015, all doctoral applicants are eligible for nomination in the University multi-year fellowship competition, including those students who previously received a masters’ degree at the University of California, Berkeley.
Multi-year fellowships require departmental matching years, with an equivalent stipend that can be a combination of GSI or GSR appointment and direct grants.
Only registered students in good academic standing can be considered for Graduate Division or departmental funding. Additional conditions for each funding source are defined by the granting unit.
Several types of appointments as Academic Student Employee (ASE) are available to both doctoral and Master’s students:
For information on academic appointments policies and procedures, please refer to the Appointments web page.
Student loans are an important resource, but they should be considered as a last resort due to the danger of borrowing too much and accumulating high indebtedness. More information on loans, and on Federal work-study, is available on the web site of the Office of Financial Aid.
International students are not eligible for the federal financial assistance programs available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, including loans and work-study.
Virtually all financial assistance to graduate students, except loans, is taxable. The University does not withhold taxes from the stipend portions of fellowships. Students pursuing a degree generally can exclude from income that part of a fellowship or grant used for:
Students cannot exclude from income any part of the grant used for other purposes, such as room and board or travel.
As required by Federal regulations, the University reports awards made to international students to the IRS, and withholds a required proportion of fellowship stipends unless the student’s home country has a tax treaty with the United States that exempts its citizens from withholding.
For more information on how Federal tax regulations treat graduate student support, students should be advised to consult IRS Publication 970 Tax Benefits for Education. As tax law changes over time, students should be encouraged to consult the latest publication on the IRS website instead of relying on advice from other students, faculty, or staff.
The Graduate Services Fellowships Office handles over 600 fellowship funds, each with unique criteria and terms for awarding.
Students who receive University fellowships are required to register full time and to devote their time to study and/or research in the field in which the award is made, make satisfactory academic progress, and maintain a 3.0 GPA.
To be considered registered, the student must be enrolled in at least one class, have had at least the first installment of fees paid, and have no registration blocks. For Fall and Spring semester, registration is normally 12 units per semester.
The Graduate Services Fellowships Office should be informed immediately, in writing, of any changes that may affect the fellow’s award, such as substandard performance, resignation, withdrawal, change of major, etc.
Entering students receiving a national award in addition to a University multi-year fellowship may request a “multi-year fellowship deferral” to combine the two sources of funding. If the total length of support exceeds four years, then one year of the University multi-year fellowship will be relinquished unless an exception is granted.
Students who are receiving a fellowship administered by the University that will give them a defined minimum stipend level plus fees are subject to an employment restriction: they may work up to 25% time during the academic year (that is, 25% each term or 50% for one term only). There is no work restriction for the summer term.
Students receiving external fellowships must refer to the fellowship terms set by the corresponding agency which may restrict employment more than this.
The Graduate Services Fellowships Office administers some Restricted Endowment Fellowships. Departmentally restricted funds cannot be used for students on filing fee or to pay professional degree supplemental tuition.
It is the responsibility of the Chair of each Department to ensure that recommendations for Restricted Endowment Fellowships meet the terms of the endowment or agency.
During the 2020-21 academic year (Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Summer 2021), recipients of Graduate Division fellowship funding are subject to a stipend cap of $38,000 per year. Detailed rules and exclusions are contained in an applicable memo.
Effective 2021-22, Graduate Division-administered fellowships may be held concurrently, and with external fellowships (terms permitting), as long as the combined stipend funding does not exceed $40,000; requests to exceed this amount requires the approval of the Associate Dean of the Graduate Division. Departmentally-controlled funding (including block grant) is not subject to this stipend limit and may be used to supplement fellowships at the program’s discretion.
The Graduate Division does not have a policy on combining multiple external fellowships; students must consult the terms of their fellowship and the granting agency for further guidance. The Graduate Division defines “external fellowships” as those awarded and funded by a non-campus organization, agency, or foundation. Students must apply to the awarding organization, and following a competition, be selected by that organization; funds are generally disbursed directly to the fellow.
