Bowles Hall Residential College

Bowles Hall Residential College

For 2019-20 academic year residency information,
please email College Principal Dennis Lieu:

2020-21 Academic Year Now Open!


Housed in the most iconic student residence on the UC Berkeley campus following a $45 million renovation, the Bowles Hall Residential College re-opened for the 2016-17 academic year. It is a robust, immersive experience where students excel in their academic pursuits, prepare for their post-graduate careers, and create lifelong friendships with their Bowles Hall companions.

Residents enjoy the stability and benefits of diverse community and residency for the entirety of their undergraduate years. They have the opportunity to develop their skills of self-government, leadership, and collaboration as well as an appreciation of the cultural values and disciplines outside of their field of academic emphasis. And with a sharp focus on the integration of career and academic counseling, the probability of graduating in four years is enhanced.

Bowles Hall Residential College is privately-owned and -operated by the alumni-initiated Bowles Hall Foundation. It was renovated at no cost to UC Berkeley or California taxpayers.

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Originating at English universities like Oxford and Cambridge, the residential college model has been successful for hundreds of years because it encompasses a small, diverse community of students, faculty and alumni, along with programs that are central to robust student life. Within a large campus such as UC Berkeley, a residential college goes a step further: it personalizes the academic experience for each resident. Faculty leadership within the residence bridges student residential life and campus life, enriching the learning environment outside the classrooms and lecture halls. Faculty and graduate residents help foster social stability and help students develop independent living habits valuable beyond time spent in campus housing.

Residential colleges are designed to promote diversity by including members of all backgrounds and academic interests. The culmination of talents, passions, strengths, and weaknesses into an organized and stable environment allows residents to learn from peers of different backgrounds whom they may not meet within housing separated by student majors and interests. The residential college is a multi-year housing option for students, and living in the Hall for the entirety of their college experience provides time to fortify relationships and pass tradition and heritage to future generations.

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Our History

Bowles Hall has undergone many changes over the years. It first opened in 1929 as a gift to the University. It housed 102 residents in the two-person, three-room suites. Nine years later, the Juilien and Helen Hart Library was added, creating a communal space for students to excel. Bowles underwent some other changes including housing military students during World War II, became a historical landmark, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Now, after many years of disrepair, it has been fully restored and refurnished for its renewal as a residential college.

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The fully-restored Bowles Hall is the campus’ premiere student residence, offering completely renovated and refurnished residential suites (each with an attached bathroom), expansive in-house dining facilities, a large library, individual and dedicated study/seminar rooms, a main lounge, ubiquitous wifi and ethernet, secure bicycle parking and mailboxes, plus in-residence faculty and graduate student advisors.

Comprehensive renovation began in June 2015 and lasted 14 months. Virtually every inch of the Hall was addressed: restoration to the historic dining commons, lounge, entryway, and grand staircase; a new kitchen, roof and elevator; complete reconfiguration of student room layouts, plumbing and electrical systems; and all new furnishings. The renovated Hall is equipped with 37 single rooms and 73 double rooms, each with an attached bathroom. Safety and security requirements and ADA accommodations meet current requirements, and the entire renovation conforms to Historic Building Code requirements. State-of-the-art technology and support is provided throughout.

New Features...


The Bowles Hall Residential College is Berkeley's premiere undergraduate residence, standing alone in offering faculty-led advising and support, student-centered operations, and 21st Century amenities. As a non-profit organization, the Bowles Hall Foundation intentionally sets its cost of living to be in line with those charged to reside at other high-end, on-campus residential facilities like Clark-Kerr and Foothill — and the Foundation has every intention of ensuring this in future years.

We offer two room types, both with an attached bathroom. Estimated cost of residency is as follows:

Single Room: $9,850 per student per semester

Double Room: $9,730 per student per semester

Since the Bowles Hall meal plan covers all meals, there is a mandatory $150 charge per student per semester to cover the extra cost of food. This meal plan is equivalent to the “Ultimate Access” option offered by the University at $375 per student per semester. We also provide food during nightly study breaks (9 pm to 1 am) as well as to-go options for students who can't return to the Hall for lunch.

Note: Bowles Hall is considered on-campus housing for the purpose of financial aid.

For Parents

The Bowles Hall Residential College provides a robust, immersive undergraduate living experience where academic pursuits are enhanced, real-world skills are acquired, and long-lasting friendships are built.

We are a small, diverse community within a large research university campus. We are home to students from every year, major and walk of life. Our system of self-governance teaches civility and respect. Our culture engages all people through meaningful relationships with Berkeley faculty, administrators, and well-accomplished alumni. And our traditions provide a deep sense of pride and belonging

Those who live in Bowles Hall learn to lead and they learn to support, to shape and to contribute, and to gain an ethic of concern for those around them. They gain critical skills to address the complexities of life beyond the campus. They embrace challenges and seek solutions. They live. They thrive. And they go on to change the world.

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Since the Bowles Hall Foundation embarked on its journey to re-establish the Bowles Hall Residential College, we have been fortunate to receive a wide variety of stories in the press. Click the tile below to be taken directly to the story.