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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 and across the Bay Area for field trips and fieldwork to learn more about American culture and take advantage of all that the are 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. 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 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 Below, we list a number of links to help you learn more about Berkeley Summer Sessions procedures.


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. We will update this site throughout the year.

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 two or three classes for 6 to 7 units during the six week session (Session D), and one or two classes for 3 or 4 units during 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 contact us at 


Registration begins in February. The registration deadlines for summer 2019 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 Pre-collegiate Program in order to ensure  appropriate advising and housing assistance.


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.


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.


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


If you have any additional questions, please feel free to email us at!