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Frequently Asked Questions: Degrees

Filing Fee

Q: What is Filing Fee and who is eligible?
Filing Fee status is in lieu of registration to either file your dissertation or thesis, or take a comprehensive exam. Filing Fee puts you on withdrawal status, which means you are not allowed to use University facilities, and student loans may become due. Health insurance and library privileges must be purchased separately. The amount of the Filing Fee is one-half of the University Registration Fee portion of the fees you pay when you register. For spring 2006, the amount of the University Registration Fee is $367.50. Check the Office of the Registrar website for the fee schedule for the current amount. Once the Filing Fee is approved, you will be billed on the CARS billing system. You can also pay at the Cashier's office (140 University Hall) once the Filing Fee charge is assessed.

Q: What is the deadline to apply for Filing Fee, how long does Filing Fee extend, and what do I do if my Filing Fee expired and I didn't submit my thesis/dissertation?
The deadline to apply is the last day of the first week of instruction for the semester you wish to file.

The Filing Fee period lasts until the last day of the semester.

If you do not file within your Filing Fee period, you will need to readmit and pay registration fees to submit your thesis/dissertation. Filing Fee can only be used once.

Q: Can I take a few classes while I am on Filing Fee or after I receive my degree?
You are not allowed to take courses while on Filing Fee or after completion of your degree.

Q: If I am on Filing Fee status and hold an academic appointment, am I eligible for fee remissions?
To be eligible for fee remissions, you must be registered and enrolled. Filing Fee status therefore makes you ineligible to receive fee remissions or hold an academic appointment for which registration and enrollment is required.


Q: How do I withdraw from the university?
You should contact the Graduate Student Affairs Officer (GSAO) in your academic department. International students on an F or J visa should first consult with SISS.

Q: If I have registered for the semester, and have paid all or a partial part of the fees, how early or how late should I submit my petition for withdrawal?
If you decide to withdraw, you should inform your academic department as soon as possible, particularly if you have registered and paid fees. In order to receive a 100% refund, you will need to withdraw before the first day of classes. Otherwise, your withdrawal will be effective on the date that it is received and processed. The Schedule of Classes lists the percentage of refund that you may expect, depending on the date that you withdraw.

Q: Do I need to withdraw for each semester that I plan to be away?
No, you do not need to withdraw for every continuous semester that you plan on being away. Once you withdraw, you will remain on withdrawal status until you readmit.


Q: What is the deadline to readmit?
The deadline to apply for readmission is April 15 for the fall semester and August 15 for the spring semester. You must submit a fee along with your application for readmission. Current fees are listed on the application form. See below for further information regarding the form.

Q: I was admitted to UC Berkeley a few years ago, but I did not register. Do I submit an application for readmission or an application for admission?
You would have to apply for admission. Readmission applies only to graduate students who have actually registered and paid fees at Berkeley.

Q: I obtained my graduate degree from Berkeley and would like to return and obtain another degree. Which form should I complete?
You must complete both the Application for Readmission and the Petition for Change of Major/Degree Goal, available at the Degrees Office, 302 Sproul, or online at the Registrar's Web site.

Q: I was on Filing Fee status last semester and was not able to finish my thesis/dissertation. Must I readmit to file it now?
As in the case of students not registered for the previous semester, you must apply for readmission if you plan to file your thesis or dissertation.

Qualifying Exam and Dissertation Committee Membership

Q: What is the standard membership of a Qualifying Examination?
Check with your department to see if it requires four or five members. A Qualifying Examination Committee would usually include: the chair, first inside member, second inside member, and an outside member. A five-member committee would include an additional inside member. The chair of a Qualifying Examination Committee cannot also serve as the chair of the Dissertation Committee. All committee members should be members of the Berkeley Academic Senate.

Q: What is the standard membership of a Dissertation Committee?
There are usually three members: the chair, first or only inside member, and an outside member. A second or additional inside member may be added but is not required. All committee members should be members of the Berkeley Academic Senate.

