Disc* [Design & Innovation for Sustainable Cities]

International Students

Program Dates: JULY 5 - AUGUST 5, 2022

CED welcomes and encourages non-U.S. citizens to participate in Disc*.

Experience summer in the San Francisco Bay Area while studying at the #1 public university! While immersing yourself in the intensive, full-time Disc* Summer Program, explore the Bay Area, experience American culture, and make friends from the US and around the world.


Visa Information

Disc* is a full-time academic program. To attend, international applicants must be issued an F-1 or J-1 visa. The Berkeley International Office (BIO), in partnership with Summer Sessions, assists international applicants in acquiring the I-20 needed for the student visa.

Students who are studying in the U.S. on an F-1 visa in spring 2022 and plan to return to their studies in the fall of 2022 can transfer the I-20 to UC Berkeley and enroll in Disc* as a domestic student. 

Visit the BIO website to determine whether you need an I-20.

In order to obtain the I-20, applicants must:

  • Apply to Disc* through Slideroom before the international application deadline
  • Receive a letter of acceptance from the College of Environmental Design's Summer Programs Office
  • Follow the registration instructions included in the acceptance email
  • Pay tuition in full within two weeks of registration
  • Upload the required documents before the deadline


English Proficiency Requirement

The minimum scores required by the University are as follows:

Acceptable Test Minimum Score
CET-4 (China) 493
CET-6 450
Computer-based TOEFL 213
GEPT High intermediate
GRE (verbal score) 140 
Internet-based TOEFL 80
iTEP Level 5
Paper-based TOEFL 600
TEM 70

The Disc* program requires international applicants who submit English proficiency exam scores that are at or just above the minimum to take the Duolingo English test. If you are sitting for a language exam and will not receive the results before the international application deadline, please take a Duolingo test and upload your score to slideroom to complete your application. A passing Duolingo score will meet the requirement for admission to Disc*, but in order to obtain the student visa from the University, you still must submit a valid score from one of the above tests by May 31. 

You are exempt from the English Proficiency Requirement if:


International Affiliate Students

Disc* participates in Summer Sessions' International Affiliates program. Please contact your academic adviser for details on priority registration and other opportunities.


Health Insurance Requirement

Medical care in the U.S. can be very expensive. Hospital costs can average $4,000-5,000 per day. Health insurance coverage is required to meet these unexpected expenses. You should purchase a health insurance policy before you arrive in Berkeley. This policy should cover all medical and hospital costs, or provide you with a minimum of $50,000 (USD) for each accident or illness, have a deductible of $500 or less, and cover at least 75% of hospital and physician costs from the time you leave your current residence to the day you plan to return. If insurance cannot be purchased before leaving home, information about health insurance enrollment can be obtained from the UHS website.

J-1 students are required as a condition of their status to maintain a strict and higher level of coverage from the day that they are admitted to the U.S. For more information on J-1 health insurance requirements, see Health Insurance Requirements for J-1/J-2 Visitors.

IMPORTANT: Many insurance plans are now excluding COVID-19 coverage due to CDC travel warnings and/or U.S Department of State travel warnings. However there are many insurance plans that would cover COVID-19 treatment expenses just like any other new medical condition that occurs after the effective date of the policy. Students are required to make sure that their insurance plan covers COVID-19 related expenses.


International Student Application/Refund Deadlines

December 15, 2021 Online application opens
May 15, 2022 Slideroom application deadline
May 25 Enrollment deadline (AFTER admission and registration - registration will take several days due to Covid vaccination verification) - start this process as early as you can!
May 27 VSIS submission deadline/I-20 document upload deadline
June 8 Contact summerdiscovery@berkeley.edu to cancel your enrollment by this date and receive a refund, minus a $100 cancellation fee (plus a $400 if the I-20 fee has been paid)
July 4 Contact summer-institutes@berkeley.edu to drop your courses by this date and receive a refund, minus the $3400 CED Program Fee and the $400 fee for the I-20
July 15 Contact summerdiscovery@berkeley.edu to drop your courses by this date and receive no refund


International Student Tuition and Fees

(Please note: the following numbers give you an idea of the fees to expect and are subject to change)

$2850 Unit Fee ($570 per unit)
$450 Registration Fee
$63 Document Management Fee
$400 International Service Fee
$3400 CED Program Fee
$7163 Total


International Student Checklist

Before You Apply

  • Read the above section on CED Summer Programs Fees, Refunds, and Deadlines policies.
  • Read the above section regarding the English Proficiency Requirement.
  • Read the above section on Visa Information.
  • Research potential supplemental sources of funding from your government or educational institution. (Stipends for international students are partial and extremely limited.)
  • Sign up for the Disc* mailing list.
  • Visit the How to Apply page for more information.  
  • Contact summerdiscovery@berkeley.edu with any questions.
  • Submit an application online beginning December 15, 2021.

After You Apply

  • You will receive an admissions decision by email within one to two weeks of your application submission. You will be contacted by the CED Summer Programs Office if your application is missing any information. 
  • If you are admitted to the program, you will receive further instructions on how to register.
  • Once you register, you will receive an email with instructions on how to activate your CalNet ID and enroll in your courses.
  • Log in to CalCentral and pay the full fee with a credit card within 7 days of enrollment.
  • Log in to CalCentral and submit the VSIS form (I-20 request).
  • In CalCentral follow instructions to upload your photo in order to be issued a Cal 1 Card. Your Cal 1 Card is your official campus photo identification.
  • Log in to your Cal 1 Card account and review/accept the agreement for the Clipper Card. The Clipper Card allows you to access the Class Pass for unlimited ridership privileges on AC Transit bus lines.
  • Receive your Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019) document.
  • Pay your SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) Fee on the SEVIS fee processing website.
  • Make an appointment with a US Embassy or Consulate in your area to apply for a F-1 or J-1 visa stamp. 

Please note that changing your class schedule after your I-20 has been issued may invalidate your I-20. You will not be able to enter the US if the start-date on your I-20 does not match your Summer Session start-date. Contact the Summer Programs Office before making any changes to your schedule.

Before You Arrive at UC Berkeley

  • Join the CED Summer Facebook group and connect with your fellow participants.
  • Review the Welcome Packet sent by the Summer Programs Office.
  • Check your email frequently and complete any pre-program readings and/or assignments as directed by the CED Summer Programs Office.
  • Make housing arrangements as soon as possible after registration.
  • Obtain proof of health insurance.
  • Research the airport (San Francisco International Airport or Oakland International Airport) and available ground transportation options to Berkeley.
  • Make sure you have your I-20/DS-2019 passport in your carry-on luggage. Do not pack these documents in your checked luggage!

After You Arrive at UC Berkeley

  • Check into your summer housing and obtain the complete address of your local residence.
  • Complete the mandatory Online Arrival Confirmation process.
  • Go to the Cal 1 Card Office to obtain your photo ID.
  • Attend the Disc* Welcome Day Orientation.

Before You Leave UC Berkeley

  • Clean up your studio space and complete your program evaluation according to your instructor's instructions.
  • Log in to CalCentral and confirm any outstanding balance or available refund.
  • Visit the Berkeley International Office and speak to an adviser if you plan to travel after your program at UC Berkeley is finished or transfer to attend another U.S. institution. 
  • Transcripts can be requested here, if required.

Visit the Summer Sessions International Student Services website for more support and resources available to international students.