UC Berkeley and Student Life

About UC Berkeley

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 is now one of the top-ranked universities in the world. Originally charged with providing education (both "practical" and "classical") to the state's people, Berkeley gradually established a distinguished faculty (with 31 Nobel prizes held by alumni) and overn 184 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 topics ranging from urban street gangs to basic human nutritional requirements. They have identified why wartime supply ships were failing at sea, invented technologies to build faster and cheaper computer chips, and imaged the infant universe.

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. Twenty-three percent of UC Berkeley freshmen are the first in their families to attend college.

For more information, visit the UC Berkeley gateway site and check out Berkeley: By the Numbers.

The University of California

The University of California is composed of 10 campuses, each with a distinctive character: San Francisco (established in 1873), Davis (1909), Los Angeles (1919), Riverside (1954), Santa Barbara (1958), San Diego (1960), Irvine (1965) Santa Cruz (1965), and Merced (2005). The University has five law schools, six medical schools, as well as schools of architecture, business administration, education, engineering, and many others.  Several hundred laboratories, extension centers, and research and field stations strengthen teaching and research while providing public service to California and the country.

Over 238,000 students attend the University of California and about 75 percent of them are California residents. For more information about the University of California, please visit the University of California website

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 the 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. 

Officers of Administration

The Academic Senate is empowered by the Regents to determine academic policy, set conditions for admission and granting of degrees, advise the Chancellor on the campus budget, authorize and supervise courses and curricula, and advise the administration on faculty appointments, promotions, and budgets. 

Students participate in policymaking at both the campus and University-wide levels.

For more information, please visit the Board of Regents website

Introduction to Student Life

With more than 40,000 students, a distinguished faculty, 350+ 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.

Explore Berkeley
The UC Berkeley Admissions website offers an overview of everything the campus has to offer, including Arts & Culture, Cal Athletics, RecWell, Housing, Safety, Wellness, and Life in the Bay Area.

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 (NSS)
The New Student Services mission is to give each student the support and resources needed for a successful transition to the Berkeley campus.

Berkeley Discovery
Berkeley Discovery is a campus-wide initiative to transform undergraduate education. Learn more about how you can develop your passions into discovery projects that deepen your learning, better the world, and launch your future. Be sure to check out the archive of videos, where students talk about their hands-on discovery projects as researchers, artists, inventors, community activists, and entrepreneurs. 

Berkeley Life
UC Berkeley Life shares stories, offers advice, and provides resources to help you navigate this campus.

Centers for Educational Equity and Excellence (CE3)

The Centers for Educational Equity and Excellence ensure non-traditional students excel at the top public University in the world. By respecting every undergraduate as a unique individual, CE3 programs empower UC Berkeley students to achieve and lead.

Dean of Students
The Dean of Students Office is committed to an inclusive environment that helps all students reach their educational, aspirational, and personal goals. Visit their page to learn about getting involved on campus, building community, and thriving at Cal.

Our Berkeley
The Berkeley Office of Planning and Analysis distills data of the tens of thousands of stories playing out every day in Berkeley’s teaching, research, and public service. We use it to track Berkeley's aspirations, improve our operations, and find new ways to change the world. 

Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC)
The ASUC is one of the only autonomous student organizations in the country. Student leaders are elected to tackle issues that are important to Berkeley students in collaboration with campus administrators. (examples – 24 hours study spaces, gender equity issues, mental health services, etc.)

Public Service Center 
Service projects are available for students who have a passion to serve through the Public Service Center. Participate in Build, where you can mentor youth in reading, Cal in the Capital where you can intern in Washington DC, or do service-learning trips through Alternative Breaks. 

Berkeley’s history of student engagement and activism dates back to the Free Speech Movement from the 1960s. Berkeley students challenge the status quo, and are encouraged to take on issues important to them. 

Privacy of Student Records (FERPA)

Under the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) and provisions of state law relating to public records disclosure, the University of California Policies Applying to the Disclosure of Information from Student Records and the Berkeley Campus' implementation of that policy assure Berkeley students the following rights:

  1. To inspect and review their student records.
  2. To have withheld from public disclosure, absent their prior consent, personally identifiable information from their student records.
  3. To inspect records maintained by campus offices concerning disclosure of confidential information from their student records.
  4. To seek corrections of their records through a request to amend the records, or a request for a hearing to challenge the content of their records, or to include a written statement therein.
  5. To file complaints with the Office of the Chancellor or with the U.S. Department of Education regarding violations of the rights accorded by federal law or University policy.

Campus policy defines "public records" which may be released without prior student consent, describes the record access rights of applicants who have not been admitted or enrolled at the Berkeley campus, and describes the conditions under which students may waive the right of access to their records. 

