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

TOEFL: {{ ::program.toefl }} (iBT)

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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
  • 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.


  • Recommended minimum grade point average (GPA): 3.0. Calculate my GPA. Exceptions are sometimes made on a case-by-case basis; you may contact us for details.
  • Completion of the BGA-Start online application.
  • Make sure that you meet specific prerequisites for any course you intend to take.

{{ }} English Proficiency Requirements

Applicants must submit official evidence of English-language proficiency. Sometimes exceptions to this requirement are made. Please note that the submission of language proficiency scores or other forms of verification does not guarantee acceptance into the program.

English Language Test Minimum Score for {{ program.midName || }}
TOEFL {{ program.toefl }}
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English Proficiency Requirement Exceptions

University study in a country where English is the primary language spoken

If you have completed at least one year of university study in a country where English is the primary language, you can request a waiver.

To do so, when you apply online, upload a letter explaining that English is the primary and official language spoken in your country and include a website or other supporting documentation (e.g., publications or website for government department, ministry, bureau, secretariat or directorate-general) for our verification purposes.

To do so, when you apply online, upload a letter explaining that English is the primary and official language spoken in your country and include a website or other supporting documentation (e.g., publications or website for government department, ministry, bureau, secretariat or directorate-general) for our verification purposes.

One year of full-time, college-level English instruction

If you were taught in English for at least one year, full-time at the undergraduate or graduate level, you can request a waiver.

Your transcript should reflect the coursework that you completed in English. If this is not clearly indicated on your transcript, a supporting letter from your university will need to be submitted in addition to your complete transcripts.


You can request a language proficiency interview if you meet one of these minimum score requirements: TOEFL 85, IELTS 6.5 or TOEIC 700. If you are not admitted to {{ program.midName || }}, you may be admitted to the BGA-Start Program.

If you would like to request an interview, please state your request in the online application and in your personal statement.

BGA Start English Proficiency Requirements

If you do not meet the requirements for {{ program.midName || }}, you may be eligible to apply for our BGA-Start program.

Questions? Email

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.

Program Details

Your courses.

You may choose any course in the UC Berkeley Extension or UC Berkeley course catalog (excluding courses from the School of Law), as long as you meet any published prerequisites. Transcripts of prior study may be required. UC Berkeley Extension courses are generally held in the evenings and on weekends; campus courses are held on weekdays. Courses must carry academic credit in semester units; enrollment in continuing education unit (CEU) courses is not permitted.

Course availability.

Enrollment in all courses is subject to availability. If enrollment in any course is denied, you must choose an alternate course—either a campus course or an Extension course—to maintain a full-time study schedule.

Your participation.

UC Berkeley Extension welcomes individuals and groups of students from participating universities. Student eligibility is based on academic performance and English-language skills.

We have agreements with several English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) schools in the United States to accept institutional TOEFL scores. See our list of Preferred English Providers.

Applying to a UC school.

Participation in Berkeley Global Access does not offer any advantage for a student's application to UC Berkeley or any other University of California campus.