For International Ph.D. Applicants

My undergraduate college degree is from a foreign country. Is it equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree?

The Graduate Division determines which degrees are acceptable. Because of the variety of international education systems, there is no single answer. For specific questions, please contact the School of Information at or (510) 664-4742.

What about transcripts from foreign colleges and universities?

Submit copies of the official transcripts or academic records for all university-level studies you have completed abroad and at U.S. institutions. If your academic records do not include official evidence of the award of your degree, you must also submit additional documents, such as a degree conferral certificate, that verify its award. For information about the documents required for an initial review of your application, please contact the School of Information at or (510) 664-4742.

What if my transcripts are in a foreign language?

Academic records should be issued in their original languages accompanied by English translations (usually prepared by your university or an official translator). In general, records or transcripts must be issued by the school and include the school’s stamp or embossed seal and the signature of the authorizing official. In some countries, copies certified by notaries or governmental officials are acceptable, but copies certified by translators or U.S. notaries are not acceptable.

In English translations, please provide a literal, word-for-word translation of degree names and grades; do not convert into English equivalents or the U.S. grades of A-F. If you must obtain a translation while in the United States, versions prepared by members of the American Translators Association are acceptable.

Translations are not required for academic records issued in English or Spanish.

Do I have to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System)?

Applicants who received their degrees in countries other than the U.S., U.K., Australia, or English-speaking Canada are required to complete the the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). This includes applicants with degrees from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, North Africa, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, and most European countries. Your most recent score must be at least 90 on the Internet-based TOEFL or at least 7.0 on the IELTS Academic test.

Only applicants who have completed a full year of U.S. university-level coursework with a grade of B or better are exempt from this requirement.

Instead of the TOEFL, may I take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)?

Yes, the IELTS may be acceptable as a substitute for the TOEFL. For more information, please contact the School of Information at or (510) 664-4742.

Do I also need to take the GRE?

No. Submitting a GRE General Test is optional for all Ph.D. applicants.

Do I need to submit financial documents with my application?

No. Please do not send bank statements or other financial documents with your application. If you are admitted, the Berkeley International Office will contact you to request additional financial documentation.

What visa do I need to study in the U.S.?

Most international students study on an F-1 visa. The F-1 visa is for full-time, non-immigrant students. To be eligible for the F-1 visa, the student must be enrolled full-time, must have sufficient funds for self-support, and must maintain a residence abroad which he/she has no intention of giving up.

More information: Berkeley International Office; US State Department; US Citizenship & Immigration Services

How do I apply for California residency?

International students on an F-1 visa are not eligible for California residency.

Last updated:

April 13, 2021