You also may find information at:

The campus maintains various types of student records in various locations throughout the campus. Each campus unit which maintains student records has available written procedures indicating the types of student records maintained, the officials responsible for their maintenance, the procedures for granting access to records, the procedures for reviewing and correcting and/or challenging the content of records, the cost (if any) which will be charged for copies, the categories of information made available as public information, and the manner in which students may request that information about them not be released as public information. Information about these records and university and campus policies on student records may be requested from the Office of the Registrar

UC Berkeley Shared Advising Notes

UC Berkeley has an integrated electronic student file system, which includes shared notes about students that are entered by personnel in advising and administrative roles. UC Berkeley is committed to the security of student information. Notes are a student record and not considered public information. All personnel who have access to the electronic student files and shared notes must complete a mandatory training on the Federal Family Education Rights and Policies Act of 1974 (FERPA) and other provisions of state law regarding public records disclosure. 

ASUC Senate Resolution 2017-18: “In Support of Informed Consent, Consistency and Transparency in CalCentral Note Sharing.”

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.

Financial Aid – To find out more about the financial aid available to students, go to the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office's website.

Student Privacy Rights – To learn about how UC Berkeley protects your right to the privacy of your confidential educational records, view the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) page on the Office of the Registrar Website. 

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.

License and Certification — University of California Berkeley programs for professions that require licensure or certification are intended to prepare the student for California licensure and certification requirements. Admission into programs for professions that require licensure and certification does not guarantee that students will obtain a license or certificate. Licensure and certification requirements are set by agencies that are not controlled by or affiliated with the University of California and licensure and certification requirements can change at any time.

The University of California Berkeley has not determined whether its programs meet other states’ educational or professional requirements for licensure and certification. Students planning to pursue licensure or certification in other states are responsible for determining whether, if they complete a University of California program, they will meet their state’s requirements for licensure or certification. This disclosure is made pursuant to 34 CFR §668.43(a)(5)(v)(C).

Degree Programs – For a complete list of programs at UC Berkeley, go to the full lists of Undergraduate programs and Graduate programs.

Instructional Facilities and Labs - Class information, including instructional facilities and labs, can be found on the Berkeley Academic Guide's Class Schedule.

Faculty – Current faculty lists are grouped by academic department and program and can be found on the Academics page of the Berkeley website under relevant departments.

Services for Disabled Students – For information on services available to disabled students, visit the Disabled Students' Program website.
Cost of Attendance – Information on the cost of attendance at UC Berkeley can be found on the Cost of Attendance page on the Financial Aid and Scholarships website. For tuition and fee charges, see the Tuition & Fees page of the Office of the Registrar website.

Refund Policy - For information regarding the university’s refund policy, go to the Refunds After Withdrawal page on the Office of the Registrar’s website. The refund policy for summer terms is published by Berkeley Summer Sessions. 

Return of TIV Financial Aid – For information about requirements for the return of financial aid funds when a student withdrawals from school, go to the Withdrawing from School page of the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office website. For summer, go to the Canceling, Withdrawing, or Dropping Courses dropdown on the Summer Aid/Frequently Asked Questions page.

Satisfactory Academic Progress – Requirements for satisfactory academic progress for students on financial aid are found on the Satisfactory Academic Progress page of 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 website.

Campus Security Report – The campus security report for current and previous years is viewable on the UC Police Department website.

Graduation/Completion Rates – Campus graduation rates can be found in the Undergraduate Profile and Graduate Profile documents are available on the Office of Planning and Analysis website. For reported graduation information to the U.S. Department of Education, see the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) at the College Navigator 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.

Study Abroad – Information about approved for credit study abroad programs and financial aid considerations can be found on the Study Abroad website.

Teaching Credential Passage Rates – To view the credential passage rates for UC Berkeley, see the Commission on Teacher Credentialing Data and Reports website.

Constitution Day – The UC community pauses on September 17 to commemorate the drafting of its Constitution. For more information, see the UC Constitution Day website

Voter Registration – Information on voter registration in California can be found on the State of California website.

Required Disclosures Under the Higher Education Act of 1965 (as amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008)

Transfer of Credit Policy – assist.org

Vaccinations Policy – uhs.berkeley.edu/requirements

Notice of Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations – studentaid.gov/understand-aid/eligibility/requirements/criminal-convictions

Student Body Diversity – diversity.berkeley.edu/reports-data/diversity-data-dashboard

Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Program – uhs.berkeley.edu/counseling/social-services/counseling/alcohol-and-other-drugs

Retention of First-Time Freshmen – pages.github.berkeley.edu/OPA/our-berkeley/grad-rates

Placement in Employment – career.berkeley.edu/start-exploring/bear-destinations/

Types of Graduate and Professional Education – grad.berkeley.edu/programs/list

Relations with State/Local Police – ucpd.berkeley.edu/policies

Textbook Information – calstudentstore.berkeley.edu/textbooks

Copyright Infringement Policies and Sanctions – security.berkeley.edu/copyright-infringement

Acceptable Use Policy – teaching.berkeley.edu/resources/design/using-copyright-materials-classroom

Missing Person Procedures – housing.berkeley.edu/missing-person-policy

Emergency Response Evacuation Procedures – oem.berkeley.edu/get-informed-evacuating-main-photo-page

Fire Safety Report – ucpd.berkeley.edu/alerts-and-reports/ucpd-annual-security-fire-safety-reports-uc-berkeley

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