As a prospective freshman or transfer student at UC Berkeley, you should give careful thought to preparing yourself adequately in reading, writing, mathematics, and other areas related to your intended major. The more comprehensive and challenging your high school or college program is, the better prepared you will be for work at Berkeley.
Please explore the tabbed information on this page to learn more about undergraduate education at UC Berkeley.
Undergraduate Degree Requirements
The Guide helps you learn about the requirements you will have to fulfill to earn your bachelor's degree. These requirements are prescribed by four sources: the University of California system, the Berkeley campus, your college or school, and your major. All are summarized in the tabs to the right. For detailed requirements of your specific program, please see the Major Requirements tab on your program's page in this Guide. Please confirm degree plans with an adviser to be sure that degree requirements are being met in a timely manner
Newly admitted undergraduates to UC Berkeley will be invited to participate in Golden Bear Advising’s online academic advising modules hosted by their college. Once you have accepted your offer of admission, look on CalCentral for more information about when the modules will be released. These modules will help you learn about the requirements, connect with an advisor, and select courses for your first semester.
Applying for Admission
UC Berkeley is among the more selective universities in the country; far more students apply than can be offered admission. For fall 2018, Berkeley admitted over 13,000 students of over 89,000 freshman applicants (about 15% of freshman applicants) and approximately 4,500 of over 19,000 transfer applicants (about 23% of transfer applicants). UC Berkeley's applicant pool is increasingly more competitive with each passing year. As such, competitive candidates will present academic profiles that far exceed the minimum requirements for admission to the University of California.
To learn more about our student profile, click here.
Admission to Berkeley is a two-step process: Satisfying minimum requirements and selection. The process is outlined below, but more details and answers to other questions can be found online on the Office of Undergraduate Admissions website.
There you will find information on how to apply, admissions policy, resources, and more. You can apply to as many UC campuses as you wish, using the UC application form. (Note: The San Francisco campus, which is devoted to the health sciences, has its own application and filing procedures.) You may apply either as a freshman or a transfer student. Berkeley does not accept applications for transfer applicants at the freshman or sophomore level, nor for the spring semester.
Applications for admission are available beginning in August of the year prior to the year in which you would enter Berkeley. The application filing period is November 1-30. All applications must be submitted by November 30.
Berkeley does not offer any early admissions or any early decisions.
Helpful UC Links
Application Fees and Fee Waivers
The basic application fee of $70 entitles you to apply to one University campus. (The fees is $80 for international and non-immigrant applicants.) If you apply to more than one campus, you must pay an additional $70 for each campus you select. These fees are not refundable. You must submit your fees with the application or the application will not be processed.
The University will waive application fees for up to four campuses in order to assist students for whom payment is a barrier to application to the University. Students who qualify for fee waivers and who select more than four campuses must pay $70* for each additional choice. For the fee waiver request, please provide your family income and the number of dependents. The fee waiver program is for US citizens, permanent residents, and applicants eligible for AB540 benefits only.
There are two ways to obtain a fee waiver:
- You can apply for a fee waiver when you submit an online application. You will be notified immediately if you qualify.
- You may submit the College Board fee waiver. Applications for this waiver are available from your high school counselors.
Admission as a Freshman
Berkeley considers you a freshman applicant if you are currently enrolled in the 12th grade or if you have graduated from high school and have not enrolled in a regular session (fall, winter, or spring term) at any college or university following high school graduation/proficiency. Students who enroll in summer coursework, following high school graduation/proficiency, are still eligible to apply as a freshman applicant.
You can find out more information concerning minimum requirements for freshman admission to the University of California system online here. For specific information on preparing to apply to Berkeley, please see the Office of Undergraduate Admissions website.
All Berkeley applicants must meet the following requirement to be minimally eligible for admission the University of California:
- Meet the subject requirement by completing a minimum of 15 college-preparatory courses ("a-g" courses), with at least 11 finished prior to the beginning of your senior year;
- Earn a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better (3.4 for nonresidents) in these courses with no grade lower than a C; and
- Meet the examination requirement by taking the ACT Plus Writing or the SAT Reasoning Test by December of your senior year. Note: UC no longer requires SAT Subject Tests (except to qualify for consideration of admission by examination alone), but certain programs at Berkeley recommend them.
For more details on these requirements, please see below.
You must complete a minimum of 15 college-preparatory ("a-g") courses, with at least 11 finished prior to the beginning of your senior year. The 15 courses are:
a. History/Social Science: Two years required. Two years of history/social science, including one year of world history, cultures, and geography (may be a single year-long course or two one-semester courses); and one year of US history or one-half year of US history and one-half year of civics or American government.
b. English: Four years required. Four years of college-preparatory English that include frequent writing, from brainstorming to final paper, and reading of classic and modern literature. No more than one year of ESL-type courses can be used to meet this requirement.
c. Mathematics: Three years required; four years recommended. Three years of college-preparatory mathematics that include the topics covered in elementary and advanced algebra and two- and three-dimensional geometry. Approved integrated math courses may be used to fulfill part or all of this requirement, as may math courses taken in the seventh and eighth grades that your high school accepts as equivalent to its own courses.
