Social Welfare

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

An international leader in social work practice and social policy, Berkeley Social Welfare has prepared over 11,000 social work professionals and social welfare scholars for a range of leadership, research, teaching, and advanced practice roles. Since 1942 we have offered the undergraduate major in Social Welfare leading to the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree, under the jurisdiction of the College of Letters & Science. Berkeley Social Welfare's B.A. degree program was ranked #1 by USA Today College Factual in 2016.

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Social Welfare

The Social Welfare undergraduate major emphasizes an educational experience that is grounded in the liberal arts rather than specialized training in the profession of social work—thus its designation as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree, and not the professional Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree. 

The Undergraduate Social Welfare major reflects Berkeley Social Welfare’s goal to provide Berkeley undergraduate students with a broad-based introduction to America’s social welfare problems and social policies within a social science context. Students gain knowledge of organized networks of public and private social services, and the basic practice methods associated with the social work profession. In doing so, students acquire the knowledge needed to understand, address, and actively participate in the amelioration of critical social problems in American society.

Visit School Website

Major Requirements

Prerequisite Entry Requirements

Students interested in declaring the Social Welfare major should thoroughly explore the Social Welfare field as a major; become familiar with the curriculum and its required sequence; and complete the prerequisite entry requirements as soon as possible.

Social Welfare is a high-demand major. Prerequisites are strictly enforced and enrollment controls are in place for required courses to manage student demand. There are also limitations on the number of major declarations we are able to accommodate each year. 

Before petitioning to declare the Social Welfare major, students must complete all of the prerequisites listed below. Prerequisites should be completed as soon as possible since student demand for the Social Welfare major currently exceeds the total number of majors we are able to accommodate.

All prerequisite courses must be successfully completed with a minimum letter grade of C. Prerequisites can be satisfied at Berkeley, or through IGETC or UC Reciprocity for transfer students. High school AP scores that are high enough to provide credit for university units can be accepted in place of a prerequisite class.

  1. Fulfillment of the L&S Reading and Composition (R&C) Requirement:
    The College of Letters & Science (L&S) requires two semesters of lower division work in composition, Reading and Composition (R&C), parts A and B, in sequential order. All undergraduates must complete the R&C requirement by the end of their fourth semester. 
  2. Fulfillment of the L&S Quantitative Reasoning Requirement OR a Berkeley Data Science Course:
    All L&S students must complete a minimum of three (3) units of approved Quantitative Reasoning coursework in math, statistics, or computer science. This requirement may be satisfied by exam or by taking an approved course. The prerequisite entry requirement for the Social Welfare major may also be satisfied by taking a Berkeley Data Science course.
  3. Introductory Psychology:
    PSYCH 1 or PSYCH 2, or equivalent.
  4. Introductory Sociology:
    SOCIOL 1 or SOCIOL 3AC, or equivalent.

When and How to Declare the Major

Students must be accepted into and declared in the Social Welfare major in order to be eligible for enrollment in the introductory course SOC WEL 110. Because enrollment in SOC WEL 110 is restricted to majors, students should be declared by the time the pre-enrollment period begins ahead of the semester in which they plan to take SOC WEL 110.

Students may petition to declare the Social Welfare major as soon as they have completed the prerequisite entry requirements. Students who enter UC Berkeley as freshmen and intend to major in Social Welfare should complete prerequisites and declare the major as soon as possible. Past trends indicate a student should complete the prerequisites by the end of their 3rd semester to declare the major in a timely manner for graduation within eight semesters at Berkeley. All students must declare a major before the beginning of their Junior year, or the College of Letters and Science may block registration. Also, because Social Welfare is currently a high-demand major, all students must petition to declare the Social Welfare major by the time they have accrued 80 units, including work in progress (AP, IB, and college units earned before high school graduation are excluded from the 80-unit accrual total). Transfer students must declare a major by the start of their second semester at Berkeley, or the College of Letters & Science may block registration.