Q: What is the standard membership of a Thesis Committee?
There are three members: the chair, first inside member, and an outside member. An outside member is preferred, but not required. The third member may be a second inside member. All should be members of the Berkeley Academic Senate.

Q: What is the "outside" member of a committee?
The official "outside" member of a committee represents the Dean and must be a member of the Berkeley Academic Senate (preferred titles: professor, associate professor, or assistant professor) who is not in the student's major. No exceptions will be made. The outside member cannot also serve as chair, co-chair, or inside member of the same committee.

Q: Can a person outside of UC Berkeley be on my committee?
With the Dean's approval, non-UC Berkeley faculty may serve as a second or additional inside member of a master's Thesis Committee, Qualifying Examination Committee, or Dissertation Committee. For this non-UCB member to be approved, an additional inside member from within your department must be included. The Head Graduate Adviser in your department should make this request through a memo addressed to Associate Dean Joseph J. Duggan, and a vitae of that person should be submitted with the application for the exam, advancement to candidacy, or change of committee form. Send requests and applications to the Graduate Degrees Office, 302 Sproul Hall. If that person has been approved for another committee previously, a memo and vita may not be needed. The Graduate Degrees Office should be contacted should verification of a person's prior approval be required.

Q: If a committee member leaves UC Berkeley, can that person still serve on my committee?
Normally, when a dissertation chair leaves Berkeley, a faculty member on campus should be appointed as co-chair. This person may or may not be the second reader as well. If an inside, outside, or second inside member leaves Berkeley, that individual must be replaced by a faculty member at Berkeley.


Q: I have not received my diploma. Where do I pick it up?
About four months after your degree is conferred, you may obtain your diploma in person at the Office of the Registrar, 120 Sproul Hall. Fall degrees are conferred in December; spring degrees are conferred in May. You may also request to have your diploma mailed to you. For more information, see the Registrar's Web site.

Exchange Programs

Q: What are the exchange programs and which universities participate?
There are a number of different programs. The Intercampus Exchange Program is available to all eligible graduate students registered at any of the UC campuses. The Exchange Scholar Program is designed for doctoral students and participating universities include Berkeley, Brown, Chicago, Cornell, Harvard, MIT, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale. Also available are the Stanford-Berkeley Exchange Program and the Cross Registration Program, which includes Dominican, Graduate Theological Union, Hayward, Holy Names, Mills College, San Francisco State, Sonoma State, and St. Mary's College.

Q: Who is eligible for these programs?
Intercampus Exchange Program: If you are a graduate student registered on any UC campus with a 3.0 GPA, you may visit another of the UC campuses as an Intercampus Exchange Graduate Student, with the approval of your department adviser, the Dean of the Graduate Division on your home campus, the chair of the department from the host campus, and the Dean of the Graduate Division on the host campus.

Exchange Scholar Program: With the approval of your department and the Graduate Division, you may register for the Exchange Scholar Program if you are a Ph.D. student and have completed at least one year in a graduate degree program at your home institution and have maintained a 3.0 GPA. You may take courses or conduct research at the host institution for no more than one year as an Exchange Scholar.

Stanford-Berkeley Exchange Program: With the approval of your department, the Dean of Graduate Division, and the Office of the Registrar, you may apply for the Stanford-Berkeley Exchange Program if you have maintained a 3.0 GPA and have completed at least one year of graduate study in a doctoral program or at least one semester for a master's program. If you apply for this program, you must enroll in at least one course at Berkeley.

Cross Registration Program: Sophomore, junior, senior or graduate students are eligible for this program. Graduate students require the approval of your department and the Dean of the Graduate Division. You must have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA and have completed at least one year of study. You may enroll for only one course at the host campus.

Q: Will I pay fees at the host campus?
Fees are paid as follows:

Intercampus Exchange Program: You will register and pay fees on your home campus and receive full student privileges at the host campus.

Stanford-Berkeley Exchange Program: You will register and pay fees at Berkeley. You will be entitled to library and parking privileges at Stanford.

Exchange Scholar Program: You will pay fees at your home campus. However, you also must pay health fees (or qualify for a waiver) at the host campus. You will be entitled to full student privileges.