d. Laboratory Science: Two years required; three years recommended. Two years of laboratory science providing fundamental knowledge in two of these three foundational subjects: biology, chemistry, and physics. The final two years of an approved three-year integrated science program that provides rigorous coverage of at least two of the three foundational subjects may be used to fulfill this requirement.
e. Language Other than English: Two years (or equivalent to the second level of high school instruction of the same language other than English) required; three years (third level of high school instruction) recommended. Courses should emphasize speaking and understanding, and include instruction in grammar, vocabulary, reading, composition, and culture. American Sign Language and classical languages, such as Latin and Greek, are acceptable. Courses taken in the seventh and eighth grades may be used to fulfill all or part of this requirement if your high school accepts them as equivalent to its own courses.
f. Visual and Performing Arts (VPA): One year required. One year-long approved course of visual and performing arts from the following: dance, drama/theater, music, or visual art.
g. College-Preparatory Electives: One year required. One year (two semesters), in addition to those required in "a-f" above, chosen from the following areas: visual and performing arts (non-introductory-level courses), history, social science, English, advanced mathematics, laboratory science and language other than English (a third year in the language used for the "e" requirement or two years of another language).
You must submit scores from either: the ACT Plus Writing or the SAT Reasoning Test. Students may submit official scores from either test (with essay). We will use the highest scores from a single test administration.
College of Chemistry and College of Engineering applicants only: While SAT Subject Tests are not required, the presence of SAT Subject Tests —particularly in a science and Math Level 2 — will be considered value-added, as would evidence of high academic performance in math and science.
Eligibility by Examination Alone
If you don't meet UC's minimum requirements, you may still be considered for admission by earning high scores on the ACT Plus Writing or the SAT Reasoning Test, plus two SAT Subject Tests. To qualify for consideration for admission to UC by examination, you must earn a minimum UC Score total — calculated according to instructions listed on the UC website — of 410 (425 for nonresidents).
In addition, you must earn a minimum UC score of 63 on each component of the ACT or SAT Reasoning Test and on each SAT Subject Test.
You may not use an SAT Subject Test to meet these requirements if you have completed a transferable college course in that subject with a grade of C or better.
Learn more by clicking here.
Additional Information Regarding Requirements
In addition, applicants who are residents of California will be offered admission somewhere in the UC system if space is available, and they:
- Rank in the top 9% of all high school graduates statewide (according the UC admissions index); or
- Rank in the top 9% of their graduating class at a participating high school. This is also referred to as "Eligibility of the Local Context (ELC)."
Eligibility in the Local Context
If you rank in the top 9% of students in your California high school class — and your high school participates in our Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC) program — you may be eligible for the ELC designation.
We will identify the top 9% of students on the basis of GPA in UC-approved coursework completed in the 10th and 11th grades. To be considered for ELC, you must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and complete the following "a-g" courses prior to your senior year:
- History/Social Science: 1 year
- English: 2 years
- Mathematics: 2 years
- Laboratory Science: 1 year
- Language other than English: 1 year
- College-preparatory elective (chosen from the subjects listed above or in another course approved by the University): 4 year-long courses or equivalent
After you enter your coursework and grades in your application, we'll compare your GPA to the historic top GPA for your school. If you meet or exceed that GPA, you'll be designated ELC and we'll add a note to your application. Applications from California will be automatically screened for ELC eligibility when they are submitted.
All achievement — both academic and non-academic/personal — is considered in the context of your educational circumstances, with an emphasis on the opportunities or challenges presented to you and your response to them. No single attribute or characteristic guarantees the admission of any applicant to Berkeley.
The campus selects its freshman class through and assessment that includes a holistic review of your academic performance as measured primarily by:
Your weighted and unweighted UC grade point average (calculated using 10th and 11th grade UC-approved courses only)
Your planned 12th grade courses
Your pattern of grades over time
The number of college preparatory, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), honors and transferable college courses you have completed
Your level of achievement in those courses relative to other UC applicants at your school
Your scores on the ACT Assessment Plus Writing or the SAT Reasoning Test
Your scores on AP or IB exams
Honors and awards that showcase extraordinary intellectual or creative achievement
Sustained participation in rigorous academic enrichment and outreach programs
Your likely contribution to the intellectual and cultural vitality of the campus
Diversity of personal background and experience
Qualities such as leadership, motivation, and concern for others and for the community
Nonacademic achievements in athletics, the performing arts, employment, and/or personal responsibilities
Demonstrated interest in the major and/or sustained academic achievement, particularly in math and science, is an important consideration for applicants to the College of Engineering and the College of Chemistry
Admission as a Transfer Student
You are a transfer student if you have completed coursework during a regular session at a college or university after high school. (The summer session immediately following high school graduation does not count.) While UC gives California community college students first priority over other transfer applicants, we also accept those from four-year institutions.
You can find more information concerning general transfer admission requirements to the University of California system online here. For specific information on preparing to transfer to Berkeley, see the announcements of the individual colleges and schools. You can also obtain information online here.
Minimum Admission Requirements for Transfer Students
Requirements for California Residents
Most transfer students enter UC at the junior level. This means that they have completed 60 semester units, general education, and most, if not all, of their lower division major prerequisites.
