Undergraduate Studies Division

The Division of Undergraduate Studies, serving approximately 24,000 students at UC Berkeley, provides great courses for undergraduates, helps students with advice, and lets students explore interdisciplinary questions with unique majors.

Undergraduate Studies includes Academic Engagement Programs, Undergraduate Advising, Undergraduate & Interdisciplinary Studies, College Writing Programs, and ROTC.

Academic Engagement Programs

The Office of Curricular Engagement Initiatives supports college and campus-wide programs that are designed to promote the ideals of a liberal arts education. Our curricular and co-curricular programs serve students at every stage of their undergraduate careers from the initial years of intellectual exploration through the process of pursuing an in-depth academic focus.

Big Ideas Courses 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. 

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 first-year admits 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 30 first-year admits 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. 

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

On the Same Page is a campus-wide 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. 

L&S 1: Exploring the Liberal Arts is a course that provides entering students an introduction to the intellectual landscape of the College of Letters & Science, the campus's liberal arts college. Guest speakers, primarily the faculty and recent graduates of L&S, shed light on the nature and attractions of their disciplines. The goal of the course is to transform students into informed participants in their own educational experiences at UC Berkeley. 

The Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarships (OURS) helps students pursue various research opportunities while at Cal. OURS works to connect students with faculty and mentors, help students obtain funding to support their research, and facilitate the integration of research with students' other academic goals. Programs run directly by OURS include the following:

Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP) provides opportunities for students to receive course credit by working with faculty and staff researchers on cutting-edge research projects during the academic year. Approximately 1,700 students and over 350 faculty members and researchers participate each semester.

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Programs (SURF L&S, SURF Rose Hills) provide over 100 students each summer with $5000 stipends to carry out their proposed research projects.

Haas Scholars Program sponsors the capstone research of twenty high-achieving, low-income students every year, providing recipients with $13,800 stipends. This program is primarily intended for juniors undertaking research over the summer to support work on their honors thesis.

Stronach Baccalaureate Prize provides funding up to $25,000 to graduating seniors who will carry out social engagement projects of their own design in the year following graduation. 

UC Washington Program (UCDC) sends approximately 30 juniors and seniors to Washington, D.C. to intern, research, and take classes every fall and spring semester. Cal 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 DC.  During their UCDC semester, students develop professional skills, clarify their future direction, and build important professional networks. 

OURS National Scholarships Office administers the application process for several prestigious external scholarships (such as the Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, and Goldwater scholarships). The office provides individualized advising for applicants to these and other nationally competitive scholarships. Please note that the National Scholarships Office is not associated with the Office of Financial Aid.

Underrepresented Researchers of Color (UROC) serves as a pipeline to increase the representation of marginalized students in research programs at Cal. Through its community-building initiatives, UROC seeks to expand the visibility, participation, engagement, and presence of students of color in research programs across campus and in research-focused graduate programs. UROC provides important tools and resources to students, including workshops, panels, peer-to-peer and faculty mentoring, as well as less formal opportunities to network with fellow student researchers.

Additionally, the Office of Undergraduate Research promotes undergraduate research by providing the following: 

Workshops and Peer Advising: OURS regularly offers workshops and peer-advising services, not only to orient students to the research landscape at UC Berkeley, but also to help students acquire the skills needed to undertake research. Past workshops have been devoted to topics such as "Getting Started," "Professional Communication," "Finding a Faculty Mentor," and "Writing a Research Proposal." Upcoming workshops are listed on our events calendar.  Visit 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 Mailing List and Social Media: Sign up for OURS' popular announcement mailing list on our homepage and be sure to follow OURS on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

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

Undergraduate Advising

College Advisers are “generalist” advisers in the Office of Undergraduate Advising who provide academic guidance in your undergraduate career from orientation to graduation for all L&S majors. They can help you understand campus-wide requirements, such as breadth requirements, academic progress, and time to degree. They can also help you identify possible majors and plan your program, navigate academic decision-making, and advise on how to maximize your undergraduate scholarly experience.

Major requirements vary among major programs. Meet with an L&S undergraduate major adviser (UMA) to help you understand major admission, declaration, and academic planning for a major or minor.

Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies

Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies (UGIS) in the Undergraduate Division of the College of Letters and Science serves as a center for innovations in undergraduate education that extend beyond traditional departmental boundaries. Our major and minor programs attract undergraduates who wish to explore intellectually engaging and promising interdisciplinary fields under the direction of scholars who are pioneers in charting these new areas and methods of inquiry. UGIS has been and continues to be an incubator for new ideas, combining experimental programs and courses with a curriculum designed to promote the ideals of a liberal arts education.

Interdisciplinary Major and Minor Programs

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

American Studies: BA and Minor

Interdisciplinary Studies Field: BA 

Media Studies: BA 

Applied Language Studies: Minor

Creative Writing: Minor

Disability Studies: Minor

Politics, Philosophy, and Law: Minor

We also offer additional interdisciplinary lower and upper division courses under the course names Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies (UGIS) and Letters & Science (L&S); you can find UGIS courses on the UGIS Course Catalog Page or under the Related Courses tab above right, and the L&S courses on the L&S Course Catalog Page


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Related Courses

Contact Information

Undergraduate Studies Division

College of Letters & Science

251 Evans Hall

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Jennifer Johnson-Hanks


Associate Dean

Shannon Steen


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