Students are eligible to submit the Petition to Declare e-Form once they have satisfied all of the prerequisite entry requirements and received a letter grade for each course. Petitions must include unofficial transcripts and a 4-year program plan indicating how the applicant intends to complete the major requirements by their expected graduation date. For assistance with program planning, please make plans to meet with a major advisor or attend an information session. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Degree Requirements

To earn the Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Welfare, students must satisfy all requirements of the University of California, the Berkeley campus and the College of Letters & Science (see College Requirements tab), in addition to the requirements for the Social Welfare major.  

Social Welfare majors must complete four required upper division social welfare courses and a minimum of five approved social science electives, totaling at least 18 units, from other departments.

All courses used to fulfill major requirements must be taken for a letter grade in order to graduate. Social Welfare majors must earn a minimum 2.0 GPA in all courses taken to fulfill major requirements.

Upper Division Core Course Requirements

Required Core Courses
SOC WEL 110Social Work As a Profession3
SOC WEL 112Social Welfare Policy3
SOC WEL 114Practice in Social Work3
SOC WEL 116Current Topics in Social Welfare (or Approved Upper-Division or Graduate Course in Social Welfare)2
Social Science Electives
Select a minimum of five approved, upper-division social science electives, totaling at least 18 units (see below)

Social Science Electives

All Social Welfare majors must complete 5 approved electives that will total a minimum of 18 units. All social sciences elective courses used to fulfill this requirement for the Social Welfare B.A. major must be selected from the following Master List of Approved Social Sciences Courses and taken for a letter grade. There are no restrictions on what departments may be chosen from the Master List.  