We review all information, both academic and non-academic/personal, in the context of each student's individual circumstances. To be competitive, present an academic profile with strong grades that includes preparation for your intended major/college.
Most programs will not offer admission to students with excess units, i.e., more than 80 UC transferable semester units before enrollment.
- If all coursework was completed at a two-year college, this excess unit policy does not apply.
- All coursework from a two-year college is considered lower division.
Obtain information on all requirements on ASSIST. ASSIST lists Berkeley requirements and the California community college courses approved as satisfying those requirements. If you are applying from a school other than a California community college, select "UC Berkeley" and then any community college from the pull-down menu on ASSIST. You will then have access to Berkeley requirements; take comparable courses at your school.
Requirements for Non-Residents
The minimum eligibility requirements for non-resident transfer applicants are the same as those for residents except that non-residents must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher in all transferable college coursework.
Transfers from Other UC Campuses
After you enroll at a UC campus, it may be possible for you to transfer to another UC campus. Applications for intercampus transfer are considered in light of your personal circumstances and the availability of space in your prospective major. These students must apply as junior transfers with 60-89 semester/90-134 quarter units.
If you wish to transfer from one UC campus to another, you must submit an application for undergraduate admission during the appropriate filing period.
The campus selects its transfer class primarily on the basis of academic performance and preparation, as assessed by a review of GPA and completion of lower division prerequisite courses for the intended major and breadth requirements.
We also consider:
Demonstrated interest in the major, an important consideration for all applicants
Personal qualities such as leadership or motivation
Potential contribution to the intellectual and cultural vitality of the campus
Admission of International Applicants
You are an international applicant if a visa is required to reside and study in the United States. A US citizen, permanent resident, refugee, or asylee who currently lives and studies outside the US is considered a domestic applicant with foreign credentials. International students in the US on a visa cannot be classified as California residents for tuition purposes.
Learn more by clicking here.
You must file an "Undergraduate Application for Readmission" if you are an applicant who:
- Formally withdrew from the University
- Were absent for one or more semesters
- Are returning to Berkeley as a limited-status student
For further information, including deadlines; fee information; and copies of the required application, please see the Readmission page on the Office of the Registrar's website.
Limited status students are a special category of undergraduates who have earned an undergraduate degree with a record of superior scholarship (an overall GPA of at least 3.3) but need additional undergraduate coursework for a specific and clearly defined purpose. Currently, only the College of Chemistry will consider admitting students in limited status.
Limited status is granted only in special circumstances; students' needs, abilities, and programs should have enough urgency to justify admitting them in place of students in regular status, and there should be no reasonable alternative available. Use of limited status to enable students to raise their scholarship average is not permitted.
Working Toward a Second Bachelor's Degree
Currently, only the College of Chemistry will consider admitting students for a second bachelor's degree for the Chemistry and Chemical Biology majors.
In practice, Berkeley admits very few students to the Limited Status or second bachelor's programs each year. If you are not eligible for the second bachelor's or the limited status programs, you may consider concurrent enrollment through UC Berkeley Extension as an alternative. For further information on concurrent enrollment, please see the UC Berkeley Extension website.
The University sets three general requirements for the baccalaureate degree: Entry Level Writing, American History, and American Institutions.
Entry Level Writing Requirement
All students who will enter the University of California as freshmen must demonstrate their command of the English language by satisfying the Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR).
The UC Entry Level Writing Requirement website provides information on how to satisfy the requirement by one of three options:
Standardized Exam option
See the UC Entry Level Writing Requirement website for acceptable minimum scores on standardized exams.
Advanced Writing Placement Examination (AWPE) option
High school students planning to attend a UC campus may take the Analytical Writing Placement Examination in May of their senior year. (Students selected for the May exam are sent the test notification letter in April.)
Admitted students who have not yet satisfied the requirement may take the AWPE their first semester at Berkeley.
English Composition Course option
Admitted students may opt to complete a course articulated to the ENGLISH R1A course, as published in ASSIST, provided the course is completed by the start of the term of admission to Berkeley. A grade of C or higher will satisfy both Entry Level Writing and Part A of the Reading and Composition requirement.
Once an Admitted student begins courses at Berkeley, and the requirement has not otherwise been met, students must complete COLWRIT R1A. A grade of C or higher will satisfy both Entry Level Writing and Part A of the Reading and Composition requirement.
American History and Institutions Requirements (AH&I)
The American History and Institutions (AH&I) requirements are based on the principle that a US resident graduated from an American university should have an understanding of the history and governmental institutions of the United States.
Before enrolling at Berkeley, students may satisfy both the American History and American Institutions in the following ways:
- High School Course Work: By satisfying the portion of the area “History/Social Science (a)” requirement for freshman admission that consists of one year of U.S. history; or one-half year of U.S. history and one-half year of civics or American government with letter grades of C or better.
- SAT Exam: By passing the SAT Subject Test in US history with a score of 550 or better (500 or better if taken before April 1995).
- Advanced Placement: By passing the Advanced Placement (AP) ‘United States History’ exam with a score of 3 or better; or the (NOTE: Only the American Institutions requirement may be satisfied by passing the high school Advanced Placement ‘United States Government and Politics’ exam with a score of 3 or better.)
- International Baccalaureate Exam: By passing the International Baccalaureate Higher Level (IB-HL) History of the Americas exam with a score of 5 or higher.
