Graduate Theological Union
Most students live "off campus" in apartments and homes in Berkeley and neighboring communities.
Several GTU member schools own apartment buildings and dormitories, both in Berkeley and elsewhere. Member schools house their M.Div. students first, and then rent to M.A. and Ph.D./Th.D. students as space is available. Most likely you will need to wait until mid-summer to receive definite notice from a school regarding the availability of its housing. Some schools give preference to students who have affiliated* with them. Single students (without pets) may wish to consider applying for dormitory housing at (PLTS, PSR, & CDSP). It is always good to seek other housing options while you wait to hear about the availability of GTU member school housing.
Member School Housing Information:
American Baptist Seminary of the West:
Contact: Hudson McDonald Property Management (Leasing@HudsonMcDonald.com)
ABSW Housing Page: http://absw.edu/section/view/housing
Church Divinity School of the Pacific:
Contact: Melville Hayes-Martin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
CDSP Housing Page: http://cdsp.edu/admissions/housing
Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology:
Contact: Jamie Martos (email@example.com)
DSPT Housing Page: http://www.dspt.edu/site/Default.aspx?PageID=329
Jesuit School of Theology:
Contact: Tere Gallarreta (firstname.lastname@example.org)
JSTB Housing Page: http://www.scu.edu/jst/admissions/housing/index.cfm
Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary:
Contact: Ed Johnson (email@example.com)
PLTS Housing Page: http://www.plts.edu/housing.html
Pacific School of Religion:
Contact: Michael Haven (firstname.lastname@example.org)
PSR Housing Page: www.psr.edu/housing
San Francisco Theological Seminary:
Contact: Stephanie LaMonaca (email@example.com)
SFTS Housing Page: http://sfts.edu/become/attend_housing.asp
*Affiliation with a member is not required for doctoral students, however, for some it is of interest. The two primary benefits are that affiliation formally connects you with the community and worship life of a member school, and, for those who intend to teach or work at church-related schools or organizations, affiliation can provide an environment for expanding knowledge of denominational opportunities and increase your network of professional colleagues.
UC Berkeley's International House
This multi-cultural campus residence and program center is dedicated to promoting intercultural respect and understanding among 585 residents (mostly graduate students) from 70+ countries, as well as through diverse programs serving the local and campus community, and alumni worldwide. Single students from GTU member schools are welcome to apply for a room at "I-House," an historic building on the west side of campus with its own cafe, dining hall, library, computer room, and resident lounges on each of eight resident floors. A virtual tour of the facility, as well as rates, an online application, and program information is available at ihouse.berkeley.edu.
The Bay Area is one of the most competitive and exciting rental markets on earth! Usually you can expect to pay $1100+ per month for a studio, $1200+ for one bedroom, $1600 and up for two bedrooms. Small houses will start at about $1800 per month. Price will vary with the size, age, location and amenities. Here are some hints for finding a place that fits your needs and your budget.
Use as many of the resources available to you as you can. The most fruitful housing search will include using newspaper classifieds, housing bulletin boards, housing services, management companies, and word-of-mouth. This process will give you the most comprehensive look at the housing market.
Come to your search prepared to show that you are a good tenant. In a tight housing market like the Bay Area, property owners may be more picky than elsewhere. It is a good idea to have a "Housing Resume" that lists 1) your name, address and phone number; 2) your previous addresses, landlords and their phone numbers; 3) your present (or future) employer’s address and phone; and 4) a letter or two that recommend you as a good tenant. Landlords will be more likely to rent to you if they feel assured that you will pay rent on time and take good care of their property.
Start your search early. While there may not be any such thing as a "good" time of the year to be looking for housing in Berkeley, August is one of the more difficult times. This is when many students are returning to the University of California and are also looking for a place to live. For those of you who are interested in the member school housing options outlined above, plan to apply EARLY (as soon as April 1 at some schools), and then be prepared to wait for a placement until June or July. For private housing options (like Craigslist or other online classifieds) try to come for a week long search in June or July, or plan on arriving in town at least a few weeks before classes start.
Be ready to "move" when you find a place that you like. Because housing in the Bay Area is such the "seller’s market" you will find that the best apartments are snatched up very quickly, sometimes in a matter of hours. If you find a place you like, consider making an offer before someone else does. You should be prepared to pay first and last month’s rent plus a security deposit in order to move in to a new apartment, though sometimes landlords will not require all three.
