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Global Program for Freshmen

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Make the most of college with UC Berkeley's Global Program for Freshmen.

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Think of this as an online "study-abroad" program that keeps you on track to graduate. Maintain admission to your home institution while taking Berkeley classes. Benefits include:

  • A collaborative learning community
  • Fully international, inclusive and diverse student body
  • Close-knit community of peers, advisers and faculty
  • Small, live online classes of only 15 to 45 students (as opposed to large lectures of 300 to 1,000 classmates)

By learning from elite Berkeley faculty and mentors, students experience high-impact learning and create meaningful relations with their classmates. Individualized advising and coaching from student mentors and tutors means that you will succeed in our academically challenging and inspiring courses.

After your semester or year-long Berkeley education, you'll take all of your newfound knowledge back to your home institution.

Announcing the new GPF Gateway Partnership with UC Santa Barbara

If you are accepted in our Berkeley Global Program for Freshmen, you will have the opportunity to extend your University of California education with guaranteed admission into the University of California, Santa Barbara, the 34th-ranked university in the United States.

As you complete your freshmen year with us, you will transition to a 2-year, in-person, intensive program at UCSB and Santa Barbara City College. You will then complete your degree at UC Santa Barbara during your senior year.

After your semester or year-long Berkeley education, you'll take all of your newfound knowledge back to your home institution. Learn more about the UC Santa Barbara Gateway Partnership.

Talk to an Adviser

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Information Sessions

Student Adviser Mariam Rahimi

"Please join us for a free online information session."

—Mariam Rahimi, Admissions Adviser

Learning Format

Features of a Live Online Class

Replicating the in-class experience, the Live Online format fosters community and interaction with peers and your instructor through group projects with real-world relevance.


Attend scheduled online sessions with your instructor and classmates where you participate in engaging lectures, collaborate and apply the course material in discussions and break out sessions. Instructors deliver course content in interactive video conference sessions that are thoughtfully designed and executed. This adds additional community and engagement with your instructor and classmates while you work on assignments and other course work.

Engage in active learning through the use of collaborative tools such as:

  • Breakout rooms with classmates to dig deeper into the course content or work on a group project.
  • White boards allow you to visualize the material in the same way as an in-person class.
  • Polls to get your feedback on thought-provoking questions.
Program Structure

Immediate Feedback

Real-time interaction means instant feedback.

Your questions get answered immediately and your views and opinions get timely responses.


We're all about creating learning environments in which you can engage with fellow classmates and your instructor.

Respond to instructor-posed questions.

Chat with other students about the course content, group projects and the like.

As part of the learning community, your instructor will always be present by serving as a mentor, providing personalized feedback and answering all of your questions via email or chat.

Global Networking

Your classmates reside in countries from around the world, creating a truly global experience.

You'll learn and interact with students from different countries and industries and establish invaluable, lifelong relationships with classmates from every corner of the world.


Instructor Stephen Torres is excited about learning in this new format!

Your Instructors

You'll have direct access to your instructors who are some of the leading minds in the world in cutting-edge topics. They are as passionate about their fields as they are about teaching!

Just like a classroom course, your instructor assigns reading materials from a textbook, from within the course modules, and perhaps other mediums such as videos or podcasts. All of these avenues aim to strengthen your knowledge of the subject area. These readings and assignments form the basis of your talking points or questions to post during the Live Online session's discussions.

Your instructor is available, even if he or she is remote. Ask questions about the material. Consider these opportunities as the equivalent of staying late after class to ask your instructor questions in person.

Whether you're living in the San Francisco Bay Area, across the nation, or somewhere around the globe, you can get Berkeley-quality education with that in-class feeling without leaving home.

Course Selection

Students can take up to 15 credits of classes each semester. Students choose courses that cover key prerequisites from majors across various subject areas. We ensure that the classes you take transfer to your university.

Example classes include:

  • Reading and Composition
  • Calculus
  • Introduction to Statistics
  • Critical Issues in Global Studies
  • Introduction to Biological Anthropology
  • Introduction to Human Physiology
  • U.S. History
  • Introduction to Comparative Politics

Upon completion, students earn a transcript from UC Berkeley Extension, the administrative department of Berkeley Global.


$20,000 (USD) per semester. Fees include:

  • Courses
  • Student advising
  • Personal academic advising
  • Orientation
  • Student development workshop series

Admissions Requirements

For admission to the Global Program for Freshmen, you must be a recent high school graduate with a GPA of 3.0, have proven proficiency in English and have been admitted to an undergraduate institution for the 2020/2021 academic year.

English Proficiency Requirements

Because English-language proficiency test centers are closed due to COVID-19, you can meet our English-language requirement in any of the following ways:

Scores must be from the past two years.

  • TOEFL: 90
  • IELTS Academic Format: 7
  • DAAD: C1
  • Cambridge C1 Advanced
  • TEM-4 or TEM-8: 70

You can request an interview in your application if you have earned any of the following minimum scores:

  • TOEFL: 79-89
  • IELTS Academic Format: 6.5
  • TOEIC: 700 or above
  • ELS Level 112 with an ELS GPA of 3.0


  • You can satisfy the English proficiency requirement if you have passed an interview with a UC Berkeley Extension recruiter. Interviews are held in your home country.

