Newly Admitted MSW Students

Welcome to Berkeley Social Welfare!

students in classroom

Congratulations on your admission to the Berkeley Social Welfare MSW Program!

Berkeley is an incomparable place to pursue a graduate professional degree. We are delighted to welcome you to our active and vibrant intellectual community!

This welcome page contains important information and links to essential resources for getting started as a new graduate student at Berkeley. Please review these details carefully and take all required actions promptly to help ensure a smooth transition to your new graduate career.

Information for Students Entering Fall 2020

Coronavirus Information

For the latest information on how UC Berkeley is responding to coronavirus, please see the campus Coronavirus Information Hub. You can also see a summary of how the response is being implemented in our School by visiting Coronavirus Information for Berkeley Social Welfare.

Important Dates and Deadlines

March 2, 2020 Deadline to submit completed FAFSA
April 15, 2020 Deadline to accept offer of admission
June 1, 2020 Deadline to submit required Statement of Legal Residence
July 15, 2020 Deadline to submit SHIP Waiver 
July 20, 2020 Enrollment begins for new graduate students
August 19 & 20, 2020 New MSW Student Orientation
August 21, 2020 Fee Payment Deadline
August 26, 2020 Fall 2020 instruction begins
October 1, 2020 Deadline to submit final official transcripts to Graduate Division Admissions Office

New Student Checklist

  1. Accept your admission offer by completing the “Reply to Offer of Admission” form in your UC Berkeley online admission application account.
  2. Submit a completed FAFSA as soon as possible upon accepting admission.
  3. Establish your CalNet ID and bConnected account.
  4. Set up your email address.
  5. Submit Statement of Legal Residence in CalCentral.
    Please take a moment to review the full text of the campus residency policy, what students should do once they arrive, and applicable deadlines, which can be found on the Office of the Registrar's website. Students with residency questions can also contact the Residence Affairs unit by email to or by calling 510-643-4222.
  6. Complete tasks listed below under "Preparing for Orientation."
  7. Get your Cal 1 Card (campus student ID card).

New Student FAQ

Submit a question

Accepting Your Admission Offer

How do I accept my offer of admission?
Log into the status page of your UC Berkeley Graduate Admissions Application account and follow the instructions to “Reply to Offer of Admission.”

You say the deadline to accept my offer is April 1, but my notice from the Graduate Admissions Office says April 15. Which is it?
We are eager to learn of your decision and hope to soon welcome you to Berkeley! We hope you will let us know as soon as possible. Our departmental priority deadline has been adjusted to APRIL 15.

What if I need more time?
If you need an extension of the April 15 deadline to accept your offer, please let us know by sending an email to

Fees, Fellowships and Financial Aid

I didn’t receive a fellowship or stipend award with my admission offer. How do I apply for financial support from the department?
Offers of financial support from the department for new (incoming) students are made at the time of admission. Upon accepting your admission offer, regardless of whether you received a financial award or not, you will be eligible to apply for other departmental support opportunities as they arise. We always notify all students when new opportunities become available, and how to apply for them; you don’t need to submit any additional applications at this time. You can learn more by reviewing our guide to Financing Your Graduate Degree.

All U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents should also submit a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as quickly as possible, even if you don’t intend to take out student loans. You can decide later whether to accept aid for which you are eligible. A FAFSA is required for certain campus-based funds (e.g., Parent Grant, Work-Study).

What if I’m not eligible to submit a FAFSA?
If you aren’t eligible to submit a FAFSA, visit the following links for information about other possible alternatives:

Can you say more about what “other departmental support opportunities” might “become available?” 
Departmental Fellowships are awarded throughout the academic year. For example:

  • those fellowships that were offered to a newly admitted student who declines our admission offer will be awarded to an incoming student who has accepted admission to Berkeley. These awards will be made after the April 15th deadline to reply to admissions offers.
  • In August, applications will become available for Field Support Fellowships. These awards are intended to help defray some of the costs associated with traveling to and from your field placement internship site. All students enrolled in field placement are eligible.
  • Applications for Continuing Student Fellowships are announced each spring semester for awards for the following academic year.

If I receive a stipend (such as Child Welfare Scholars) am I still eligible for federal student loans?
Most likely yes, although the total amount you are eligible to borrow may be reduced. To learn more, see the publication, Federal Student Loans: Basics for Students.

Email Communications

Click on any link below for a PDF copy of emails sent from the Berkeley Social Welfare Admissions Office:

First Next Step: Get Onboarded

Upon accepting your offer of admission, you will receive an email with your Student ID number and a temporary password you will use for creating a CalNet ID to access CalCentral, UC Berkeley’s student portal, where you will start the onboarding process. Please review the onboarding messages and checklist items under “Tasks” on My Dashboard that you will need to complete in order to prepare for your arrival and register for classes.

