New Students’ Orientation Handbook

Guides new graduate students through the registration process, details services and resources available at UCLA, and offers advice for surviving graduate school.

Welcome to UCLA

  • Welcome from the Dean
    Introduction from Susan Ettner, Dean of Graduate Education
  • New Graduate Student Welcome
    Welcome reception brought to you by the UCLA Graduate Division. Co-hosted by the Graduate Student Association and the Department of Cultural and Recreation Affairs.
  • New Graduate Student Orientation
    The UCLA Graduate Students Association and the UCLA Graduate Student Resource Center invite all new graduate and professional school students to the Graduate Student Orientation.
  • New International Students
    Information and resources for International graduate and professional school students.

Registration & Tuition

  • Admission, Registration & Enrollment
    All UCLA admitted students receive an online official offer of admission letter with their UCLA ID number and a link to the Statement of Intention to Register (SIR) and a Statement of Legal Residence. Once these are submitted online, the admitted applicant is entered into the Registrar’s database through MyUCLA.

    If a final transcript, degree diploma, or other documentation confirming the undergraduate degree was requested on the checklist accompanying the admission letter, it must be delivered to Graduate Admissions/Student Academic Services no later than November 1 to ensure continuing registration and enrollment as a graduate student at UCLA.

    Registration consists of paying fees and enrolling in classes. Registration fees and other University charges are paid through BruinBill. BruinBill, the UCLA campus billing platform, is where you can manage and pay for registration fees, campus charges, housing, transportation fees and more. BruinBill is available 24/7; just log on to MyUCLA (you’ll need your UCLA Logon ID) to access it. Students must complete both processes by the established deadlines to be officially registered and enrolled for the term.

    Graduate students must be either registered and enrolled or on an official leave of absence, every term until their degrees are awarded. As an exception, certain graduate students may be eligible to pay the filing fee. Failure to register or be on an official leave of absence for any term constitutes withdrawal from UCLA.

  • California Residence for Tuition Purposes
    To establish California residence, students must be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens who have been physically present in the state for more than one year, and must be able to provide convincing evidence that their intent for the entire year has been to establish a permanent residence in the state. Students must also be financially independent, as defined by the UC Office of General Counsel, if their parents are not California residents.

    Students must demonstrate their intent to make California their home by severing their residential ties with their former state of residence and establishing those ties with California shortly after arrival. If the requisite intent is not demonstrated promptly, the waiting period for residence classification will be extended until both presence and intent have been demonstrated for the entire one-year period. Note: This summary is not a complete explanation of the law regarding California residence and is subject to change.

    Continuing nonresident students for fee/tuition purposes who wish to be classified as a California resident must file a Petition for Residence Classification by the deadline for the applicable term. The petition is also available from the Registrar’s Office.

  • MyUCLA
    MyUCLA gives UCLA students, and those who have been students within the past 10 years, real-time access to their University academic, personal and financial records. It is the easiest way to enroll in classes. Access is based on students’ UCLA username/password.
  • Paying Registration Fees
    Details on fee amounts, fee payment, enrollment procedures, and deadlines are on the Registrar’s website. Students may review their BruinBill account at any time through MyUCLA, and make payments during their session. These online payments can include BruinPay Plan, echeck, MasterCard, Discover or American Express with a 2.75% base transaction. Payments by cash only can be made in person at the Administrative Main Cashier Office (1125 Murphy Hall) at their customer service windows.
  • Annual Graduate Student Fees
    Although the exact cost of attending UCLA varies, there are some fees that all UCLA students must pay. Each entering and readmitted student is required to submit a Statement of Legal Residence to Graduate Admissions with the Statement of Intent to Register. Students classified as California residents are required to pay a tuition fee. Students classified as nonresidents must pay nonresident supplemental tuition in addition to the tuition fee. For a definition of residence and nonresidence, see the previous section titled “California Residence for Tuition Purposes”. Fees are subject to change without notice by The Regents.

