Introduction to Student Life
With more than 37,000 students, a distinguished faculty, 276 degree programs, and alumni in positions of national and international leadership, UC Berkeley offers students a wide arena for academic and personal growth. Campus staff and faculty are dedicated to supporting students holistically throughout their learning journey. Students will find myriad programs and services that enhance understanding of their own values and that introduce them to new and different perspectives.
Please visit the following UC Berkeley websites to learn more about Berkeley and student life. In addition, explore the tabbed information on this page to learn more.
UC Berkeley Admissions' guide to everything the campus has to offer.
Cal Student Central
Cal Student Central is your destination for key university business related to financial aid, fees and billing, payments, disbursements, registration, and enrollment.
New Student Services
New Student Services (NSS) is dedicated to welcoming new undergraduates to Berkeley. NSS creates and implements programs and publications that are designed for students to ease the transition into life at Cal.
Disabled Students Program
The Disabled Students’ Program (DSP) is located at 260 Cesar Chavez Student Center, 510-642-0518; TTY: 510-642-6376. If you have a documented and verifiable disability, you may be eligible for academic accommodations and auxiliary services (such as lab assistance, notetakers, and sign language interpreters). A residence program for newly admitted students with physical disabilities, who use wheelchairs and require independent living services, is available as are various other services. If you have a visual, hearing, mobility, physical disability, or a learning or other nonapparent disability, contact DSP for information about services or visit the Disabled Students’ Program website.
The UC Berkeley Story
Founded in the wake of the gold rush by leaders of the newly established 31st state, the University of California's flagship campus at Berkeley has become one of the preeminent universities in the world. Its early guiding lights, charged with providing education (both "practical" and "classical") for the state's people, gradually established a distinguished faculty (with 22 Nobel laureates to date), a stellar research library, and more than 170 academic departments and programs.
This California institution became a catalyst of economic growth and social innovation — the place where vitamin E was discovered, a lost Scarlatti opera found, the flu virus identified, and the nation's first no-fault divorce law drafted. Scholars at Berkeley have conducted groundbreaking research on urban street gangs and on basic human nutritional requirements, identified why wartime supply ships were failing at sea, invented technologies to build faster and cheaper computer chips, and imaged the infant universe.
In recognition of broad and deep excellence, respected sources have repeatedly ranked UC Berkeley at or near the top in fields ranging from engineering and the "hard" sciences to the social sciences, arts, and humanities. Case in point: A National Research Council analysis of U.S. universities concluded that UC Berkeley has the largest number of highly ranked graduate programs in the country. It ranked doctoral programs within a range (such as between 1st and 5th) and found that 48 out of 52 Berkeley programs assessed ranked within the top 10 nationally.
In accordance with UC's "public" character, the university has long served talented individuals regardless of means. As early as 1897, financial aid was available for "needy and deserving" students. More than a century later, UC Berkeley combines outstanding teaching and research programs with broad access for students of all means — educating more federal Pell Grant recipients from low-income families than all eight Ivy League universities combined. Seventeen percent of UC Berkeley freshmen are the first in their families to attend college.
The University of California
The University of California is composed of 10 campuses, each with a distinctive character. The San Francisco campus was added to the University in 1873, Davis began classes in 1909, the Los Angeles campus in 1919, Riverside in 1954, Santa Barbara in 1958, San Diego in 1960, and Santa Cruz and Irvine in 1965. UC Merced opened as UC’s 10th campus in fall 2005. The University has five law schools, five medical schools, and schools of architecture, business administration, education, engineering, and many others.
UC campuses have a full-time faculty of about 8,800, and the total enrollment is about 220,000 students, most of them California residents. Nearly 25 percent are graduate students. Some 480 laboratories, extension centers, and research and field stations strengthen teaching and research while providing public service to California and the country.
For more information about the University of California, please visit the UC website.
Consumer Information and Disclosures
Federal regulations require all institutions to provide specified information to prospective and current students, staff, and the general public. Listed below are those items that must be available for review per federal regulations.