Every spring, the Graduate Services Fellowships Office sends programs certification forms for recipients of the University multi-year and of extramural multi-year fellowships administered by the Fellowships Office, such as the NSF Graduate Fellowship. The Head Graduate Adviser should consult with fellowship recipients about their plans for the coming year. The Head Graduate Adviser should certify whether or not each student is making satisfactory progress toward the doctoral degree and whether the student will continue on the fellowship for the following year or will be supported by other means, such as a teaching or research appointment.
Entering students receiving a national award in addition to a University multi-year fellowship may request a “multi-year fellowship deferral” by writing to the Associate Dean of Fellowships, indicating the name and award criteria of the outside fellowship. The exception request should be submitted to the Fellowships Office.
The Graduate Services Fellowships Office maintains a list of extramural fellowships that are administered by Graduate Division on the Fellowships web site.
If a student is selected solely by an awarding agency, and the program or Graduate Division has no responsibility for nominating or selecting the student, the fellowship funds for that student may be sent directly to the Financial Aid Office.
The Graduate Division Fellowships Office offers workshops and resources on applying for specific fellowships, such as the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. The Graduate Division Academic Services Office offers workshops and individual consultations on grant writing. Departments seeking to offer advising on grant proposal development can contact the Academic Services Office for assistance and information.
Graduate students apply for need-based loans, emergency loans and work-study through the Student Services Financial Aid Office. Graduate students seeking loans are subject to Federal standards for assessment of Satisfactory Academic Progress.
Many external fellowships provide only partial tuition/fee coverage or no funding for tuition at all. For some of these fellowships, the Graduate Division assists departments by providing fee support centrally. Details regarding which fellowships are covered and processes for obtaining such support can be found in guidelines updated annually.
The Graduate Division’s Appointments Office monitors and ensures compliance with campus and system-wide policies and procedures for all graduate students who hold academic or staff titles. The policies that govern graduate students as employees include those established by the Graduate Council of the Academic Senate, the Graduate Division, the Academic Personnel Office, and the Office of the President.
As part of their financial support package, graduate students will often hold academic appointments or have other employment on campus. Academic appointments are governed by policies of the Academic Personnel Office. Staff appointments are governed by policies of the Berkeley HR Office.
Registered and enrolled students who are degree candidates may hold a GSI, AI-GS or GSR appointment through the end of the last month of the semester in which they receive their terminal degree. Thus, recipients of a spring terminal degree may work through May 31, and recipients of a fall terminal degree may work through December 31.
If qualified, individuals who have graduated may be appointed as a Reader or Tutor because those titles do not require registration and enrollment as a graduate student.
A student on filing fee status may not hold a graduate student academic appointment for which registration is required.
Students may not hold any graduate student academic title as volunteers. Academic appointees must be appropriately compensated through the Berkeley payroll system for their time and effort.
The stipend from a fellowship cannot be used as a substitute for salary for an academic appointment.
On the Berkeley campus, graduate students may be appointed to the following academic titles without special exception, assuming eligibility requirements are met: Graduate Student Researcher (GSR), Graduate Student Instructor (GSI), Reader, and Tutor. Appointment as Acting Instructor-Graduate Student (AI-GS) is exceptional, and requires advance approval by both the Graduate Division and the Committee on Courses of Instruction (COCI) of the Academic Senate.
Academic Student Employees (ASE) with the titles GSI, AI-GS, Reader, and Tutor are covered by a collective bargaining agreement between the University and the United Auto Workers.
GSRs are not covered by collective bargaining agreements.
Graduate students may be hired in staff titles in accordance with Staff Personnel regulations. They are limited to 50% time employment.
UC career employees who have become graduate students may maintain their career positions at up to 100% time. If a career employee accepts a student academic appointment or fellowship, they become subject to UCB’s restrictions governing appointments and fellowships, including limits on employment time.
UC career employees who become graduate students may also be eligible for the Reduced Fee Enrollment Program. Questions about this program should be directed to the Employee Relations Unit of Berkeley HR.
New students entering in the fall semester may begin GSR appointments on July 1 if they have submitted a Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) on or before that date, and if they are enrolled as a non-degree student in Summer Sessions. All requirements for employment and all academic eligibility rules apply.
With the exception of International students, new students entering in the spring semester may begin on December 1 if they have submitted the SIR on or before that date and if they are enrolled in units for spring semester.