- Other College or University Course Work: By passing with a grade of C or better or P (if Pass is equivalent to a C [2.00]), one quarter or semester of a UC-transferable course in basic US history or US government at a college or university before entering Berkeley. Students may also refer to ASSIST, to find California community college courses that have been approved to satisfy the American History and American Institutions requirements.
- Other UC Campus: For students transferring from another UC campus: by passing any course or courses that satisfy the AH&I requirements of that campus. For inquiries, please contact the Central Evaluation Unit by opening a case with Cal Student Central.
After enrolling at Berkeley, students who have not already satisfied the AH&I requirements may pursue one of the following options:
- Berkeley Coursework (two options): (1) Complete either two pre-approved courses on the Berkeley campus with a grade of C- or higher or P, to include one course from the ‘American History Requirement’ list, and a second course from the ‘American Institutions Requirement’ list below, or (2) complete one approved course from the ‘Both American History and American Institutions’ list below.
- Other College or University: Complete two pre-approved transfer courses with a grade of C or higher or P, one for American History and another for American Institutions. For California Community Colleges, students must complete an approved equivalent to HISTORY 7A or HISTORY 7B, as well as an approved equivalent to POL SCI 1. Equivalent courses are published on ASSIST. For other colleges or universities, open a case via Cal Student Central and request a review of course options for your campus of interest
- Combination of Berkeley and Other College or University: Students may also use a combination of one approved Berkeley course and one approved course from another college or university, provided one course satisfies American History and the other satisfies American Institutions per the guidelines noted above.
American History Requirement
|HISTORY 7A||Introduction to the History of the United States: The United States from Settlement to Civil War||4|
|HISTORY 7B||Introduction to the History of the United States: The United States from Civil War to Present||4|
|HISTORY 125A||African American History and Race Relations: 1450-1860||4|
|HISTORY 125B||African American History and Race Relations: 1860-2016||4|
|HISTORY 128AC||California, the West, and the World||4|
|HISTORY 130||American Foreign Policy||4|
|HISTORY 131B||Social History of the United States: Creating Modern American Society: From the End of the Civil War to the Global Age||4|
|HISTORY 132C||American Religious History||4|
|HISTORY 133A||The History of American Capitalism||4|
|HISTORY 133B||Wall Street / Main Street||4|
|HISTORY 135B||Encounter & Conquest in Indigenous America||4|
|HISTORY 137AC||The Repeopling of America||4|
|HISTORY 138||History of Science in the U.S.||4|
|HISTORY 138T||History of Science in the US CalTeach||4|
American Institutions Requirement
|HISTORY 137AC||The Repeopling of America||4|
|POL SCI 1||Introduction to American Politics||4|
|POL SCI N1AC||Introduction to American Politics||4|
Both American History and American Institutions Requirement
|HISTORY 137AC||The Repeopling of America||4|
Exemption for Nonimmigrant Visa Status
Students with a current nonimmigrant Visa Status (F is the most common) are exempted from this requirement once they complete 90.5 units, so long as their visa status does not change prior to graduation.
For students with a nonimmigrant visa status who plan to apply for residency while at Berkeley, it is advisable to complete American History and Institutions so as not to delay graduation should residency be approved before completing the final term.
For inquiries, please contact the Central Evaluation Unit by opening a case with Cal Student Central.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the American History and Institutions (AH&I) requirements?
The AH&I requirements constitute two of the University's graduation requirements. They were established in accordance with Academic Senate Regulation 638, which reads as follows:
"A knowledge of American history and of the principles of American Institutions under the federal and state constitutions is required of all candidates for the degree of A.B., B.Arch., and B.S. This requirement may be met by passing an examination or examinations under the direction of the appropriate committee, or by passing any course or courses of instruction that may be accepted as satisfactory by that committee.”
In CalCentral it indicates that I still need to satisfy my AH&I requirements, but I took the necessary course work (or exam) in high school or at another college. How do I fix this?
For newly admitted students, please note that your status with regard to AH&I may not be up to date until the 8th week of your first semester when the initial transfer credit and exam review is completed. If after the 8th week, the status is still ‘Unsatisfied,’ please contact the Central Evaluation Unit by opening a case with Cal Student Central.
As a California community college transfer student, I satisfied the IGETC requirements. Does this mean I have automatically satisfied the UC's AH&I requirements?
No. Unless you passed one of the approved American history or political science courses at your community college(s), you have not satisfied the AH&I requirements. Use ASSIST, to find out what courses are approved at the California community college you attended before transferring to UC Berkeley. Transfer students may also complete AH&I with high school course work. Please contact the Central Evaluation Unit by opening a case with Cal Student Central to find out how best to submit a high school transcript.
May I take an online class from UC Cross-Campus Enrollment or a community college in spring together with my regular curriculum at Cal?
You must request and receive approval from your College to be concurrently enrolled at Berkeley and another college during a regular academic term (i.e. Fall or Spring). Contact your College advising office.
May I satisfy the American History or the American Institutions requirement by taking transfer courses in the summer after I graduate?
