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.