Approved Social Sciences Courses for Social Welfare Majors pt. 1

ANTHRO 112Special Topics in Biological Anthropology4
ANTHRO 115Introduction to Medical Anthropology4
ANTHRO 119Special Topics in Medical Anthropology4
ANTHRO 121CHistorical Archaeology: Historical Artifact Identification and Analysis4
ANTHRO 137Energy, Culture and Social Organization4
ANTHRO 141Comparative Society4
ANTHRO 147AAnthropology of Gender4
ANTHRO C147BSexuality, Culture, and Colonialism4
ANTHRO 149Psychological Anthropology4
ANTHRO 156BCulture and Power4
ANTHRO 157Anthropology of Law4
ANTHRO 158Religion and Anthropology4
ANTHRO 189Special Topics in Social/Cultural Anthropology4
ECON 100AMicroeconomics4
ECON 100BMacroeconomics4
ECON 101AMicroeconomics (Math Intensive)4
ECON 101BMacroeconomics (Math Intensive)4
ECON 105History of Economic Thought4
ECON C110Game Theory in the Social Sciences4
ECON 113U.S Economic History4
ECON 115The World Economy in the Twentieth Century4
ECON 119Psychology and Economics4
ECON 121Industrial Organization and Public Policy4
ECON C125Environmental Economics4
ECON 131Public Economics4
ECON 151Labor Economics4
ECON 152Wage Theory and Policy4
ECON 153Labor Economics Seminar4
ECON 155Urban Economics3
ECON 157Health Economics4
ECON C171Development Economics4
ECON 174Global Poverty and Impact Evaluation4
ECON C175Economic Demography4
Political Science
POL SCI 102The American Presidency4
POL SCI 103Congress4
POL SCI 104Political Parties4
POL SCI 105The Politician4
POL SCI 106AAmerican Politics: Campaign Strategy - Media4
POL SCI 118ACThree American Cultures4
POL SCI 122APolitics of European Integration4
POL SCI 123MConflict Management4
POL SCI 124CEthics and Justice in International Affairs4
POL SCI C131AApplied Econometrics and Public Policy4
POL SCI C135Game Theory in the Social Sciences4
POL SCI 137ARevolutionary Change4
POL SCI 138EThe Varieties of Capitalism: Political Economic Systems of the World4
POL SCI 147GThe Welfare State in Comparative Perspective4
POL SCI 150The American Legal System4
POL SCI 157AConstitutional Law of the United States4
POL SCI 157BConstitutional Law of the United States4
POL SCI 161Public Opinion, Voting and Participation4
POL SCI 164APolitical Psychology and Involvement4
POL SCI 166Latinos and the U.S. Political System4
POL SCI 167ACRacial and Ethnic Politics in the New American Century4
POL SCI 171California Politics4
POL SCI 175AUrban and Metropolitan Government and Politics4
POL SCI 181Public Organization and Administration4
POL SCI 186Public Problems4
PSYCH 106Psychology of Dreams3
PSYCH 109History of Psychology3
PSYCH C120Basic Issues in Cognition3
PSYCH 130Clinical Psychology3
PSYCH 131Developmental Psychopathology3
PSYCH 132Applied Early Developmental Psychopathology3
PSYCH 133Psychology of Sleep3
PSYCH 135Treating Mental Illness: Development, Evaluation, and Dissemination3
PSYCH 136Human Sexuality3
PSYCH 139Case Studies in Clinical Psychology3
PSYCH N140Developmental Psychology3
PSYCH 141Development During Infancy3
PSYCH 142Applied Early Developmental Psychology3
PSYCH 149Early Development & Learning Science Core Seminar3
PSYCH 150Psychology of Personality3
PSYCH 156Human Emotion3
PSYCH 160Social Psychology3
PSYCH 164Social Cognition3
PSYCH 166ACCultural Psychology3
PSYCH 167ACStigma and Prejudice3
PSYCH 169Love & Close Relationships3
PSYCH 180Industrial-Organizational Psychology3
Social Welfare
SOC WEL 105Introduction to Child Welfare in California and the U.S.2
SOC WEL 107Foundations, Philanthropy, and the Social Services: Grant Writing for Program Development3
SOC WEL 148Substance Abuse Treatment2
SOC WEL 150ACRace, Ethnic Relations, and Social Welfare in the United States3
SOC WEL 150LSexuality and Social Work2
SOC WEL 181Social Science and Crime Prevention Policy3
SOC WEL 185ACPrison4
SOC WEL 186Domestic Violence2
SOCIOL 110Organizations and Social Institutions4
SOCIOL 111Sociology of the Family4
SOCIOL 111ACSociology of the Family4
SOCIOL 111CSociology of Childhood4
SOCIOL 111PFamilies, Inequality and Social Policy4
SOCIOL 113ACSociology of Education4
SOCIOL C115Sociology of Health and Medicine4
SOCIOL 114Sociology of Law4
SOCIOL 116Sociology of Work4
SOCIOL 117Sport As a Social Institution4
SOCIOL 120Economy and Society4
SOCIOL 121Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Social and Cultural Context4
SOCIOL 124Sociology of Poverty4
SOCIOL C126Sex, Death, and Data4
SOCIOL 127Development and Globalization4
SOCIOL 130Social Inequalities4
SOCIOL 130ACSocial Inequalities: American Cultures4
SOCIOL 131Race and Ethnic Relations: The United States Experience4
SOCIOL 131ACRace and Ethnic Relations: U.S. American Cultures4
SOCIOL 131FFour Centuries of Black-White Relations in the United States4
SOCIOL 133Sociology of Gender4
SOCIOL 135Sexual Cultures4
SOCIOL 136Urban Sociology4
SOCIOL 137ACEnvironmental Justice: Race, Class, Equity, and the Environment4
SOCIOL 139Selected Topics in Social Inequality4
SOCIOL 140Politics and Social Change4
SOCIOL 145Social Change4
SOCIOL 145ACSocial Change: American Cultures4
SOCIOL 145LSocial Change in Latin America4
SOCIOL 146Contemporary Immigration in Global Perspective4
SOCIOL 148Social Policy4
SOCIOL 150Social Psychology4
SOCIOL 152Deviance and Social Control4
SOCIOL 160Sociology of Culture4
SOCIOL 165Social Networks4
SOCIOL 166Society and Technology4
SOCIOL 167Virtual Communities/Social Media4
SOCIOL 169Selected Topics in Sociology of Culture4
SOCIOL 180CComparative Perspectives on U.S. and European Societies: Culture4
SOCIOL 180IComparative Perspectives on U.S. and European Societies: Inequality4
SOCIOL 185Global Sociology3
SOCIOL 186American Society4
SOCIOL 189Selected Topics in Comparative Perspectives4

