The University of California Berkeley is among the oldest universities in the United States, having been established during the Gold Rush in 1868. It was formed with the merging of the College of California and the Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College. In 1870, the university opened its gates to female students. The campus boasts of architectural masterpieces like the Doe Library, the Wheeler Hall, and the Greek Theater.
At the end of the World War II, the university faced a huge influx of students, which led to the addition of 40 acres of land to campus property. During this time, several residential halls were also constructed.
Education at University of California Berkeley was strongly focused towards civil engineering during the 19th century however, in the 1920s the university attracted brilliant faculty in science and established a national science laboratory. In 1939, faculty member Ernest Lawrence received the first Nobel Prize in Physics. As of 2011, the faculty and alumni of the university have received 66 Nobel Prizes.
The National Research Council ranked 48 programs of the university among the top ten in the United States, including programs in civil engineering, astrophysics, computer science, genomics, and plant biology.
With a 15:1 student to teacher ratio and 21 Nobel Laureates teaching at the university, students benefits from the academically challenging learning environment and the spectacular expertise of their teachers.
Programs at the university are organized into 14 schools which are further divided into several departments. The College of Letters and Science is Berkeley’s largest college with more than 60 departments. Berkeley also has the famous Haas School of Business, which is ranked among the top 25 business schools in the world.
As of Fall 2010, more than 35,000 students are studying at the University of California Berkeley.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Admission requirements and criteria vary for different programs. Because the college receives a large number of applications, students with academic scores higher than the average academic scores in California have a higher chance of getting admission.
Undergraduate programs are available at the College of Letters and Science, College of Engineering, College of Chemistry, College of Environmental Design, College of Natural Resources, and Haas School of Business.
Freshmen students must have taken 15 preparatory courses listed here. California residents must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and out of state applications must have a minimum GPA of 3.4. SAT or ACT scores are also mandatory.
Transfer students must have a minimum of 60 credit hours along with prerequisites for the major you choose.
Freshmen international students must submit SAT or ACT scores, secondary education transcripts, and TOEFL scores.
All departments require scores of specialized examinations such as the GRE, MAT, GMAT, OAT, or LSAT. Before applying, students must check the admission requirements with the department they are interested in.
Letters of recommendation and work experience may also be required for certain programs, especially at Haas School of Business.
Undergraduate and graduate students must complete the FAFSA to be considered for financial aid. California residents are also recommended to apply for the Cal Grant. Financial aid is available in the form of federal grants, work study programs, fellowships, graduate student financial support, and honor programs.
Undergraduate students are encouraged to apply for Nationally Competitive Scholarships, a list of which is available at the University of California Berkeley Scholarship Connection.
Academic Achievement Programs
The university also has several Academic Achievement Programs which includes the following scholarships:
1. McNair Scholars Program – Provides $2800 stipend for research, fully funded GRE prep, and a mentorship opportunity with a faculty member.
2. Miller Scholars Program – It is awarded every year to 12 low income first generation college students. The Miller Scholars Program includes a $7000 scholarship for two year programs, mentoring from faculty, and weekly sessions on graduate school preparation and undergraduate research.
3. Posse Scholars Program – Provides a full tuition fee scholarship and faculty and peer mentoring.
UC Berkeley students benefit from the multiple scholarship programs available both at the undergraduate and graduate level, but please note that financial assistance is not extended to international students.
Student Financial Aid Details
The student body at UC Berkeley largely lives on campus. Housing facilities include Units 1, 2 and 3, Channing-Bowditch, Manville, University Village, and Smyth-Fernwald. Clark-Kerr campus has residential style suites while Stern is an all women residential facility. The campus is fully wi-fi and all rooms in the residential facilities have network connections.
Students can purchase meal plans online whenever they want. There is no mandate of compulsory meal plans although, meals at campus dining facilities can only by purchased with meal plan points. Most dining facilities are open round the clock. UC Berkeley has a huge campus food court known as the Bear’s Lair.
There are 65 Greek fraternities and sororities at Berkeley. Chapters include the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council, the National Pan Hellenic Council, and the Multi Cultural Greek council. In addition to having an active Greek life, there are more than 1000 student clubs and organizations.
The campus is always alive with music performances, in house theatricals, concerts, comedy nights and other events. Students can tune into the KALX – Berkeley’s student run radio station to get a lowdown of all that is happening on campus, or read the Daily Cal – the university’s award winning student run campus newspaper.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
Athletic teams at the university are called the California Golden Bears. They are a member of the Pacific 12 Conference and play in the official school colors of Yale Blue and California Gold. UC Berkeley has won over 100 medals in student
Traditionally, the Golden Bears have an arch rivalry with Stanford Cardinals. The Big Game, an annual football event between the two universities, is among the most awaited events each year.
Recreational facilities include the Golden Bear Recreational Center and the Strawberry Canyon Recreational Area.
Being among the oldest universities, UC Berkeley has a large set of university traditions. The Freshman Sophomore Brawl started in 1907 where male students met for tug of war and jousting matches. The Pajamarino is also particularly famous – a pajama clad party for those who can come up with the most interesting night dresses.
John Cho, actor
Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert
Gregory Peck, actor.
Jason Kidd, NBA All Star
Douglas Engelbert, inventor of the computer mouse
Eric Schmidt, ex-Google CEO
Selman Waksman, Nobel Laureate
Robert Curl, Nobel Laureate.
- University of California Berkeley. University of California Berkeley. Web. 20 May 2011.
- The Daily Cal. The Daily Californian. Web. 20 May 2011.
- Cal Bears. California Golden Bears. Web. 20 May 2011.