Cross Registration Program: You will register and pay fees at your home campus. You will not be entitled to full privileges, only library services.

Q: How can I obtain an application, and when should I submit it?
Applications for these programs are available at the Graduate Degrees Office, 302 Sproul Hall. They should be submitted at least three weeks before the beginning of the term at the host campus. Please plan your course of study carefully when applying to an institution on the quarter system.

Q: What about study abroad?
Eligible graduate students may apply to most of the study centers under the University-wide Education Abroad Program. You must have completed at least one year in residence at Berkeley, demonstrate language proficiency when required, and have the approval of your department or program and the Graduate Division. For more information, contact Berkeley Programs for Study Abroad, 150 Stephens Hall, (510) 642-1356.


Q: What is Normative Time?
"Normative Time" refers to the amount of time it takes ideally for a student in a particular discipline to complete a doctoral degree. The normative time for every doctoral program, (as listed in the General Catalog), was established several years ago in consultation with departments. Your normative time clock begins when you enter graduate school at Berkeley regardless of your program.

Q: Will I be covered by the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) while I'm on Filing Fee or withdrawal status?
U.S. citizens and permanent residents on Filing Fee or withdrawal status may buy SHIP coverage directly from University Health Services in one-semester increments. You also may buy health insurance for your children, spouse, or domestic partner through the Dependent Health Insurance Plan (DHIP), also available from University Health Services. Call (510) 642-5700 or email for more information.

International students on student visas must be covered by health insurance whether or not they are registered. The families of international students are eligible to purchase DHIP through University Health Services.

Q: Where can I get help with writing my dissertation?
Most students find writing a dissertation to be a difficult and time-consuming challenge unlike anything they have encountered in their education so far. You are not alone if you feel bewildered by the task ahead. We recommend the following:

Find out what a prospectus and dissertation look like for your discipline. Ask your Graduate Student Affairs Officer (GSAO) for copies submitted by former students. If none is available in your department, you can find copies of all dissertations filed by Berkeley students at the Main Library or at branch libraries. Consult the Thesis Catalog on the second floor of the Main Library, or use OskiCat, Berkeley's online library catalog.

Dissertations are also available at Current Research @ UC Berkeley, which is part of University Microfilms International's (UMI) ProQuest Digital Dissertations, a digital library of dissertations submitted to UMI for publication. This collection can be accessed online. Instructions from the library on finding UC Berkeley's dissertations can be found online (http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Edis.html). You may also search citations and abstracts of dissertations submitted by UC Berkeley and published in UMI's Dissertation Abstracts database; view 24-page previews of dissertations published after 1996; and download the full text of dissertations and theses published after 1996. The downloaded copies are free to authorized users of this institution. Use the UC Berkeley Dissertations in Progress database to locate (and possibly work with) other students working on similar topics in other disciplines and schools across campus. The database contains abstracts of dissertations planned or being written by UC Berkeley students in the humanities, social sciences, and professional schools. Access is limited to students who have submitted an abstract of their own project.

Watch for dissertation writing workshops that are sponsored each year by the Graduate Division. We try to offer at least one series of workshops each semester.

Q: How long do I have to complete my doctoral degree?
Your time-in-candidacy is limited. As a general rule, your entire graduate career should be no longer than the normative time for your discipline plus one year of approved withdrawal. A list of normative times for all graduate programs is included in the General Catalog.

Q: What happens if I do not complete my degree during the allotted time?
Your candidacy will lapse if you do not complete the requirements for your degree within the normative time for your discipline, plus a two-year grace period. Your department may request that the Graduate Division give you a one-year extension if you are making satisfactory progress on your dissertation. Two years after lapsing, your candidacy may be terminated.

Q: What should I know about filing my dissertation with the Graduate Division?
Dissertations must be submitted in acceptable format. You should consult the Dissertation Filing Guide, which describes the requirements for preparing the final version of your dissertation or thesis.


Last Updated: October 2, 2011 5:00 PM