Payment, Registration, and Visas

Course Information

Living in Berkeley (health insurance, housing, transportation) 

Where is the Summer English Language Studies office and what are the hours?

The Summer English Language Studies office is located in 119 Wheeler Hall.

The SELS office is open during July and August, Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5:00pm. Feel free to stop by during open hours with questions, concerns, or company.

If you need assistance before the term starts, please contact us via email.

If your question is not addressed below, please review Berkeley Summer Sessions’ International Student FAQs for additional information.

Payment, Registration, and Visas

How much do Summer English Language Studies courses cost?

For international students, courses cost $550 per unit (as of the Summer 2020 term). The courses in Summer English Language Studies vary in unit amount, but the course fees for international students (NOT including additional Summer Sessions fees) are as follows:

College Writing 5 (3 units): $1650
College Writing 6 (2 units): $1100
College Writing 7 (1 unit): $550
College Writing 8 (4 units): $2200
College Writing 9 (3 units): $1650
College Writing W3 (2 units): $1100

Note: Please refer to the international fee website for complete registration fees. The International Service fee will be refunded or removed from your account for 2020, as no visas are required for all-online classes.  For domestic, non-international students, refer to the registration fee website.

Is it acceptable to take a course from another department in addition to one in the Summer English Language Studies program?

Yes, students who wish to enroll in a SELS course and another non-SELS course may do so. Please keep in mind that all UC Berkeley courses are conducted in university-level English, unless noted. The rigor and expectations outside of the Summer English Language Program is intensive and based on English proficiency. The university requires that students demonstrate English language proficiency in order to take non-SELS courses.

Can I register in Summer English Language Studies courses if I am under 18 or have not finished high school?

Most of our classes and activities are designed for high school graduates and students over 18 years old. But we also welcome high school students who enroll via the Berkeley Summer Sessions Pre-College Scholars program.

If you would like to visit California and take summer ESL classes, please see our page for high school students.

If your meet the English language proficiency requirements, you are welcome to register for UC Berkeley’s Pre-Collegiate program.

I have a question about registration and payment for courses.  Whom should I contact?

The Summer English Language Studies office cannot answer specific questions about registration or fees.  After referring to the registration webpage on the Berkeley Summer Sessions site, direct all registration and fee questions to

I have a question about my visa. Whom do I talk to?

The Summer English Language Studies office cannot answer specific questions about visas. After referring to the visa webpage on the Berkeley International Office site, direct all visa questions to

What do I do if I want to change my course schedule after I have registered?

Most students can make schedule changes online. UC Berkeley students can make changes via CalCentral. Visiting international students: please visit the Berkeley Summer Sessions Enrollment Changes webpage.

Course Information

I’ve picked a class, but I am not sure which section I should choose. What do I do?

Enroll in the class you are interested in signing up for, and choose any section you would like. For example, if you would like to sign up for College Writing 9C, there are four different sections. Choose any section; we will move you into the appropriate section on the first day of class.

Is attendance mandatory in my classes? What if I go on a trip and need to miss a class?

Attendance is mandatory in all classes. Because the Summer 2020 session is short, it is crucial that all students attend every single class lecture. Also, students with visas must attend 90% of classes to stay in good status. If there is a conflict or trip you plan going on during a long weekend, please consult your course’s instructor before making any definite purchases or plans so that you can make academic arrangements.

Can I arrive after the session has started?

Attendance is mandatory on the first day of class. If a student is not present during the first class lecture of the Summer 2020 term, they will be dropped from the class. It is the responsibility of all students to coordinate their flights and housing arrangements to be in Berkeley before the date of their first class (Session D: 06 July 2020; Session E: 27 July 2020).

What is the homework level like? What should I expect to bring to class?

The homework level varies course by course. A general rule to follow is that courses with higher unit levels (for example the 4-unit College Writing 8 courses) have more homework than do courses with lower unit levels (for example the 1-unit College Writing 7 courses). Also, College Writing 5 and 9 courses all have a fieldwork component that requires an additional 5 hours of homework each week.  Consult your instructor and course syllabus for a complete list of homework assignments. Instructors do keep in mind that it is summer, and try to incorporate class trips and ways to explore California into homework assignments.

Students should expect to bring something to take notes on (i.e. laptop, notebook, etc.) for each class meeting. Students should do all class readings as assigned. Outside of class, instructors may require students to type homework or papers. If students do not have a laptop, there are numerous computer labs on the UC Berkeley campus at your disposal.

If I’m just beginning to learn English, can I enroll in a SELS course?  Is there a language proficiency requirement?

All Summer English Language Studies courses require a basic understanding of reading, writing, and speaking in the English language. All classes are taught entirely in English. Although there is no language proficiency requirement, students are expected to be able to come to the program with some prior experience with the English language.

Summer English Language Studies does not offer beginning-level English language courses at this time.

Should I buy my textbooks before coming to Berkeley? How do I know which ones to buy?

We recommend waiting to buy all of your textbooks until coming to class. Different instructors require different books, and for many classes, you will not know which section you will place into. Also, many instructors create course readers, which are books specifically for the course that contain numerous readings, pictures, and articles required for the class. Readers are class-specific and only available in Berkeley at a local copy shop. Please refer to your course syllabus during the first day of class to find out which readers/textbooks are required.

Does SELS offer TOEFL or IELTS preparation?

We will be offering a three-week Academic Test Preparation course from late July to mid August.  Please see the course website.

How can I get a copy of my transcript?

Summer students must use the transcript service TranscriptsPlus to obtain copies of their transcript.  Please refer to this post for further details on how to order your UC Berkeley transcript.

If you have additional questions or concerns, please refer to the Office of the Registrar’s webpage on transcripts.

Can I register in Summer English Language Studies courses if I am under 18 or have not finished high school? 

Yes — if you are over 17, a senior in high school in your country, and have traveled outside of your country before. Please note, however, that you will be in classes with adults!

All high school students MUST register via UC Berkeley’s Pre-Collegiate program.

Living in Berkeley

Do I need health insurance?


This is very important.  According to the Health services center on campus: “All students enrolled in UC Berkeley Summer Sessions may use the Tang Center for medical services. Students will have to pay for services at the time of service and submit a claim to their insurer for reimbursement.”

Some resources:

I’m having trouble finding housing for the summer in Berkeley. Where can I go?

Check out the Berkeley Summer Sessions housing website to see compiled information on University residence halls, student cooperative housing, and other options. Many students in the Summer English Language Studies program decide to live in International House, housing that caters to international students from all over the world. If you have housing-specific questions and/or concerns, please contact

Will I need a car in Berkeley? How can I get around?

It is definitely not necessary to have a car in the San Francisco Bay Area. Check out the local public transit options, such as AC TransitBARTMUNI, and Amtrak.  The Bay Area also offers ride-sharing services such as Lyft or Uber. There are so many options in the Bay Area to get around without having to use a car. Many students also decide to purchase bicycles during their time in Berkeley.

If you decide to invest in a bike, please remember to be careful and lock your bike up at all times, as bike theft is common in Berkeley.

In addition, depending on where your housing is during the summer term, all of your classes will be walking distance. Many students also decide to not invest in any car, bike, or other means of transportation and go on foot!