Getting Set Up

UC Berkeley ID Card, Clipper Card, and Email

To get your UC Berkeley ID Card, you need to go to the Cal 1 Card office in the Cesar Chavez Student Center in Lower Sproul Plaza. Here is their website. You will need a photo ID, and will need to have created a CalNet ID and know your student ID number.

When you pick up your Cal ID, you will also receive your Clipper card, which allows you to ride AC Transit (the bus system in the area) for free, and which you can load money on to ride BART.

You may submit your photo to the Cal 1 Card office online ahead of time via CalCentral, but either way you need a photo ID and your student ID number to pick up your card.

For your UC Berkeley email (bConnected), you should have received your student ID number and passphrase already. You may already have an account, otherwise you will need to create one. Just go to the bConnected website and log in with your student ID and passphrase.

Registering for Classes

As an incoming student, you should register for at least one three-unit class (e.g. AY290A) as soon as possible (this will help get your fees paid on time so that you can then get your Class Pass [bus pass]). Later, you can fill out your schedule with the full load of courses you'll actually be taking.

Unless you plan to take an out-of-department class, don't worry too much about registering for classes until after you arrive on campus and the semester starts. Deadlines listed online are only for undergrads.

To register for classes, go here. You will need to sign in with your CalNet ID and passphrase. You can find the schedule of classes here. Also, check out the course enrollment guide for information on choosing courses.

Astronomy Department Computer Stuff

You will need to see Bill Boyd to get an astronomy department account. This account will

  • allow you to log onto department machines
  • give you 5 GB of space in your home directory on /o/
  • give you a directory on /pharlap1/ for more space if you need it
  • give you email addresses, which will be forwarded to whatever email address you specify. By default you get as well as (first initial)(last name)
  • log into the department website where you can access information on more department resources e.g. printing, building access.

Cubicles, keys, and key cards

To get your cubicle assignment, to get your key card (student ID) programmed so that you have access to the building, and to get any hard keys you might need, talk to Maria Kies (501G, First year students are typically assigned a group of desks on the second floor near each other. After your first year, people tend to move to other desks throughout the department (near or far from your adviser's office as you prefer!).

Getting Paid

Yasasha Ridel ( is the point person for all matters to do with pay. Every year, she will email you a personalized spreadsheet detailing where your funding is coming from (based on information that you will provide her), and how much you can expect to get paid in a given semester, as the breakdown of funding may be uneven throughout the year. She will also send out a google form at the end of each semester asking for information on where your funding will come from for the next year - you should discuss this with your research advisor.

As of Spring 2022, the department is part of ERSO, and every semester (and summer) we will need to request our appointments (GSR/GSI/combination/other) each semester by filling out a form on the ERSO page. Yasasha will email this form out and the deadline to complete it by. Make sure to do this on time to make Yasasha's life easier!

If you are teaching, you should receive a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) Contract via email a few weeks before the semester starts. Once you have replied saying you accept the contract, you should get an email from the staff member in charge of payroll.

If you have an outside source of funding (scholarship, fellowship, etc.) make sure to let Yasasha know ASAP. Make sure to inquire with said staff member about withholding for Federal and state taxes. Some of our pay (fellowships, in particular) do not have automatic withholding, and if you don't withhold extra during the year, you'll end up with a hefty penalty come tax time.

You'll also need to sign up for EFT (electronic funds transfer), which you can do by clicking here. The account you link to your EFT will receive all paychecks, reimbursements, and other Berkeley-related deposits. You should also sign up for direct deposit through UC Path.