Major Requirements and Declaring a Major

Although University, College, and campus requirements are essential components of the degree, the major program is the central focus of the Bachelor of Arts degree in the College Letters & Science. In the major, students become familiar with the intellectual boundaries of a particular discipline, study particular aspects of that discipline in depth, and develop competence in the fundamental skills and methodologies related to it.

Most major programs require about 50 units of course work, which, after other requirements have been satisfied, leaves about a third of the required 120 units available for elective course work.

For more information about majors, review the Berkeley Academic Guide and also review our section on majors.

Because the major program is the primary focus of your studies at Berkeley, declaring a major should be your number one scheduling priority.

  • We encourage students to declare a major by the conclusion of their fourth term, excluding summers. Transfer students should declare a major by the end of their first term.
  • To declare your major, review the department website for major declaration guidelines and visit the undergraduate major adviser (UMA) as soon as possible. Bring an updated copy of your Berkeley transcript and/or copies of transcripts (unofficial is OK) showing courses taken at other institutions.
  • To declare a major in the College of Letters and Science, you must complete most of the lower division prerequisite courses specified by your intended major department.
  • You should enroll in two or more courses for your major or intended major during your first semester. This will ensure that you are making appropriate academic progress.
  • If you are interested in changing your major, visit the undergraduate major adviser (UMA) and an L&S College Adviser immediately to discuss your plans.
  • Always take major prerequisites and upper division courses for a letter grade unless the major department tells you otherwise.