You may use transfer courses taken during the summer after you’ve met all other requirements to graduate, BUT you must delay your Expected Graduation Term (EGT) from spring to summer as you will not have satisfied the requirement by the end of the spring semester. Please contact your College advising office to find out more about how to change your (EGT).
Berkeley Campus American Cultures Breadth Requirement
The American Cultures requirement is a Berkeley campus requirement, one that all undergraduate students at Berkeley need to pass in order to graduate. You satisfy the requirement by passing, with a grade not lower than C- or P, an American Cultures course. You may take an American Cultures course any time during your undergraduate career at Berkeley. The requirement was instituted in 1991 to introduce students to the diverse cultures of the United States through a comparative framework. Courses are offered in more than fifty departments in many different disciplines at both the lower and upper division level.
The American Cultures requirement and courses constitute an approach that responds directly to the problem encountered in numerous disciplines of how better to present the diversity of American experience to the diversity of American students whom we now educate.
Faculty members from many departments teach American Cultures courses, but all courses have a common framework. The courses focus on themes or issues in United States history, society, or culture; address theoretical or analytical issues relevant to understanding race, culture, and ethnicity in American society; take substantial account of groups drawn from at least three of the following: African Americans, indigenous peoples of the United States, Asian Americans, Chicano/Latino Americans, and European Americans; and are integrative and comparative in that students study each group in the larger context of American society, history, or culture.
This is not an ethnic studies requirement, nor a Third World cultures requirement, nor an adjusted Western civilization requirement. These courses focus upon how the diversity of America's constituent cultural traditions have shaped and continue to shape American identity and experience.
Visit the Class Schedule or the American Cultures website for the specific American Cultures courses offered each semester. For a complete list of approved American Cultures courses at UC Berkeley and California Community Colleges, please see the American Cultures Subcommittee’s website. See your academic adviser if you have questions about your responsibility to satisfy the American Cultures breadth requirement.
College and School Requirements
Each college and school has established a program of requirements for the degree, which may be in addition to those of a field of concentration. These requirements may include: (1) preparatory subject requirements for admission; (2) preparatory college-level courses for your particular field of study-to be completed, if possible, during your early period of residency in the college or school, or in some cases before entrance; (3) breadth requirements, courses outside the field of study, considered essential to a well-rounded curriculum; (4) the credit requirement, which is the total number of units to be completed, with specifications of how these credits are to be distributed; and (5) a minimum scholarship requirement.
For detailed information, please consult your college or school:
- Haas School of Business
- College of Chemistry
- College of Engineering
- College of Environmental Design
- College of Letters & Science
- College of Natural Resources
- School of Public Health
- School of Social Welfare
Reading and Composition Requirement
The Berkeley campus is strongly committed to developing high levels of ability in critical thinking and communication among its undergraduates. Hundreds of courses require long papers and a number of courses provide training in writing or speaking. In addition to the University-wide Entry Level Writing requirement, the College of Letters & Science and most other colleges and schools require two semesters of lower division work in composition, to be completed by the end of the sophomore year.
Academic Status (Good Standing, Probation, Subject to Dismissal)
If you fail to maintain the minimum GPA prescribed and the academic progress required by your college or school, you will be placed on academic probation or subject to dismissal. Since academic status rules are applied only at the close of regular sessions, grade points that you earn in a University of California summer session or by removing an Incomplete grade are not taken into consideration until the close of your next semester of attendance.
For further information, please consult your college or school:
- Haas School of Business
- College of Chemistry
- College of Engineering
- College of Environmental Design
- College of Letters & Science
- College of Natural Resources
Senior Residence Requirement
After you have completed 90 units toward the bachelor's degree, you must complete at least 24 of the remaining units in residence in no fewer than two semesters in the college or school in which you will take your degree. You must begin these final 24 units in the semester in which you exceed 90 units.
For further information, please consult your college or school:
Majors and Degrees
Every student must select a field of concentration and pursue a major or curriculum, normally by taking a minimum number of units in one department or school. Occasionally, as with Business Administration, the school and the department are synonymous. In some cases, a major may embrace more than one department, as with the interdisciplinary studies field major in the College of Letters & Science.
Major requirements that must be fulfilled before you may receive a baccalaureate degree are outlined in each program in the Degree Programs: Major & Minors section of this Guide. Please also, see your department adviser.
Planning for and Declaring a Major
Your major is your opportunity to study a discipline or interdisciplinary area in depth, so be sure to choose a major you are passionate about. UC Berkeley offers an astonishing range of major programs. You can use this Guide as a starting point to learn about the options available to you. Advisers in your college and in the departments you are considering will also be an invaluable resource to you as you weigh and explore your options.
In some colleges, students are admitted directly into a major program. If you have been admitted as an undeclared student, view your first year as a time of exploration. Do not choose your major prematurely: many of the fields taught at Berkeley will be unfamiliar to you, so there is no way anyone would reasonably expect you to choose one as soon as you arrive. Try courses in a variety of fields that tempt you, and look for the discipline that asks and answers the kinds of questions you find most vital and compelling.
Keep an eye on the lower division prerequisites for all of the majors of possible interest, so you can build them in to your class schedule for the first two years where possible. Be on the lookout for courses that are prerequisite to more than one major of possible interest to you. But also remain open to the possibility that a course you are taking just for breadth credit may lead you unexpectedly to a major that you find rewarding and compelling.
