Road to the University of California Berkeley

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The University of California, Berkeley (also referred to as Berkeley, UC Berkeley, California or simply Cal) is a public research university located in Berkeley, California. It is the flagship campus of the University of California system, one of three parts in the state’s public higher education plan, which also includes the California State University system and the California Community Colleges System.
In 1866, the land comprising the current Berkeley campus was purchased by the private College of California. Because it lacked sufficient funds to operate, it eventually merged with the state-run Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College to form the University of California, the first full-curriculum public university in the state.
The original name University of California was frequently shortened to California or Cal.  Berkeley is a large, primarily residential research university with a majority of enrollments in undergraduate programs but also offers a comprehensive doctoral graduate program.The university has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission since 1949. The university is one of only two UC campuses operating on a semester calendar, (the other is UC Merced). Berkeley offers 106 Bachelor’s degrees, 88 Master’s degrees, 97 research-focused doctoral programs, and 31 professionally focused graduate degrees.
Berkeley’s 130-plus academic departments and programs are organized into 14 colleges and schools in addition to UC Berkeley Extension. “Colleges” are both undergraduate and graduate, while “Schools” are generally graduate only, though some offer undergraduate majors, minors, or courses.
The four-year, full-time undergraduate program has a focus on the arts and sciences with a high level of co-existence in undergraduate and graduate programs. Freshman admission is selective but there are high levels of transfer-in. Requirements for undergraduate degrees come from four sources: the University of California system, the Berkeley campus, the college or school, and the department. These requirements include an entry-level writing requirement before enrollment (typically fulfilled by minimum scores on standardized admissions exams such as the SAT or ACT), completing coursework on “American History and Institutions” before or after enrollment by taking an introductory class, passing an “American Cultures Breadth” class at Berkeley, as well as requirements for reading and composition and specific requirements declared by the department and school. Three-hour final examinations are required in most undergraduate classes and take place over a week following the last day of instruction in mid-December for the Fall semester and in mid-May for the Spring semester. Academic grades are reported on a five-letter scale (A,B,C,D,F) with grade points being modified by three-tenths of point for pluses and minuses. Requirements for academic honors are specified by individual schools and colleges, scholarly prizes are typically awarded by departments, and students are elected to honor societies based on these organizations’ criteria.

Berkeley has a “comprehensive” graduate program with high coexistence with the programs offered to undergraduates, but no medical school. The university offers graduate degrees in Master’s of Art, Master’s of Science, Master’s of Fine Art, and PhDs in addition to professional degrees such as the Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration. Admission to graduate programs is decentralized; applicants apply directly to the department or degree program. Most graduate students are supported by fellowships, teach assistantships, or research assistantships.
Berkeley is a research university with a “very high” level of research activity. There are 1,582 full-time and 500 part-time faculty members dispersed among more than 130 academic departments and more than 80 interdisciplinary research units.
Berkeley’s 32 libraries tie together to make the fourth largest academic library in the United States.  The libraries together cover over 12 acres (4.9 ha) of land and form one of the largest library complexes in the world. Doe Library serves as the library system’s reference, periodical, and administrative center, while most of the main collections are housed in the subterranean Gardner Main Stacks and Moffitt Undergraduate Library.
It is considered by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings as one of six university brands that lead in world reputation rankings in 2015 and is ranked third on the U.S. News’ 2015 Best Global Universities rankings conducted in the U.S. and nearly 50 other countries. The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) also ranks the University of California, Berkeley, fourth in the world overall, and first among public universities. The university is also well known for producing a high number of entrepreneurs.
The Berkeley campus encompasses approximately 1,232 acres (499 ha), though the “central campus” occupies only the low-lying western 178 acres (72 ha) of this area. Of the remaining acres, approximately 200 acres (81 ha) are occupied by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; other facilities above the main campus include the Lawrence Hall of Science and several research units, notably the Space Sciences Laboratory, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, an undeveloped 800-acre (320 ha) ecological preserve, the University of California Botanical Garden and a recreation center in Strawberry Canyon. Outside of the Bay Area, the University owns various research laboratories and research forests in both northern and southern Sierra Nevada.
Two committees and the Office of Sustainability and Energy at UC Berkeley work formally to implement sustainability initiatives on campus. The university encourages green purchasing when possible including installing energy-efficient technologies around campus such as steam trap systems and economizers.
The University of California is governed by a 26-member Board of Regents, 18 of which are appointed by the Governor of California to 12-year terms, 7 serving as ex officio members, a single student regent and a non-voting student regent-designate. The position of Chancellor was created in 1952 to lead individual campuses.
UC Berkeley receives funding from a variety of sources, including federal and state authorities, and private donors. With the exception of government contracts, public money is proportioned to UC Berkeley and the other 9 universities of the University of California system through the UC Office of the President.
Students and prospective students of UC Berkeley are eligible for a variety of public and private financial aid. Most financial aid inquiries are processed through the UC Berkeley Financial Aid and Scholarships Office. Some graduate schools, such as the Haas School of Business and UC Berkeley School of Law have their own financial aid offices.
The official university mascot is Oski the Bear, who debuted in 1941.The University of California Marching Band, which has served the university since 1891, performs at every home football game and at select road games as well. The UC Rally Committee, formed in 1901, is the official guardian of California’s Spirit and Traditions. Wearing their traditional blue and gold rugbies, Rally Committee members can be seen at all major sporting and spirit events.
Students at UC Berkeley live in a variety of housing that cater to personal and academic preferences and styles. The university offers two years of guaranteed housing for entering freshmen, and one year for entering transfer students. The immediately surrounding community offers apartments, Greek (fraternity and sorority) housing and cooperative housing, twenty of which are houses that are members of the Berkeley Student Cooperative. Students of UC Berkeley, as well as students of other universities and colleges in the area, have the option of living in one of the twenty cooperative houses of the Berkeley Student Cooperative (BSC), formerly the University Students’ Cooperative Association (USCA), and member of the national cooperative federation, NASCO.
The Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) is the student government organization that controls funding for student groups and organizes on-campus student events. It is considered one of the most autonomous student governments at any public university in the U.S. The ASUC’s Student Union Program, Entertainment, and Recreation Board (SUPERB) is a student-run, non-profit branch dedicated to providing entertainment for the campus and community. Founded in 1964, SUPERB’s programming includes the Friday Film Series, free Noon Concerts on Lower Sproul Plaza, Comedy Competitions, Poker Tournaments, free Sneak Previews of upcoming movies, and more. UC Berkeley’s student-run online television station, CalTV, was formed in 2005 and broadcasts online. It is run by students with a variety of backgrounds and majors. UC Berkeley’s independent student-run newspaper is The Daily Californian. Berkeley also features an assortment of student-run magazines, most notably Caliber Magazine.
The athletic teams at UC Berkeley are known as the California Golden Bears (often shortened to “Cal Bears” or just “Cal”) and are primarily members of the NCAA Division IPacific-12 Conference (Pac-12). Cal is also a member of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in several sports not sponsored by the Pac-12 and the America East Conferencein women’s field hockey.
26 alumni and 27 past and present full-time faculty are counted among the 72 Nobel laureates associated with the university.

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