Approved Social Sciences Courses for Social Welfare Majors pt. 2

African-American Studies
AFRICAM 107Race and Public Policy3
AFRICAM 109Black and Male in American Life3
AFRICAM 111Race, Class, and Gender in the United States3
AFRICAM 115Language and Social Issues in Africa3
AFRICAM 116Slavery and African American Life Before 18654
AFRICAM 117African Americans in the Industrial Age, 1865-19704
AFRICAM 121Black Political Life in the United States4
AFRICAM 122African American Families in American Society3
AFRICAM W124The Philosophy of Martin Luther King3
AFRICAM 125History of the Civil Rights Movement4
AFRICAM 131Caribbean Societies and Cultures3
AFRICAM C133AWhat is the Role of Race in Urban Schools?3
AFRICAM 136Criminal Justice and the Community3
AFRICAM 137Multicultural Communities3
AFRICAM 138Black Nationalism4
AFRICAM 139Selected Topics of African American Social Organization and Institutions1-4
AFRICAM C156Race, Space, and Inequality4
AFRICAM 112APolitical and Economic Development in the Third World4
American Studies
AMERSTD 101Examining U.S. Cultures in Time4
AMERSTD 102Examining U.S. Cultures in Place4
Art Practice
ART 165Art, Medicine, and Disabilities4
Asian-American Studies
ASAMST 121Chinese American History4
ASAMST 122Japanese American History4
ASAMST 123Korean American History4
ASAMST 124Filipino American History4
ASAMST 125Contemporary Issues of Southeast Asian Refugees in the U.S4
ASAMST 126Southeast Asian Migration and Community Formation4
ASAMST 127South Asian American Historical and Contemporary Issues4
ASAMST 128ACMuslims in America4
ASAMST 132Islamaphobia and Constructing Otherness4
ASAMST 141Law in the Asian American Community4
ASAMST 145ACPolitics, Public Policy, and Asian American Communities4
ASAMST 146Asian Americans and Education4
ASAMST 150Gender and Generation in Asian American Families4
ASAMST 151Asian American Women: Theory and Experience4
Business Administration-Undergraduate
UGBA 107The Social, Political, and Ethical Environment of Business3
UGBA 192ALeading Nonprofit and Social Enterprises3
Chicano Studies
CHICANO 135ALatino Narrative Film: to the 1980s4
CHICANO 135BLatino Narrative Film Since 19904
CHICANO 150BHistory of the Southwest: Mexican-United States War to Present4
CHICANO 159Mexican Immigration4
CHICANO 161Central American Peoples and Cultures4
CHICANO 165Cuba, the United States and Cuban Americans4
CHICANO 172Chicanos and the Educational System4
CHICANO 174Chicanos, Law, and Criminal Justice4
CHICANO 176Chicanos and Health Care3
CHICANO 180Topics in Chicano Studies1-4
City & Regional Planning
CY PLAN 110Introduction to City Planning4
CY PLAN 113BCommunity and Economic Development4
CY PLAN 114Introduction to Urban and Regional Transportation3
CY PLAN 118ACThe Urban Community4
CY PLAN 119Planning for Sustainability4
CY PLAN 120Community Planning and Public Policy for Disability3
DEMOG 145ACThe American Immigrant Experience4
DEMOG C164Impact of Government Policies on Poor Children and Families4
DEMOG C165Family and Household in Comparative Perspective3
DEMOG C175Economic Demography4
EDUC 114AEarly Development and Education4
EDUC 140ACThe Art of Making Meaning: Educational Perspectives on Literacy and Learning in a Global World4
EDUC W153Research in Education: Studying Educational Inequality and Possibility4
EDUC C181What is the Role of Race in Urban Schools?3
EDUC 182ACThe Politics of Educational Inequality4
EDUC 185Gender and Education: International Perspectives3
EDUC 186ACThe Southern Border4
EDUC 188FLanguage, Race, and Power in Education3
EDUC 189Democracy and Education4
EDUC 190Critical Studies in Education4
EDUC 191BGender Issues in Education3
EDUC C193AEnvironmental Education3
Environmental Science, Policy & Management
ESPM 161Environmental Philosophy and Ethics4
ESPM 163ACEnvironmental Justice: Race, Class, Equity, and the Environment4
ESPM C167Environmental Health and Development4
Ethnic Studies
ETH STD 126Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality4
ETH STD 130The Making of Multicultural America: A Comparative Historical Perspective4
ETH STD 135Contemporary U.S. Immigration4
ETH STD 136Immigrant Women4
ETH STD 141Racial Politics in America4
ETH STD 144ACRacism and the U.S. Law: Historical Treatment of Peoples of Color4
ETH STD 147Women of Color in the United States4
ETH STD 150People of Mixed Racial Descent4
ETH STD 159ACThe Southern Border4
ETH STD 181ACPrison4
Gender & Women's Studies
GWS 100ACWomen in American Culture3
GWS 103Identities Across Difference4
GWS 111Special Topics (Advanced Approval Required)1-4