Some majors are capped: they cannot accommodate all interested students. If you are drawn to a capped major, it is particularly important to consult with the major adviser early on to maximize your chances of being chosen, and to have a non-capped major in mind as a second option.
Regulations and procedures for declaring the major, or changing your major, vary by college. In general, you will be expected to choose a major by the end of your sophomore year.
Declaration and Change of Major
Regulations and procedures for declaring the major vary for each college. You may, at any time up to the last semester of residence, file a petition for a change of major. (Note: This policy does not apply to students in the College of Engineering. If you are in the College of Engineering, you must file your petition for a change of major no later than the end of your fourth semester. Transfer students or students who changed into the College of Engineering are not eligible to change their major.) You must secure approval for this action from the dean or another authorized person in the college or department to which you are transferring.
Preparation for Graduate Study
If you are preparing for study toward a higher degree, you should learn, as early as possible, the entrance and degree requirements of your graduate field, in order to include all prerequisite steps in your undergraduate program.
Major Maps are a new resource created to help students design and plan their UC Berkeley undergraduate journey, based on their intended major or field of interest. Major Maps include tips and resources for students to consider, including which types of courses to take (and when), opportunities for campus and community, career planning resources, and more. Maps for participating majors can be explored at the My Major Map website.
Cross-Registration Programs with Other Schools
UC Berkeley has cross-registration agreements with California State University East Bay; Mills College; San Francisco State University; Sonoma State University; Holy Names University; John F. Kennedy University; Dominican University; St. Mary’s College; and University of New Orleans. The program enables students to enroll in one course per semester at the host campus. With the approval of your adviser and the dean of your school or college, you may register and pay applicable tuition and fees at Berkeley and be exempt from tuition and fees at the host campus.
UC Berkeley students are also eligible for the Intercampus Visitor Program which allows for exchange at another UC. Simultaneous enrollment at another UC is another option.
In addition to these established special programs, the Intersegmental Cross-Enrollment program (at the discretion of the appropriate campus authorities on both campuses) allows an undergraduate student who meets certain eligibility criteria AND is enrolled in any campus of the California community colleges, the California State University, or the University of California to enroll without formal admission in a maximum of one course per academic term at a campus from either of the other systems on a space-available basis. CSU and CA Community College students participating in the program at Berkeley will be assessed a nonrefundable administrative fee of $46 per unit (fee subject to change). The fee is based on the per-unit fee at CA Community Colleges and is subject to change.
For detailed information about these and other visitor and exchange programs, please visit the Visitor and Exchange Programs page of the Office of the Registrar website; call 510-664-9181; or visit Cal Student Central, 120 Sproul Hall, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Berkeley Study Abroad (BSA) offers a broad spectrum of opportunities for students to gain first-hand experience living in other cultures while progressing toward their degrees and gaining professional experience. Choose from a diverse array of programs across all the major disciplines in more than 40 countries, including the UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP), Berkeley Summer Abroad, and Berkeley Global Internships programs. Students earn University credit for their participation while enhancing their undergraduate experience. Students can also consider studying abroad to avoid some impacted classes on campus. Options include semester, year, and summer programs. Many programs do not require foreign language proficiency. Financial Aid recipients qualify for financial aid assistance while abroad on BSA programs, and scholarships are available for BSA students with financial need. Contact your college advisor to find out how you can fulfill breadth requirements while studying abroad.
For further information, contact Berkeley Study Abroad at 160 Stephens Hall, 510-642-1356, or see the Berkeley Study Abroad website.
Programs Not Sponsored by the University of California
Many Berkeley undergraduates choose to attend overseas study programs sponsored by institutions and organizations other than the University of California. To obtain information about these programs, you should contact the programs directly. Berkeley Study Abroad (BSA) offers information on how to participate in non-UC study abroad programs. Additionally, most students will be eligible for an approved leave of absence and access to most study systems while abroad by completing the process of Planned Leave for Study Abroad. To complete the process, students must submit a Planned Leave for Study Abroad Form directly to the BSA office by the established campus deadline before beginning the non-UC study abroad program. Credit for coursework completed is dependent on a review of your final transcript by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Before enrolling in any program, have your proposed program reviewed by the Central Evaluation Unit in Sproul Hall, to determine the transferability of coursework from a particular program. Finally, consult with a college and major adviser as to the appropriateness of your proposed courses toward degree progress and, if necessary, procedures for readmission.
UCDC (UC Washington Program)
UCDC hosts 30 Berkeley juniors and seniors each fall and spring semester. The program combines coursework at the UC Washington Center with field research in an internship that reflects each student’s particular area of interest. All majors are welcome and participants’ research and internships vary widely. Students receive a full semester of Berkeley credit and remain eligible for financial aid if minimum units are met. Scholarships are also available.
Applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA and must have achieved junior status by the start of their semester in Washington. Also, at the time of application, applicants must have completed two upper division courses on the Berkeley campus that will prepare them for the research project they pursue in Washington.For more information, contact the UCDC Program office at 2422 Dwinelle Hall, firstname.lastname@example.org, or see the program's website (ucdc.berkeley.edu).
