California University Berkeley
  • EduScore 74 /100

University of California: Quick Overview

Quick Stats
  • Year founded1868
  • Number of students enrolled41,910
  • Average cost (in total)In-state: $35,774
  • Average cost (in total)Out-of-state: $63,788
Application Info
  • Acceptance rate16.9%
  • SAT/ACT1300/29
  • Application dateNovember 30th

History and Mission

The University of California – Berkeley, which is simply referred to as Cal as well as UC Berkeley, Berkeley, or California, was founded in 1868 and located in northern California. Two years before the founding of the university in 1866 the College of California bought the land in where the campus still sits to this day.  Since the new college lacked the money in order to stay in operation they would merge with the Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College, which was run by the state of California, to create a new university, which was the University of California – Berkeley. Cal was the first public university in California, which offered a full curriculum.

When Cal Berkeley opened their doors in 1869 there were only 40 students and 10 members of faculty at the small Oakland campus. Construction on the North and South Halls of the university was completed in 1873 and that is when the school was relocated to Berkeley. The school is named after Anglo-Irish philosopher George Berkeley, as in 1870 one of the trustees for College of California in Frederick H. Billings stated that the new university should be named in honor of him. When the university moved to the Berkeley campus it had grown with 189 students (167 male 22 female).

In the start of 1891 philanthropist and the mother of William Randolph Hearst gifted several large donations to Cal Berkeley and that helped fund several new programs as well as construction of new buildings on campus. Her money also helped sponsor the international competition, which was in Belgium, for an architect to design a master plan for the campus with the winner being Émile Bénard, who was from France. In 1905 the university started the University Farm, which was located in Sacramento, California and would eventually be turned into another one of the University of California schools in UC Davis.

UC Berkeley gained notoriety in the 1960’s with many issues of day and student activism was rampant. With the Vietnam War and the Free Speech Movement and all the activism on the campus Berkeley was gaining national attention. After the infamous People’s Park the Governor of California Ronald Regan referred to Cal as “…a haven for communist sympathizers, protesters, and sex deviants”

Cal Berkeley does not have a mission statement for the whole university, but every school that comprises the college does. For the division of Undergraduate Education, the mission is to create and advance important scholarly ideas in order to gain achievement on the individual and collective levels. The university finds opportunities, fosters communication, and takes full advantage of all resources to in the advancement of progress, be the inspiration for ideas between people, and to help augment the campus efficiency for all.

Areas of Study

The University of California University is a research university that has in excess of 350 degree programs and 130 academic departments as well as 80 interdisciplinary research units. It is a college on the semester system and there are 14 colleges and schools comprising the 130 academic departments, which are:

  • College of Chemistry
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Environmental Design
  • College of Letters and Science
  • College of Natural Resources
  • Graduate School of Education
  • Graduate School of Journalism
  • Haas School of Business
  • Goldman School of Public Policy
  • School of Information
  • School of Law (Boalt Hall)
  • School of Optometry
  • School of Public Health
  • School of Social Welfare
  • UC Berkeley Extension

The colleges at Cal are made up of both undergraduate and graduate programs and the schools are typically graduate schools. However, some of the graduate schools do offer majors, minors, and courses for undergraduate students. While there is no UC Berkeley medical school they do have the UC Berkeley – UCSF Joint Medical Program, which allows for study in the medical field with University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), which does have a medical school. At the university students can earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as PhD’s and other professional certificates. 17 of the Cal doctorate programs have, at some time, received the #1 ranking from the National Research Council Rankings.

Haas School of Business

Hass was the first public business school in the United States and it was established in 1898. It is one of the top business schools in the nation and they offer several MBA programs as well as a PhD program.

School of Law (Boalt Hall)

The law school is referred to as Boalt Hall or simply Boalt and it is one of the best law schools in the United States. The law school was founded in 1894 and they also offer quite a few specialized programs of law such as Business, Law and Economics, Environmental Law, International Legal Studies, and Law and Technology to just name a few.

College of Engineering

The College of Engineering is one of the elite engineering schools in the nation and U.S. News & World Report ranked it 3rd in the United States only behind MIT and Stanford. Known as Berkeley CoE, the school has produced many very successful entrepreneurs such as Steve Wozniak the co-founder of Apple and Gordon Moore the co-founder of Intel. With its close proximity to Silicon Valley Haas is a hotbed for tech companies looking to hire business graduates from the college.

Online Program

UC Berkeley offers an extensive online program with UC Berkeley edX, Berkeley Extension online learning, and UC Berkeley class videos. In 2012 the Berkeley Resource Center for Online Education (BRCOE) was established and there are tons of free online courses for students to take advantage of. There are both credit and non-credit courses as well as online degree programs. At Cal, there are many online courses for undergraduate and graduate students. Through the UC Berkeley Extension students can work remotely and on their time in order to receive certificates and to further their education with courses that count towards a degree. In order to further help students with their course work there is also the UC Berkeley Webcast and Legacy Course Capture Content, which are both available to students online.

