International Visiting Scholars Program

About the Visiting Scholars Program

The International Visiting Scholars Program is a non-degree program and provides an opportunity for mid-career journalists from abroad to pursue advanced professional training and academic study. Visiting Scholars audit courses offered at the journalism school and in other disciplines, drawing upon the extensive resources and community life of a major research university.

Application Information:

Admissions Timeline

  • January 4, 2016, 5 p.m. PST:
    Deadline for Visiting Scholar 2016-17 Applications
  • Mid-February, 2016:
    We will contact finalists for a phone interview.
  • April 2016:
    We will begin to extend invitations to selected candidates. We will send admissions decisions as soon as possible so that selected Visiting Scholars can make arrangements for their visas.

The International Visiting Scholars Program at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism provides a one-year opportunity for advanced training and academic study. This is a non-degree program for experienced reporters and editors who are in the first 5-15 years of their career. This program ,which does not grant a degree, is intended for practicing journalists, not academics. We expect to select roughly five or six applicants for the 2016-17 cohort of Visiting Scholars. The J-school's two-year Master of Journalism (M.J.) degree program offers more rigorous journalistic training than the Visiting Scholars program and also accepts international students each year.

Visiting Scholars may audit journalism classes and classes in other departments when there is room in the class and with the permission of instructors. They confer with a mentor, participate actively in a seminar for Visiting Scholars, attend lectures and other events, and have access to libraries, computer labs and other campus facilities. Visiting Scholars interested in multimedia are encouraged to bring their own equipment, such as cameras and audio recorders.

Visiting Scholars should have a good command of English. Language instruction will not be provided by the school or university.

Fees and Expenses

Visiting Scholars have the choice of participating for a full academic year of two semesters or for a single semester. The fall semester starts in mid-August and ends in mid-December.  The spring semester starts in mid-January and ends in mid-May. The fee is US$5,000 per semester.  

This section provides an overview of the visa requirements, visa fees and other major expenses you can expect to encounter as a visiting scholar. Please note that the Journalism School does not have the resources to provide financial assistance to visiting scholars, nor can it alter or waive any of the U.S. government and university requirements discussed below.

International students must obtain a J-1 visa from the U.S. government to participate in the program. Successful applicants to the program will be assisted by the university in this process. To cover certain fees and additional administrative expenses, the university charges visiting scholars US$1,100 in addition to whatever application fees are charged by the U.S. Department of State. These fees are subject to change from time to time.

U.S. visa requirements state that students must demonstrate that they have at least US$16,000 in funding to support themselves for an academic year. The university has no authority to alter or waive this requirement.

The U.S. government and the university also require that students have satisfactory health-care insurance, as explained at In some cases, insurance from the home countries of visiting scholars may be sufficient to fulfill the requirements. In many cases, visiting scholars will be required to purchase health insurance for the period they are in the United States. The cost of minimally acceptable health insurance at this writing ranges from US$508 per month for an individual to $1,555 per month for a visiting scholar with a parter and one or more children. These rates, which are set by private insurance companies, are subject to change. Visiting scholars must prove that they have acceptable insurance within 31 days of arriving in the United States. The university has no authority to alter or waive this requirement.


The costs of housing, food, and travel to and from the United States are the responsibility of each visiting scholars. The San Francisco Bay Area is an expensive place to live and housing costs vary widely, but here re two examples to provide some idea of the cost:

  • Single visiting scholars have stayed at the International House, an on-campus residence for international students that charges approximately $7,500 per semester for a shared double room and most meals in a communal cafeteria.
  • Some visiting scholars with families have stayed at the University Village residential complex, where rent rages from US$1,400 per month for a one-bedroom apartment with one bathroom to $2,100 for a three-bedroom unit with two bathrooms. The rent includes Internet, cable TV and utilities but does not does not include food and other household expenses.


For more information about housing, visit In addition to university facilities, there are many private accommodations to suit all lifestyles and budgets. Consult sites like Craigslist.Com and SbbaticalHomes.Com and AirBNB.Com to see some of the many alternatives.

To take full advantage of our multimedia and video production classes, the Journalism School requires all students to have a late-model, 15-inch MacBook Pro computer with a Retina display powered by no less than a 2.3GHz processor, 16GB of RAM and 512GHB of flash storage. At this writing, a computer meeting the minimum requirements, plus two years of recommended Apple Care, costs approximately US$2,900 plus tax. Students are strongly encouraged to purchase an external drive to back up their work. Most visiting scholars have found it cheaper to buy computers in the United States than in their home countries. Apple products are designed to operate in all voltage conditions, so they will work perfectly well in your home country with an AC adapter. In addition to acquiring a Mac computer, students may be required to rent or buy certain video editing and other software. Visiting scholars who do not intend to take multimedia and video courses may be able to get by without a late-model Apple computer.

If you have any queries or need more details regarding the program, feel free to email us at vsp AT journalism DOT berkeley DOT edu. Visit the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism page to learn more about the school and the course offerings.

How To Apply

All application materials should be emailed (address: no later than 5 p.m. PST, January 4, 2016 for the 2016-17 program. 

Please submit the following items in an email with the subject  "Visiting Scholar Application 2016-17." Each of these items should be a separate attachment in either Microsoft Word or PDF format. Please put your name, your home country and your email address at the top of each page you submit. Please be consistent in the email address you choose to use with us.

1.Personal Essay

A personal description of up to 1000 words that explains: 1) the intellectual and social values that shape your work in journalism; 2) how those values contribute to your journalistic practice; 3) what courses in journalism and other subjects you expect to take at Berkeley; and 4) how your course work as a visiting scholar will contribute to your future career goals.

2. Resume

A resume that lists: all positions held since completing your formal education, degrees, educational institutions attended, travel abroad, journalism awards and fellowships. Please include one passport-size photograph, if available.

3. Work Samples

Three examples of your recently published or broadcast work. If not in English, work samples must be accompanied by a translation or subtitles. Wherever possible, please send scanned copies of your print articles as attachments to your email or attach a document that includes links to video, web and radio pieces that appear on the internet. All video, television and radio pieces should also include translated scripts. It will be of great benefit to us if you can send us links to your work rather than hard copies, but if the only way to show us your work is by a dvd or cd, please send by mail with a copy of the application you submitted by email by January 4, 2016.

Hard copy work samples can be sent to the address below. Work samples cannot be returned.

Visiting Scholar Program
121 North Gate Hall #5860
Graduate School of Journalism University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-5860

4. TOEFL (NOTE: a TOEFL score is now required of all applicants)

Applicants to the Visiting Scholars Program are required to have taken the TOEFL (Test of English Proficiency) within the last three years. To submit your score, you can scan your official score sheet and send as an attachment in the email or fax it to 510-643-9136.


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