Exceptional Approval Policy

Exceptional Approval Policy

VSPA is responsible for ensuring UC Berkeley's compliance with the UC APM-430 policy governing Visiting Researcher and Other Visitor appointments. When an application for a visiting scholar or visiting student researcher is submitted into the Gateway application system, VSPA will review it for compliance. If it does not meet the criteria, we will contact the HR Partner on the next steps of the process.

Examples of exceptions

  • An initial or renewal appointment of over one year in length (appointments are granted up to 12 months at a time)
  • Renewal appointments more than the allowed cumulative two-year maximum (e.g. 3rd-year appointment)
  • A candidate who wishes to be a visiting scholar without a Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree (holds a Bachelor's or Master's degree); would generally possess training equivalent to that required for the Ph.D., and have demonstrated exceptional fitness in independent research in addition to that required for the Ph.D. degree or experience as an independent research worker aside from research for the doctoral degree; extensive industry experience at a senior level.
  • A candidate who wishes to be a visiting scholar with a recent Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree earned within the last five years (this candidate would normally be a postdoc, not a visiting scholar; permitted when certain conditions are met: a postdoc appointment elsewhere, holds/held a professoriate position, is employed full-time; evidence required)
  • A candidate who wishes to be a visiting student researcher and is a currently enrolled non-University of California undergraduate student pursuing a bachelor's degree
  • A faculty sponsor requesting an initial one-year length or renewal appointment beyond the maximum one-year length for a visiting student researcher

How to Request an Exception

The faculty sponsor should compose a brief memo addressed to VSPA Senior Manager Cecilia Fura on departmental letterhead which contains all of the pertinent information below. BRS Partner will upload the required documents into the Gateway system prior to submitting an application for an appointment. Alternatively, the memo and documentation may also be emailed to vspa@berkeley.edu. Please note that the University Services Fee (USF) must be paid prior to or when submitting the request.

The exceptional request memo should include

  • Name of the visiting scholar or visiting student researcher 
  • Type of exception requested
  • Justification for the exception
  • Brief description of the research (2-3 lines)
  • Brief description of how the visit benefits the university, faculty sponsor, and host department

Supporting documents

  • Visitor’s curriculum vitae (CV) 
  • Evidence of institutional funding for the length of the visit (VSRs with appointments more than one year in length)
  • Proof of funding for undergraduate VSRs
  • For visiting scholars only: CV, and evidence of full-time employment, or evidence of current postdoc appointment at another institution when the Ph.D. was conferred within the last 5 years

Please note that when a visiting scholar has exceeded the maximum number of allowed reappointments (more than two years), the department must pursue a more permanent academic title appropriate for their visit such as Project Specialist or Professional Researcher, rather than a visiting scholar appointment which is meant to be temporary. Contact the Academic Personnel Office for the appropriate title.

For postdocs who have completed the cumulative five-year maximum, departments may request a 6th-year exception through their respective Dean's Office for final approval by the Vice Provost for Faculty.

If you have any questions, please contact your host department or VSPA at vspa@berkeley.edu.