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 350 academic 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.
The University of California was chartered in 1868 and its flagship campus — envisioned as a "City of Learning" — was established at Berkeley, on San Francisco Bay. Today the world's premier public university and a wellspring of innovation, UC Berkeley occupies a 1,232 acre campus with a sylvan 178-acre central core. From this home its academic community makes key contributions to the economic and social well-being of the Bay Area, California, and the nation.
Today the University of California employs 1,620 fulltime and 616 part-time faculty members dispersed among more than 350 degree programs. The university boasts 130 academic departments, 14 colleges and schools, and 34 interdisciplinary graduate groups that offer degrees, most of which are subdivided into departments.
The University of California Berkeley, or UC Berkeley, is a public research university located in the San Francisco Bay Area in Berkeley, State of California. It was founded in 1868 with the merger of the College of California, a private college, and the Agricultural Mining and Mechanical Arts College, a public institution. It has 10 major campuses in strategic locations in California, with Berkeley as the oldest and the University’s flagship campus. The Berkeley campus occupies 1,232 acres (499 hectares) of land property including a 178-acre lot for the sylvan central core, offering about 300 undergraduate and graduate programs in a variety of disciplines to more than 35,000 students.
The main campus has more than 2,000 full time and part time faculty members dispersed among more than 130 academic departments and over 80 interdisciplinary research units. Some members of the faculty, alumni, and research units are holders of 66 Nobel Prizes, 9 Wolf Prizes, 7 Fields Medals, 15 Turing Awards, 43 MacArthur Fellowships, 11 Pulitzer Prizes, and 20 Academy Awards. It also boasts of 2,217 total inventions, 569 active U.S. patents, 465 active foreign patents, and 300 active license agreements.
A founding member of the Association of American Universities, it owns the distinction of having Berkeley physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer as the scientific director of the Manhattan Project that developed the world’s first atomic bomb during World War II. It also has the Bancroft Library, one of the libraries that make up the UC Berkeley Library System, which contains the world’s largest collection of writings, photographs, letters and scrapbooks of American author and humorist Mark Twain.
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Office of Undergraduate Admission and Relations with Schools 110 Sproul Hall # 5800, Berkeley, California, The United States, 94720-5800
The UC Berkeley has more than 130 academic departments and programs organized into 14 colleges and schools each headed by a dean. The largest of these colleges is the College of Letters and Science which is composed of 55 departments although it awards only undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degrees. The other colleges, which are for both the undergraduate and graduate students, are Engineering, Chemistry, Environmental Design, and Natural Resources, while the Schools, which are normally for graduate students only, are those of Education, Journalism, Business, Public Policy, Information, Law, Optometry, Public Health, and Social Welfare.
The Berkeley campus is home to some of the best colleges in the U.S. and the world. The College of Engineering has one of the most highly regarded engineering programs in the world, while the College of Environmental Design has a reputation of being one of the world’s distinguished laboratories for research and experimentation and the first to combine architecture, planning and landscape architecture into a single college. The School of Law is one of the most selective and top law schools in the U.S. Considered as an elite school of law, it has produced government, law and politics leaders. Another top school of the Berkeley campus is the Haas School of Business, which is located near San Francisco. It is considered as a crossroad of major businesses where jobs can be found to supplement a business education in the University. Among the top graduate journalism schools in the U.S., the Graduate School of Journalism awards journalists with a 2-year Master of Journalism degree that focuses on the seven primary media of journalism.
The UC Berkeley campus is the oldest of the 10 campuses of the University System. The latter occupies 6651 acres (2,692 hectares) of land, with the central campus resting on the San Francisco Bay Area. You can find the downtown business district of Berkeley on the west of the central campus, and to the northwest is the neighborhood of North Berkeley. To the north of the campus is the Northside, a residential neighborhood, and to the north of Northside is an upscale residential neighborhood, known as Berkeley Hills, that is home to many faculty members. The fraternity row is located southwest of the campus. There you can find student housing facilities and the Telegraph Avenue, a shopping district of Berkeley.
The Merced campus is the newest campus. It opened in 2005 in the Central Valley of California, two hours southeast of San Francisco and south of Sacramento, and an hour north of Fresno. The eight other campuses are located in Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz.
The Davis campus is in the heart of Central Valley near the San Francisco Bay Area, while the Irvine campus, in Irvine, Southern California ranks among the top universities in the U.S. A larger campus, the Los Angeles campus has a student population of 40,000, including 27,000 undergraduate students and 13,000 graduate and professional students. The Riverside campus is in Southern California, 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, while the San Diego campus is nestled along the Pacific Ocean. The San Francisco campus is in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Santa Barbara campus is located on the California Coast 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles, and the Santa Cruz campus is in Central California, on a lot that overlooks the Monterey Bay.
