The College of Letters and Science at UC Berkeley is the largest of the university’s colleges. L&S offers over 80 majors across humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and more. A key part of an L&S education is fulfilling the college’s breadth requirements.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick overview: L&S students must take 7 breadth courses across arts & literature, biological science, historical studies, international studies, philosophy & values, physical science, and social & behavioral sciences.
In this comprehensive guide, we explain the details of Berkeley’s L&S breadth requirements. You’ll learn the different categories, how many courses are needed in each, strategies for selecting classes, and how breadth provides a well-rounded liberal arts foundation.
Overview of Breadth Categories
When pursuing a degree in the College of Letters & Science at UC Berkeley, students are required to fulfill breadth requirements. These requirements ensure that students receive a well-rounded education by exposing them to a variety of academic disciplines.
The breadth requirements are divided into seven categories, each focusing on a different area of study. Let’s take a closer look at each of these categories:
Arts and Literature
The Arts and Literature category allows students to explore various forms of artistic expression and engage with different literary works. It encourages students to develop an appreciation for creativity and cultural diversity.
Courses in this category cover areas such as visual arts, performing arts, creative writing, and literary analysis. Students can choose from a wide range of courses to fulfill this requirement, including art history, theater, poetry, and fiction writing.
The Biological Science category focuses on the study of living organisms and their processes. It covers subjects like biology, ecology, genetics, and physiology. This category is essential for students pursuing degrees in the life sciences, health professions, or any field that involves an understanding of living systems.
Students can explore topics such as evolution, microbiology, human anatomy, and environmental science to fulfill this requirement.
The Historical Studies category delves into the past and helps students understand how historical events have shaped the world we live in today. It examines different time periods, civilizations, and cultural movements.
Students can choose from a wide range of courses that cover topics such as ancient civilizations, modern history, world wars, and social revolutions. This category encourages critical thinking and the ability to analyze historical evidence.
The International Studies category focuses on global issues and encourages students to think critically about cultures, politics, and economies beyond their own borders. It explores topics such as international relations, global conflicts, comparative politics, and economic development.
Students can choose from a variety of courses that offer insights into different regions of the world, including Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America.
Philosophy and Values
The Philosophy and Values category invites students to engage in philosophical inquiry and explore fundamental questions about existence, ethics, and morality. It encourages critical thinking and the ability to analyze and evaluate different arguments.
Courses in this category cover topics such as ethics, metaphysics, political philosophy, and the philosophy of science. Students can delve into the works of influential philosophers and engage in lively debates about fundamental human values.
The Physical Science category focuses on the study of the physical world and natural phenomena. It covers areas such as physics, chemistry, astronomy, and geology. This category is crucial for students pursuing degrees in the physical sciences, engineering, or any field that involves an understanding of the laws of nature.
Students can explore topics such as quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, planetary science, and environmental chemistry to fulfill this requirement.
Social and Behavioral Sciences
The Social and Behavioral Sciences category explores how individuals and societies function and interact. It covers areas such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, and economics. This category helps students develop an understanding of human behavior, social structures, and cultural dynamics.
Students can choose from a variety of courses that delve into topics such as social psychology, cultural anthropology, economic systems, and political theories.
Strategies for Selecting Courses
When it comes to fulfilling breadth requirements in UC Berkeley’s College of Letters & Science, selecting the right courses can make a significant difference in your academic journey. Here are some strategies to help you choose the most suitable courses:
Checking the L&S Breadth Site
The first step in selecting courses to fulfill breadth requirements is to familiarize yourself with the L&S Breadth site. This website provides detailed information about the different breadth areas and the specific courses that satisfy each requirement.
By visiting the L&S Breadth site, you can gain a better understanding of the breadth options available to you and make more informed decisions about which courses to take.
Additionally, the L&S Breadth site is regularly updated with any changes or additions to the breadth requirements. Therefore, it is essential to check the site regularly to ensure you have the most up-to-date information.
Looking for Overlaps With Major
Another effective strategy for selecting courses to fulfill breadth requirements is to look for overlaps with your major. Many courses within your major may also satisfy breadth requirements in certain areas.
By identifying these overlapping courses, you can maximize your course choices and fulfill both major and breadth requirements simultaneously. This can be a great way to streamline your academic path and make the most of your time at UC Berkeley.
When exploring potential overlaps, it is important to consult with your major advisor or department to ensure that the selected courses meet both major and breadth requirements. They can provide valuable guidance and help you navigate any potential conflicts or uncertainties.
Consulting Your Advisor
Lastly, consulting your academic advisor is crucial when selecting courses to fulfill breadth requirements. Your advisor can offer personalized advice based on your academic goals, interests, and progress towards graduation.
They can help you identify suitable courses that align with your academic plan and ensure you are making progress towards fulfilling all necessary requirements.
Remember, your advisor is a valuable resource throughout your academic journey, so don’t hesitate to reach out to them for guidance and support.
Number of Courses Required in Each Category
When it comes to fulfilling breadth requirements in UC Berkeley’s College of Letters & Science, students must take a certain number of courses in different categories. These categories are designed to ensure that students receive a well-rounded education across a variety of disciplines.
Arts and Literature
One of the breadth categories at UC Berkeley is Arts and Literature. In this category, students must complete a minimum of three courses to fulfill the requirement. These courses can include a wide range of subjects such as music, visual arts, literature, theater, and film.
Students have the flexibility to choose courses that align with their interests and explore different forms of artistic expression. From studying the works of Shakespeare to analyzing contemporary art, the Arts and Literature breadth requirement allows students to appreciate the diversity of human creativity.
