Unit Ceiling

In order to allow fair access to the College of Letters & Science to as many eligible applicants as possible each year, the College has set limits on the maximum number of semesters and units allocated for each student. It is important to plan your program carefully, with the unit ceiling in mind, to be sure that you will be able to graduate within the limits and that you will achieve as many of your educational goals as possible.

Students who enter Berkeley as freshmen and declare a single major may take an unlimited number of units if they finish their degree in eight semesters of college work; for those pursuing more than one major, nine semesters are allowed. Transfer students with single majors are allowed four semesters to finish the degree and five semesters for those pursuing more than one major. Note: "Semesters" are defined as fall and spring terms (quarters or semesters); summer terms are not counted.

Students who do not complete their degree within these semester limits are subject to the unit ceiling.

Determining the Unit Ceiling

If you have declared a single major and wish to stay longer than eight semesters (four semesters for transfers), you may continue to enroll until you exceed 130 units (this includes all college work except deductible units). For example, if you have completed 130 or fewer units at the end of your eighth semester, you may enroll in the following semester in as many units as you want. But, if you have 130.1 units, you may not enroll again, and your registration will be blocked.

If you have more than one major, you may continue to enroll until you exceed 136 units (which includes all college work except deductible units).

Students on financial aid should contact the Financial Aid Office to determine if their aid package will cover the cost of additional semesters.

Students who exceed the unit ceiling and are blocked from enrolling in fall and spring semesters may enroll in Berkeley classes during Summer Sessions or through UC Extension's Concurrent Enrollment program.

Although it is possible to appeal to the Dean for permission to extend enrollment past these limits, this is rarely granted, and only in exceptional circumstances. To inquire about waivers of the unit ceiling, make an appointment with a College Adviser.

Deductible Units

Units that can be internally deducted by L&S if the student is approaching the unit ceiling.
  • Advanced Placement
  • International Baccalaureate
  • A-level and GCSE/O-level exams
  • College course work completed prior to high school graduation
  • Community college course work completed after accruing 70 units of college work excluding units earned prior to high school graduation
  • PE activity course work (transfer work included) in excess of 4 units

  • Units that are deducted by the Registrar's Office. The units will appear on the record, but they are not included in the unit total. They will not count toward graduation.
  • Special Studies course work numbered 98, 99, 197, 198 and 199 in excess of 16 units
  • Courses numbered 300-499 (or equivalent courses elsewhere) in excess of 6 units
  • Computing service course work in excess of 5 units (Computer Science 3, 3S, 9A-H; IDS 110, 110L; Engineering 77, 77N)
  • Computing service course work in excess of 1 unit taken after completion of Computer Science 61A