Undergraduate Research & Prestigious Scholarship Opportunities
Berkeley offers many opportunities for undergraduates to engage in research projects. This might take the form of supporting faculty research as an apprentice or designing your own project under faculty supervision. Berkeley students also successfully pursue a wide variety of prestigious scholarships each year.
Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarships (OURS)
OURS supports undergraduates in becoming dynamic members of the research community of UC Berkeley. To this end, OURS develops and coordinates a range of programs and scholarships that bring undergraduates into fieldwork, research laboratories, the archives, and the analysis and practice of the arts. Whether assisting faculty with their research or pursuing their own research with faculty mentorship, Berkeley students, we believe, should directly experience what it means to be a part of cutting-edge research at a world-class research university. Students engaged in undergraduate research often compete for the most prestigious post-baccalaureate and graduate scholarships; OURS administers the application processes for these scholarships and supports students in developing successful proposals. For more information on the wealth of undergraduate research opportunities at Berkeley, including regular workshops on research at different levels, please visit the website for OURS. We encourage students to sign up for the “undergraduate research listserv.” The Office of Undergraduate Research is located in Dwinelle Hall; the main office is room 2422.
Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP)
URAP is an ideal place for students to begin exploring how to conduct research. Over 1,700 students participate in this program each semester, working with faculty from nearly every department and college. Students accepted into the program become research apprentices and, through hands-on work and faculty mentorship, gain skills and perspectives on the production of knowledge in a wide range of fields. Fall semester applications are due in early September, and spring semester applications are due in late January. Visit the URAP website for a current list of faculty projects.
SURF, Haas Scholars, UCDC, and Stronach Baccalaureate Prize
When students are ready to embark on research of their own design, the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) and the Haas Scholars Program offer fellowships that allow students to pursue sophisticated research. UCDC enables students to spend a semester in Washington, D.C. taking courses, conducting research, and carrying out an internship. The Judith Lee Stronach Baccalaureate Prize offers up to $25,000 for students to pursue a public service-oriented project of their own design after graduation. For information about these and other programs, visit the OURS website.
Scholarship Connection is UC Berkeley's web-based clearinghouse for information on scholarships that are funded by sources outside the University. Many of the most prestigious scholarships require campus nomination. This process is administered through OURS, and advising and application support is available to students. We encourage students to sign up for the “scholarship listserv.”
A wide variety of internships—loosely defined as structured field experience—is available to you on and off campus. The positions may be paid or unpaid, may sometimes carry academic credit, and may have educational and career value. Courses with field components occur principally in the 97, 98, 99, 197, 198, and 199 series. Check the course listings in the bulletin for specific information.
The following offices have listings of numerous internships, both on and off campus:
Individual internship programs are available through campus-based offices. Look for internships on Handshake or consult individual offices and departments.
Berkeley offers some honors courses for highly qualified students, usually in their senior year. A few of these courses are available to lower division students. See your major adviser for information.
Freshman and Sophomore Seminars
The 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 (and in some cases 90) bear 1 unit of credit; they are limited to 15 students, and freshmen are given priority for enrollment. The courses numbered 84 bear 1 or 2 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 bulletin, 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 in time for course enrollment registration 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 or 510-642-8378.
DeCal (Democratic Education at Cal) courses are Academic Senate-approved 98 or 198 courses that are proposed, designed, and led by Cal undergraduates under the supervision of a faculty sponsor. Offered through over 60 departments, these 1–2 unit P/NP courses provide students the opportunity to explore topics not available through Cal’s formal curriculum and experience the power of peer-led facilitation. Students looking to develop their DeCals can find start-up training and support resources through the Undergraduate Course Facilitator Training & Resources.
Advising & Academic Assistance
College and Department Advisers
For information regarding academic advising, please see the following college- and school-specific links:
- Haas School of Business
- College of Chemistry
- College of Engineering
- College of Environmental Design
- College of Letters and Science
- College of Natural Resources
- School of Social Welfare
Student Learning Center
Founded in 1973, the Student Learning Center is the primary academic support unit on campus, serving approximately 40% of the undergraduate student population. Harnessing the power of peer pedagogy, the Center seeks to foster an inclusive learning culture that values process, collaboration, intellectual risk-taking, and creativity. See below for a list of academic programs and services:
Harnessing the power of collaborative learning, the SLC Economics Program provides tutorial support for Cal students taking Economics 1, 2, 100A, 100B, 136, and 140. We serve as a platform for students to learn from one another and succeed together. Our services offer students not only the means to achieve content mastery, but also the opportunity to experience an inclusive, dynamic global learning community.
The International Student Program advocates for the specific and evolving needs of international students and facilitates existing academic support services to enhance the learning experiences of international students. In addition to reviving the SLC Language Exchange Program and Economics Program, we provide cultural competency training for professional and student staff at the SLC and across campus.
The Language Exchange Program provides a free, flexible, and fun-filled way for Cal students to meet and share their language skills. The program emphasizes mutual exchange by all participants, so each will have the opportunity to learn and teach a language. Participants are grouped or paired with a proficient speaker of the language they are interested in practicing. Through the program, participants will be able to refine not only their language skills but also their ability to communicate effectively across cultures.
