University of California in Berkeley

Research the University of California - Berkeley. Learn about its admission requirements, degree programs and financial aid to make an informed education decision

About the University of California - Berkeley

Commonly known as UC Berkeley, or simply as Cal, this well-known public research university is located on the east side of the San Francisco Bay and boasts a roughly 1,200-acre campus at the heart of Berkeley.

Founded in 1868 and long known for its social and economic engagement with the surrounding community, UC Berkeley is also among the top schools in the country, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition to being ranked #21 nationally at the undergraduate level, Cal is home to top-ranked chemistry (#1), engineering (#3), business (#7) and law (#7) schools, according to U.S. News & World Report's rankings for 2012.


UC Berkeley has 130 academic departments divided among 14 schools and colleges. Over 2,000 faculty members teach at UC Berkeley, and among them, eight are Nobel Prize winners in physics, economics or chemistry.

The College of Letters and Sciences is the largest of the schools, home to three fourths of the university's undergraduate body and 80 departmental majors, including anthropology, linguistics, biology and comparative literature.

Among Cal's schools, the Haas School of Business stands out as the nation's oldest business school at a public institution and the School of Public Health as the first of its kind located west of the Mississippi River. Likewise well-known is the College of Engineering, which consistently ranks among the country's top five schools for majors in civil, environmental, mechanical and computer engineering.

Berkeley has 18 specialty libraries in addition to the campus' three main libraries. Among their stand-out collections are a film archive with more than 10,000 films and the largest collection of Mark Twain items (writings, photos, letter, etc.) in existence.

In addition to its traditional campus-based offerings, the university runs UC Berkeley Extension, which offers campus-based and online continuing education courses and programs for adults. Among these programs are offerings in business, computer technology and IT, art and design, and accounting and human resources.


Prospective undergraduate students can start preparing their application on Berkeley's site in August and can submit their applications over the course of November. As part of the application, students must submit results for ACT with Writing or SAT Reasoning tests taken no later than December of the year when they're applying. Students considering Berkeley must choose a specific school/major to apply to.

With nearly 75,000 undergraduate applicants to choose from, UC Berkeley's resulting student body is quite diverse. The university accepts about 17% of applicants for a freshman class of around 5000-6000 students. About 75% of Berkeley's students are from California, roughly 13% are from out of state and 12% are international. The largest ethnic/racial groups are White (32%), Asian (44%), Hispanic (15%) and Black/African American (4%).

Tuition & Financial Aid

The cost of attending UC Berkeley varies per degree level and according to whether the student is a California resident. While undergraduate tuition for 201-2016 was $5,610 per semester, out-of-state undergrads paid an additional non-resident supplement fee of roughly $12,300 per semester (the graduate supplement ranges from $2,200-$20,000 per semester, depending on the school). Additional fees for all students include student services, campus and transit fees, which total about $1,200 per semester. Other factors in cost of attendance are a student's living arrangements during the school year (on-campus vs. off-campus) and whether they can stay on their parents' health insurance plan, which can save them another $3,800 a year.

Berkeley offers students and their families the option of paying tuition and fees at the beginning of each semester or over the course of five months with the Deferred Payment Plan (this service carries a $40 participation fee). While this school is not inexpensive, potential students should evaluate what their actual cost of attendance would be (i.e., factor in expected scholarships and financial aid).

School Type Public, 4-year and above**
Degrees Offered Bachelor's, master's, doctorates**
Religious Affiliation None**
Academic Calendar Semesters**
School Setting Midsize city**
Student Body Almost 26,000 undergraduates; roughly 10,000 graduates*
Student Housing Entering freshmen are guaranteed two years of on-campus housing. Options are also available for graduate students and students with families.*
Schools and Programs 14 colleges and schools; 276 degree programs*
Student-Faculty Ratio 17 to 1*
Most Popular Fields of Study by Degree Level (Number of Recipients) In 2013:
Bachelor's: Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences (1,274)
Undergraduate Graduation Rates 73% in four years
89% in five years
91% in six years*
Admission Rate 17% in 2013-2014*
Entering Class Size 5,500 in 2015*
First-Year Retention Rates 96% (full-time students)
76% (part-time students)**
Average GPA of Admitted Students 4.19 in 2014*
Undergraduate Application Due Date Applications accepted November 1-30*
Decision Notification Date By March 31 for freshmen, in May 1st for transfer students*
Tuition Undergraduate tuition and fees for 2015-2016 are roughly $16,400 for CA residents and $41,000 for non-residents (not including room and board, books or course materials)*
Financial Aid Sources Available (Percentage of Students Receiving it) In 2012: Federal grants (27%), Pell grants (27%), other federal grants (15%), state and local grants/scholarships (25%), institutional grants/scholarships (58%), federal loans (29%)**
Percent of Students Receiving Some Form of Aid 69% in 2012**

Sources: *University of California, Berkeley; **IPEDS Data Center, National Center for Education Statistics.

School Contact Information

  • Address: Office of Undergraduate Admissions, University of California, Berkeley, 110 Sproul Hall #5800, Berkeley, CA 94720-5800
  • Phone: (510) 642-6000
  • Website:

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