Undergraduate Studies

University of California, Berkeley


Undergraduate Studies, in the College of Letters and Science, serves students at every stage of their undergraduate careers, from the initial years of intellectual exploration through the process of finding and pursuing an in-depth academic focus. Undergraduate Studies is a center for innovations in undergraduate education that extend beyond traditional departmental boundaries. Our major and minor programs attract undergraduates who wish to explore the most intellectually engaging and promising interdisciplinary fields under the direction of scholars who are pioneers in charting these new areas and methods of inquiry.

Undergraduate Studies has been and continues to be an incubator for new ideas, including experimental programs and courses as well as curricula designed to promote the ideals of a liberal arts education. We are especially dedicated to creating programs such as the Freshman and Sophomore Seminar Program and the undergraduate research programs that nurture productive intellectual relationships between faculty members and students.

Finally, given the array of academic opportunities available for students in the College of Letters and Science, the Office of Undergraduate Advising (housed in Undergraduate Studies) helps students make the most out of their time at Berkeley by guiding them as they choose among their academic options.

Undergraduate Studies is composed of the following three sub-units: Academic Engagement Programs, Interdisciplinary Major and Minor Programs, and Undergraduate Advising.

Academic Engagement Programs

Big Ideas Courses, launched in 2012, bring together two or more faculty members from different disciplines to co-teach innovative breadth courses. Big Ideas Courses take up key intellectual and societal challenges that cannot be adequately addressed by the perspective or methodology of one discipline alone. For more information, call 510.642.8378 or visit the website.

Cal Teach is a program for undergraduate science, math, and engineering majors and others interested in exploring STEM teaching and learning. Through our courses, students learn conceptual teaching skills and practice these methods in local K-12 classrooms. Cal Teach offers the minor in Science and Math Education, as well as a unique opportunity for students to complete both a degree and a California math or science teaching credential as an undergraduate.

Entrepreneurship Courses are organized in conjunction with the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. L & S 5 is designed for freshmen and sophomores who wish to learn about entrepreneurship and its role in bringing new ideas to market. At the upper division, we offer L&S 105: Arts Entrepreneurship, for students in arts-related majors and others interested in careers in this arena.

Freshman and Sophomore Seminars arose from the conviction that early intellectual contact with faculty members would greatly enhance the undergraduate experience at Berkeley. Professors from nearly every campus department join together each semester to offer an impressive array of seminars. The courses numbered 24 bear one unit of credit; they are limited to 15 students and freshmen are given priority for enrollment. The courses numbered 84 bear one or two units of credit; they are limited to 15 sophomores. The courses numbered 39A-39Z are limited to 25 freshmen and sophomores.

Seminars, which emphasize interaction and discussion, provide a counterpoint to the learning experience in Berkeley's large lecture halls. These seminars also offer lower division students an unprecedented opportunity to explore a wide range of majors and even fields of study usually reserved for graduate students. As you browse through this Guide, you will find lower division seminars sponsored by Letters and Science departments, as well as by the professional schools and colleges. Descriptions of all the seminars scheduled for the upcoming semester can be found on the program's website, which also contains other useful information and features for undergraduates. For additional information regarding the Freshman and Sophomore Seminars, contact the program office at 231 Evans Hall, 510-642-8378.

Letters and Science Discovery Courses are exemplary breadth courses, designed to engage and broaden the minds of non-experts. Taught by some of the most distinguished faculty members on campus, the L&S Discovery Courses are guaranteed to deliver a high-quality educational experience.

On the Same Page is a campus-wide book-in-common program, designed to welcome new freshmen and transfer students into the intellectual dialogue that characterizes the Berkeley campus. Each year all of the faculty and all new students receive a book (or film or other study object) that provides the focus for discussions, courses, events, and activities in the fall term. For more information, call 510-642-8378 or visit the website. For the most up-to-date information, follow On the Same Page on facebook or twitter

Scholarship Connection administers the application process for over a dozen prestigious external scholarships (such as the Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, and Goldwater scholarships) and offers a clearinghouse for information on 500+ other external scholarships. For more information, visit us online at Scholarship Connection or contact Scholarship Connection at 2410 Dwinelle Hall, ourscholarships@berkeley.edu, or 510-643-6929.

The Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarships (OURS) helps students get engaged in research while at Cal: connecting with faculty and mentors, obtaining funding opportunities to support your research pursuits, and integrating research with your other academic goals. Research programs run directly by OURS include the following:

  • Apprentice with Faculty: The Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP) provides opportunities for you to receive course credit to work with faculty on cutting-edge research projects during the academic year. Approximately 1,500 students and 300+ faculty members participate each semester.
  • Independent research: The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships  (SURF L&S and SURF Rose Hills) fund over 100 students each summer with stipends from $4,500–$6,000 to carry out research projects. In addition, the Haas Scholars Program funds twenty students a year, with stipends up to $13,800 for independent research. These programs are primarily designed for juniors intending to do research over the summer to support their thesis work. 
  • Public service: The Stronach Baccalaureate Prize funds four to six recent Cal grads for up to $25,000 to carry out a public service project of their own designs.
  • UCDC: The UC Washington Program (UCDC) sends juniors and seniors to Washington, D.C. to intern, research, and take classes fall or spring semester.  UCDC students from all majors can apply and remain eligible for financial aid.  While interning three to four days a week, students live and take classes at the UC Washington Center, in the heart of the city.  During their D.C. semester, students develop professional skills, clarify their future direction, and build professional networks.

In addition, the Office of Undergraduate Research provides services to promote undergraduate research campus wide:

  • Campus-wide research database: OURS maintains a database of research programs at UC Berkeley and beyond with updates on application deadlines and eligibility. 
  • Workshops and Peer Advising: We regularly offer workshops to help you get started and succeed in research. Workshop topics include the following: "Getting Started," "Professional Communication," "Finding a Faculty Mentor," and "Writing a Research Proposal." Check our events calendar for times and dates. Also check our main website to find out about OURS Peer-Adviser drop-in office hours. Speaking with a Peer Adviser is a great way to explore your options.
  • OURS Listserv and Social Media: Sign up for OURS' popular announcement listserv on our homepage and be sure to follow OURS on Facebook and Twitter

For information on the great variety of undergraduate research opportunities at Berkeley, visit research.berkeley.edu.

Interdisciplinary Major and Minor Programs

The major and minor programs in Undergraduate Studies cluster under the Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies umbrella. 

Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies

American Studies: BA 
Interdisciplinary Studies: BA 
Media Studies: BA 
Applied Language Studies: Minor
Creative Writing: Minor
Disability Studies: Minor
Science & Math Education: Minor 

We also offer interdisciplinary courses under the Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies (UGIS) and Letters & Science rubrics; you can find the former under the Related Courses tab above right, and the latter here

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Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Studies

Contact Information

Undergraduate Studies

231 Evans Hall

Phone: 510-642-0108

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Robert Jacobsen

Phone: 510-642-5640


Associate Dean, Undergraduate Advising

Richard Rhodes


Director of Advising

Roseanne Fong

Phone: 510-642-3889


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