Cal Week 2022: Transfer Q&A
Summer classes/taking classes elsewhere
No, you can not take community college courses (or courses anywhere else) while also enrolled in UC Berkeley, except during the summer.
Summer Session enrollment is first come, first enrolled. There is no priority for any specific group of students.
Yes, many transfer students will take summer courses either at Berkeley or at their community college. Some students will take courses at Berkeley the summer between their junior and senior year to help stay on track, get a bit ahead or work on courses for a minor.
Minors, joint majors, double majors
Unfortunately, transfer students are not eligible to do double majors. However, transfer students are able to complete a minor. Students also have the opportunity to complete a variety of certificate programs. The Sutardja Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Technology and the Berkeley Certificate in Design Innovation are two popular certificate programs.
Yes, if you were admitted into a major that has a joint major program, you could explore with your ESS adviser the possibility of completing a joint major. You should review the course plan for the joint major you are interested in. You may find that the amount of required classes and the fairly rigid course requirements aren’t a great fit, and you may find that doing a minor in your area of interest actually allows you more flexibility to choose the classes that most interest you.
Professors hold weekly office hours and may also be available via appointment. During the first and last weeks of the semester, or when midterms are coming up, they may be more busy, but they do want to meet with their students, so don’t give up.
Most engineering courses are taught by engineering faculty, while teaching assistants (graduate student instructors, or GSIs, as they are known at Berkeley) will lead lab and discussion sections.
Many engineering majors have a 5th year masters program. You can peruse all of the graduate degrees offered in the College of Engineering on our graduate programs website. You can find the departments in engineering that offer 5th year masters programs, which are open to UC Berkeley students only and normally to students in that major, by looking at each department’s website. Many departments also offer a one-year masters in engineering (MEng) in conjunction with the Fung Institute. The Fung Institute also offers great opportunities for undergraduates.
Your ESS adviser is always happy to talk to you about how to get involved in research. First steps include thinking about which areas within your major that you are interested in and then reviewing your major department’s website to see which faculty are working in your areas of interest. All engineering department websites have a research tab on their homepage. By clicking there, you can see faculty research areas and link to their lab websites. Once you have determined which labs might be a good fit for your interests, you can reach out to the faculty, either via email or by visiting them during office hours.
Other options for getting research are the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program, Beehive and the Lawrence Berkeley Lab. The Fung Institute also has great opportunities through their Fung Fellowship program. In addition, there are excellent summer opportunities via the REU programs sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
Almost all faculty are engaged in research at UC Berkeley, so there are lots of opportunities. You should check the bioengineering department website and look under the research tab. You may also find there are faculty in other departments, such as mechanical engineering or materials science and engineering, who are also doing research work that is of interest. Depending on your persistence and your skill set, it is possible to find a research position in your first semester.
Most lab experiences are volunteer positions, so there are no limitations for international students about volunteering. If you are getting paid, you should consult with your Berkeley International Office adviser regarding restrictions for paid employment.
Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholars are selected from the top applicants to UC Berkeley. No separate application is needed. For transfer students, the review process will begin in early May, and students will be notified mid-May. Scholarship winners are chosen after a holistic review of their application, but it is primarily a merit-based scholarship. Students interested in other scholarships may want to use the scholarship search tools found on the financial aid website.
Student life: housing, safety, other support services (DSP, Parent Center)
UC Berkeley is in an urban area and that does come with urban area challenges. However, there are many services you can use to make sure you are safe when moving around campus, especially after dark. You can use BearWalk to call a Campus Safety Officer (CSO) to walk you home; there is a night safety shuttle and an option to get door-to-door service if you are out and about in the city of Berkeley.
The Student Parent Center at UC Berkeley is a great place to get advice about acclimating to life at Cal as a student parent. They have lots of information on childcare and balancing your responsibilities. Also, connect with your ESS adviser about academic options, such as taking a reduced course load.
If you are not applying for on-campus housing, you can still make use of CalRentals. Certainly, the earlier you can start the better.
All incoming transfer students enroll on the same day. In order to register with DSP so that you can ensure your accommodations are set up when you arrive in the fall, please follow the directions on the DSP website.
Course planning/graduation requirements
We recommend that you take 12-15 units your first semester. We want to make sure you have a successful transition to classes at Berkeley, and it is common for students transitioning to Berkeley to find they need time to adjust their study habits.
During Golden Bear Advising, the online tool that helps you choose your first semester classes, you will be guided in choosing your first semester courses. After you complete Golden Bear Advising, you will receive feedback on your schedule from your ESS adviser.
In most cases, transfer students will be expected to complete their degree within five semesters. However, if you have extenuating circumstances, you may petition for a sixth semester.
Incoming transfer students will enroll in their classes in mid-July. During the last two weeks of June, you will complete Golden Bear Advising (GBA), an online orientation tool that will guide you in choosing courses for the fall semester. After completing GBA, your ESS adviser will be in contact with you to provide feedback on your course plan before you enroll.
In the College of Engineering, the graduation rate for transfer students is 94%.
All College of Engineering students are required to take two upper division humanities/social sciences (H/SS) courses. Community colleges do not offer upper division courses, so most transfer students will need to take at least two H/SS courses at Berkeley. You can find more information about the College of Engineering’s Humanities and Social Sciences requirement in the COE Undergraduate Guide.
Most departments in the College of Engineering reserve seats in their courses for students in their own majors, so you will be able to get into the courses you need to take in order to graduate.
T-PREP is an 18-day summer program offered to incoming Berkeley Engineering transfer students. You can find more information about the components of T-PREP and the application process on the T-PREP website.
Absolutely! You can choose to study abroad for a summer, semester or full year. There are a lot of choices for students who wish to fulfill requirements for their major while abroad, and there are even more options for students who wish to take courses for fun or fulfill their Humanities/Social Sciences requirements. You can work closely with your ESS adviser to plan your courses and determine whether or not you will want to extend your graduation by a semester.
All of the big tech companies recruit Berkeley Engineers, including Apple, Google, Intel, and Amazon, as well as companies like General Motors, Tesla, and many startups. You can find data about where our Berkeley Engineers go after they graduate in the First Destination Survey. Be sure to choose College of Engineering as the “College.”
It will be important for you to create a strong resume and boost your networking skills. The College of Engineering hosts several programs and workshops to help you build strong leadership and professional development skills. In addition, we encourage you to take advantage of all of the networking opportunities with industry available to engineering students throughout the year. You may want to gain more experience by getting involved with an organization or competition team as well.
Contacting staff or current students
Please feel free to email Marisela Loza, the undergraduate adviser in the Department of Bioengineering.