    Students in the Schools of Dentistry, Law, Management M.B.A. program, Medicine, Nursing, Theater, Film, and Television, Public Policy, and Public Health should refer to the online Schedule of Classes for explanation of additional fees.

  • BruinBill
    UCLA uses a readily accessible financial system known as BruinBill to assist students in managing their account and to generate fellowship stipend, loan, and other need- and merit-based aid payments. The University records all billing (such as tuition, nonresident supplemental tuition, and Student Health Services charges) and all UCLA aid payments through the BruinBill system. Each month students need to review transactions posted to their BruinBill account using MyUCLA. See section below titled “Online Account Access Through MyUCLA & eBills”.

    With BruinBill, aid funds-including ASE and RA fee remissions, fellowships, training grant payments, loans, and other awards–will automatically apply towards the payment of fee and tuition bills. For students who have a fellowship package from their department or the Graduate Division that fully covers fees and tuition, these charges will be automatically paid through BruinBill. Any remaining funds after their bills have been paid will be disbursed as a credit refund through Bruin Direct.

  • BruinDirect: Electronic Deposit of Funds
    All recipients of fellowship awards and traineeships are required to sign up for BruinDirect to have their stipends deposited directly into personal bank accounts. Students who have not signed up for BruinDirect will have all refund checks mailed to the recipient’s mailing address. Recipients of monthly stipends who have not signed up for BruinDirect will likely experience a delay of up to a week in receiving their checks. Monthly checks for those who have not signed up for BruinDirect will be mailed to the recipient’s mailing address, even if it’s a foreign or out-of-state address, and will not necessarily be mailed before the first of the month.
  • Online Account Access Through MyUCLA & eBills
    Students can view their monthly BruinBill transactions and direct deposit refund activity in real-time through MyUCLA, UCLA’s web-based student information system. Around the first of each month an eBill e-mail is sent to all students as a reminder to review their BruinBill accounts in MyUCLA. Transactions are listed by the month in which they occurred. In addition to the current month activity, students can view monthly statement activity going back 24 months. Charges posted this month are due by the 20th (or previous working day if the 20th falls on a weekend or holiday) of next month.

Financial Support

  • UCLA Fellowships & Grants
    Merit-based awards provide stipends in varying amounts and may include fees and nonresident tuition. Awards are competitive and open to all graduate students.
  • Extramural Fellowships
    Merit-based support provided by national, international or private foundations. Many organizations accept applications up to a year before acceptance into a graduate program.
  • Financial Aid
    Funding based on financial need is available only to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Financial aid includes loans and work-study awards.
  • Teaching & Research Assistantships
    Teaching Assistantships provide experience in teaching undergraduates with faculty supervision. Graduate Student Researcher positions provide experience working on faculty-supervised research projects. Selection of awardees for teaching assistantships, graduate student research positions, registration tuition grants and nonresident supplemental tuition fellowships is conducted by each department. Students should contact their department for application procedures and deadlines.

