Important Dates

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early application deadline

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final application deadline

Scholarship Application Deadline

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scholarship application deadline

See all dates

Best Suited For

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See full list of costs

English Proficiency Requirements

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Lower scores may be accepted.

See full list of requirements

Length of Study

One semester or full academic year

Pace of Study


Monday–Friday, 12–18 units per semester.

Some classes may be held on weekend days.

Do you have prior knowledge of English, but need to improve your language skills to apply to one of our programs? Then this preparatory program is for you. You'll focus on developing your English-language and test-taking skills needed to succeed at UC Berkeley.

BGA-Start is a language program intended to be taken before participating in one of our programs or tracks, which focus on academic subjects as opposed to English language development.

Start Your Application for BGA-Start Program

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Duration of program:

One semester (approximately 4 months) or a full academic year (approximately 8 months). View upcoming program dates.

Pace of study:

Full-time, Monday–Friday, 12–18 units per semester


You'll take one approved UC Berkeley course and various UC Berkeley Extension courses so that you can focus on your English as a Second Language (ESL) skills and TOEFL test preparation. You'll take a minimum of 12 units and maximum of 18 units total of credit-bearing, in-person courses (online courses are not eligible). Enrollment in all courses is subject to availability.

Suggested course structure: 1 UC Berkeley course +1 TOEFL preparation course + 2 ESL courses + 1 or 2 non-language-focused Extension course(s).

  • UC Berkeley Extension courses—Recommended courses include:

    • TOEFL preparation
    • Two to three ESL courses in academic reading and writing, listening and speaking (required)
    • Courses related to major or subject of interest (optional)
  • UC Berkeley Courses—To view available courses, select the academic term and then the subject you are interested in. Upon acceptance into the program, we'll work with you to choose an appropriate UC Berkeley course that meets your English proficiency level so that you can succeed.

If you successfully complete the BGA-Start program, you will have the opportunity to join the BGA Discover program or a program track focused on a specific academic subject. You must maintain a 3.0 GPA and receive recommendations from your instructors and the Program Director before being accepted into a BGA program.

UC Berkeley undergraduate and graduate-level courses must be approved in advance. You must meet listed prerequisite requirements to be eligible for any course.


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Cost includes:

  • Courses and fees
  • Visa and housing support
  • New student orientation
  • Welcome lunch
  • International student fee
  • Mandatory health insurance
  • Student advising
  • Graduate school admissions workshop
  • Undergraduate research and student learning center resources
  • Academic transcript

Cost does not include Visa fees, textbooks, supplies, travel and housing costs, meals or daily expenses. If you participate in BGA Discover for a full academic year you'll receive a $500 continuing-student discount.


Completion of the BGA Discover online application. Make sure that you meet specific prerequisites stated for any course you intend to take.

Language Requirements:

  • TOEFL: {{ ::program.toefl }} (iBT) or
  • IELTS Academic Format: {{ ::program.ielts }} or
  • TOEIC: {{ ::program.toeic }}+

If you have a lower English test score or do not have an English proficiency test score when you apply, please contact us to request a language proficiency interview. If you complete this interview satisfactorily, you may be eligible to attend BGA-Start and then Discover or our other tracks BGA-Start students generally have language skills equivalent to a TOEFL score of 80–89.

If you have a TOEFL of 79 or below or do not demonstrate adequate language proficiency, you may attend one of our partner English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) schools. We have agreements with several schools in the United States to accept institutional TOEFL scores.


UC Berkeley Main Campus
UC Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94704

Golden Bear Center
1995 University Ave., Suite 200
Berkeley, CA 94704

Program Dates:

Start and End Dates Application Deadline
{{ term.term }} {{ term.start | date:'MMMM d, yyyy' }}–{{ term.end | date:'MMMM d, yyyy' }} {{ | date:'MMMM d, yyyy' }} No additional application necessary.

You may note your interest in a summer internship in your online application. More information about internships will be provided after your program begins.