Graduate student academic appointments are normally reserved for UCB students. Certain non-UCB students may be hired if the department has been unsuccessful in recruiting a qualified Berkeley graduate student, or if the visiting student is unusually qualified for the appointment.
Only visiting students who are 1) registered and enrolled at another UC campus, 2) taking part in the UC Intercampus Exchange, or 3) participating in the Exchange Scholar Program are eligible for an appointment. Hastings College of the Law students may not be appointed as GSIs or GSRs.
To hold a fall semester appointment at UCB, a student must be registered and enrolled in the fall term on the other UC campus.
To hold a spring semester appointment at UCB, a student must register and enroll in both the winter and spring quarters or in the spring semester on the other UC campus.
A graduate student registered on any campus of the University of California may go to another campus of the University as an Intercampus Exchange Graduate Student with the approval of:
This privilege is available to graduate students who would like to associate with scholars or fields of study not available on the home campus, or who seek the use of special facilities and collections.
Download and submit the UC Intercampus Exchange Program Application (PDF) or visit the Graduate Degrees Office.
The Exchange Scholar Program enables a graduate student enrolled in a doctoral program at one of the participating institutions to study at Berkeley for up to one year.
Current participating institutions are: Brown, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, MIT, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale.
Exchange Scholar Program students may hold graduate student academic appointments on the Berkeley campus and may be eligible for Health Insurance remission with a qualifying appointment.
Download and submit the Exchange Scholar Application or visit the Graduate Degrees Office.
EAP Reciprocal Exchange students attend a UC campus for up to one academic year on a no-fee-exchange, non-degree basis. EAP Reciprocal Exchange students are not eligible for GSI, AI-GS or GSR appointments.
They may, however, be appointed as Readers or Tutors.
Students admitted to UCB on Course-Work-Only (CWO) status (including through the Education Abroad Program) may not be appointed as GSIs, GSRs or as AI-GS. Such students may be appointed as Readers and Tutors.
Undergraduate students cannot be appointed as GSRs. Undergraduate students may be appointed as Readers and Tutors.
Undergraduate students may be appointed as Undergraduate Student Instructors (UGSIs) by exception only. Exceptions may be approved if a department is not able to recruit any qualified graduate students (including graduate students in other departments) or hire a lecturer to fill an essential GSI position.
Undergraduates may be appointed as UGSIs by exception, if a department is unable to recruit a qualified graduate student to fill an essential GSI position. Authority for approving UGSI appointment requests lies with the relevant Dean of the student’s own College, even if the hiring unit differs from the college where the student is enrolled.
All undergraduates who are to be appointed as UGSIs must meet the following requirements:
Like graduate student GSI appointees, undergraduate appointees who do not speak English as a native language must satisfy the English Language Proficiency requirement before they can teach. They must also pass the online course on Professional Standards and Ethics in their first semester of teaching.
Hiring units may impose additional or higher requirements for eligibility for consideration to serve as a GSI while an undergraduate (e.g. a limit on Incomplete grades, higher GPA or higher grade received in the course in which they will serve).
All departments have a responsibility to provide on-going mentoring and oversight for undergraduates who teach in their units. During the semester in which they are teaching, undergraduate GSIs must be enrolled in a 300-level course or the equivalent, for purposes of training. If the GSIship is their first appointment, students must also attend 1) the New ASE Orientation, 2) the Teaching Conference for first-time GSIs, and 3) complete the online course on Professional Standards and Ethics.
Hiring units must submit a petition to the cognizant College Dean, indicating the appointment percentage, that the student meets all eligibility requirements, has completed or will complete the Professional Standards and Ethics online training, will attend the ASE orientation and the Teaching Conference for first-time GSIs (if they have not already done so), has fulfilled the English language proficiency requirement (if applicable), and will be enrolled in a 300-level pedagogy course during the semester in which they are teaching (if they have not already successfully completed a pedagogy course that meets campus and departmental requirements).
Petitions should be submitted no later than one month before the start of classes, so that there is sufficient time for the Dean to review the request, for the undergraduate to be onboarded via CSS HR, and for the undergraduate to complete the necessary online training and register for the Teaching Conference and a pedagogy course.