You may request a waiver if you meet one of the following requirements:

  • You have completed one year of full-time academic instruction entirely in the English language.
  • You have successfully completed an academic program in a country where English is the official language.
  • You are from a country on the exempt list. Contact an adviser for more information.

Berkeley Global can also provide English-proficiency screening as an additional service.

Talk to an Adviser

Frequently Asked Questions for Berkeley Global Program for Freshmen

What type of credit is being offered?

Berkeley Global Program for Freshmen (GPF) courses carry the Extension XB credit designation, which means they have been approved by the Berkeley Academic Senate and are equivalent to courses taught at Berkeley. Students have transferred XB credits successfully to colleges and universities across the United States.

How can I be certain my Berkeley GPF courses will transfer to my home institution?

Once you apply to this program, one of our academic advisers will help you contact your home institution to help you understand the transfer policy and arrange credit transfer. You can make a decision about applying to GPF after we've sent you a credit transfer analysis.

Will I be a transfer student after Berkeley GPF?

That depends on your home institution's policy on concurrent enrollment. Check with your enrollment counselor there to determine what your status will be. Most schools in the U.S. allow students to take courses elsewhere while enrolled.

How will I take my classes?

Your Live Online courses are delivered through our Canvas Learning Management system. After admittance into the program, you will work with your adviser to identify a course load that best meets your academic goals. You will also attend an online orientation to prepare you for your studies.

How will courses be scheduled to fit various time zones?

Most Berkeley GPF courses will be offered in both morning and evening sections to accommodate students from around the world.

What if I can't start the class on the date that it begins?

Stay in close contact with your instructor or your Berkeley GPF adviser and be clear about your scheduling conflicts. You may be switched to a different section of the same course that better fits your schedule.

Will I be able to access a recorded lecture if I want to do additional studying?

We advise our instructors to record all of their live lectures so that you can review them afterward.

Can I attend office hours?

Yes. Your instructors will be available for live, virtual office hours and discussion.

How will I be graded for these classes?

Just like Berkeley campus courses, grades are based on attendance, participation, assignments and exams.

How long will the classes and coursework take me to complete each week?

This depends on your course selection and your schedule. Classes will last 90 minutes and are held twice a week, for a cumulative total of (at minimum) 12 classroom hours per week. Each class might require 1–3 hours of additional preparation.

English is not my first language. Is there language support?

Language and writing support will be offered through the Berkeley Student Learning Center.

What if I miss a class?

Different instructors have different policies about makeup work and attendance. This will be clearly detailed on your course syllabus. You can always check with your instructor about his/her expectations.

What kind of computer and operating system do I need?

The two primary tools you'll need to run on your computer are Canvas and Zoom. Both work well across operating systems and devices (Windows, Mac, iOS, Linux, Android, etc.), as well as within modern web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, etc.). For more detailed hardware specifications, please see the requirements for Canvas and Zoom.

What video platform will I need to use?

You will not need a special video platform. Canvas is a web application that you log into with your browser. Canvas will show videos in its own web application. Links to third-party video platforms that your instructors share will also be viewed within your browser (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.). On a smartphone, you may also elect to download supportive applications (YouTube, Vimeo, Zoom, etc.), but these are not required as both Canvas and Zoom can run within a browser.

Which web browser should I use?

Most modern web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, etc.) are compatible with Canvas and Zoom, the two primary tools you'll use in class. Whichever browser you prefer, be sure to keep it up to date for compatibility, functionality and security.

Do I need more than one monitor?

One is enough, but you may prefer additional screen space.

Does my Internet need to work at a certain speed?

Both Canvas and Zoom are impressively dynamic and can scale as needed. For example, Canvas is designed to accommodate low speeds, and Zoom will support audio only if the network is insufficient for video, or will show one person or more if it determines your speed is sufficient. Zoom also provides direct phone access through multiple lines if your network is down. Here are some network tips from Zoom.

What do I do if my Internet is consistently unstable and I'm not able to access the live lectures?

It is recommended that you contact your instructor and watch the recorded lecture as soon as your Internet is available. If your network is frequently unreliable, speak to an adviser to make learning accommodations.

Can I pay the cost in installments?

After you are accepted, you will receive an invoice via email with instructions on how to pay your fees. In order to reserve your space in the program, you must remit your program fees a minimum of 30 days before the first day of class. Payments must be made directly to UC Berkeley Extension in U.S. dollars.

Can my high school or college advising company pay for me to attend this program?

If you are receiving funding from your school or another organization, upload a letter from the organization in the Additional Documents section of the application on official business letterhead, including a signature showing your name and the amount of support.

Will I also need to pay my U.S. university?

This depends on the arrangement with your undergraduate institution. We can help to facilitate this discussion.

If I want to discontinue the program, what is the refund policy?

You have until one week after the course starts to request a refund. Refunds will not be given on GPF tuition after the first week of instruction.