GWS 130ACGender, Race, Nation, and Health4
GWS 132ACGender, Race, and Law4
GWS 139Why Work? Gender and Labor Under Capitalism4
GWS 143Women, Proverty, and Globalization4
GWS C146ACultural Representations of Sexualities: Queer Literary Culture4
GWS C146BCultural Representations of Sexualities: Queer Visual Culture4
GWS 155Gender and Transnational Migration4
Global Poverty & Practice
GPP 115Global Poverty: Challenges and Hopes4
Health & Medical Sciences
HMEDSCI C133Death, Dying, and Modern Medicine: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives4
HISTORY 111BTopics in the History of Southeast Asia: Modern Southeast Asia4
HISTORY 111CTopics in the History of Southeast Asia: Political and Cultural History of Vietnam4
HISTORY 114BIndia: Modern South Asia4
HISTORY 120ACAmerican Environmental and Cultural History4
HISTORY 125AAfrican American History and Race Relations: 1450-18604
HISTORY 125BAfrican American History and Race Relations: 1860-20164
HISTORY 127ACCalifornia4
HISTORY 131BSocial History of the United States: Creating Modern American Society: From the End of the Civil War4
HISTORY 136Gender Matters in 20th Century America4
HISTORY 137ACImmigrants and Immigration as U.S. History4
HISTORY C139BThe American Immigrant Experience4
HISTORY C139CCivil Rights and Social Movements in U.S. History4
HISTORY C139DFrom Civil Rights Era to the New Gilded Age: Struggles for Racial Equality and Economic Equity from 'Double Victory' to 'Occupy'4
HISTORY 140BMexico: Modern Mexico4
HISTORY 141BSocial History of Latin America: Social History of Modern Latin America4
HISTORY 146Latin American Women4
HISTORY C191Death, Dying, and Modern Medicine: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives4
Interdisciplinary Studies Field
ISF 100AIntroduction to Social Theory and Cultural Analysis4
ISF 100BInterdisciplinary Theories of the Self and Identity4
Legal Studies
LEGALST 102Policing and Society4
LEGALST 132ACImmigration and Citizenship4
LEGALST 145Law and Economics I4
LEGALST 147Law and Economics II4
LEGALST 151Law, Self, and Society3
LEGALST 155Government and the Family4
LEGALST 160Punishment, Culture, and Society4
LEGALST 163Adolescence, Crime and Juvenile Justice4
LEGALST 168Sex, Reproduction and the Law4
LEGALST 170Crime and Criminal Justice4
LEGALST 181Psychology and the Law4
LEGALST 182Law, Politics and Society4
LEGALST 183Psychology of Diversity and Discrimination in American Law4
LEGALST 184Sociology of Law4
LEGALST 185ACPrison4
LEGALST 187Diversity, Law & Politics4
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Studies
LGBT 100Special Topics4
LGBT 145Interpreting the Queer Past: Methods and Problems in the History of Sexuality4
LGBT 146Cultural Representations of Sexuality4
LGBT C146BCultural Representations of Sexualities: Queer Visual Culture4
LGBT C147BSexuality, Culture, and Colonialism4
LGBT C148Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality4
Native American Studies
NATAMST 100Native American Law4
NATAMST 101Native American Tribal Governments4
NATAMST 149Gender in Native American Society4
NATAMST 151Native American Philosophy4
NATAMST 176History of Native Americans in the Southwest4
NATAMST 178ACAfricans in Indian Country4
NATAMST 190Seminar on Advanced Topics in Native American Studies1-4
Peace & Conflict Studies
PACS 119Special Topics in Peace and Conflict Issues4
PACS 125ACWar, Culture, and Society4
PACS 126International Human Rights4
PACS 150Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice3
PACS 154Multicultural Conflict Resolution4
PACS 170Conflict Resolution, Social Change, and the Cultures of Peace4
Public Health
PB HLTH 107Violence, Social Justice, and Public Health2
PB HLTH 112Global Health: A Multidisciplinary Examination4
PB HLTH 150AIntroduction to Epidemiology and Human Disease4
PB HLTH 150DIntroduction to Health Policy and Management3
PB HLTH 150EIntroduction to Community Health and Human Development3
PB HLTH C155Sociology of Health and Medicine4
PB HLTH 181Poverty and Population3
Public Policy
PUB POL 101Introduction to Public Policy Analysis4
PUB POL 103Wealth and Poverty4
PUB POL 117ACRace, Ethnicity, and Public Policy4
PUB POL 156Program and Policy Design4
PUB POL C164Impact of Government Policies on Poor Children and Families4
PUB POL 190Special Topics in Public Policy1-4
RHETOR 152ACRace and Order in the New Republic4
Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Studies
UGIS 110Introduction to Disability Studies3
UGIS 112Women and Disability3
UGIS C135Visual Autobiography4