Establishing Required Electronic Communication

All University of California, Berkeley students must establish a e-mail address. Students are responsible for keeping the address current and for regularly monitoring their e-mail for official communications from the University. You should establish your bConnected account and set up your email address immediately upon activating your CalNet ID (see above).

Once your email address is available in CalCentral, you will begin to receive official email communications from us, as well as other campus administrative and student support units. Emails are frequently the only means of official communications from the University, so please make sure you understand your responsibilities related to electronic communication.

New Student Orientation

Berkeley Social Welfare New MSW Student Orientation

All incoming students, including Full-time MSW, Flex Advanced Standing, Flex Extended, and Concurrent Degree Program students, are required to attend New MSW Student Orientation:

  • Thursday, August 19, 2020:
    8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Orientation Activities in Haviland Hall
    3:30 to 6:00 p.m., Meet-'n-Greet Reception with Student Groups at the Doe Library, Upper Terrace

  • Friday, August 20, 2020:
    8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Orientation Activities in Haviland Hall
    12:00 to 2:00 p.m., Lunch and Closing Reception at the Doe Library, Upper Terrace

More complete information about Orientation activities will be posted here as it becomes available. Please check back frequently!

Preparing for Orientation

Please prepare for New MSW Student Orientation by completing the following tasks before you arrive at Haviland Hall at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, August 19, 2020:

Berkeley Graduate Division New Graduate Student Orientation

All incoming students are highly encouraged to attend new student orientation activities hosted by the Graduate Division. Information and schedules are posted on Graduate Division's New Graduate Student Orientation web site when available.

Registration, Enrollment and Fee Payment

Enrollment begins for new graduate students on Monday, July 20. Students complete all enrollment, registration and fee payment actions through the CalCentral student portal. You will receive detailed instructions from the MSW Advising Office prior to the start of the enrollment period.

Registration fees must be paid by August 21, either in full or with the 1st Installment on the Fee Payment Plan (FPP). You can activate the FPP through CalCentral once you have enrolled in units for Fall 2020.

Please be sure to monitor your CalCentral account for any upcoming tasks you need to complete. The "Tasks" section of your CalCentral dashboard will show any current or upcoming tasks you need to complete for other campus units (i.e. The Residence Affairs Unit, the Berkeley International Office, the Graduate Division, etc.). Please monitor this list regularly to ensure that you are completing tasks assigned to you in a timely manner.

About Your Field Placement

Once you have accepted your offer of admission, we will provide your contact information to the Field Education Office. You will be contacted by your assigned Field Consultant in early April to begin the engagement process for determining your first-year field placement. To learn more please visit Field Education.

Fees, Fellowships and Financial Aid

All U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents are required to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The priority deadline is March 2, 2020. All students who accept our offer of admission and submit the FAFSA will receive information about financial aid from the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office in early summer.

Incoming students who received a fellowship or stipend offer included with their admission offer should establish a email address as quickly as possible in order to begin receiving communications about accepting a departmental financial support offer.

All incoming students will automatically receive notifications about any new opportunities for financial support as they become known - please make sure you set up your email right away, and monitor it regularly! All students should also review our guide to Financing Your Graduate Degree for more information about fees, fellowships and financial aid.

Accept Your Admission Offer

To let us know you're coming and reserve your space, please log into the status page of your UC Berkeley online application to accept or decline our offer of admission by April 15, 2020.

Get Connected

bConnected (G Suite for Education)
CalCentral (student portal)
Ca1 1 Card (Photo ID, debit card)

Get Settled

It is recommended that you arrive to campus at the beginning of August. August 1 can be a convenient date to start a housing lease, and it also allows you some time to settle in on campus before Orientation.

Graduate Housing
Cal Rentals
International House
Graduate Assembly Housing Guide
Tips for Finding Housing

The University of California is committed to a campus environment where all persons are free from sexual violence and sexual harassment (SV/SH). To help support this commitment, and ensure that new students are aware of our community expectations of respect, as well as your rights and resources, all incoming graduate and professional students are required to complete SV/SH prevention education training prior to the start of instruction.

SV/SH prevention education training requirements include completing an online module, and attending an in-person training. The in-person training will be included in your mandatory Berkeley Social Welfare New MSW Student Orientation scheduled for August 19-20.

Should you have any questions about health insurance, please visit the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) website. Take a moment to review their helpful FAQ page. If you have more specific follow-up questions that are not covered in the FAQ, please contact the Student Health Insurance Office directly at 510-642-5700 or e-mail them at