Campus Services

  • BruinCard
    A BruinCard is your passport to life at UCLA. It serves as your official university I.D as well as many other purposes which makes it a must-have necessity. It functions as your library card and can be used as a pre-paid debit card for purchases on and off campus. Before the school year begins you must apply for your BruinCard. To pick up your BruinCard please visit the BruinCard Center in 123 Kerckhoff Hall.
  • Bruin Resource Center
    The Bruin Resource Center helps by providing information, referrals, and support to navigate the university and to connect with the right campus resource or person. The Center also provides specialized services and programs to address the particular concerns and needs of Bruins who are transfers, veterans, former foster youth, parenting students, or AB 540 students.
  • Technology Development Group
    The UCLA Technology Development Group (TDG) provides information on UCLA’s available resources regarding intellectual property and what you need to know as a graduate student. Resources include: what to do if you have an idea for an invention, disclosure to UCLA, public disclosure, patenting options, copyright, trademarks, funding and mentoring, graduate student FAQs, and step-by-step guide for entrepreneurs.
  • Legal Services
    Student Legal Services provides legal counseling and assistance regarding a wide range of legal issues to all currently registered and enrolled UCLA students. They help students with a variety of problems, including: landlord/tenant relations; accident and injury problems; domestic violence and harassment; criminal matters; divorces and other family law matters; automobile purchase, repair, and insurance problems; health care, credit, and financial aid issues; and consumer problems. Students may make appointments by telephone or in person, and there is an initial intake charge of $30 for each matter; there are no charges for subsequent visits on the same matter. The office is open from September through June.
  • Libraries
    As one of the top five research libraries in North America, the UCLA campus-wide network of libraries serves programs of study and research in many fields. With more than eight million volumes and nearly 80,000 magazines and academic journals, the Library has world-class collections of contemporary works as well as rare books and manuscripts. The UCLA Library system comprises the Charles E. Young Research Library, the College Library, and eight specialized subject libraries. The BruinCard serves as the library card for UCLA students, faculty, and staff. Users will need to have their account activated the first time they attempt to check out materials; this can be done at the circulation desk in any campus library.
  • Ombuds Services
    The mission of the Office of Ombuds Services is to ensure that all members of the University community receive confidential, fair, and equitable treatment in matters of concern or complaint. The Ombuds persons facilitate communication when conflict arises and provide the opportunity for informal dispute resolution.
  • University Credit Union
    This on-campus credit union offers free checking, on-campus ATMs, student loans, and computer & car loans.

Graduate Student Life

  • Alumni Association
    The UCLA Alumni Association is dedicated to engaging alumni in the life of the University and to enhancing the student experience for both undergraduates and graduate students. The Association offers opportunities for social networking as well as career workshops and events for graduate students to meet colleagues from across campus and alumni with advanced degrees.
  • Associated Students UCLA (ASUCLA)
    UCLA’s student association operates the UCLA Student UnionUCLA Restaurants, and the UCLA Store which includes the UCLA Computer Store and UCLA Textbooks.
  • Diversity Resources
    This diversity website contains programs and fellowship opportunities at UCLA and within the UC system to enhance and support graduate education, as well as graduate student groups and campus resources.
  • Exercise and Recreation
    UCLA offers a full range of recreational opportunities to meet the needs of the campus community. The Department of Cultural and Recreational Affairs (UCLA Recreation) serves as the administrative center for the coordination of programming, facilities, equipment, and supervision of campus recreational activities and services. Recreation opportunities are extended to the entire UCLA community. Students receive privileges through payment of quarterly registration fees. The Recreation Center offers intramural/club sports, recreational clubs, recreation classes, youth and family programs, outdoor adventures, and excellent facilities for independent recreation and exercise. UCLA community members with proper identification have access to several major facilities in which to practice and play.
  • International Students
    Federal regulations governing policy and procedure of visa issuance and maintenance for international students and scholars make it especially important for these individuals to maintain contact with international student and scholar counselors and advisers following their arrival on campus. The Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars provides a mandatory orientation program that helps international students and scholars pursue their goals while at UCLA.

    The Dashew Center also provides specialized services, counseling, and programs for all international students and scholars, from the time of their arrival to their departure. They offer services such as orientation for new students, help in locating affordable housing, English conversation classes, and programs for the families of international scholars, assistance with questions regarding immigration issues, employment, financial aid, tax matters, and cultural adjustment, as well as a number of other topics.

  • Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Campus Resource Center
    The Center offers educational workshops and training seminars for classes, campus agencies, and departments about LGBT lives and issues. The professional staff works throughout UCLA to ensure that LGBT voices are represented for sensitive and inclusive UC policies and practices. They provide confidential assistance and support to students, faculty, and staff who feel they have experienced harassment or discrimination, or who have questions around issues of health, housing, financial aid, classroom, and personnel. They are also available for consultation to the UCLA community regarding matters of policy pertaining to sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Volunteer Opportunities at UCLA
    There are many opportunities to volunteer on campus, including programs in civic engagement, arts and humanities, health services, nature and outdoors, and community service.

