UPES, UC Berkeley come together to enhance learning opportunities for students

UPES’ latest academic collaboration with University of California, Berkeley will expand students’ prospects of international exposure and study-abroad programs as well as help them gain a comprehensive understanding of the world

Providing world-class education to a global community of learners is no mean feat. However, academic collaborations have made this possible. These partnerships have ushered a new era in higher education, characterised by capacity building, improving students’ skillset, and formulating strategies. The boundaries have faded, giving students as well as faculty, the opportunity to become fit for a global knowledge economy and gain a comprehensive understanding of the world. For more than 16 years, UPES, too, has built a legacy of alliances with the best in the academic fraternity.

Earlier this year, UPES collaborated with University of California (UC) Berkeley to expand students’ prospects of international exposure and study-abroad programs pertinent to tackle the new normal demands. Located on the west coast of the United States, the University of California, Berkeley is a public research university and a flagship institution of ten research universities affiliated with the University of California. It was founded in 1868 and today has a QS Global world ranking of 30 with individual courses in engineering, computer science and information, arts and humanities, law and legal studies, business, and management, and many more.

The Universities came together for an online discussion that enabled students to interact with the Berkeley Global team, moderated by Dr. Sheetal Khanka, Head of Department, International Affairs, UPES. The delegates from the Berkeley Global Team included Ms. Bhavya Kondapaneni, India Regional Manager, Ms. Mariam Rahimi, Admissions Advising Manager, Ms. Jill Vanderkar, Admissions/Recruitment Specialist, Global Outreach, and Ms. Audrey Foulk, Admissions Advisor.

Students were equipped with the knowledge of selecting the right programs for global education and the unique advantages they add in the new normal through an informative question and answer session. Excerpts:

Q: What does the application committee at UC Berkeley look in an applicant’s profile for the program?

Ms. Rahimi: When it comes to our statement of purpose and a letter that we ask for in the application, there are prompts available on the website to tell you exactly what we are looking for within the documents.

Essentially, we ask about the experience you have had with the subject, why you are interested in this particular area, why did you choose our programs specifically, and how will it contribute to your future goals.

Q: Can students from engineering take admissions in law?

Ms. Kondapaneni: A mechanical engineering student, for instance, can take up admission in law and legal studies. You just need to follow the basic requisites of the courses under the program, so that you do not struggle in the classes later.

You can be from any discipline really, but you should have a basic understanding of some of the terminologies related to the course you are opting for. In terms of the application process, you have to state your case and let us know why you want to be a part of that specific program.

Q: What are the provisions under scholarships for international students?

Ms. Kondapaneni: We have a 1000-dollar scholarship for anyone competing the Berkeley Haas Global Access Program (BHGAP) Online Innovation Program. This scholarship can be applied to a future in-person semester for a BHGAP program.

We have a 2500-dollar scholarship for anyone completing the Berkeley Global Legal Studies (BGLS) online program and apply that scholarship towards a future in-person semester of a Legal Studies Global Access Program (LSGAP).

The BHGAP and LSGAP are regular programs. We also offer four 5000-dollar scholarships per semester. Please note that the scholarship deadlines are going to be earlier than the regular deadlines. If you want to be eligible for those scholarships, you can apply early and state your case against why you need the scholarship.

Q: How will the online classes be as good as the face-to-face classes?

Ms. Rahimi: Online classes are something that we did not start just because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We had dedicated our departments and resources long before towards online learning. We do our best to imitate what happens in the physical classroom environment. What is special about the live online format is that you still get to have that live interaction with your faculty and classmates. There is a live lecture, you have that back and forth and your questions are answered immediately. Hence, it is like being in a classroom, but you get to do it from the comfort of your home.

All the methods, instructions, and assignments that we have in the traditional environment, have been taken to the online format.

Q: Can some of the general requirements for the application process be waived off given the current scenario?

Ms. Rahimi: If you are not able to take an exam, as with the case of many students, due to the current situation, we do have a few options. So, if you have studied one-year, full time, at a college-level institution entirely in the English language, that will count as a criterion to waive for the requirement.

Or if you completed a degree program or a certificate program in a country with English as the official language, that would also count as a waiver.

Now, let’s say you haven’t been able to do that or you haven’t been able to take a test score, in that scenario we offer University interviews with our staff. You can select the option ‘I would like to request an interview with UC Berkeley’s staff’ in your application. We will set that up for you as soon as you submit your application. In the interview, we will assess your English capabilities and skills and if you pass the examination, you will qualify for the program.

Ms. Kondapaneni: And of course, for UPES students, where the medium of instruction is the English language, if you have completed one year of undergraduate studies, you will qualify for the waiver.

In the application, you can check ‘I qualify for the waiver’ and then mention the reason, for instance, you have one year of instruction in the English language and that should be sufficient.

Q:  What about the time gap for online courses between India and the US?

Ms. Kondapaneni: Except for the Berkeley Global Access (BGA) remote program, such as the professional certificates live online programs, the BHGAP Online Innovation Program and the BGLS Program are offered at times that are convenient for Indian students. They are synchronous. Therefore, you get live lectures from the faculty.

The BGLS is a hybrid format. So, you will have a recorded lecture by the law faculty followed by a live session with a graduate student instructor, where the extended component of the faculty’s lecture will be covered.  

During that session, you also get assistance for anything you need in the class, such as help with understanding the concepts of what was recorded in the previous lectures and so on.

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