The procedures for appointing a UGSI follow those established for all other ASE positions. Each student appointed as a GSI, AI-GS, Tutor, or Reader must receive from the hiring unit a written notice of appointment (which can be via email) and supplemental documentation as specified in Article Two of the contract between the University and the UAW. Departments must not issue Letters of Appointment until necessary exceptions and other approvals are obtained. Hiring is not final until 1) a formal written offer is made by authorized departmental staff and 2) the ASE accepts the offer in writing.
Departments are required to notify all ASEs of expectations and workload requirements at the beginning of the semester, and of any substantial changes that might occur during the semester in accordance with the UC–UAW agreement. Course assignments may be changed if enrollments are significantly higher or lower than expected. This notification may be by letter or electronic mail. Any such changes must be in accordance with Article Three of the UC-UAW Contract.For further information on ASE appointment procedures, see the Graduate Division’s handbook on Graduate Student Academic Appointments.
Fee remissions are a benefit derived from a graduate student’s eligible academic appointment to offset either a portion or all of a student’s assessed fees. Fee remissions are fee specific and may only be used to offset specific assessed fees in a student’s CalCentral account. In addition to fulfilling the academic requirements for each academic title, student appointments must meet established criteria to be eligible for fee remissions.
Fee remissions are a benefit of employment and like all other benefits of employment, fee remissions are paid by the same source that pays a student’s salary. The Payroll Office is responsible for the collection of fee remissions and uses the chart string provided by the hiring unit for payment of the student’s salary to pay the student’s fee remission.
Students who have Graduate Student Research Assistant (GSRA) appointments at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) must remain at LBNL for the entire semester to be eligible for the fee and SHIP remission. If the appointment is terminated before the end of the semester, the remissions will be canceled and the student will be required to repay the entire LBNL remission which will be assessed in CalCentral. If the student then begins a GSR appointment on campus at any point after the first day of the semester, that appointment will not be for the entire semester and may not meet the criteria to qualify for the remissions.
Occasionally, students receive more than one type of award that is intended to pay fees or fees and tuition for a particular semester. Fee remissions for students with eligible appointments will generally take precedence over concurrent fellowship, departmental awards, and loans. If more than one type of award appears as a credit against fees or tuition in a student’s CalCentral account, a system-wide set of established rules governs which award is used to pay the assessments. The sequence in which CalCentral is programmed to accept award credits to offset fees and tuition is generally as follows. Please contact Billing and Payment Services for more information on the CalCentral priorities:
1. Outside agency awards (including third-party contract agreements)
2. LBNL remissions from GSRA appointments
3. Fee and tuition remissions from UCB campus appointments
4. Program awards made through Campus Solutions
5. Fellowship awards
6. Student Loans
7. Student payments
A student may lose eligibility during the course of the semester: for example, due to an early withdrawal, or because the appointment is cancelled or modified so that it no longer meets the criteria for remissions. In these cases, the student will be billed in CalCentral for the entire remission amount and must repay those fees.
Graduate students who are registered and enrolled at other UC campuses and hold eligible appointments at Berkeley are also eligible for remissions.
Appointments of eligible Berkeley students automatically generate the appropriate fee remissions as outlined above. However, there is no automatic system for creating fee remissions and transferring it to the appropriate UC campus. Berkeley hiring units must request an inter-campus transfer of remissions via a financial journal. Please contact the Appointments Office for more information.
The Graduate Council Policy on Appointments and Mentoring of GSIs describes the responsibilities of GSIs, faculty, and departments in ensuring that GSIs are prepared for teaching.
All first-time GSIs are required to attend the Teaching Conference for GSIs on the Friday before classes begin; complete the online course on Professional Standards and Ethics before the end of the third week of teaching; and enroll in a semester-long, 300-level course on teaching in the discipline either prior to or concurrent with the first teaching assignment.
Faculty members who teach with GSIs are required to meet with them at the outset of the semester to clarify responsibilities and expectations and to review the course syllabus. Faculty are also required to meet regularly with their GSIs throughout the semester to discuss course logistics and pedagogy and conduct classroom observations of first-time GSIs.