- Finally, consider living outside Berkeley proper. You may find it easier (and sometimes less expensive) to locate in a nearby community - Albany, Kensington, Oakland, El Cerrito, Richmond - rather than in Berkeley. You may also think about Concord, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Livermore, Dublin, Pleasanton, and Hayward, all East Bay communities served by the BART subway system. Some students also life in the vibrant and diverse city across the Bay, San Francisco. Many neighborhoods in San Francisco are easily accessible by BART and other forms of public transportation.
Perhaps the single best resource for rental listings in the Bay Area is Craigslist. This non-profit community bulletin board offers many listings for rentals and shared housing throughout the Bay Ara. They also offer a free subscription service, customized to your specifications, which sends you new listings as they are posted. Craigslist also has listings for jobs, personals, community events, and just about anything else you can imagine.
GTU Students can also access the University of California rental service with proof of enrollment. Cal Rentals
In addition, the GTU Student Affairs office (3rd floor of the LeConte building) keeps a binder with housing leads. Current rental postings include:
Berkeley Student Coops (http://www.bsc.coop/)
The major East Bay paper is the Oakland Tribune, which usually has quite a few Oakland rentals and some Berkeley and other East Bay rentals as well.
The San Francisco paper serves the entire Bay Area. The San Francisco Chronicle has East Bay rental listings, though usually fewer than the more local papers.
The Contra Costa Times lists vacancies in Richmond and El Cerrito, as well as cities east of Berkeley (Walnut Creek, Concord, etc.).
The Daily Californian, the UC Berkeley student paper, also has some listings. The paper is only published Monday through Friday.
The East Bay Express gives a good introduction to the East Bay, and lists apartment and housing rentals in Berkeley and Oakland, as well as shared housing. It is issued on Thursday evenings, and is free. The Express can be found almost anywhere other papers are sold, as well as in many Berkeley grocery stores, cafes and restaurants, and the dispenser on Euclid Ave, just east of the GTU.
South Berkeley: Primarily residential, filled with small houses and apartments; car/bus commute to GTU.
West Berkeley: Industrial with pockets of small houses and apartment buildings; car/bus commute to GTU.
North Berkeley: Just below the hills, upscale, "Gourmet Ghetto," with some apartment buildings and small houses to rent. This area is sometimes a bit more expensive than elsewhere in the Flats. A stone's throw, in terms of walking distance, from the GTU.
"The Hills": Beautiful views, winding streets, with rents as steep as the incline up! There is a rare room to be had for rent at reduced rates - in exchange for cleaning or baby-sitting. Such listings occasionally appear in the GTU Housing Binder on the 3rd floor of 2465 LeConte.
Lake Merritt: Lots of apartment buildings surround this lakeside area of Oakland, about 6 miles from the GTU. Many GTU students have had good success finding apartments here. There is a BART station here from which to make an easy commute to Berkeley.
Rockridge: So close to Berkeley it feels like part of Berkeley. Bus/Car/Biking distance from GTU. Many GTU students find apartments; there are also bungalow & cottage rental opportunities.
Montclair: Can be pricey, though an in-law-suite, on a very rare occasion, becomes available. Access to public transportation is somewhat problematic here.
Piedmont: A little distance away, though there are some apartments near Piedmont which are nice and affordable. Snatch up one of these if you find it! Piedmont is just a few miles from GTU, and public transportation by bus is available.
A quaint little community next to Berkeley, about a 10 minute drive from the GTU; bus transportation is available. Bungalows, cottages, and apartment buildings provide GTU students with a great location in a lovely setting. (Word is that the local schools are great here, for those with children).
Lower rents and a large number of apartments are found in El Cerrito, 4.3 miles from Berkeley, and a 20 minute drive, bike or BART ride. Largely a residential area, many GTU students have had success seeking housing here.
The most inexpensive rentals in the East Bay, yet the housing near the oil refineries is not desirable. There are quaint residential neighborhoods in Richmond, however, so it is worth exploring for a house or apartment to rent. Neighborhood possibilities include the Point Richmond area, North and East Richmond, and "The Annex." Richmond is 7.4 miles from Berkeley, on the BART line; a 25 minute drive to GTU.
Closest thing to a small town in the East Bay! Tree-lined streets, Victorian homes and cottages, 6 miles of beach on the Bay, beautiful views and many parks... Alameda is an island, separated from Oakland by an estuary, located 9.7 miles from Berkeley. It can be as quick as a 20 minute drive or 40 minutes, depending on traffic. Accessible to the GTU by BART and bus.
In addition, even though it is across the bay (and the Bay Bridge) many San Francisco neigborhoods are accessible by public transportation (BART and Bus) and GTU students and staff take advantage of this opportunity.
Marin County, across the bay (and the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge) is also within commuting distance. Communities include San Rafael, San Anselmo, Fairfax.