Graduate Student Resources

  • Career Center
    The UCLA Career Center offers job listings, campus interviews, workshops, and career counseling. Special services for graduate students, such as PhD workshops and graduate students’ drop-in support groups, are available.
  • Graduate Students Association
    The UCLA Graduate Students Association was established to provide for the representation of graduate students and the promotion of graduate students’ interests at UCLA and within the University of California. Watch this video to learn more about GSA.
  • Graduate Student Resource Center
    The UCLA Graduate Student Resource Center is a one-stop resource, referral and information center for graduate students. The Graduate Student Resource Center offers programs and workshops on a variety of topics, drop-in counseling, a web and in-house resource library, meeting and study space, and the opportunity for social interaction. More information can be found on their website.
  • Graduate Writing Center
    The Graduate Writing Center offers free writing consultation to graduate and professional school students at all levels and in all disciplines, as well as writing workshops on a variety of topics. Meet with a trained and experienced graduate writing consultant to work on writing issues ranging from style and argumentation to grammar and syntax. The graduate writing consultants will work with you to develop your writing confidence and your writing skills.
  • Fellowship Proposal Resources
    List of resources both on and off campus that offer assistance and tips for writing effective graduate fellowship proposals.

Campus Events

  • Campus Events Commission (CEC)
    CEC is a student-funded organization dedicated to introducing the freshest fare in film, music, and speakers into the bloodstream of the UCLA community. They host weekly $2 movies as well as free sneak previews. CEC also provides free quarterly concerts in Cooperage and Westwood Plaza, as well as getting bands and artists to perform at “Bruin Bash.”
  • Graduate Student Events
    Comprehensive calendar of professional and social events offered by the Graduate Student Resource Center, UCLA Career Center, Graduate Writing Center, Graduate Student Association, and other campus organizations.
  • Happenings
    UCLA Happenings presents over 1,000 top pick events each year in sports, arts and lectures on the UCLA campus.
  • Melnitz Movies
    All movies are FREE to the UCLA community, including students, staff, faculty and guests, unless otherwise noted. Movies are shown at James Bridges Theatre at UCLA. Tickets are available at the Melnitz box office the day of the screening, one hour before show time and are given out on a first come, first served basis—one ticket per person.

Health & Wellness

  • Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center
    All registered graduate students may use the Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center, an outpatient clinic geared to the special needs of students at UCLA. The Ashe Center offers a full range of clinical and support services, most of which are prepaid by student registration fees. The clinical staff is comprised of highly qualified doctors, nurse practitioners, and nurses.
  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
    Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is a multi-disciplinary mental health center for the UCLA community. Psychologists, clinical social workers, and psychiatrists are available, offering individual and group counseling and psychotherapy to students; consultation, outreach, prevention, and education to students; and training programs for graduates in the mental health professions. Counseling and Psychological Services maintains a strict policy of confidentiality. No information is released without the student’s written consent except where disclosure is required or allowed by law. Emergency counseling is also available on a drop-in, first-come-first-serve basis.
  • Medical Insurance Requirement
    As a condition of registration, the University requires that all graduate and professional students, including international students on non-immigrant visas, have medical insurance coverage that meets the University’s minimum requirements. Contact the Insurance Office on the fourth floor of the Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center for details regarding the UC Student Health Insurance Plan (UCSHIP) or regarding the campus minimum requirements.
  • Center for Accessible Education (CAE)
    Services are designed to meet the unique educational needs of regularly enrolled students with documented permanent and temporary disabilities. The philosophy and mission of the program are to encourage independence; assist students in realizing their academic potential; and facilitate the elimination of physical, programmatic, and attitudinal barriers. The CAE staff is available to assist students in successfully meeting educational challenges. A good introduction to the CAE, explaining how the CAE works and how to obtain services, is available in the CAE Student Handbook. For a copy, log on to the website.
  • Financial Wellness Program
    The mission of UCLA’s Financial Wellness Program is to empower all Bruins to confidently navigate their finances in a way that supports their overall well-being. This program fosters financial literacy skills through workshops, coaching and online educational efforts.

Housing & Family Services

  • Housing
    Apply for housing online and get more detailed information about graduate student and family housing at UCLA.