Programs are required to offer a 300-level course on teaching in the discipline. COCI reserves the course number 375 to designate these required introductory pedagogy courses. Guidelines to ensure the course fulfills the requirement are included in the Graduate Council Policy. Suggested procedures for conducting classroom observations, materials for faculty on guiding the work of GSIs, and resources for developing a 300-level course on teaching can be found on the GSI Teaching and Resource Center website. Programs may contact the GSI Teaching and Resource Center if they need assistance in developing their 300-level seminar on teaching.
Programs should review end-of-semester evaluations of GSIs by their students and, in those cases where improvement is needed, outline the steps a GSI should take to improve.
Programs should provide all GSIs and faculty who are teaching with GSIs a copy of the Graduate Council Policy or the document’s URL each semester.
Summer and University Extension teaching appointments are not included as semesters of teaching for the purposes of determining the step at which a student should be appointed in the GSI series, nor for computing maximum teaching limits for graduate students, as per systemwide policy: see APM 410-17 and the Appointments Handbook for details.
Graduate students may be appointed up to 100 percent time during the summer, winter, and spring breaks.
During the summer break, appointments at greater than 50 percent may begin on the day following the last day of the spring semester, but must end no later than the day prior to the first day of the fall semester. Continuing students who hold summer academic appointments must either have been registered for the previous spring semester and have not completed their degree, or be registered for the following fall semester. Students who have withdrawn in spring must be readmitted and register for fall before they can hold a summer appointment. Registration in Summer Session classes is not required to hold an appointment. Summer session registration does not preclude appointing students at greater than 50 percent during the summer.
Appointments greater than 50 percent during the winter break may begin on the day following the last day of the fall semester, but must end not later than the day prior to the first day of the spring semester.
GSRs: Information regarding discipline and termination of GSRs can be found in the Academic Personnel Manual Section APM 150.
ASEs: Information regarding discipline and dismissal of ASEs – GSIs, AI-GSs, Readers, and Tutors – can be found in UC-UAW contract.
Academic Senate – The Academic Senate at Berkeley is engaged in the planning and allocation of faculty and capital expenditures. Some of the issues that concern the Senate include setting curricular policies and priorities, advocating for its membership on issues of compensation and academic freedom, setting admission standards, and defending rigorous standards of scholarship for its members and for the students at Berkeley.
Academic Standing – Students are normally in good academic standing if they are making adequate progress toward the completion of degree requirements; have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.0; and do not have an excessive number of incomplete grades on their records.
Advancement to Candidacy – Students in master’s degree programs apply for advancement to candidacy after they have completed half the unit requirements for their degrees. They indicate on the advancement form whether they plan to complete Plan I (20 units and a thesis) or Plan II (24 units and a comprehensive exam). They must submit their formal application no later than the end of the fifth week of classes of the semester in which they expect to receive the degree. Doctoral students are eligible for advancement to candidacy after they have completed the language requirements for their major and have passed the Qualifying Examination.
Appointments – Graduate Appointments on the Berkeley campus are assigned the following titles: Graduate Student Instructor (GSI), Graduate Student Researcher (GSR), Reader, and Tutor. Other academic titles traditionally held by graduate students, such as Nursery School Assistant and Community Teaching Fellow, are not currently in use at Berkeley.
Comprehensive Exam for the Master’s Degree – Programs decide the content and format of the comprehensive exam required for master’s students under Plan II. The examining committee should be composed of at least two (and preferably three) regular faculty members to conduct the exam, which should cover the knowledge and skills reasonably expected of a master’s degree recipient in the field. The exam may be written, oral, or a combination of the two. Academic Senate regulations require that a student be advanced to candidacy before taking the exam.
Concurrent Program – A concurrent program is the combination of two master’s degree programs, normally on the same campus, in which a limited number of units may be used in common to reduce the time needed to earn both degrees.
Department – A department is an administrative unit with space and resources. A department also includes budgeted faculty members who offer instruction in a titled, specialized discipline, normally affiliated with a school or college. At the graduate level, programs of study lead to the M.A., M.S., and professional master’s degrees, and doctoral degrees.
