Berkeley International Study Program (Health and Society Track)


Program Description

You Can Study Health at UC Berkeley for One or Two Semesters

Students studying health will be excited to learn that there is a new study abroad opportunity at the world-famous University of California, Berkeley, near San Francisco. The Berkeley International Study Program (BISP) is now offering students the opportunity to attend UC Berkeley for one or two semesters starting in 2020 and beyond.

The BISP Track in Health and Society offers a wide selection of courses that are relevant to those studying in fields such as health care, health management, health economics, sports medicine, health education, and public health.

It may even be useful for students who intend to practice medicine, including nursing, although normal coursework in the sciences is not part of the curriculum.

The Health and Society Track is designed to provide students with an understanding of the connections between social, cultural and behavioral factors and human health, illness and health care and the resulting impact on individuals and populations. Students will acquire a good foundation in social inequalities and health disparities that exist throughout the world and affect various aspects of health. The curriculum will offer a coherent set of courses that allows students to situate themselves as emerging, well-rounded health professionals and/or informed health advocates and health care consumers.

Research Opportunities in Health through BISP

For those students who are interested in doing research in the health field, the Health and Society Track will offer courses that provide excellent training in research methodology. We offer courses in which you can work on your own research project for a thesis or as preliminary studies for a thesis, and gain feedback from one of our professors on your writing and research. And some students will have the opportunity to do field studies in a health-related organization, and get the first-hand experience and do observations on health in the U.S.

The BISP Experience

This exceptional study opportunity is part of a larger BISP study abroad program. BISP invites between 450-550 students each semester from all over the world to study at Berkeley in a variety of fields. We provide excellent support and activities to help our visiting international students thrive and have a fantastic experience during their stay in the San Francisco Bay Area. You will meet and make new friends from many cultures and experience American culture for yourself.

Health-Related Course Offerings in Sociology

  • Sociology of Health and Medicine
  • Global Health and Social Justice
  • Sex, Death, and Data
  • Sexual Cultures
  • Sociology of Childhood
  • Sociology of the Family
  • Social Psychology
  • Personality and Social Structure
  • Social Problems of the Food Industry
  • Cultural Perspectives on Food
  • Social Inequalities
  • Sociology of Gender
  • Social Policy
  • Cross-Cultural Communications
  • Sport as a Social Institution
  • Biology, Genetics, and Society

Applying to BISP

BISP has agreements with over 60 universities, in over a dozen countries. Most students who participate in BISP are nominated by these partner institutions once they are screened for qualifications which may include academic achievement, proficiency in the English language, and appropriate study fit. Those from a non-English speaking university must demonstrate this with a TOEFL (90 or higher) or IELTS (7.0 or higher) test score. Please go to and click on the link for BISP Partner Universities to see a complete list of our partners.*

Students who attend a partner university should inquire at their university’s International Office for procedures and deadlines to apply locally for a nomination to attend BISP. We recommend doing this as soon as possible as their deadlines will be earlier than the dates listed below.

Students who do not attend one of our partner universities may apply directly to BISP as an independent student, also called “freemover.” Information about this process can be found on the link above. BISP will accept a limited number of students who qualify if there is space in their chosen area of study.

The general period of time in which BISP accepts independent inquiries for each semester is listed here:

Fall Semester

  • Semester Dates: Mid-August to Mid-December
  • Application Dates: February 1 – June 1

Spring Semester

  • Semester Dates: Mid-January to Mid-May
  • Application Dates: July 15 - October 15

*Universities and scholarship organizations who are interested in a partnership with BISP may inquire about this possibility by sending an email to

Estimated Costs - per Semester

  • Tuition Cost (minimum of 12 units required) $750 per unit
  • UCB Extension Application/Student Services Fees $475
  • Estimated Living Costs (housing + food) ~ $10,500
  • Books ~ $300-500
  • Health Insurance (unless waived) ~ $825
  • Total (depending on number of units taken) ~ $21,100-$23,350

All fees listed above are in US Dollars and are based on the 2020-21 academic year.

These fees do not include the SEVIS fee, which is paid directly to the U.S. government.

Last updated Feb 2020

About the School

The Berkeley International Study Program (BISP) provides the opportunity for short-term study abroad at the world-class and culturally-rich University of California, Berkeley.

The Berkeley International Study Program (BISP) provides the opportunity for short-term study abroad at the world-class and culturally-rich University of California, Berkeley. Read less