The academic calendar of the UC Berkeley consists of Spring Semester, Summer Sessions, and Fall Semester. General graduation exercises or ceremonies are conducted after the conclusion of final examinations usually in mid-May in the Spring Semester. Department graduations are held during the Spring Semester only in each college, school or department where graduating students receive only a commemorative certificate. A homecoming is held usually in the second week of October during the Fall Semester. This is the reunion of alumni and parents, marked by sports games, faculty seminars, tours and open houses. A Reading, Recitation and Review (RRR) Week is held five days after each semester to afford students free time to prepare for final examinations, work on papers and projects, participate in review sessions, or consult with their instructors personally or through the electronic medium.
The academic calendar of UC Berkeley for 2011 begins with the Spring Semester from the second week of January, ending in the second week of May. In between the semester, a one-day Academic and Administrative Holiday is held three times, with the first two before and after the March 21 Spring recess, and the third on May 30. The Summer Sessions from May 23 to August 12 consist of the 6-week session, 10-week session, 8-week session, and the 3-week session.
The Fall Semester starts on August 18 and ends December 16, following the 4-day final examinations, and the last day of instruction on December 9. An Academic and Administrative Holiday is also held three times during the semester, and the RRR Week from December 5 to December 9, nearly two months after the three-day grand homecoming event on October 14 to October 16.
Admission requirements at the UC Berkeley campus apply to undergraduate and graduate students, transfer students, international students, and students with disabilities. The admission requirements for the undergraduates cover freshmen or high school graduates desiring to study at the University’s Berkeley campus. They include high school diploma, a SAT or ACT test that determines the student’s ability to complete a college-level work, an essay or personal statement, high school records and class rank, and state residency.
Admission of graduate students is decided upon by the Graduate Division of the Berkeley campus, based on the following admission requirements: a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution, a satisfactory scholastic average —a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0, and proof of sufficient undergraduate training for a graduate-level work. The requirements for domestic or American applicants for graduate studies also include a Bachelor’s degree, transcript of all college-level work, including those from community colleges, summer sessions, and extensive programs attended, if any.
International students for graduate programs are required of a Bachelor’s degree, official transcripts or academic records of all university-level studies, and official evidence of English language proficiency, especially for applicants from countries where English is not an official language. Undergraduate international students are required to submit a certificate of completion from a high school in their home countries, and proof of assessment and reasoning tests. Admission of transfer students is limited to those with 60 undergraduate units left to complete for the current school year.
The Financial Aid and Scholarship Office of the UC Berkeley is in charge of grantung financial aid and scholarships to students. The financial aid programs that are available are federal and state loans. The scholarships and grants are accessible through the Federal Pell Grants, SEDG, State scholarships, Institutional scholarships, Private scholarships, and Academic scholarships. Awards for financial aid can be viewed on MyFinAid, an online financial aid system of the University. All students receiving financial aid are required to have an account, and a University ID to access the same account.
Both undergraduate and graduate students can apply for financial aid by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The deadline for filing this application for both undergraduate and graduate students is usually early March. Applications will be accepted after the deadline, but the financial aid could be limited or reduced. Financial aid is granted on the basis of merit and need.
The available loans that can be applied for include the Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, and the Direct PLUS loans under the Federal Direct Student Loan Program, and the Federal Perkins Loans. In 2011, the average financial aid package is worth USD 20,400 while the average need-based loan and the average need-based scholarship or grant amount to USD 4,204 and USD 15,713, respectively.
Housing at the UC Berkeley consists of on-campus and off-campus housing facilities. Some of these facilities are run by the Residential and Student Service Programs (RSSP) of the University and the others by off-campus entities. The UC Berkeley Housing consists of four 9-storey buildings designated as Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3 and Unit 4. The buildings of Unit 1 on Durant Avenue include the Channing Bowditch Apartments, Cheney Hall, Christian Hall, Deutsch Hall, Freedom Hall, Ida L. Jackson House, Putnam Hall, Shorb House, and the Slottman Hall. Unit 2 on Haste Street is composed of the Cunningham Hall, Davidson Hall, Ehrman Hall, Griffiths Hall, Towle Hall, and the Wada Hall. The main buildings of Unit 3, also on Durant Avenue, include the Beverly Cleary Hall, Ida Sproul Hall, Norton Hall, Manville Apartments, Priestly Hall, and the Spens-Black Hall. Unit 4 has the Stern Hall, an all-female residence hall, and the Foothill Hall, consisting of the Hillside and La Loma complexes. You can also find the Clark-Kerr Campus residential complex located five blocks southeast of the main Berkeley campus featuring several residential buildings with dormitory-style rooms and suites.
Off campus housing is available mostly in apartments located near the UC Berkeley campus. The University Students Cooperative Association (USCA), a private independently run student housing cooperative, operates 20 houses and apartment buildings that provide accommodation to 1300 students, with some of the houses leased from the UC Berkeley. The University Village is a housing community for married students located inside the city limits of Albany, two miles northeast of the Berkeley campus. You can also find theme housing that provides academic-residential environment for students sharing an interest in a certain cultural theme.
