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(link is external).

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...

Payment, Registration, and Visas

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(link is external).

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(link is external) on the Berkeley International Office site, direct all visa questions to

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(link is external) on the Berkeley Summer Sessions site, direct all registration and fee questions to

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(link is external).

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

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...

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(link is external) in Summer English Language Studies vary in unit amount, but the course fees for international students (NOT including additional Summer Sessions...

Course Information

My course says that it is "2 units." What does "unit" mean?

A unit (or unit of credit) represents the amount of work in a course. Each unit represents approximately 30-45 hours of work by the student, including both class attendance and preparation. So if you are taking a 2-unit class in the summer, you can expect the total amount of work in the class to take you 60-90 hours/term. See for more information.

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(link is external).

How can I get a copy of my transcript?

Summer students must use the transcript service TranscriptsPlus(link is external) to obtain copies of their transcript. Please refer to...

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(link is external).

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.

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.

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...

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: 01 July 2024; Session E: 22 July 2024).

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.

Living in Berkeley

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(link is external), such as AC Transit(link is external),...

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

Check out the Berkeley Summer Sessions housing website(link is external) 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...

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:

More information about summer students and health insurance(link is...