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Admission Requirements

Admission Criteria

Berkeley offers admission to applicants who appear to have the highest potential for graduate study and who, with the benefit of a graduate education, are the most likely to contribute substantially to their academic or professional fields through teaching, research, or professional practice.

The minimum graduate admission requirements are: (1) a bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution; (2) a satisfactory scholastic average, usually a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale; and (3) enough undergraduate training to do graduate work in your chosen field. Satisfying minimal standards, however, does not guarantee your admission, since the number of qualified applicants far exceeds the number of places available. As a result, many well-qualified applicants cannot be accommodated.

Admission decisions are based on departmental review, using a combination of factors, including academic degrees and records, the statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, test scores, and relevant work experience. Berkeley also considers the appropriateness of your goals to the degree program in which you are interested and to the research interests of the program’s faculty. In addition, consideration may be given as to how your background and life experience would contribute significantly to an educationally beneficial mix of students

Many departments and groups have additional requirements, including the GRE, TOEFL score minimums, GPA minimums, and the number of official academic records that must be submitted. Please check the information provided by the department for additional requirements.

Minimum Degree Requirements and Required Records of Academic Work

Domestic Applicants

You must hold or expect to hold prior to the beginning of classes a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. school accredited by one of the AACRAO regional accrediting agencies.

Required Records: Upload unofficial transcripts with the application for the departmental initial review. Official transcripts of all college-level work will be required if admitted. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) you have attended. Request a current transcript from every post-secondary school that you have attended, including community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs.

If you have attended Berkeley, upload unofficial transcript with the application for the departmental initial review. Official transcript with evidence of degree conferral will not be required if admitted.

International Applicants

Graduates of recognized academic institutions outside the United States should hold a degree equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree. Equivalency is determined by International evaluators in the Graduate Admissions Office.

Required Records: Upload unofficial transcripts with the application for the departmental initial review. Official transcripts or academic records for all university-level studies you have completed, at U.S. institutions and abroad will be required if admitted. If your academic records do not include official evidence of the award of your degree, you must also submit additional documents that verify the degree conferral. For information about the documents required for an initial review of your application, contact the department or program to which you are applying.

Academic records should be issued in the original language and accompanied by English translations if required (usually prepared by your university or government agency, unless the institution issues original documents in English). In general, records or transcripts must be issued by the school and include the school’s stamp or embossed seal and the signature of the authorizing official. For more detailed information on acceptable documents, please contact your prospective department or Graduate Admissions.

English translations are required for all languages except Spanish; degree names and grades should be transliterated, not converted into English words or the U.S. grades of A-F. If you must obtain a translation while in the United States, we will only accept versions prepared by certified members of the American Translators Association.

Evidence of English Language Proficiency

All applicants from countries in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This requirement applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East,  Israel, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and non-English-speaking countries in Africa.

If you have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better in residence at a recognized U.S. institution, you do not need to take a standardized test. Instead, you must upload an unofficial transcript from the recognized U.S. institution.

To qualify for a TOEFL exemption you must:

* Regionally accredited college or university means an institution of higher education accredited by one of the following regional accreditation associations in the United States:

  1. Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  2. New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  3. North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  4. Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges
  5. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  6. Western Association of Schools and Colleges

There are two standardized tests you may take: the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

TOEFL is administered by the Educational Testing Service. You can obtain detailed information from the TOEFL website, or contact TOEFL Services, Educational Testing Service, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, NJ 08541-6151, (609) 771-7100. Copies of the TOEFL Bulletin are also available at U.S. educational commissions and foundations, binational centers, and private organizations such as the Institute of International Education (IIE).

We will only accept TOEFL tests administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and sent to us directly by the TOEFL office. Tests taken before June 1, 2012 will not be accepted even if your score was reported to Berkeley. The institution code for Berkeley is 4833.

For purposes of admission, your most recent score must be at least 570 for the paper-based test (PBT), or at least 68 for the Internet-based test (IBT). Please contact individual academic departments for more information, as they may choose to require a higher score.

The IBT emphasizes integrated skills so its format and scoring are different from the PBT version of the TOEFL. Please plan to take the TOEFL as soon as possible, regardless of the test’s format, to avoid delays in the review of your application.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

As an exception, you can submit scores from the Academic Modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), which is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP:IELTS Australia, and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations.

You are responsible for providing us with an official Test Report Form (TRF) of your IELTS. Remember to order the TRF when you register to take the test.

Tests taken before June 1, 2012 will not be accepted. Your most recent overall Band score must be at least 7 on a 9-point scale.

