Berkeley Economics Semester Abroad Program

BESAP provides international students with the unique opportunity to enrich their academic and cultural experience by spending one semester at world-renowned University of California, Berkeley. Under BESAP, a select group of outstanding international students majoring in economics and fluent in English, are individually invited by the Economics Chair to spend one semester in Berkeley, taking upper level courses in the Economics department and interacting with faculty. Students are assigned a mentor to ensure that each receives proper guidance in terms of course selection, meeting academic expectations and adapting to life at Berkeley.

BESAP provides a unique opportunity to:

  • Spend a semester in one of the leading educational institution worldwide
  • Observe and interact with world-renowned faculty that shape and influence world events and policy (including Nobel Laureates and Clark Medalists)
  • Increase international and cultural awareness
  • Develop flexible and creative thinking
  • Take graduate level courses (with proper preparation and instructor approval)

Examples of past courses offered*

     World Economy in the 20th Century (B. Eichengreen)
     International Monetary Economics (M. Obstfeld)  
     Case Studies in Economic Development (E. Miguel)
     Urban Economics (P. Kline)
     Public Economics (E. Saez)
     Financial & Behavioral Economics (U. Malmendier)
     The Great Depression to the Great Recession (C. Romer & D. Romer)

*Courses may have limited space or may not be offered every semester

Rules Regarding Full-time Student Visas to the USA

In order to obtain a student visa and to legally stay in the U.S.A, students receive an I-20 from UC Berkeley Extension office. This I-20 is issued after applications have been received and processed. Students cannot apply for an I-20 online. All documents must be original and received by UC Berkeley Extension office before their deadline.

To maintain their student visa status, students are required to carry a full course load, a minimum of 12 units with the Department of Economics through the UC Berkeley Extension system. We will ensure that each student takes a full load of courses in Economics.

Concurrent Students versus Matriculating Students

Most students at UC Berkeley have been admitted as degree students. They are enrolled in programs that take several years to complete, involving lecture courses as well as individual work with academic advisors. These programs lead to degrees such as BA, MA, PhD, JD, MBA, etc. Admittance into these programs involves a number of steps, such as taking standardized tests (e.g. SAT, GRE, GMAT), providing letters of recommendation, submitting essays, and so on.

Students admitted under the BESAP program are visiting students. As such, they are admitted to a particular academic department, and do their coursework in this department. They do not receive a degree from the university, but they do receive grade reports proving participation and achievements, and these may be used as a substitute for parts of the requirements at their domestic academic institutions (their universities in their home countries). At the end of the semester, an official academic transcript is sent on each student's behalf to their home institution at no additional charge.

UC Berkeley Course Credits and Domestic Academic Institutions

Local rules and procedures determine the amount of credits a student will get at his/her home university for course credits from UC Berkeley. Students should consult with their academic advisor in their home Department to be sure the courses will transfer. UC Berkeley is a world-known and top-ranked academic institution, and generally students receive full credit in their home institution for course credits from UC Berkeley.

Language tests

For students from English speaking countries, or with an English language background, UC Berkeley generally allows dropping the English language tests. Such waivers are given in letters addressed to International Concurrent Enrollment. When applying for admittance to UC Berkeley Extension, a copy of this letter must be enclosed.

Otherwise, students are required to take the TOEFL (language) test. This test can be taken throughout the world. The fee for taking the internet-based test varies by country. Information about this test, including fees and when and where it is held, can be found here TOEFL. A score of at least 90 for the Internet-based TOEFL, or a score of 7.0 on the IELTS.

Tuition and fees at UC Berkeley Extension

Information on UC Berkeley-Extension tuition and fees can be found under Fee Assessment and Payment.

The 2018-19 Fees and Tuition assesment total is approximately: USD 10,605 for 12 course credits

Please check with UC Berkeley - Extension International Concurrent Enrollment program for the most updated fees.


The selection of students is conducted by the home institution on the basis of (a) academic excellence and (b) English language proficiency. 



Nomination Deadline
(from affiliated institutions)

Application Deadline
(for students nominated)
Semester Start
Fall 2018 April 16, 2018 June 29, 2018 August 15, 2018
Spring 2019 September 3, 2018 November 19, 2018 January 15, 2019


The Application Procedure

These are the steps involved in gaining admission to BESAP through UC Berkeley - Extension:

  1. Apply to BESAP through your home institution.
  2. Accepted students that need to complete the TOEFL test must do so no later than early June for the Fall semester and no later than early November for the Spring semester, unless UC Berkeley - Extension has given a waiver from this requirement in writing.
  3. The names of the students at the home university that have been admitted and passed the TOEFL, is submitted to the Department of Economics at UC Berkeley who will create the necessary paper work to invite BESAP students to the depart
  4. Each student will receive one letter to International Student Services. A copy of this letter can be used for student loans, stipends, etc.
  5. Students need to obtain “A Statement of Financial Support” from the home country.  Usually institutions involved in granting student loans may issue these. This statement is then submitted in the application to International Concurrent Enrollment.
  6. Students submit the application papers to the International Concurrent Enrollment Program at UC Berkeley - Extension. It is necessary to do this exactly right. If there are errors in this application, it may be turned down without any option to correct the mistakes and resubmit.  The application form is provided in a separate file and is called “Application for International Students, Concurrent Enrollment Program”.  Please check this application form for the updated fees. If the information given in this memo deviates from the Application form, follow the information in the latter.

Note 1: Submit the completed application.  When your application is received, a bill for the application fee will be generated and sent to you by email.  Once the application fee payment has posted, email UC Berkeley - Extension at  Your application will then complete its processing and you will be mailed your Certificate of Eligibility form I-20. Your remaining fees are due upon receipt of a second bill sent after application has processed.

Note 2: Items 6 and 8 in the application to International Concurrent Enrollment require Proof of English Fluency. If you have a letter from a professor at UC Berkeley, written to the International Concurrent Enrollment Program, that waives the TOEFL test, you do not need to take the TOEFL test. Include a copy of this letter in your application.

Note 3: Your invitation letter will be completed by a professor in the Department of Economics at UC Berkeley.  The invitation letter is sent to invidual BESAP applicants and their home school administrators, please include a copy with your application.

Note 4: Page 5 requires documentation of sufficient funds to come to the USA. It is necessary to get a letter from a bank or other financial institution stating that one has access to the minimum amont required in USD. Institutions that lend money to students usually issue such letters. The letter is called “A Statement of Financial Support”. If you have this letter, you do not need to complete the application form.

Note 5: You must include a photocopy of your valid passport.

Note 6:  When register for courses through UC Berkeley - Extension, you pay an additional “Cal 1/Concurrent Enrollment” registration fees that is different from the “International application fee” referred to in Note 1. 

The application must be sent by mail to UC Berkeley - Extension so that they arrive no later than application deadline.

Send the application to:

University of California, Berkeley Extension

International Student Services Office

1995 University Avenue Suite 110

Berkeley, CA 94704-7000


7. Students schedule a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate of their country. The interview should take place shortly after the students receive the appropriate documentation back from UC Berkeley - Extension.

8. Students will receive appropriate documentation and answers (enrollment papers) from UC Berkeley - Extension within 2-4 weeks. They will also receive an I-20 form.

9. Students then apply for a student visa (F-1) from the US Embassy. The letter entitled “A Statement of Financial Support” should be enclosed with the application as documentation of sufficient funding.

10. Students may arrive as early as 30 days prior to the start date on their I-20.

11. Tuition and fees are based on registered units at the end of the fifth week of classes and are due immediately upon billing.


For additional questions, contact the BESAP Coordinator, Antoine Davis, at