    Single Graduate Student Housing
    Weyburn Terrace is a brand new seven-building, 840-unit complex that contains studio apartments, two-bedroom/two-bath apartments, and two-bedroom/two-bath townhouses for single graduate students. New graduate/professional students as designated by their academic department are guaranteed a one-year contract with the option to renew for another year. One-year contracts for the remaining spaces are offered to new and current single graduate/professional students through a general lottery process on a space-available basis.

    Family Housing
    University Apartments offers housing designed especially to meet the needs of families, married students, graduate students, and students with same-sex domestic partners. Five complexes are located in the Palms-Mar Vista area, approximately five miles from UCLA, and one complex is located in Westwood Village. Eligibility varies according to the complex.

  • Child Care
    UCLA Early Care and Education operates three centers providing child care for children two months to five years old.
  • University Parents Nursery School
    The University Parents Nursery School (UPNS) is a cooperative school for 2- to 5-year-old children of UCLA students, faculty, and staff. Parent participation is a requirement for membership in the school.

Campus Safety

  • UCLA Police Department
    Graduate students should take all the usual precautions on and around campus that they would in any urban setting. The UCLA Police Department encourages students to take responsibility for their own safety by taking proactive steps to reduce the likelihood of crimes on campus or to themselves. Crime prevention literature is available at the University Police Department lobby, online, and throughout campus. The Department also offers a number of crime prevention programs and workshops each quarter on topics such as: personal safety, sexual assault awareness and prevention, hate crimes, and drug and alcohol awareness.
  • Escort Service – (310) 794-WALK
    Campus Security Officers are available for a walking escort free of charge to students, faculty, staff, or visitors 365 days a year from dusk until 1 a.m. The escort services are provided between campus buildings, local living areas, or Westwood Village within the approximate boundaries of Sunset Boulevard to the north, Hilgard Avenue to the east, Wilshire Boulevard to the south, and Veteran Avenue to the west. Call the provided number for an escort. Please allow fifteen to twenty minutes for your escort to arrive.
  • Title IX/Sexual Harassment
    Every member of the University community should be aware that the University will not tolerate sexual harassment and that such behavior is prohibited both by law and by University policy. The University will take whatever action is necessary to prevent and correct such behavior and, if appropriate, discipline persons whose behavior violates this policy. For more information on disciplinary actions, visit the website of the dean of students.

    Any student who believes that she or he has been sexually harassed may contact a Sexual Harassment Information Center counselor for help and information. Complete details on contacting a counselor and a link to the complete UC policy on sexual harassment are available on the Dean of Students’ web site. Scroll down to “Student Conduct” and then select “Responding to Reports of Sexual Harassment.”

  • Emergency Preparedness
    No one knows when an emergency will occur, so everyone should understand basic safety practices. Safety information is posted in UCLA classrooms and offices and printed in campus phone books. Be prepared to respond safely to fire, earthquake, or other emergency situations. Campus emergency announcements and bulletins are broadcast via e-mail, online on the UCLA Home Page, and through campus-wide voice mail messages. Details on UCLA’s emergency preparedness program, which includes emergency planning and procedures, seismic safety assessment, earthquake preparedness presentations, and emergency response information, and drills are available on the website.

Parking & Transportation

  • Parking
    Current and incoming UCLA graduate students are eligible for student parking. However, because UCLA is in a densely populated urban area, parking for students near campus is very limited. Student parking on campus is assigned by a need-based point system that includes class standing, employment/academic obligations, and commuter distance. Apply for parking, by submitting a Student Parking Request Form prior to the quarterly deadline. Only a limited number of permits are issued to students each quarter.

    Student parking is generally assigned prior to the start of Fall Quarter classes and offered for the academic year. Individual commuter parking is generally granted for the academic year, with the option of paying a quarterly or annual fee. Those who pay the quarterly fee are automatically mailed a renewal form for the following quarter. Two-person and three-person carpool parking is granted for the quarter only.