To register for the IELTS, consult the IELTS website to locate the office of the test center where you plan to take the test.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Most departments, schools, and groups require applicants to take a standardized test such as the GRE General Test, a GRE Subject Test, the GMAT or MCAT. Consult the department to which you are applying for the department's requirements. To send an official score to Berkeley, list the institution code assigned by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) for Berkeley, 4833. In addition, list the ETS code for the department to which you are applying. If more than one department code might be appropriate, check the department’s instructions on which code to use.

Dates and information may be obtained by contacting the Educational Testing Service (ETS) at the address below, by calling 1-800-GRE-CALL, or by consulting the GRE website.

Applications for the GRE can be obtained from the Educational Testing Service, Box 6000, Princeton, NJ 08541-6000, (609) 771-7670, or the GRE website.

Domestic candidates from families with extremely low incomes may qualify for a waiver of GRE test fees. Consult your undergraduate financial aid office to determine whether your institution participates in the GRE Fee Waiver Program and whether you qualify. Fee waivers are not available directly from the Educational Testing Service or from the Graduate Division.

Letters of Recommendation

At least three letters of recommendation are required. Applicants should check with their prospective department for questions regarding letters of recommendation. Be sure to inform your recommenders of the departments' deadline.

Your recommenders are asked to give their personal impressions of your intellectual ability, your aptitude in research or professional skills, your character, and the quality of your previous work and potential for future productive scholarship.

Applicants may waive the right to inspect their letters of recommendation on a voluntary basis. To waive access to your letters, complete the waiver section of the Letter of Recommendation.

The Graduate Division may verify the authenticity of academic letters of recommendation with the school or recommender.

Application Fee

You must submit an application fee when you apply. The application fee is not re­fundable. If you are a U.S. citizen or current permanent resident, the application fee is $80; for all others, the fee is $100.

Fee Waiver: U.S. citizens or permanent residents who can demonstrate financial need are eligible to apply for a waiver of the application fee. See guidelines for waivers.

Fee Exemption: some programs do not require the application fee payment. See Guidelines for Fee Exemption

Course Work Only Status

If you want to undertake graduate study without working for a higher degree, you may apply for course-work-only status. You must, however, meet the same admission requirements as degree candidates, have a definite scholarly or professional purpose in applying, and be admitted to a regularly established major field of study. There is no limited or unclassified status available to graduate students. Course work only students do not qualify for fellowship consideration or for academic appointment as a Graduate Student Instructor and can be accommodated only if a department is willing to include them in its enrollment target. Not all departments accept course work only students. Please check with your academic department before starting an application. There is a maximum of two semesters of study. Admission to course work only status precludes all future admission to any degree program at UC Berkeley.

Duplication of Doctoral Degree

Students who already hold a doctoral level degree are not admitted and duplication of degree or admission to a lesser degree is not permitted. However, in extraordinary circumstances, the faculty of the department may request an exception from the Dean of the Graduate Division. The department must demonstrate that the second degree field of study and program are distinctly different from that of the original degree, and that there is a professional or scholarly purpose that requires this second degree.

University Extension, Concurrent Enrollment

Concurrent courses are those taken through University Extension under the instruction of a regular member of the Berkeley faculty. Concurrent enrollment cannot replace normal registration by Berkeley graduate students, nor can it be used to accumulate credit toward a degree from Berkeley. 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 under specific conditions (see the Academic Senate website). Exceptions will be considered only upon the recommendation of a Graduate Adviser to the Dean of the Graduate Division and only when it is evident that a student was in graduate standing at an institution other than Berkeley when he or she undertook the course work.

Transfer of Credit from Other Institutions

You cannot transfer credit from other institutions if you are seeking a Ph.D. degree. Up to six quarter units or four semester units of credit for work you have taken elsewhere can be credited toward the master’s degree if (a) the work was taken in graduate status at an accredited institution, (b) it did not form part of a program for a degree previously awarded at Berkeley or elsewhere, and (c) the grade received was at least a “B” and the student’s overall GPA at both institutions was at least 3.3. Acceptance is subject to the approval of the Graduate Division upon recommendation of the department concerned. Transfer of credit will not reduce your academic residence requirements or the required minimum of 200-series courses in the major field.

Summer Sessions

To apply for admission to the Summer Sessions, visit the Summer Sessions website. Registration and fee payment may be completed online. Course work completed in a Summer Session immediately preceding the initial fall enrollment may apply toward a graduate program.

Last Updated: November 12, 2013 12:13 PM