How do I apply to the University of California – Berkeley

When applying to the University of California – Berkeley there are quite a few processes in doing so depending on what type of prospective student wants admittance into the college. There are different processes and deadlines for students in the different schools and all of the graduate schools. For undergraduate students who will be incoming freshman, the Cal website has extensive information about the application process. To go along with that the website will also have all the pertinent information when it comes to the application process for transfer students, international students, home-schooled students, and those that are applying for one of the graduate schools. When it comes to incoming freshmen they lay out the important preparation for the application process where you must complete the following steps:

  • Take required tests
  • Request required transcripts
  • Identify and contact your people (typically teachers or guidance counselors and their contact information)
  • Write a personal statement
  • Confirm and satisfy additional departmental requirements
  • Read the Admissions FAQ

There is a $105 application fee for U.S. Citizens and permanent residents and for all other prospective students the fee is $125. The applications are submitted online and students will be notified of the application decision by e-mail.

Acceptance rate

The acceptance rate for the University of California – Berkeley is 16.9%. The rate is a little higher since Cal is a public school, but still not easy to get into. Still, it is not nearly as hard to get into as other universities such as Stanford and Harvard, which both have acceptance rates around 5%. The acceptance rate will differ between the graduate schools with the tougher ones to get into the College of Engineering, School of Law (Boalt Hall), and Haas Business School.

Student life at University of California–Berkeley

With over 40,000 students and in an urban setting Cal has no lack of student life. There are tons of student organizations on campus ranging from subjects such as art and sports to military and student groups and many more. There are also many volunteering opportunities as well as student publications and media groups. There are over 60 local, national, and international fraternities and sororities at California. There are many dining halls and many residency halls mainly for undergrad students. On campus, there are also several museums such as University of California Museum of Paleontology and the Lawrence Hall of Science to just name a couple. The campus holds many events all year and they are some great traditions such as the Cal Mic Men and the California Victory Cannon, Card Stunts.

Cal Berkeley has a solid athletics reputation and they are in Division and are in the Pac 12 Conference. The Golden Bears is the nickname of the sports teams and there are 27 varsity sports, for both men and women, at the university. The school has won many national titles in the sports offered led by men’s rugby, which has won 26 national championships and followed by men’s crew and men’s water polo with 15 and 13 national titles respectively. The biggest sporting event at the college has to be the Big Game, which is a HUGE rivalry between Cal and Stanford in football. Besides the varsity athletics there are also many club sports and hundreds or intramural teams and leagues on campus. All over the Cal campus there are many athletic fields and state of the art facilities.

Cal Berkley has a great party scene with many frat parties, dorm parties, football game day parties, and organization parties and gatherings. There are many places to gather on campus and in Berkeley there are many hip and cool restaurants, cafes, bars, and pubs. On top of that nearly Oakland has many great things to do as does San Francisco right across the bay.

University of California-Berkeley Campus

The University of California – Berkeley campus is huge with 1,232 acres while the main central campus is just under 180 acres. The campus is very green and beautiful and very accessible by foot, bike, car, and public transportation. On campus, there is no lack of residence halls, dining halls and cafes, and athletic facilities. Most of the buildings on campus are in the t in the Beaux-Arts Classical style and the Sather Tower, which overlooks the university is the tallest clock tower in the United States.

Costs of Studying at the University of California – Berkeley

The cost of studying at Cal Berkeley is rather high for a public institution, but also an excellent return on investment considering how much graduates can earn. The tuition of the college will differ significantly if the student is an in-state one from California or not. The costs of studying at the university will also vary depending on the school that is attended when it comes to the graduate programs. Here is a breakdown of the costs to attend University of California – Berkeley per year for an undergraduate student:

  • Tuition and Fees $14,170
  • Room and Board $15,716
  • Books and Supplies $894
  • Other Expenses $4,944

Cal offers an instalment plan for payment of tuition as well as room and board and there is no lack of financial aid available. In terms of financial aid there is a lot of pertinent information, which can be found at


Cal Berkeley is located in Berkeley, California, which has a population of just over 110,000 and situated on the east shore of San Francisco Bay. To the south of Berkeley is Oakland and Emeryville and as a whole the college is in Contra Costa County and at the base of the Berkeley Hills.

Q: How much money will I make with a University of California – Berkeley degree? A: For graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Cal they can expect to make nearly $70,000 early in their career. The university has a solid return on investment, especially for those who earned their degree as an in-state student with the costs significantly lower. The money that can be earned will differ depending is a person has a bachelor’s degree or a master’s or PhD, where the salaries and earning potential are significantly greater. Q: How does the accreditation process work?A: The University of California 0- Berkeley accepts transfer students in both undergraduate and graduate schools. The admissions for transfer students and what they will need in order to transfer to Cal is all in the main college website in the Admission Program. There is also a Transfer Student Center on campus to help with transfers to the university and if they are in help them get acclimated to the college. All of the information regarding transfer students can be found at: Q: What is work study? A: Cal offers work study, which is a federal student aid program that allows students to have part-time employment in order to make money while at the university. The program is very good for employers considering the aid program pays for a portion of the wages.Q: Can I submit applications after November 30th?A: The university will not accept any applications after the deadline date of November 11th. Q: Is residency hall housing guaranteed? A: All incoming freshman to Cal will get housing priority. If the student sends their housing application by the deadline as well as has flexibility in where they want to reside on campus they will get a contract offer for housing on campus.

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