University of California, Berkeley

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#T-16, overall score 71.92/100

Fun Fact:

Students can watch football games for free by climbing to the top of a hill east of campus, commonly known as Tightwad Hill.

Why should Jewish students attend UC Berkeley? “The University of California at Berkeley is the top-rated public university in the world. It draws the highest caliber of students, professors, lecturers and researchers to learn, study, and teach in an intellectually rigorous environment. Jewish students are equally attracted to UC Berkeley for these reasons and constitute an estimated ten percent (10%) of the undergraduate and graduate population (approximately 3,000 students) to become some of the most influential, productive, philanthropic and creative global citizens. Berkeley Hillel has been addressing the spiritual, emotional and philosophical needs of the campus’ Jewish students for the past 90 years. Hillel promotes discussions about unique Jewish issues, such as assimilation, multiculturalism, Zionism, and new directions in thought and ritual. These unique opportunities for personal exploration and growth within a Jewish framework are only found at UC Berkeley Hillel.” - Lauren Schuchart, Associate Director, UC Berkeley Hillel

“The Rohr Chabad Jewish Student Center is committed to providing an array of Jewish resources to the thousands of students, alumni, and faculty at UC Berkeley. As proud UC Berkeley alumni themselves, Rabbi Gil and Bracha Leeds co-direct and oversee the center’s programming and events. From delicious home-cooked Shabbat meals to High Holiday services, the UC Berkeley academic community is invited to participate in any and all activities. The door at Chabad is always open, and Jews from various backgrounds are welcome. No matter where you place yourself on the spectrum of Jewish practice, Chabad invites you to enjoy exploring your heritage in a warm, welcoming and non-judgmental environment.” — Rohr Chabad Jewish Student Center at UC Berkeley


  • Location: Berkeley, Calif.
  • Region: West
  • Campus type: College town
  • Public/Private: Public
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 29,311
  • Jewish undergraduate enrollment: 2,500
  • Jewish population share: 9%
  • Student origin: 85% in-state / 15% out-of-state
  • Student newspaper: The Daily Californian
  • NCAA Division: I
  • NCAA team: Golden Bears
  • Ultimate Frisbee teams: UGMO / Pie Queens

COST & AID Score: 10/15

  • Score: 10/15
  • In-state tuition: $14,098
  • Out-of-state tuition: $42,112
  • Room & board costs: $17,274
  • Average annual scholarship/grant package: $20,846
  • Average loan debt: $17,869
  • Starting median salary: $65,400
  • Scholarship for Jewish students: L.J. Craig and Alice Craig Scholarship

ACADEMICS Score: 15/20

  • Score: 15/20
  • Acceptance rate: 15%
  • Student/faculty ratio: 17:1
  • Median SAT range: 1250-1500
  • Jewish Studies program: Yes
  • Jewish Studies major: Minor
  • Hebrew major: Minor

ISRAEL Score: 18.67/20

SAFETY Score: 1/11

  • Score: 1/11
  • Anti-Semitic incidents in 2017: 2
  • Campus crime rate: 6.35/1,000 students (high)
  • City crime rate: 49.1/1,000 people (high)
  • LGBT center: Yes

JEWISH LIFE Score: 27.25/34

  • Score: 27.25/34
  • Hillel: Berkeley Hillel Jewish Center
  • Chabad: Rohr Chabad Jewish Student Center at Berkeley
  • OU-JLIC: No
  • Jewish fraternities: AEPi, ΣAM
  • Jewish sororities: No
  • Jewish dorm: Berkeley Bayit
  • Can you get kosher food on the school meal plan? Yes
  • Active Hillel clubs: 24
  • Hillel Friday night services: 2
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Hillel: 95
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Chabad: 90
  • Synagogues within 10 miles: 8 (2 Orthodox, 1 Conservative, 5 Reform)
  • Eruv: Within a mile of campus
  • Most famous Jewish alum: Rube Goldberg
  • Most unique/noteworthy club: The Schultz Freshmen Engagement Fellows are charged with welcoming incoming Cal students and enhancing the Hillel Community. The Fellows plan the overnight Freshmen Retreat to the Marin Headlands, create initiatives specifically for new students, and take peers out for coffee and connect them to relevant Jewish community programs.
  • Where do Jewish students come from? Most come from Southern and Northern California.
  • Kosher food details: A kosher dining section in the university dining program called Cafe 3. They accept meal points through the university. UC Berkeley provides kosher options amidst a new dining hall for all center that focuses on flavor, nutrition and sustainability.

What Students Say:

“There are programs or groups for almost every Jewish identifying person.”

Do you attend this school? Do you want to tell us more about what life there is like? Take our survey here, and your feedback could be featured in next year’s guide! And if you’re a student or campus professional, join our online community Jewish Campus Confidential, and apply to become a Forward Campus Ambassador.

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