Berkeley Law receives 5,000-6,500 applications in a typical year. See our Entering Class Profile for the exact number for the prior year.
Between 300-325 students enter the law school each August. They are assigned to one of nine first-year modules (groups of about 35 students). During the first semester of the first year, two courses are taught in classes of about 100 students; one course is a small class of approximately 35 students; Legal Writing and Research has approximately 15-20 students.
You have an equivalent chance of being admitted regardless of your residency.
For the past several years the median GPA and LSAT score of admitted applicants have ranged from 3.70-3.82 and 166-169, respectively. The ranges are broad. The Berkeley Graduate Division requires that graduate students have at least a 3.00 undergraduate cumulative GPA for admission. Exceptions can be made for very promising applicants. We review applications carefully and in their entirety.
Current tuition and cost of attendance information is found here. Non-residents may become residents after the first year and thus save the non-resident tuition during their second and third years. There are additional expenses for books, room, board, health insurance, and personal needs. All tuition and fees are subject to change without notice.
The LSAT score is an important admission factor. When combined with the undergraduate GPA, it provides the best indication of academic achievement and potential. You should retake the test only if you believe that your first score was atypical and that you can improve your score sufficiently to make a net gain. The majority of applicants take the test only once. If you take the test more than once we will use the highest score. We recognize that there is no statistical significance to a score gain or loss of a few points within the standard error of measurement of the test. No admissions decisions are made based solely on an LSAT score. We take many factors into consideration.
We recommend that you plan to take the test as early as convenient and no later than the one offered in January to optimize your admission review for the following year. Because we operate on a rolling admissions basis, and applications are reviewed as they are submitted, we encourage you to take the LSAT no later than November, however we will accept the January score. LSAT scores are valid for five years and are reported automatically by LSAC. Scores older than five years are not reported.
Early decision applicants must take the LSAT no later than October of the year prior to their desired enrollment.
Applicants are required to submit their transcripts to the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) which administers the CAS, preferably as early as possible and no later than the end of December.
The deadline to apply for admission as a first-year student is February 15. Early decision applicants must apply by November 17.
The deadline to apply as a transfer student from another law school is June 1.
Although our application deadline is February 15, we begin to read completed files as early as September. We recommend that you submit your application as early as possible, between September 1 and December 1.
Early decision applicants must apply between September 1 and November 17.
We suggest that you provide 2-3 letters from individuals who can comment on your potential and achievements in an academic environment. Professors and/or teaching assistants are the best sources. Depending on the nature of the experience and how much time has elapsed since you were a student, professional work recommendations also can be helpful.
We give no weight to whether or not you have waived your right to access your recommendations.
The large number of applicants we receive each year precludes our conducting personal interviews.
Applicants often take time off prior to law school to obtain work experience, to pay down educational debt, or to take a break from academia. We do not penalize applicants for doing so. In fact, more than 85 percent of our students worked or pursued other activities prior to attending law school. We seek interesting, engaged, and passionate individuals who are ready to take on three rigorous years of school. If you need a break from academia, it is best to take it before applying to law school.
We strive to admit a diverse group of people to join the vibrant exchange of ideas and viewpoints in our classrooms. Our admission policy gives equal consideration to a variety of factors in addition to numerical indicators. These include graduate work, special academic distinctions, life experiences, difficulty of the academic program, work experience, history of overcoming educational or socioeconomic disadvantage, and significant achievement in nonacademic activities or public service.
The rigor of individual undergraduate schools and majors is taken into consideration during the review process, but it is rare that the school from which an applicant graduated is the sole basis of a decision. We are interested in considering the accomplishments of human beings and not the schools they attended. The GPA and LSAT alone are not dispositive.
We only offer a full-time, three-year program that leads to the J.D. degree. There are no summer courses nor online or part-time programs.
Our review process is holistic and seeks to identify applicants who are bright, intellectually curious, centered, and who will make a contribution to the caliber of classroom dialogue. If hypothetical weights were assigned to the three factors considered – academic record, LSAT score, and personal statement and recommendations – each would be about one-third.
We operate a rolling admission and notification process. It is slow and methodical because each file is reviewed and no numeric cutoff points are employed. It is helpful to apply as early as possible because we begin making offers as soon as we begin reading files in September. However, we don’t admit anyone who doesn’t meet our standards simply because they applied early, nor do we give any less consideration to those who apply later.
Yes, we offer a binding early decision program.
Berkeley Law offers several four-year J.D./M.A. concurrent degree programs with other graduate schools and departments at Berkeley and also provides its students with some flexibility to create their own programs.
We also offer combined degrees with other institutions such as the Kennedy School of Government and The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Applicants must submit independent applications and be admitted to each respective department or school. You are encouraged to access information independently about other Berkeley graduate departments.
You will not be given preference in the J.D. admissions process if you already are a foreign-educated lawyer, nor should you assume that advanced standing credits will be awarded if you are admitted.
You may only apply to the JD degree if you received your LLM degree from Berkeley Law or a foreign university. We are unable to accept applications from students who hold an LLM degree from another U.S. law school.
We will waive your application fee automatically when you apply if you are approved for an LSAC fee waiver.
We do not provide merit-based fee waivers.
Application fee waivers also are available to current or former participants from any public service program (e.g., Peace Corps, Teach for America, active or former members of the military, etc.); who are recipients of a meritorious fellowship (e.g., Fulbright, Truman, etc.); or who received a grant based on an educational or socioeconomic hardship (e.g., CYDL participant, Pell, Gates Scholar, etc.). Detailed information and the waiver request form are found here. The fee waiver application opens September 1 and the deadline to submit a fee waiver application is January 1.
Each application is reviewed by the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid or by one of her associates. No applicant is automatically admitted or denied solely on the basis of test scores and grades. Some applicants are admitted immediately, while other competitive applications are sent to the Admissions Committee for additional individual evaluation. The Committee is composed of faculty members, law school staff, and current students who serve in an advisory capacity.
The notification period is usually December through April. Early decision applicants are notified by December 6.
Deferment requests are considered on an individual basis. It is best to apply in the year that you intend to enter law school. With sufficient reason deferments are granted to a limited number of admitted applicants.
All decisions are final. Applications are reviewed carefully on a comparative basis initially. Therefore, reconsideration after the conclusion of the process might create an unfair situation more favorable to the individual applicant. Such reconsideration would lack the perspective provided by the original comparison with other applications.
Applicants are welcome to reapply and should follow the regular application instructions and register again with the CAS. Updated transcripts should be sent directly to LSAC, not to the law school.
Applicants should be particularly alert to the financial aid deadlines and procedures. Complete information about applying is found on the Berkeley Law Financial Aid website.
The application form and instructions for first-year applicants become available online each year on September 1. You can access and submit the application form via the LSAC website. Although the application deadline is February 15, we strongly encourage applicants to apply as early as possible.
Our Prospectus is available on our website or in the Admissions Office located in 225 Law Building.
Click here to find information and plan your visit to Berkeley Law. We do not conduct interviews for admission purposes.