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Starting at Berkeley

Things to do when you start working in Berkeley as a postdoc:

  1. Contact your host department: To obtain your CalNet ID number and UC Berkeley Cal identification card, contact your host department. Your department will also be able to help you with additional information/tips, such as verification of health insurance or how to log onto the campus-wide wireless internet (AirBears).
  2. Attend orientation for new postdocs and visiting scholars: The BPA, in conjunction with The Visiting Scholar and Postdoc Affairs (VSPA) Program, organizes an informational meeting targeted to new postdocs and visiting scholars. The orientation is held monthly, on the first Wednesday of the month, from 9 AM to 12 noon at the International House, located on campus at the intersection of Piedmont Avenue and Bancroft Way.  Please note that registration for this event is required; please e-mail with your name, department, telephone number, and e-mail address where you can be contacted. Also, please indicate if you are a new postdoc or a visiting scholar. For more information, please visit "Postdoc and Visiting Scholar Orientation" webpage.
  3. Subscribe to the postdocnet email list: The listserv provides a general forum for issues such as scientific questions, housing needs/rental ads, or suggestions for dentists and other healthcare providers. To sign up for the emailings, send an email with a blank subject line to In the body of the message type “subscribe postdocnet” and you will be able to start asking any questions you may have about life at Cal.

CalNet ID:

As a postdoc at UC Berkeley you are entitled to a number of privileges.  To use your privileges and access many of the resources which are available only to the UC Berkeley community, you need to obtain a CalNet ID.

How to get it?  Once you arrive, ask the administrator in your Department to provide you with a temporary "token" (numerical code), which is used for activation of your CalNet ID.  Click here to activate your CalNet ID and follow the instructions.

At first, your CalNet ID will be by default the same as your employee ID.  You should change your default CalNet ID to a self-selected value (once only!) using this link.  Things to consider when choosing your permanent CalNet ID are described in detail here.

CalNet ID is necessary to set up your E-mail acount, which can be set up here.

Also, with your CalNet ID and a valid government document (such as your passport or your country's driver's license) you are eligible for the Cal 1 Card.  Also, be prepared to have your photo taken!  The Cal 1 Card is your official University ID and it has a number of functions from access to the library to your debit card, if so desired.  Check out all the functions here.

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