SELS Students

High School Students

The Summer English Language Studies Program is excited to offer courses for high school students!  Students will be able to enhance their English language skills while undertaking university-style work and planning for life after high school.  Come experience everything that Berkeley’s vibrant campus and city has to offer.

Visiting international students will enroll in our program via the “Berkeley Pre-College Scholars program” offered by Berkeley’s Summer Sessions.  Students do not have to fulfill the English Proficiency Requirement (EPR) to take classes in our program, but we can also work with students who have fulfilled it (see information about our advanced-level sections).

precollege.berkeley.eduThe Berkeley Pre-College Scholars: Summer Residential Program offers international and domestic high school students the opportunity to live on campus and enjoy the summer at Berkeley. Get involved in Berkeley courses, extracurricular activities and excursions, and workshops planned just for you. Take advantage of everything campus has to offer, while also earning college credit. 

Students can also attend virtually or attend other on-site programs this summer.

As listed on the Pre-College website, benefits the program provides to high school students include:

  • Residential program housing a short walk from campus with full-time chaperones
  • The addition of Berkeley Summer Sessions on your college application
  • A letter of commendation from the Dean of Summer Sessions, Study Abroad, and Lifelong Learning for passing grades upon email request to
  • Earn a Berkeley transcript that can be requested from the UC Berkeley’s Office of the Registrar
  • College credit that may be transferable to another college program*
  • Welcome orientation and campus tour
  • Support from designated program staff throughout the program
  • College preparation workshops
  • Extracurricular activities and excursions

*Acceptance of transfer credit is always at the discretion of the accepting institution.

For Summer 2024, we are happy to open most of our courses to high school students**.  The only courses not open to high school students are the courses in our Legal Studies strand: 9I; 9N; 9O; 6Q; W3D; and W3E.

Please note that, if you register for Colwrit/ESL 5, 6, 8, or 9  (even if you have fulfilled the EPR), you must take an online placement exam in June so that we may place you in a level that best meets your language needs.  For more information about the placement exam, please visit our placement page.

**Course availability is subject to change based on student enrollment.

UC Berkeley Multilingual Students

Are you a student at Cal during the academic year?
Want to work on your academic English and earn UCB credit?
Take a Summer English Language Studies class during Session D or E.

Visiting Students

We are happy to welcome visiting students in all our courses!  

The Berkeley campus and San Francisco Bay Area community offer a stimulating environment for students interested in improving their English. Known for its academic excellence, creativity, and innovative thinking, Berkeley is a perfect choice for summer study. Join us on campus to study and socialize, explore the Bay Area through field trips and fieldwork to learn more about American culture, and take advantage of all that the area has to offer.

This page is designed to introduce visiting students to the process for registering for courses and planning their summers.


Summer English Language Studies is an academic department offering courses through Berkeley Summer Sessions.  Please email us with any questions concerning Colwrit/ESL courses; we are happy to provide you with information about course content.

For general information about the Berkeley Summer Sessions process for visiting international students, please see the Summer Sessions checklist here.

Unfortunately, we cannot answer questions about registration, housing, fees, or visas.  Please address your questions to Berkeley Summer Sessions at  Below, we list a number of links to help you learn more about Berkeley Summer Sessions procedures.

Please note that a number of these pages may currently still display information from summer 2023.  Although some of this information may be subject to updates for 2020 and will not be posted until closer to the next term, they can hopefully serve as helpful guidelines.

Summer Schedule and Courses

Berkeley offers ESL only in summers; unfortunately, we have no classes outside of the months of July and August.

For the most current information about course times and content, please look at our complete courses list.

The tentative course list has been posted.  In the middle of December, schedule information will be posted.  We will make updates to it throughout the year as needed, and course information is subject to change.

For information about non-ESL Berkeley Summer Sessions courses, which run from May – August, please see the Summer Sessions courses list.

We have no required courses or set course schedules for our program.  Instead, we encourage students to design personal schedules best suited to their varying interests and English goals using the extensive list of different courses we offer.

As a general guideline, however, most of our students take:

  • 2 or 3 classes for 6 to 7 units during the six week session (Session D), and
  • 1 or 2 classes for 3 or 4 units during the three week session (Session E) only.

This will allow you to meet the visa requirements, participate in our excellent courses, and engage in learning English outside the classroom in the San Francisco Bay Area as well.

If you have any other questions about scheduling, or if you would like recommendations for course options based on your background and goals, feel free to email us.


Registration begins in February. The registration deadlines for summer 2024 can be found at the Summer Sessions schedule page.

However, classes can fill up, so potential students are encouraged to register as soon as they can.  We will not necessarily open new classes if classes are full.

Registration materials and prices are all found at the Summer Sessions web site: Fees & Registration.


Our courses do not have prerequisites, but we do not accept beginning level students, as all courses are taught in English.

Our program is an academic/professional one, and focuses on the needs of college students, (pre-)professionals, and rising high school students with their sights set on university work.

High school students must apply through UC Berkeley’s Summer Pre-College Programs in order to ensure appropriate advising and housing assistance.  Please contact this department directly at if you have any questions about this program.

Language Proficiency and Placement

If you register for Colwrit/ESL 5, 6, 8, or 9 you must take a placement examination. It will be available on the Internet beginning June 1. This exam is meant to assess your level of proficiency.  See our placement exam page for more information.

If you register for Colwrit 7 (on site) and/or W3 (online) only, you do not need to take any placement exam.

If you want to register for non-ESL courses, there are Language Proficiency Requirements. Please note that these requirements are not necessary for Colwrit/ESL courses.

Visa Information

All questions regarding visas should be sent to the Berkeley International Office summer email address, The website for summer-only international students lists information about visa and full-time enrollment requirements, plus has links to tutorials and other important items.

Housing Information

Information about student housing can be found on the Summer Sessions Housing page.