Visiting Student Researchers

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Information about the Visiting Student Researchers (VSR) Program


Visiting Student Researchers must:

  • A Visiting Student Researcher is person on leave from their student enrollment and is currently enrolled in a degree-granting program and working to obtain a degree at an insitution of higher learning other than the University of California, who wishes to conduct research in residence at UC Berkeley. Generally, visiting student researchers must hold a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree or its equivalent.
  • Pursue a program of research which is of mutual interest to and endorsed by the CMES.
  • Propose a visit of at least one month in duration.
  • Submit application materials at least 6 months before the beginning of the planned appointment.
  • International VSR must also:
    • Demonstrate proficiency in English (visit the VSPA website for more information on English language proficiency requirements).
    • Have their own source of funding, such as a sabbatical salary or grant or fellowship (see details below).
    • Provide evidence that they will cover their own health insurance (see details below).


  • VSR affiliation is granted for periods of one semester to one year (exceptions for one- or two-month appointments may be granted).
  • Extensions beyond one year are considered on a case-by-case basis and are not automatic.
  • Extensions must be requested in writing at least three months prior to the end of the current appointment.


  • CMES expects that VSR will contribute to the intellectual life of the Center by attending lectures and conferences and interacting with faculty and students to discuss their area of expertise.
  • All Visiting Scholars are expected to give a public lecture during their stay.
  • No other position, including paid or unpaid positions in other UC Berkeley departments, can be held at the same time without approval from the CMES Chair.


VSR are responsible for paying the following fees :

  • $750 per year VSPA University Services Fee. All visiting scholars must pay this fee directly to VSPA within 3 days of the appointment start date, in order to be in compliance with VSPA affiliation requirements and to gain access to university services such as library access, ID card, and a Berkeley email account.
  • $1,000 per semester CMES Visiting Scholar Administrative Fee. This fee covers the administrative costs of your appointment as a visiting scholar at CMES. It also entitles you to certain privileges and services at CMES for the duration of your appointment (including shared office space depending on availability on your date of arrival). It is paid via wire transfer or check payable to “UC Regents” at CMES.
  • $500 DS-2019 fee. This fee applies to international visiting scholars only and is not required for U.S. citizens or permanent residents. This fee is for the Berkeley International Office (BIO), which produces the DS-2019 form required to obtain the J-1 visa. It is paid via wire transfer or check payable to “UC Regents” at CMES.

For questions regarding fee payments, please contact CMES Administrative Associate Neil Gali,

Financial Support & Health Insurance:

  • CMES does not provide financial support for visiting scholars.
  • The University of California requires international scholars to provide proof of financial support (at least $1,600.00 per month of the proposed stay). Additional funds are required if the scholar plans to bring family members ($500.00 per month for spouse, and $200.00 per month, per child). Funding may come from the scholar’s home institution, fellowships or grants, Fulbright awards, or personal funds.
  • All international Visiting Scholars on the UC Berkeley campus are required to have health insurance for themselves and all accompanying dependents. Details can be found at the Visiting Scholar and Postdoc Affairs (VSPA) Office.

Living in Berkeley:

  • VSR may visit the Berkeley International Office for more information on housing, healthcare, transportation, family resources, and other orientation matters. Scholars are responsible for securing their own housing accommodations.

Application Information

The CMES accepts applications from VSRs on an annual basis, with a review date of January 15 for appointments in the next Academic Year. Applications after that date will be considered on a rolling basis, space permitting. To apply, please submit, as a single document, the following:

  • A cover letter addressed to the CMES Chair indicating interest, the specific dates of the proposed appointment, and the anticipated funding.
  • A one-page abstract briefly describing research proposed.
  • A one-page title and abstract of planned public lecture.
  • A curriculum vitae with degrees, work experience and publications.

Proposals should be sent to with the subject line “Visiting Scholar Application.” Visiting Scholars will be notified of preliminary acceptance by e-mail by March 1. If accepted by CMES, paperwork and processing by the University can take between one and four months, depending on residence and visa status. Acceptance is not final until approved by the Visiting Scholar and Postdoc Affairs (VSPA) Office

Center for Middle Eastern Studies
University of California, Berkeley
340 Stephens Hall, Berkeley, CA  94720-2314



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