Course Threads

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

A Course Thread is a series of three courses offered through multiple departments and disciplines. The classes in each series are related to one another by an intellectual theme. Any UC Berkeley undergraduate can complete a Course Thread and be eligible to receive a certificate. Students may then participate in an end-of-semester symposium at the Townsend Center to receive a certificate of completion of their thread.

The organization of a Course Thread is far more flexible and less demanding than a major or minor. Because they are not fulfilling a major or minor, all courses are weighted equally, regardless of unit value. 

To find classes offered within a course thread, go to the Class Schedule in the Berkeley Academic Guide, scroll down through the filters on the left, and use the Course Threads filters to find classes relevant to the thread in which you would like to participate. 

If you would like to count a course toward your Course Thread that isn't already approved, you can contact your Course Thread advisor with a 200-word justification that highlights which parts of the course syllabus are most relevant to your completion of the Course Thread. Please include the syllabus and your unofficial transcript as attachments. You must gain approval from the Course Thread’s advisor in order for the requested course to count towards the certificate.

Course Thread Options

Carceral Geographies: Beyond the Prison | Legal Studies: 

Prison and its affiliated domains—probation, parole, intensive policing—have long and complex genealogies. The Carceral Geographies Course Thread examines the nature and experience of prison and its related spaces. 

Culture and Globalization | ISF: 

Our world is transnationally connected through migration, markets, and media, yet our mental maps and cultural policies still tend to reaffirm the ideas of fixed territory and “authentic” heritage. The Culture and Globalization Course Thread explores how cultural mediation and interdependence operate on local and global scales. 

Historical and Modern City | ISF: 

The Historical and Modern City Course Thread introduces students to historical, theoretical, aesthetic, and other approaches to the city through a variety of interdisciplinary methodologies.

Human Rights | ISF: 

The Human Rights Course Thread encourages students to explore questions of how human rights are intertwined with fields as disparate as postcolonial literature and medical ethics, as well as with the more familiar fields of politics and international law.

Humanities & Environment | ISF: 

The Humanities & Environment Course Thread promotes new approaches to understanding the ways that humans imagine, represent, and interact with the natural world. Students explore challenging questions about how our imagined relations with the natural world have contributed to our strained relations with the environment.

Law & Humanities | Rhetoric

The Law & Humanities Course Thread illuminates the importance of the humanities for exploring questions of law and literature, law and history, law and philosophy, law and music, and law and the visual arts. Through this Thread, students consider what law is and where it resides.

Sciences & Society | CSTMS

From climate change and nuclear risk to new developments in biomedicine, the pressing problems of our time are simultaneously scientific and social, technological and political, ethical and economic. The Sciences & Society Course Thread gives students opportunities to consider how scientific questions intersect with historical, cultural, and social issues.

Technologies of Writing | ISF: 

While technologies of writing—from clay tablets to electronic media—have changed dramatically over time, the underlying human processes of adapting forms and functions to various media and to the social needs of the time are nevertheless comparable. The Technologies of Writing Course Thread investigates technologies of writing as cultural practices.

Visual Cultures | ISF

A single image can reflect and influence social change, provide a historical record, offer opportunities for personal and aesthetic expression, serve as legal and scientific “proof,” and be used to forge an identity. The Visual Cultures Course Thread examines the image’s role in shaping aesthetics, politics, and social culture. 

Visit Certificate Website

Certificate Requirements

To earn the Course Threads certificate:

  1. Successfully complete the courses in one thread (from at least two different departments).
  2. Contact your Course Thread representative to confirm that you have completed eligible courses in the thread. Be sure to send them a copy of your unofficial transcript. Please contact with general questions.
  3. Sign up to present in a Course Threads Symposium. You will be contacted by the Townsend Center for the Humanities with further details about the Symposium date. Symposium registration for the current semester closes the last Monday of formal classes, a week before RRR week.
  4. Participate in an RRR week Course Threads Symposium at the Townsend Center (220 Stephens Hall) and give a five- to ten-minute presentation about your experience with your Course Thread's theme. 

Students may receive only one certificate per semester.

Contact Information

Course Threads

Visit Certificate Website

Carceral Geographies

Professor Jonathan Marshall, Legal Studies Program

Culture and Globalization

Patrick Civello, Interdisciplinary Field Studies

Historical and Modern City

Patrick Civello, Interdisciplinary Field Studies

Human Rights

Patrick Civello, Interdisciplinary Field Studies

Humanities & Environment

Patrick Civello, Interdisciplinary Field Studies

Law & Humanities

Professor Marianne Constable, Department of Rhetoric

Sciences & Society

Morgan G. Ames, Center for Science, Technology, Medicine & Society

Technologies of Writing

Patrick Civello, Interdisciplinary Field Studies

Visual Cultures

Patrick Civello, Interdisciplinary Field Studies

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