Supplemental Elective Units

Students who choose five social science electives which do not total 18 units will need additional coursework to supplement the five electives. Supplemental units can be chosen from the Master List of approved social science electives, from elective Social Welfare coursework, group study, or community service units. Courses for supplemental units may be taken on a Pass/No Pass basis.

College Requirements

College of Letters & Science Requirements

The Social Welfare B.A. major is under the jurisdiction of the College of Letters & Science (L&S), which is the degree-granting college. 

Undergraduate students must fulfill the following requirements in addition to those required by their major program.

For a detailed lists of L&S requirements, please see Overview tab to the right in this guide or visit the L&S Degree Requirements webpage. For College advising appointments, please visit the L&S Advising Pages. 

University of California Requirements

Entry Level Writing

All students who will enter the University of California as freshmen must demonstrate their command of the English language by fulfilling the Entry Level Writing requirement. Fulfillment of this requirement is also a prerequisite to enrollment in all reading and composition courses at UC Berkeley and must be taken for a letter grade. 

American History and American Institutions

The American History and American Institutions requirements are based on the principle that all U.S. residents who have graduated from an American university should have an understanding of the history and governmental institutions of the United States.

Berkeley Campus Requirement

American Cultures

All undergraduate students at Cal need to take and pass this campus requirement course in order to graduate. The requirement offers an exciting intellectual environment centered on the study of race, ethnicity and culture of the United States. AC courses are plentiful and offer students opportunities to be part of research-led, highly accomplished teaching environments, grappling with the complexity of American Culture.

College of Letters & Science Essential Skills Requirements

Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning requirement is designed to ensure that students graduate with basic understanding and competency in math, statistics, or computer/data science. The requirement may be satisfied by exam or by taking an approved course taken for a letter grade.

Foreign Language

The Foreign Language requirement may be satisfied by demonstrating proficiency in reading comprehension, writing, and conversation in a foreign language equivalent to the second semester college level, either by passing an exam or by completing approved course work taken for a letter grade.

Reading and Composition

In order to provide a solid foundation in reading, writing, and critical thinking the College of Letters and Science requires two semesters of lower division work in composition in sequence. Students must complete parts A & B reading and composition courses in sequential order by the end of their fourth semester for a letter grade.

College of Letters & Science 7 Course Breadth Requirements

Breadth Requirements

The undergraduate breadth requirements provide Berkeley students with a rich and varied educational experience outside of their major program. As the foundation of a liberal arts education, breadth courses give students a view into the intellectual life of the University while introducing them to a multitude of perspectives and approaches to research and scholarship. Engaging students in new disciplines and with peers from other majors, the breadth experience strengthens interdisciplinary connections and context that prepares Berkeley graduates to understand and solve the complex issues of their day.

