Berkeley MDes Deferral Policy

Below you’ll find the policies for deferral of admission for the Spring 2021 cohort.

Because of the uncertainty of the impacts of the pandemic on travel, visa processing or finances, we are sharing the following policy for deferring admission. We are inspired by this cohort and excited by the thought of all of you coming together. While we want to see the entire group in the Spring, we are aware that some students, beyond their own control, may be unable to attend. We want to ensure those students that they will be welcomed into the MDes program next Fall by following these guidelines.

  • Students who have been admitted to the MDes program as part of the first cohort starting in Spring 2021 may request a deferral of admission to Fall 2021.
  • Deferral requests are considered on a case by case basis and are usually granted for unforeseen circumstances such as medical or family emergencies, federally mandated travel restrictions, or US visa processing delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, etc.
  • Students may request a deferral by sending an email to Please include “Admission Deferral Request” in the subject of the email. 
  • Requests for deferral to Fall 2021 need to be submitted by October 30, 2020.*
    *Because the responses to COVID-19 are somewhat unpredictable, we will review COVID-related deferrals, as needed, on a rolling basis. Please note that requests for deferral cannot be processed after the first day of classes of the spring term (January 19, 2021).
  • MDes Distinguished Scholar, Opportunity Grant or Design Excellence funds awarded as part of a student’s acceptance in AY21 will continue to be honored for deferred candidates who enroll in the program in Fall 2021.
  • A deferred candidate does not need to reapply for admission but will need to confirm their intention to enroll in Fall 2021 by February 1, 2021. Confirmations can be sent by email to
  • Deferred candidates will receive all on-boarding notifications for the Fall 2021 term in April/May 2021 and will need to complete mandatory on-boarding tasks prior to enrollment. Deferred candidates need to keep track of their CalNet ID and passphrase in order to access Cal Central next Spring. If they have forgotten their passphrase, they will need to contact the Cal 1 Card Office: or
  • A deferral of admission is valid only for the Fall 2021 semester. Deferred candidates who cannot enroll in the program by Fall 2021, are welcome to reapply to the MDes program.
  • TOEFL exam scores must be valid for the deferral period.

Return to the MDes Admitted Student webpage.