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University Health Services
Quick Reference: Advising, Counseling, and Health

As parents, when your sons or daughters need medical assistance or counseling, you want to help. While students are legal adults and must take the initiative to make their own contacts, it is sometimes helpful for parents to step in and encourage their students to make those calls.

University Health Services (UHS) is located in the Tang Center, on the southwest edge of campus. It employs a highly trained staff of physicians, nurses, counselors, health educators, and other health care professionals to help your students. UHS activities concentrate on three major areas: medical services, counseling, and health promotion.

Medical Care

For routine care, licensed physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and nurses perform exams, provide treatment, prescribe medications, and discuss prevention. Services are available by appointment. Laboratory, radiology, physical therapy, and pharmacy services are available on site.

For immediate, serious illnesses and injuries, a walk-in Urgent Care Clinic is open Monday through Saturday but closed Sundays and holidays. When necessary, students are referred to local hospitals.

During academic semesters, an advice nurse is available by phone Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., to discuss symptoms or urgent concerns. In the case of urgent medical or mental health problems when the Tang Center is closed, students can call After Hours Assistance for referral to community resources. Referral information also is available on the UHS web site.

Counseling and Psychological Services

Counseling is available for students who have personal, academic, or career concerns. UHS counselors are a multicultural group of psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers who can help Berkeley students with personal problems, whether related to school, a personal crisis, or concern about relationships with family or others. Students also can get help with choosing a major, clarifying career goals, or exploring professional options.

Depression and other mental illnesses are on the rise on college campuses across the United States. UHS counselors are part of a multi-pronged effort to increase campus awareness of these problems. To date, nearly 600 students, administrators, and staff have completed UHS’s “Look for the Signs” training program to help them identify warning signs of mental illness and guide troubled students to the help they need. “I look for the signs. . . I can help” stickers are posted on doors and workspaces of people who have completed the training program. If you think your students are struggling and need help, urge them to contact CPS.

Social Services

The UHS Social Services Team specializes in helping students with the following health related concerns: chronic or newly diagnosed illnesses or accidents, pregnancy, nutrition/disordered eating, problematic alcohol/drug use (one’s own or that of a friend or family member), sexual assault or other violence, harassment, or stalking. Counselors provide education, counseling, advocacy, referrals, and assistance with resulting academic, financial, and related issues.


All Berkeley students can use UHS, with their Cal 1 Cards as their “tickets” to services. Registration fees subsidize the programs, so many services are provided without additional charge. Moderate fees are assessed for some services, but students who have SHIP (see below) pay only 20 percent of these fees.

Student Health Insurance

The medical and counseling services offered by UHS at the Tang Center are supported by registration fees and are available to all students. However, students are required to carry major medical insurance to cover off-campus care, hospitalization, and out-of-area urgent care. Students are automatically enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) and assessed a fee for the plan on their campus bills. SHIP, administered by Blue Cross, includes medical, mental health, dental and vision coverage. For more information about the benefits of the plan, go to

Although students who already have comparable insurance can waive SHIP, the university recommends it as the best coverage for students’ needs. It is comprehensive, provides coverage anywhere in the world, and works in conjunction with UHS. When students with SHIP need care outside University Health Services, the UHS staff coordinates the care.

Note: Students who decide to waive SHIP must complete the waiver process before the start of each academic year. If they miss the deadline for filing waiver forms, they will have to pay the insurance fee for that semester.

SHIP members must receive prior authorization from UHS for non-emergency off-campus care.

It is very important for students to know what type of health insurance they have and how it works. They should also be sure to carry their insurance cards with them at all times, in case of an emergency. Some students may be confused about which plan to carry, and may even want to carry two plans. Staff at the Tang Center will help students determine their best insurance options. Insured students should know the following about their private coverage:

  • the insurance company’s name and address
  • dates of coverage
  • insurance group number
  • individual ID number
  • the name on the policy.
For more information on health care and insurance, go to

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