The Mathematics & Statistics Program offers inclusive learning support to help students realize their potential and develop a passion for the material to achieve academic success. Students work with professional staff and trained peer tutors to hone their quantitative reasoning skills and develop the learning strategies necessary to thrive in gateway math and statistics courses at Cal.
The Science Program supports undergraduates in their pursuit of scientific learning at Cal. Through peer-led services, services are designed to meet students where they are and strengthen their foundation for academic success. Students are served through a variety of access points, from one-on-one tutoring to study groups and exam reviews.
The Social Science Program provides Cal undergraduates with culturally respectful and rigorous peer-led support to bolster their ability to thrive in the social sciences at Cal. We offer study groups, drop-in services, and workshops that aim to promote mastery of course material through collaboration. Whatever their backgrounds or academic interests, students will find in the SLC a community of fellow scholars committed to seeking knowledge, locating passion, and changing the world.
The Strategic Learning Program supports students in achieving academic success while maintaining health, balance, and well-being. Through seminars, workshops, and one-on-one coaching, students cultivate strategies that best match their individual learning styles and preferences and acquire the growth mindset and habits necessary to navigate the rigor and thrive at Cal.
Summer Bridge serves a globally diverse community of entering undergraduates in a six-week academic residential program. Scholars take a full course load, including two academic courses and a mentorship program that helps them navigate the academic expectations of the research university. Bridge takes a holistic approach to supporting scholars, working to ensure that they complete the program with the skills, the disposition, and the academic connections necessary to thrive at Cal.
The SLC Writing Program supports Cal undergraduates in their journey to become more persuasive and purposeful writers. We work with students on any academic assignments at any stage of the writing process. Through one-on-one conferences and peer-facilitated workshops, services are designed to empower students to take ownership of their academic voice and growth.
The Athletic Study Center (ASC), located in 179 César Chávez Center, offers academic support services for Berkeley's student athletes. Services are geared to ensuring academic achievement through academic advising, tutoring, study groups, and a computer lab. For more information, visit the ASC website.
Honors to Date
To be eligible for honors to date, you must have completed a minimum of 12 units undertaken for letter grades at Berkeley and must have achieved the minimum grade point average (GPA) required by your school or college.
Honors at Graduation
To be eligible for honors in general scholarship at graduation, you must have completed a minimum of 50 semester units at the University of California, of which a minimum of 43 units must be undertaken for a letter grade; completed a minimum of 30 units at Berkeley; and achieved a GPA that ranks you in your school or college in the top 3 percent for highest honors, the next 7 percent for high honors, and the next 10 percent for honors.
These criteria are minimal; consult your college or school for more detailed information:
Haas School of Business
College of Chemistry
College of Engineering
College of Environmental Design
College of Letters and Science
College of Natural Resources
Berkeley has a number of honor societies that elect students in recognition of academic excellence. Among these are Phi Beta Kappa, a national honor society; the Prytanean Society, founded in 1900 to honor upper division and graduate women for academic accomplishment and service to the University; the Honors Students Society; Tau Beta Pi, the national honor society for all engineering disciplines and various other engineering honor societies; Alpha Mu Gamma, a national society for students with demonstrated excellence in languages; and individual societies in most language departments. See your adviser for more information.
Awards for outstanding ability in some area of creative, scholarly, or athletic achievement are available at Berkeley in two general categories: competitive prizes for creative effort or departmental awards for outstanding scholastic achievement. For more information, please see the Financial Aid & Scholarships website.
Scholarship Connection Website
The Scholarship Connection website is Berkeley's clearinghouse for information on scholarships that are funded by sources outside the University. Enrolled Berkeley students may search for awards on the Scholarship Connection's online database. In addition to providing information on many externally funded awards, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarships (OURS) also administers the campus recruitment and selection for several highly competitive awards, such as the Rhodes, Marshall, and Truman Scholarships. The office offers workshops and individual advising to help applicants prepare competitive applications for these prestigious awards. For more information, visit the Scholarship Connection website.
Commitment to Teaching
Every year, the Berkeley campus honors several of its outstanding faculty members by presenting them with the Distinguished Teaching Award. More than 250 faculty members from all over campus have been recognized this way for their outstanding teaching. If you see a plus (+) before a faculty member's name, this means they are a recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.
At a large institution often known more for its research, such recognition serves to remind us all of the importance of teaching and the value we place on it. Students who attend Berkeley have the benefit of learning from world-renowned theorists and researchers who are also often distinguished teachers. Recipients of past awards have pointed out that their research is often enhanced by the questions and responses of their students in the classroom, while at the same time, the excitement of generating new ideas and discoveries in research stimulates them to become better teachers.
Good teachers do more than convey knowledge in a field. They clarify for students the relationships between their subject and other fields of knowledge; they ignite in their students a desire to learn; and as a consequence, they often have a life-long impact on their students’ lives and careers.
Good teaching is, of course, not limited to the people who have received the Distinguished Teaching Award. You will encounter excellent teachers in all departments, all disciplines, in large classes and in seminars. There is no one way to teach well; the styles you will encounter will be as varied as the courses you take, from eye-opening lectures to discussion sections in which you will clarify and define your own ideas. In teaching, as in every aspect of UC Berkeley, diversity is the key to a rich and challenging educational experience.