Designated Emphasis – A designated emphasis is a specialization, such as a new method of inquiry or an important field of application, which is relevant to two or more existing doctoral degree programs. Faculty members who wish to offer a designated emphasis must form a Graduate Group to administer the program. Approval by the Graduate Council is required.
Dissertation – Doctoral candidates are required to complete an extensive, original work based on independent research. The dissertation must be approved by a doctoral committee and be filed with the Graduate Division.
Doctoral Committee – The Doctoral Committee facilitates the student’s exams, guides the research and writing, and administers the doctoral defense (if required). The Doctoral Committee typically must be made up of three tenure-track faculty members from within the student’s department, and must include an Academic Senate member from outside the department.
Doctoral Degree – A doctoral degree is awarded in recognition of a student’s knowledge of a broad field of learning and for distinguished accomplishment in that field through an original contribution of significant knowledge and ideas. To be eligible to receive the doctoral degree, the student must complete a minimum of two years of academic residence, pass a Qualifying Examination administered by a committee approved by the Administrative Committee of the Graduate Council, and submit an approved dissertation completed under the guidance of Berkeley faculty members. The dissertation must reveal high critical ability and powers of imagination and synthesis.
Filing Fee – The Filing Fee is a reduced fee (one-half of the University Registration fee) for doctoral students who have completed all requirements for the degree except for filing the dissertation (Plans A and B) and presenting the Final Defense (Plan A). It is also available to Master’s students with no requirements remaining except for filing the thesis (Plan I) or taking the final comprehensive examination (Plan II). The Filing Fee is not a form of registration nor equivalent to registration. If students wish to use University services that are supported by registration fees, they must pay those fees. Filing Fee is available for the fall and spring semesters only.
Graduate Adviser – Graduate Advisers are nominated by Program Chairs and appointed by the Dean of the Graduate Division, who acts on behalf of the Graduate Council. They provide guidance for entering and continuing students concerning the various steps necessary to complete in order to earn their degrees or certificates. Graduate Advisers may sign petitions to add or drop courses (See Head Graduate Adviser).
Graduate Council – The Graduate Council is a committee of the Academic Senate. Composed of 12 faculty members and three graduate students, the Council is responsible for all academic matters related to graduate education on campus. The Dean of the Graduate Division works closely with the Council in developing new policies and procedures related to graduate education. One of the major duties of the Council is to conduct periodic reviews of all graduate programs to make sure they are functioning at the highest possible level, and to plan for the future.
Graduate Division – The Graduate Division serves as the administrative arm of the Graduate Council by overseeing graduate students’ progress from admission to completion of their degree programs. The Graduate Division offers student services and outreach to guide students through the various steps required for the degree.
Graduate Group – A Graduate Group is an interdisciplinary academic unit, composed of a core faculty from two or more existing departments, that offers a degree in a new method of inquiry or field of study that has been approved by the Graduate Council, the Academic Senate, and systemwide counterparts. The Graduate Group is also the academic unit that administers an interdisciplinary designated emphasis approved by the Graduate Council. As a Graduate Group has no funding or administrative support of its own, an established department is designated to host the Graduate Group and the Group is under the direction of the Dean of the Graduate Division. Three Graduate Groups have a small number of designated faculty FTE and are therefore termed “augmented graduate groups”: ERG is an affiliate of the College of Natural Resources, Neuroscience is hosted by the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, which reports to the Vice Chancellor for Research, and Computational Biology is hosted by the Center for Computational Biology, which is affiliated with the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society.
Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) – The term Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) is synonymous with Teaching Assistant (TA). A GSI must have fulfilled the necessary academic, spoken English language proficiency, and registration and enrollment requirements for appointment. Chosen for excellent scholarship and promise as a teacher, a GSI serves as an apprentice under the active supervision of the instructor in charge of the course. An appointment as a GSI is for one academic year or less. GSI appointments may not exceed half time.
Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) – The term Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) is synonymous with Research Assistant (RA). A GSR is a graduate student at Berkeley who is engaged in research projects related to his or her dissertation under faculty supervision. There are no specific eligibility requirements regarding level of skills or previous experience, which permits departments and organized research units to make GSR appointments at levels appropriate to resources and recruitment needs.
