Getting started at Berkeley

We know getting started at Berkeley can be exciting and overwhelming. Here is our list of a few things to get you started.

  1. Create your CalNet. After you accept your offer of admission, you will receive an email with your student ID number and instructions to create your CalNet ID, which will become the basis of your UC Berkeley online identity. You will use your CalNet ID to create your campus email, access campus web-based applications, and other services. Learn more about claiming your CalNet ID.

  2. Graduate Student Resources covers everything from submitting your final transcripts to parking and transportation at Berkeley. We recommend reviewing this prior to your arrival. 

  3. New Graduate Student Orientation (NGSO) is an additional orientation hosted in August by the Graduate Division. Save the date for August 15 – 17, virtual sessions will be hosted from 1:00 – 4:30 p.m. email day. NGSO is designed to supplement orientations held by your department, school, or program. We partner with offices and organizations all over campus to help orient you to ease your transition into graduate school. You’ll get introduced to campus services and opportunities to get involved, and connect you with graduate student communities. Learn more about NGSO. In addition to NGSO, new and continuing students are invited to Grad-stravaganza.

  4. Check your email. You should be receiving/have received communications with helpful information about resources and important things to take care of as you come onboard. If you missed these emails, we’ve added them below. 

  5. Find Housing! The Bay Area is an incredible (and competitive) place to live, but there are options:

    1. Graduate Student University Housing where graduate students get priority and are specifically configured for a graduate student lifestyle.
    2. Berkeley Student Cooperatives 
    3. Cal Rentals can help narrow your search.
    4. Here is comprehensive list of short and long-term housing-related services and resources.
    5. Housing Tips from Graduate Division
  6. Consider if you want to waive out of Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) for Fall . If so, complete the waiver by July 15. All waivers received between July 16 and the final waiver deadline, August 15, will be subject to a late fee of $75. 

  7. Get familiar with CalCentral where you can check academic progress, financial aid, and bCourses. CalCentral will also show any required onboarding tasks including the Nonimmigrant Information Form (NIF) for international students who need to obtain visas, trainings, and immunization requirements. Another important resource, Cal Student Central (different from CalCentral) is the place for key university business related to financial aid, fees and billing, payments, disbursements, registration, and enrollment.

  8. A few details about your finances. Connect with your Graduate Student Affairs Officer (GSAO) about funding opportunities and program-specific next steps and details. If you will receive fellowships, stipends, and financial aid – sign up for Direct Deposit. Get familiar with residency. Non-residents should/may be required to establish residency and receive the benefit of paying lower resident tuition. This process should be started as soon as you arrive.

  9. Make sure you’re vaccinated. Review the Mandatory Immunizations Program for all immunization requirements and deadlines including Covid-19.

  10. Do you plan on being a first-time GSI? Review the Requirements for First -Time GSIs, including enrolling in courses and attending the Fall GSI Teaching Conference on August 17 (for international GSIs) & 18 (all first-time GSIs).

Other important information for new students

Here are a few technical support details that might be helpful: