SELS 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 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).

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.

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.

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...

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.

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).

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).

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.