About 65% of UC Berkeley students live off-campus and the rest in University-owned, operated and affiliated housing that includes coed dormitories, women’s dormitories, men’s dormitories, sorority housing, fraternity housing, apartments for single students, apartments for married students, special housing for disabled students, housing for international students, theme housing, and cooperative housing.
Off-campus housing consists mostly of apartments located near the UC Berkeley campus. In these housing facilities, students are provided with a certain degree of off-campus freedom and with benefits not available on campus. These benefits include immediate access to shops, parks, restaurants, recreation facilities, entertainment, public transportation, workout in fitness centers, and some world-class dining and shopping conveniences. Off-campus activities that students can enjoy include visits to popular sports and dining places, such as: the Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco that has playground spaces, shows and sports events; the Jack London Square in Oakland that has sports, stores and market facilities; the Naspa Valley Wine Train that offers a wine bar and wineries; and the E’Angelo Italian Restaurant in San Francisco that serves fine Italian food.
Off-campus students may also opt to enroll in English courses for academic purposes at the ELS Language Centers. The San Francisco Bay Area also offers many facilities such as tennis courts, recreational park, billiards, a baseball field, and a computer center, among others.
The UC Berkeley is host to hundreds of student organizations which provide students with many opportunities to engage in numerous organizational and leadership development projects and activities. Participation in these organizations is encouraged by the University itself on the assumption that they provide outlets for self-expression and sharing of talents. The Center for Student Leadership acts as the umbrella group for the student organizations, providing guidance for recognition, and in planning campus events. Aside from the benefit of sharing talents, joining a student group opens the door to meet new friends, develop new skills and abilities, learn to set and achieve goals, work as part of the team and, more importantly, have fun working with a group.
Many student groups at the Berkeley campus are classified as arts, cultural, professional, political, academic, religious, sports and service groups under the Associated Students of the University Of California (ASUC), which is the most autonomous student organization among public universities in the U.S. The ASUC controls funding for student groups and organizes student events on campus. Student fraternities and sororities also exist on campus for students who are looking for brotherhood or sisterhood, and they operate under the Inter-fraternity Council, which is the governing body for all campus fraternities.
Students can also join CalTV, a student-run online television station, the Daily Californian, an independent, student-run newspaper, sports teams that compete in inter-collegiate athletic competitions, performing arts groups that provide students with opportunities for performing arts, or the Panhellenic Council for women that governs 12 campus sororities and promotes leadership opportunities and academic achievements for female students.
The UC Berkeley provides various facilities for its students, faculty and staff. The most important of these facilities is the Library System consisting of 32 constituent and affiliated libraries and containing more than 10 million volumes. The main libraries in the system are the Doe Memorial Library, the Gardner Main Stacks, the Bancroft Library, and the Moffit Library. The Doe Memorial Library consists of the North and East Reading Rooms, the largest reading rooms of the system. The Gardner Main Stacks contains 52 miles (84 kms) of bookshelves and four underground floors. The Bancroft Library, east of the Doe, is one of the most heavily used libraries of manuscripts, rare books and unique materials. The Moffit Library, which is for undergraduate students, contains books located mostly on the 4th and 5th floors.
The campus also offers coffee houses and places to hang out during free time, such as the Free Speech Movement Café, Glade, Upper Sproul or the Campus Bar. One can also watch a movie on campus at the Wheeler Auditorium, get a chance to see the most celebrated groups and performers in the arts at the Zellerbach Playhouse, and avail of many recreation facilities provided by the Golden Bear Gymnastics Club, the Berkeley Sauna, UCK-2 After School Program, and the Monkey Business Camp and the Camp Kee Tov, both recreation camps.
Medical facilities are provided by the medical centers operated by the University in Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, San Diego and San Francisco. For research facilities, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute and the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory are the top providers.
Getting to the UC Berkeley campus and around can be done in a lot of ways such as bicycling, walking, taking a motorized transit, driving and ride-sharing.
The most inexpensive and reliable form of transportation to commute to and from the campus is by bike or by foot. By bicycling or walking, you can enjoy fresh air and the scenic views of the campus, reduce vehicular traffic congestion, and even contribute to sound environment. On campus, an extensive network of bicycle and pedestrian routes is implemented to improve access and facilities for both cyclists and walkers. The University administration is also carrying out the Campus Bicycle Plan that will build infrastructure and increase the number of bike commuters, and has provided bicycle racks at convenient locations throughout the campus.
Public transportation is another inexpensive but convenient way to get to and from the campus. This is provided by the UC Berkeley Parking and Transportation Office and the local transit providers to serve the university community. The Bears Transit, a University shuttle system, provides convenient transportation between the campus and the downtown Berkeley parking lots, Clark-Kerr Campus, the Hillside area residence halls, Richmond Field Station, and the campus north and south areas.
Driving to the campus is managed by the University administration. The administration provides parking spaces and helps drivers secure appropriate parking permits and locates parking areas that are restricted for safety and security reasons. A program called Rideshare is also implemented to encourage carpooling or alternative transportation, in order to reduce parking demand and traffic congestion.