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D. Registration and Exchange Programs

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.

D1. Registration

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.

D1.1 Registration and Enrollment Requirements

The Office of the Registrar considers a student officially registered for the semester once the student:

  1. has enrolled in at least one course (note that complete enrollment for students not advanced to candidacy is a minimum of 12 units);
  2. has paid either full fees or at least 20 percent of assessed registration fees; and
  3. has no registration blocks.

Enrollment Requirements

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.

Registration and Fee Payment Deadlines

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.

Consequences of Failing to Register On Time

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).

D1.2 How Students Register


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.

Late Registration and Enrollment

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 Who Register and Enroll Late

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.

Adding and Dropping Classes

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.


Procedure to Add or Drop a Class After the Third Week of 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.
Procedure to Change the Class Schedule After the End Of the Semester
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.

D1.3 Registration Fees

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.

Summer Sessions Fees

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

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”).

Research or Coursework Definitions:

  • Must be directly related to the student’s degree program as evidenced by faculty approval.
  • Must involve only indirect supervision from UC faculty, limited to that appropriate to evaluating the student’s academic progress and performance during the in absentia period.
  • Must involve no significant studying or in-person collaboration with UC faculty, or use of campus resources, during the in absentia period.
  • Must be for at least one full academic term.

Doctoral students:

  • May only use in absentia registration for a maximum of four semesters.
  • Must normally be advanced to candidacy by the time in absentia begins.

Master’s and graduate professional (e.g., O.D., J.S.D., JD) students:

  • May only use in absentia for a maximum of two semesters.
  • Must have completed at least one year of coursework by the time in absentia begins.

Students may hold University fellowships and GSR appointments while registered in absentia, but may not hold GSI, Reader, or Tutor appointments.

International Students Planning on Registering In Absentia

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.

Reduced Nonresident Tuition

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.

D1.4 Establishing California Residency for Tuition Purposes

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.

D1.5 Registration and Health Coverage

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.

D1.6 Reinstatement as a Registered Student

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.

D1.7 Cancellation of Registration

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.

D1.8 Withdrawal

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.

Conditions of Withdrawal Status

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 (F and J status)

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.

Procedure to Withdraw From the University:

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.

Procedure for Retroactive 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.

D1.9 Readmission and Re-enrollment

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 registered in absentia have maintained registration and do not need to apply for re-enrollment.)

Students Requesting Re-enrollment After More Than Five Years

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 Requesting Admission to a Different Degree Program and/or Degree Goal

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.

Re-enrollment on Probationary Status

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.

Re-enrollment of Students in Lapsed Candidacy

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.

D2. Filing Fee

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.)

Duration of the Filing Fee

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.

Filing Fee status and International Students

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.

Health Insurance for Students on 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.

D3. Exchange Programs

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).

Transfer of Non-UC Credit

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.

University of California Intercampus Exchange Program for Graduate Students

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.

Stanford-California Exchange Program

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.

Exchange Scholar Program

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.

Cross-registration Programs with Local Institutions

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.

Graduate Theological Union (GTU) Reciprocity Program

Students registered at either UC Berkeley or GTU may take courses at the other institution, subject to appropriate academic approvals.

Study Abroad

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.