Another breadth category at UC Berkeley is Biological Science. Students are required to take a minimum of two courses in this category. These courses cover various topics related to the study of living organisms, including genetics, ecology, physiology, and microbiology.
The Biological Science breadth requirement provides students with a foundational understanding of the natural world and the processes that govern life. It allows students to explore the intricacies of biological systems and gain a deeper appreciation for the complexity of life on Earth.
Historical Studies is yet another breadth category that UC Berkeley students must fulfill. To meet this requirement, students must complete a minimum of two courses. These courses cover a wide range of historical periods, regions, and themes, allowing students to explore different aspects of human history.
By studying historical events and their impact on societies, students develop critical thinking skills and gain a deeper understanding of the world we live in. From ancient civilizations to modern revolutions, the Historical Studies breadth requirement exposes students to different perspectives and helps them make connections between past and present.
The Physical Science breadth requirement at UC Berkeley is designed to provide students with a solid foundation in the study of the physical world. Students must complete a minimum of two courses in this category, which can include subjects such as physics, chemistry, astronomy, and geology.
By exploring the fundamental principles of the physical sciences, students develop problem-solving skills and learn to analyze and interpret data. The Physical Science breadth requirement prepares students to understand and engage with the scientific challenges and discoveries of our time.
Social and Behavioral Sciences
The Social and Behavioral Sciences breadth category encompasses a wide range of disciplines that explore human behavior and societies. Students must complete a minimum of four courses in this category, allowing them to delve deep into different aspects of social sciences such as psychology, sociology, economics, and political science.
By studying the social and behavioral sciences, students gain insights into human interactions, societal structures, and the factors that shape our behavior. This breadth requirement equips students with the knowledge and critical thinking skills necessary to navigate complex social issues and contribute to the betterment of society.
Importance of Breadth for a Well-Rounded Education
When pursuing a college education, it is important to not only delve deep into your chosen major, but also to explore a variety of subjects outside of your field of study. This is where breadth requirements come into play.
At UC Berkeley’s College of Letters & Science, students are required to fulfill breadth requirements in order to ensure they receive a well-rounded education.
One of the key benefits of fulfilling breadth requirements is gaining interdisciplinary knowledge. By taking courses in different disciplines, students are exposed to a range of ideas, theories, and perspectives from various fields.
This allows them to make connections between different subjects, fostering a deeper understanding of how knowledge is interconnected. For example, a student majoring in Biology may take a course in Philosophy, which can provide them with a different lens through which to view ethical issues in the field of science.
Additionally, interdisciplinary knowledge can be highly valuable in the professional world. Many careers today require individuals who can think critically and solve problems from multiple angles. By having a breadth of knowledge, students are better equipped to tackle complex issues and adapt to evolving industries.
Wide Range of Perspectives
Another important aspect of fulfilling breadth requirements is gaining exposure to a wide range of perspectives. When studying different subjects, students are exposed to diverse viewpoints and ways of thinking.
This helps to broaden their understanding of the world and fosters empathy and cultural competence. For example, a student taking a course in African American Studies may gain insights into the history and experiences of marginalized communities, which can lead to a greater appreciation for diversity and social justice.
By engaging with different perspectives, students are also able to develop critical thinking skills. They learn to analyze information from multiple angles, evaluate arguments, and form their own opinions based on evidence and logical reasoning.
This is a valuable skill in any academic or professional setting.
Planning and Tracking Your Progress
When it comes to fulfilling the breadth requirements in UC Berkeley’s College of Letters & Science, planning and tracking your progress is essential. By creating a strategic course plan, utilizing the Degree Planner tool, and filing the Breadth Requirement Form, you can ensure that you stay on track to graduate on time and meet all of the necessary requirements.
Sample 4-Year Course Plans
One way to plan for your breadth requirements is to refer to sample 4-year course plans. These plans provide a general outline of how you can distribute your courses over the four years of your undergraduate studies.
While these plans are not set in stone, they can serve as a useful starting point for understanding which courses fulfill which breadth areas. UC Berkeley’s College of Letters & Science website offers a variety of sample plans for different majors, allowing you to see how other students have successfully completed their breadth requirements.
Using Degree Planner
The Degree Planner tool is a valuable resource for tracking your progress towards fulfilling your breadth requirements. This online tool allows you to map out your courses semester by semester and provides a visual representation of your progress.
You can easily see which breadth areas you have completed and which ones you still need to fulfill. The Degree Planner also provides information on which courses satisfy each breadth area, making it easier to select the right classes each semester.
It’s important to regularly update your Degree Planner to ensure accuracy and keep track of any changes or adjustments to your course plan.
Filing the Breadth Requirement Form
Once you have completed your breadth requirements, it is important to file the Breadth Requirement Form. This form serves as official documentation that you have fulfilled all of the necessary breadth areas.
You can find the form on the UC Berkeley College of Letters & Science website, and it must be submitted to the appropriate department for approval. Filing the Breadth Requirement Form is a crucial step in ensuring that your graduation requirements are properly recorded and acknowledged.
By planning and tracking your progress, utilizing resources such as sample 4-year course plans and the Degree Planner tool, and filing the Breadth Requirement Form, you can navigate the breadth requirements at UC Berkeley’s College of Letters & Science with confidence.
Remember to consult with academic advisors and refer to the official UC Berkeley College of Letters & Science website for the most up-to-date information and guidance on fulfilling these requirements.
Fulfilling L&S breadth requirements gives Berkeley students knowledge across diverse disciplines. This interdisciplinary exposure provides useful skills for the workplace and navigating an increasingly complex world.
Planning breadth courses carefully around your major and interests will help you graduate on time with an enriched educational perspective.