UC Berkeley admissions requirements

Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina

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You must have a 3.0 GPA (3.4 for non-residents) or higher and no grades lower than a C in required high school courses. You can also substitute SAT subject tests for courses. If you don’t meet the requirements, it is possible to gain admission with a high enough score on the ACT/SAT plus on two SAT subject tests. Finally, a few students each year who don’t meet the above requirements due to extraordinary circumstances are granted “admission by exception,” based on information provided in the personal statement.

Because this school is extremely selective, getting a high SAT/ACT score and GPA is vital to having a chance at getting in. If you don’t pass their SAT/ACT and GPA requirements, they’ll likely reject you without much consideration.

To have the best shot of getting in, you should aim for the 75th percentile, with a 1530 SAT or a 34 ACT. You should also have a 3.89 GPA or higher. If your GPA is lower than this, you need to compensate with a higher SAT/ACT score.

For a school as selective as UC Berkeley, you’ll also need to impress them with the rest of your application. We’ll cover those details next.

But if you apply with a score below a 1530 SAT or a 34 ACT, you unfortunately start out with the odds against you and have a tiny chance of getting in. There are just too many students with high SAT/ACT scores and strong applications, and you need to compete against them.

Every school requires an application with the bare essentials – high school transcript and GPA, application form, and other core information. Many schools, as explained above, also require SAT and ACT scores, as well as letters of recommendation, application essays, and interviews. We’ll cover the exact requirements of UC Berkeley here.

Application Requirements Overview

  • Common ApplicationNot accepted
  • Universal ApplicationNot accepted
  • Electronic Application
  • Essay or Personal StatementRequired for all freshmen
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • InterviewNot required
  • Application Fee$70
  • Fee Waiver Available?Available
  • Other Notes

Testing Requirements

  • SAT or ACTRequired
  • SAT Essay or ACT WritingRequired
  • SAT Subject TestsRecommended
  • Scores Due in OfficeDecember 31

Coursework Requirements

  • SubjectRequired Years
  • English4
  • Math3
  • Science2
  • Foreign Language2
  • Social Studies
  • History2
  • Electives1

Deadlines and Early Admissions

    • Offered?DeadlineNotification
  • Regular Admission
    • YesNovember 30None
  • Early Action
    • No
  • Early Decision
    • No

UC Berkeley international students statistics

UC Berkeley data show slight increase in underrepresented admission

International students in the U.S. on a visa cannot be classified as California residents for tuition purposes.

Please remember: In addition to meeting the requirements listed on this page, you also must meet:

Basic admission requirements
Requirements as a freshman or transfer applicant
Application Self-Reported Academic Records
Each UC campus, including UC Berkeley, has an International Admission Specialist who is familiar with the educational systems of other countries. Complete the educational history section of the application exactly as it appears on your school records.

Applying as a Freshman
To be considered for admission to UC Berkeley, international applicants must:

finish secondary school and
earn a certificate of completion, which allows admission to a university in their home country or country of graduation
In addition:

Students who have completed the IGCSE or O-level exams have not yet met the requirements for admission at UC Berkeley. The university requires further study, either completion of the two-year A-level program with a minimum of three academic exams, the IB diploma program, or another similar academic curriculum.

Students from countries requiring entry into military service upon completion of secondary education should not submit an application until the obligation has been met. UC Berkeley cannot defer admission to a later term.

Students may have to meet additional admission requirements(link is external)(link is external) and follow certain guidelines for filling out the undergraduate application, depending on country or educational system.

Language Requirements
Proficiency in English is critical to success at UC Berkeley. You can demonstrate proficiency by taking one of these exams and earning the required scores:

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 80 or better (Berkeley prefers 100)
International English Language testing System (IELTS) with a minimum score of 6.5
DuoLingo English Test (DET) with a minimum score of 115 (Fall 2021 only)
Language exam results must be received in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions no later than January prior to the fall semester in which the student wishes to enroll. Our code is 4833. Please contact TOEFL to confirm when your test scores are mailed to campuses.

Other ways for international students to meet the language requirement includes:

3+ years of Language of Instruction (LOI) in English
Score 3, 4 or 5 on the AP examination in English Language and Composition, or English Literature and Composition
Score 6 or 7 on the IB Standard Level examination in English (Language A only)
Score 5, 6 or 7 on the IB Higher Level examination in English (Language A only)
For more information, please check out the UC website on English proficiency(link is external).

Financial Documentation
Before a U.S. consul will grant a visa, you must prove that you will have sufficient money to meet all your expenses while studying in the United States. You must explain the source of your funds and guarantee that you will receive them while at UC Berkeley.

Unless you are able to provide written evidence demonstrating you have adequate financial resources for the entire time needed to complete your degree program, the consul will not grant a student visa.

If your country’s government limits the amount of money that may be sent to its students in the United States, you should make sure that funds will be available.

When you leave your country, you must have enough money to:

pay for traveling expenses to UC Berkeley
pay fees for the entire term
meet living expenses until more money reaches you
pay the return fare to your home
If your country’s government requires verification of enrollment before money can be forwarded to you, you may request the campus International Student Advisor to provide verification after you have completed your UC registration. Some students assume, incorrectly, that additional financial assistance or part-time employment will be available. Each year many students find themselves in serious financial difficulties because they did not arrange for adequate support.

Student Visa Information
All admitted international students will be required to complete a Non-immigrant Information Form (NIF). A guarantee by the applicant’s financial sponsor proving sufficient funds for the first year of study is required. Upon receipt of the completed NIF, the Berkeley International Office (BIO) will issue the document needed for student visa application.

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