BISP Certificate Program

NEW IN 2020-2021

Overview and Program Benefits

Participation in the BISP Certificate Program provides visiting students the opportunity to be in an active community of scholars who focus on coursework offered at UC Berkeley in a particular area of interest and to earn a BISP Certificate upon completion of the requirements (see below).

So far, we have the following BISP Certificate options (as of November 1, 2020):

Click on the topic to link to a description:

In addition to the three elective courses in the BISP Certificate area, all students will complete a culminating project of their choosing through the required independent study and research course. The culminating project will be shared with other certificate students via a short talk, poster, shared paper, or other type of presentation.

BISP will recommend additional programs and lectures on campus that may be of interest to students in their BISP Certificate area, and provide opportunities for students in this area to come together during the semester to discuss topics of interest. There are many international students who will be participating in the program, so there is an opportunity to learn about this topic from a global perspective.


The BISP Certificate Program is open to any visiting (non-matriculated) student, domestic or international, enrolling in UC Berkeley courses as a Concurrent Enrollment student through UC Berkeley Extension. Preference for participation will be given to students who are sponsored by BISP, but students from other Concurrent Enrollment programs may be considered. Please contact BISP for more information.

The BISP Certificate Program is open to qualified students at many levels of study – undergraduate, post-undergraduate, graduate, post-MA or PhD, and in some cases high school and post-high school (gap year) students. Most of the courses listed on our pre-approved list for each BISP Certificate are at the undergraduate (bachelor) level. Interested graduate students should contact to inquire about course options at the graduate level.

Curriculum Requirements

All students who are working towards the BISP Certificate must satisfy the following course requirements:

ONE REQUIRED COURSE: Sociology 199, Independent Study and Research (1-4 units)

  • All BISP Certificate students will receive a course number to enroll in Sociology 199 from BISP once classes have begun. Students will meet with the course instructor to determine the number of units to take based on the scope of the project they intend to work on.
  • This course is graded on a Pass/No Pass basis only. Students must earn a Pass grade by doing work equivalent to a C- or better.

THREE ELECTIVE COURSES: taken from the list of pre-approved courses for the BISP Certificate area

  • Three elective courses for the BISP Certificate program, each a minimum of 3 units per course (unless otherwise specified). Please note: the BISP Certificate in Language and Culture has specific requirements for the electives – one must be a language course and then two culture courses for electives.
  • Minimum grade C- for each course, and an average 2.0 for all three courses.
    • Courses will be either upper division (numbered 100 – 199), lower division (numbered 100 or lower), and in some cases a graduate course (numbered 200 and above).
    • Students should consult with their BISP Advisor on selecting courses that are appropriate for the Certificate, to make sure that they are selecting courses that are appropriate for their preparation and background.
    • Courses can be taken all in one semester, or spread across multiple terms of enrollment (including summer).
    • Students can use one course to overlap for two certificates if desired. All other courses must be counted for only one certificate.
    • There may be other courses that have not been reviewed for this list, and students may submit requests to BISP for possible approval for the certificate if they are deemed substantially relevant to the respective BISP Certificate program.

All BISP (Concurrent Enrollment) students are admitted to courses on a space availability basis, after UC Berkeley degree students have enrolled. The BISP Certificate programs work best when you can identify at least 6-8 courses you would be interested in taking from the list of pre-approved courses, so that you have alternatives to choose from. Many of the pre-approved courses are anticipated to have space for visiting students.

Applying for the BISP Certificate Program

It’s easy!! Please fill out a simple inquiry form on our Contact page. We recommend doing this right away to receive relevant and timely information about the program and deadlines, and to ask questions. Your inquiry form will not commit or enroll you to the program, so you can change your mind any time.

Once you have been accepted as a BISP student, and have notified us of your intention to pursue the BISP Certificate, you will be given more instructions on how to enroll in the relevant courses and the course number to enroll in the required Sociology 199 course. We recommend doing so no later than the first week of January when registration for the Spring 2021 semester begins for visiting students.

More Information

For questions about the BISP Certificate program, please go to our Contact page to complete the simple inquiry form and/or contact us at

For more information about the individual BISP Certificates, click on the name of the program you are interested in listed above.

For more information about BISP Goes Virtual, click here.