The federal Higher Education Act, the federal Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA), and regulatory guidance provided in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) require direct individual notices of prescribed information to certain target audiences including prospective students, currently enrolled students, current employees, parents, coaches and counselors of prospective student-athletes, and the general public. Disclosures are to include crime/security statistics, student completion/graduation rates, FERPA privacy/security rights, financial aid program information, and gender-specific information on athletic participation and financial support.
Accreditation – UC Berkeley is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). For complete information on institutional and program accreditation, visit the UC Berkeley Accreditation website.
Athletics – Information on the participation rates and financing of UC Berkeley’s intercollegiate athletic programs may be found at the U.S. Office of Postsecondary Education website.
Campus Buildings and Facilities – For a virtual visit or other types of campus tours, see the UC Berkeley Visit page.
Campus Security Report – The campus security report for current and previous years, including information required by the Jeanne Clery Act, is viewable on the UC Police Department's website.
Cost of Attendance – Information on the cost of attendance at UC Berkeley can be found on the Registration Fees page of the Office of the Registrar's website.
Degree Programs – For a complete list of programs at UC Berkeley, use this Guide or go to the Academic Departments and Programs website.
Faculty – Current faculty lists are grouped by academic department and program and can be found on the UC Berkeley website or in the Guide on the degree and department pages.
Financial Aid – To find out more about the financial aid available to students, go to the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office's website.
Graduation/Completion Rates – Campus graduation rates can be found in the Undergraduate Profile and Graduate Profile documents available on the Office of Planning & Analysis website.
Higher Education Act Disclosures – Required disclosures of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 are available on the Office of the Registrar's website.
Refund Policy for Financial Aid Students – For information about requirements for the return of financial aid funds when a student withdraws from school, go to the Withdrawing from Classes or School page on the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office website.
Satisfactory Academic Progress – Requirements for satisfactory academic progress for students on financial aid is found on the Satisfactory Academic Progress page on the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office website.
Student Concerns and Complaints – Students who encounter challenging behaviors or difficult interactions on campus regarding academic, student services or conduct issues can find information and assistance via the Ombuds Office web page.
Services for Disabled Students – For full information on services available to disabled students, visit the Disabled Students' Program website.
Student Privacy Rights – To learn about how UC Berkeley protects your right to the privacy of your confidential educational records, view the Disclosure of Information from Student Records document (PDF).
Organization and Administration
Under the State Constitution, the government of the University is entrusted to the Board of Regents. The regents appoint the president of the University, and with the president’s advice, appoint the chancellors, directors of major laboratories, provosts, and deans who administer the affairs of the individual campuses and other divisions of the University. Authority in academic matters is delegated by the regents to the Academic Senate, which determines academic policy for the University as a whole.
The Board of Regents includes seven ex-officio board members and 18 members who are appointed by the governor for 12-year terms after consultation with an advisory committee. In addition, the regents appoint a student regent for a one-year term as a voting board member with full rights of participation. The chair and vice chair of the Academic Council serve as faculty representatives to the board and participate fully in all discussions. A constitutional amendment provides that “Regents shall be able persons broadly reflective of the economic, cultural, and social diversity of the State, including ethnic minorities and women.” They shall have “full powers of organization and government, subject only to such legislative controls as may be necessary to ensure compliance with the terms of the endowments of the University and the security of its funds.”
The president is executive head of the ten-campus University system. The Office of the President, located in Oakland, is the University’s central administrative headquarters. There are eight divisions—Academic Affairs, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Business Operations, External Relations, Finance, General Counsel, Health Sciences and Services, and Laboratory Management. The Office of the President performs administrative functions for the University as a whole and supports all campus operations.
Each of the campuses has a chancellor as its chief administrative officer. The chancellor is responsible for the organization and operation of the campus, including academic, student, and business affairs. For the names of University regents, officers, and chancellors, see the Officers of Administration tab.
The Academic Senate, consisting of faculty and certain other teaching titles, determines the conditions for admission and degrees, subject to the approval of the Regents; authorizes and supervises courses and curricula; and advises the University administration on the important matters of faculty appointments and promotions and budgets.
Students participate in policy making at both the campus and Universitywide levels.
For more information, please visit the Board of Regents website.