Getting Started Checklist

Congratulations, and welcome to the UC Berkeley community!

This step-by-step checklist is our recommendation on how to prepare for and start your appointment at UC Berkeley.  Think of it as a roadmap for your first month.


Before your appointment start date

Check for COVID-19 Updates and Requirements

Be sure to review the UC Berkeley Coronavirus website to understand current conditions and requirements.

Plan your relocation and explore the Bay Area

If you experience difficulties housing, or have questions about moving to the Bay Area, the VSPA provides housing resources and services that are designed exclusively for you.


Review available benefit plans (postdocvisiting scholar and visiting student researcher) so that you are aware of options and you may make your selections immediately after onboarding. We recommend that all postdocs watch the comprehensive video on the health plans available to them before enrollment when possible.

Activate your CalNet ID

A CalNet ID is the UC Berkeley username and passphrase combination that you will need for all campus online resources (e.g. email, calendar, library, and other document sharing applications). Once you have completed the onboarding process with your human resource partner, you will receive a welcome email which includes your UCPath ID number.  The UCPath ID number is required to create your CalNet credentials.  See these instructions on how to activate your CalNet ID. Need help? Schedule an appointment to get help from Berkeley IT.

Manage your email account and other UC Berkeley Google apps

Now that you have a CalNet ID that is activated, your Google email account should also be activated.  If your Google account has not been created, you can create a bConnected Google account using your valid CalNet ID and passphrase. Please send your new UC Berkeley email address to so we may update our records.

Parking & Transportation

For information on accessing campus by bicycle, car, or public transit, contact the Parking and Transportation Office. Postdocs are eligible to enroll in the campus parking and transit program. This includes but is not limited to pretax/payroll deduction options applicable if the postdoc is eligible for such deductions due to their payroll and/or tax status.

New Employee Toolkit for Postdocs

Individuals with postdoc appointments are considered employees of UC Berkeley and can find helpful in-depth information for new employees with the campus new employee toolkit. UC Berkeley is committed to providing an environment where its employees can thrive. Visit the People & Culture Employee Experience page to see some of the initiatives dedicated to just that.


During your First Week

Sign up for Health Insurance Benefits

Newly appointed postdocsvisiting scholars, and visiting student researchers have 31 days from their appointment start date to enroll for benefits. Timely enrollment will ensure you receive benefits for the current plan year. Be intentional and proactive about choosing the health care plan that best meets you and your family's needs.

Obtain your campus photo Identification (ID) card (Cal 1 Card)

The Cal 1 Card has many uses, including proof of UC Berkeley appointment, entry access to campus buildings and the Recreational Sports Facility (RSF), borrowing privileges at our libraries, and riding the free campus shuttles.

Hop on the campus Wi-Fi

Eduroam is the Wi-Fi network for the UC Berkeley campus community. Visit the Wi-Fi technology page for information on how to set up your wi-fi access.

Join campus mailing list to stay updated on current events, resources, and announcements

Once you have your email address, sign up for campus mailing lists that will provide you with timely information on campus developments and events. Please send your new UC Berkeley email address to to join the VSPA mailing list. This will ensure that you receive timely information on all of our resources, programs, and events. Be sure to check your Berkeley email address regularly.


During your First Month

Attend campus orientations

There are a variety of orientations designed to assist you as you get settled during your first month. These orientations can help address any questions and help you get acquainted with UC Berkeley culture and resources. These orientations also provide the opportunity to make new connections and start to engage with the campus community.  Orientations are provided by the Berkeley International Office (international scholars are required to attend the Scholar Information Meeting), departments, human resources, and the VSPA. 

We look forward to meeting you at the VSPA New Affiliate Orientation the first Thursday of each month. Please register here for the next session.

Attend events and join organizations

We encourage you to become involved with the VSPA Special Interest groups and check the VSPA Events page in order to attend events, and create connections. Also, be sure to check the wide variety of events available to you in the greater UC Berkeley community. 

Create your Individual Development Plan (IDP)

The IDP process enables scholars to be proactive about their career and professional development, making the most of their research experience, staying well, and planning career progression. Maximize your tenure at UC Berkeley by creating and implementing an Individual Development Plans (IDP).  My IDP and the QB3 IDP are available for those in STEM disciplines. ImaginePhD is available for those in the humanities and social science disciplines. You can always schedule a one-on-one appointment with the Career Center PhD advisors Debra Behrens and Andrew Green to assist you with the IDP process.

Review VSPA Career and Professional Development Resources

Explore the variety of VSPA career and professional development resources available to you.