  • Bicycles
    Riding a bicycle is a fun, healthy, inexpensive way to get to campus. The UCLA Recreation Center provides shower and locker facilities to cycling students. More than 1,500 free bicycle parking spaces are available on campus. UCLA recently opened a Bicycle Community Center where students can rent bikes and tools or have trained staff fix their bicycle. The center is located next to the Outdoor Adventure Center in the northwest corner of the Wooden Center.
  • Motorcycles and Scooters
    Motorcycles, scooters and mopeds park free at UCLA in designated spaces. There are nearly 1,200 motorcycle/scooter parking spaces, including specially designed areas in parking lots and structures. Motorcyclists and scooters are only required to display a permit when parked in a designated parking stall in an area/lot where a permit is required.
  • BruinBus – Campus Shuttles
    The BruinBus complimentary campus service incorporates the use of buses and vans that are clean, wheelchair accessible and well-equipped with air-conditioning and comfortable seating.
  • How to Get to LAX from UCLA
    LAX FlyAway service from Westwood has been discontinued — but Bruins have other ways to get to LAX from UCLA, especially if you don’t want to ask a friend for that all-too-dreaded favor of driving you to the airport.
  • RideMatch
    RideMatch is a free online service that matches car and vanpool partners throughout southern California. Register and enter a starting point, destination, and commuting preferences to instantly receive a list of potential commuting partners.
  • BruinGo
    All currently enrolled UCLA students and current UCLA staff and faculty with a valid BruinCard may participate in BruinGo and have unlimited access to any Santa Monica Big Blue Bus or Culver CityBus. There is a 50-cent charge to ride any route. There is no debit or charge to your BruinCard. The program is not active on holidays and during the summer. You can purchase a Flash Pass online, which is a pre-paid card good for the entire academic quarter.
  • Big Blue Bus Lines
    Santa Monica’s Big Blue Buses serve Santa Monica and neighboring communities in Los Angeles. Every day, they carry more than 60,000 people all over Los Angeles’ Westside. This bus line
    travels 13 different routes, serving more than 1,000 stops along the way, from beaches, parks, and shopping areas to businesses, colleges, even downtown Los Angeles and LAX International Airport.
  • Culver City Bus
    The Culver City Bus line is the second oldest municipally-owned bus line in the state of California. It serves the Westside communities of Century City, Culver City, Mar Vista, Marina del Rey, Palms, Venice, West Los Angeles, Westchester, and Westwood with convenient and reliable public transit service.
  • Go Metro
    The all-new Go Metro transit pass gives UCLA riders the convenience of an unlimited Metro Bus and Metro Rail pass at significantly reduced fares. Metro Buses make nearly 1,200 trips to UCLA or Westwood daily. There are over 15 stops in the UCLA/Westwood area. Also board any of the hundreds of Metro bus routes and Metro rail lines that travel throughout metropolitan Los Angeles. Go Metro transit passes are available for purchase two weeks before the start of each quarter, online or at the UCLA Central Ticket Office. Bring a valid BruinCard as its photo will be used on the Go Metro pass card.

Computer and Technical Services

  • Institute for Digital Research and Education (IDRE)
    Offers access to advanced computational facilities and extensive one-on-one consulting and training to assist researchers in solving large-scale research problems through computation and modeling. IDRE also operates and maintains the Disabilities and Computing Lab and the Stats Lab. Consultants at Disabilities and Computing Program (DCP) at IDRE help faculty, students and staff with disabilities by providing access to adaptive computing technology and educational programs.
  • Software Central
    Software Central provides the UCLA community with information about software licensing and volume license agreements that support research and instruction.
  • IT Support Center – (310) 267-HELP
    IT Support Center assists UCLA students, faculty, and staff with e-mail, web hosting services, network connectivity (including wireless), and free software and support.
  • BruinTech
    The purpose of BruinTech is to help faculty, students, and staff navigate the diversity of UCLA information technology (IT) services and organizations. The web site reflects the dynamic nature of IT on campus by spotlighting current views and events. In addition, BruinTech publishes a newsletter and offers seminars on relevant IT topics approximately four times a year.

Graduate School Survival Guide