Head Graduate Adviser – The Head Graduate Adviser of an academic unit has a more comprehensive role than graduate advisers. Only the Head Graduate Adviser can sign documents or make requests to the Graduate Division regarding graduate enrollment, degrees, academic progress, and financial aid.
Joint Degree – A joint degree is generally a doctoral degree program offered by two campuses (UC campuses or UC and another institution). A minimum of one-year academic residency (fee payment and enrollment in a minimum of 4 units) is required at each campus. Faculty, courses, and resources are shared in order to offer a broader-based program. Examination and dissertation committees must be composed of appropriate representatives from each campus.
Major Adviser – Also called Dissertation Adviser, a Major Adviser is usually chosen by the student in consultation with the Head Graduate Adviser. The Major Adviser guides a student’s thesis or dissertation research and writing.
Master of Arts – The Master of Arts (M.A.) degree is awarded to students who have satisfied requirements for their graduate program of study by either passing a final exam or submitting an approved thesis completed under the guidance of Berkeley faculty members. The M.A. ranks above a Bachelor of Arts degree but below a doctoral degree.
Normative Time – Normative time is the elapsed time, calculated to the nearest semester, in which students would need to complete all requirements for the doctorate, assuming that they are engaged in full-time study and making adequate progress toward their degrees. Normative times for doctoral programs have been recommended by department faculty and approved by the Graduate Council and the UC Coordinating Committee on Graduate Affairs. Normative time has two components: 1) time from the beginning of the student’s graduate work to advancement to doctoral candidacy (NTA); and 2) time in candidacy until the dissertation is filed (NTIC). Most departments at Berkeley have total normative times of five to six years (10 to 12 semesters).
Probation – Students who are not in good academic standing are considered to be on academic probation or subject to dismissal. Students may also be placed on probation for not meeting departmental requirements or expectations. Probation is intended to provide students whose performance is less than satisfactory with a period of time in which to correct the deficiencies and to raise their performance to a level consistent with the minimum standards set by the Graduate Division. Students on probationary status may register, but they may not hold academic appointments, receive graduate fellowships, or be awarded advanced degrees.
Professional School – A professional school is a separate unit offering professional graduate degrees. The curriculum for professional degrees focuses on preparing students for careers in the practice of the profession as opposed to academic degrees, which are awarded for completion of scholarly or theoretical research. However, some professional schools also offer academic degrees.
Program – A program is a sequence of course work and supervised study leading to a degree, normally within a department of instruction or administered by a Graduate Group. The term is used synonymously with field or subfield and also to refer to a subspecialty in which undergraduates or graduates may concentrate their study.
Qualifying Examination – The Qualifying Examination is an oral examination for doctoral candidates and is conducted by four or five faculty members (this varies by major). Students, in consultation with the Head Graduate Adviser, select the three subject areas for the exam as well as the committee members. The exam is usually between two and three hours in length. The purpose of the exam is to ascertain the breadth of a student’s knowledge and preparation. Faculty examiners will judge whether students have the ability to think incisively and critically about both the theoretical and the practical aspects of their major. Some programs expect students to present a topic for the dissertation as part of the Qualifying Exam (although the exam must not be limited to such a topic). Others do not. In those programs that do, students may be expected to have in mind one or two areas from which the dissertation might be developed and to answer questions on its potential significance and possible design. In either case, the examiners should satisfy themselves, by unanimous vote, that students have mastered their subject areas and can, in all likelihood, design and produce acceptable dissertations.
Reader – Readers primarily perform duties related to the grading of papers and exams. They may not perform teaching duties assigned to other academic titles.
Thesis – Students completing a Plan I master’s degree are expected to write a report, referred to as a thesis, on the results of an original investigation, in conjunction with the Thesis Committee. Length and style of the thesis vary by department. All theses are filed with the Graduate Division.
Thesis Committee – The Thesis Committee, selected by the student in conjunction with the Head Graduate Adviser, guides the research and writing of the master’s thesis. The committee is made up of three faculty members, at least two of whom must be from the student’s home department. Typically, the committee chair is the student’s research adviser.
Tutor – A tutor provides training to individuals or small groups of students who require additional teaching help. Tutors at Berkeley work under the direct supervision of a faculty member holding an appropriate instructional title.
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