Unit Requirements

  • 120 total units

  • Of the 120 units, 36 must be upper division units

  • Of the 36 upper division units, 6 must be taken in courses offered outside your major department
Residence Requirements

For units to be considered in "residence," you must be registered in courses on the Berkeley campus as a student in the College of Letters & Science. Most students automatically fulfill the residence requirement by attending classes at Cal for four years, or two years for transfer students. In general, there is no need to be concerned about this requirement, unless you graduate early, go abroad for a semester or year, or want to take courses at another institution or through UC Extension during your senior year. In these cases, you should make an appointment to meet an L&S College adviser to determine how you can meet the Senior Residence Requirement.

Note: Courses taken through UC Extension do not count toward residence.

Senior Residence Requirement

After you become a senior (with 90 semester units earned toward your B.A. degree), you must complete at least 24 of the remaining 30 units in residence in at least two semesters. To count as residence, a semester must consist of at least 6 passed units. Intercampus Visitor, EAP, and UC Berkeley-Washington Program (UCDC) units are excluded.

You may use a Berkeley Summer Session to satisfy one semester of the Senior Residence requirement, provided that you successfully complete 6 units of course work in the Summer Session and that you have been enrolled previously in the college.

Modified Senior Residence Requirement

Participants in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP), Berkeley Summer Abroad, or the UC Berkeley Washington Program (UCDC) may meet a Modified Senior Residence requirement by completing 24 (excluding EAP) of their final 60 semester units in residence. At least 12 of these 24 units must be completed after you have completed 90 units.

Upper Division Residence Requirement

You must complete in residence a minimum of 18 units of upper division courses (excluding UCEAP units), 12 of which must satisfy the requirements for your major.

Major Map

Major Maps help undergraduate students discover academic, co-curricular, and discovery opportunities at UC Berkeley based on intended major or field of interest. Developed by the Division of Undergraduate Education in collaboration with academic departments, these experience maps will help you:

  • Explore your major and gain a better understanding of your field of study

  • Connect with people and programs that inspire and sustain your creativity, drive, curiosity and success

  • Discover opportunities for independent inquiry, enterprise, and creative expression

  • Engage locally and globally to broaden your perspectives and change the world

  • Reflect on your academic career and prepare for life after Berkeley

Use the major map below as a guide to planning your undergraduate journey and designing your own unique Berkeley experience.

View the Social Welfare Major Map PDF.

Academic Opportunities

Berkeley Connect in Social Welfare

Berkeley Social Welfare is a participating department in the Berkeley Connect academic mentoring program for undergraduate majors. Undergraduate students are paired with a graduate student mentor from the Social Welfare doctoral program. Participants are grouped by declared or intended major to allow students to discover mutual academic interests. Over the course of a semester, enrolled students participate in regular small-group discussions facilitated by a graduate student mentor (following a faculty-directed curriculum), meet with their graduate student mentor for one-on-one advising, attend lectures and panel discussions featuring department faculty and alumni, and go on field trips to campus resources.

Social Welfare Undergraduate Honors Program

The honors program in social welfare provides an opportunity for qualified undergraduates to investigate thoroughly an area of interest, to work closely with a faculty member, and to produce a paper of some magnitude. Students who meet the eligibility requirements, which include a 3.5 grade point average (GPA) overall and in the major core courses, and completion of SOC WEL 110, are invited to apply to the Senior Honors Program. Selected students enroll in the Senior Honors Course (SOC WEL H195) in their senior year. The fall H195 (two units) is a two-hour biweekly seminar addressing topic identification, library research, the preparation of an annotated bibliography and a 10-page paper. The spring H195 (three units) is an individual tutorial in which students prepare the honors thesis essay under the supervision of a faculty adviser.


Contact Information

School of Social Welfare

120 Haviland Hall

Phone: (510) 642-4341

Fax: 510-643-6126

Visit School Website

Social Welfare Faculty and Staff Contacts

Please visit our directory:

Back to Top