UC Berkeley majors – Introduction
If you’re wondering how to get into UC Berkeley, you’ve probably already started looking at the UC Berkeley application. Like most college applications, the UC Berkeley application asks you to decide what to major in. In light of that, it’s important to start thinking about your first and second choice UC Berkeley majors.
There are so many University of California Berkeley majors to choose from. Indeed, you may not know how to narrow down your interests and decide what to major in. To start building your college major list, explore Berkeley’s undergraduate degree programs. What majors at UC Berkeley spark your interest?
In this guide to University of California Berkeley majors, we’ll explore the many UC Berkeley majors and minors. Then, we’ll discuss what the best college majors at UC Berkeley are. After that, we’ll consider how UC Berkeley majors compare to college majors at the other UC schools. Finally, we’ll unpack why UC Berkeley admissions and UC Berkeley academics make Berkeley a prestigious university.
How many majors does UC Berkeley offer?
There is no shortage of University of California Berkeley majors for students to pursue over the course of their college careers. In fact, across all of UC Berkeley’s academic departments & programs, students can choose from over 150 different UC Berkeley majors and minors.
Majors at UC Berkeley are offered through six distinct colleges and schools:
- College of Chemistry
- College of Engineering
- College of Environmental Design
- College of Letters & Science
- Rausser College of Natural Resources
- Haas School of Business
Each school has their own college major list, so you can see which specific UC Berkeley majors each school has to offer.
The College of Chemistry provides three degree options for UC Berkeley majors:
- B.S. (Bachelor of Science) in Chemistry
- B.S. in Chemical Engineering
- B.S. in Chemical Biology
UC Berkeley Majors in the College of Letters & Science
The College of Letters & Science offers over 100 unique UC Berkeley majors and minors.
These majors cover various subjects, including chemistry. The College of Letters & Science offers a B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) in Chemistry. Compared to a B.S., a B.A. requires students to complete more courses in the humanities and social sciences.
The College of Letters & Science (L&S) is the largest school at UC Berkeley and offers the most UC Berkeley majors for undergraduate students. Its more than 23,000 undergraduate students have the option to pursue 86 unique UC Berkeley majors, as well as additional UC Berkeley minors. As UC Berkeley’s largest school, L&S houses many different departments. In fact, you can major in subjects from African American studies to economics to social welfare.
Beyond the majors available at UC Berkeley’s six colleges and schools, students can also pursue UC Berkeley minors by taking classes at some of Berkeley’s graduate-only schools. You can earn two UC Berkeley minors, public policy and education, through the School of Public Policy and the Graduate School of Education. Other graduate schools include the Schools of Journalism, Law, Optometry, Public Health, and Social Welfare.
What majors is UC Berkeley best known for?
Majors at UC Berkeley prepare students to succeed in a variety of careers and post-graduate programs. Students can pursue UC Berkeley majors in one of over 130 academic departments and 80 interdisciplinary research units.
With so many options, you may ask yourself, what are the best college majors at UC Berkeley? If you’re not sure what to major in, start with our college major list of some of the highest-ranked University of California Berkeley majors.
As a highly regarded university, it’s no wonder Berkeley offers their students some of the best college majors in the world.
The highest-ranked University of California Berkeley majors include:
- Computer science
- Engineering (chemical, computer, electrical, materials science)
- Political science
UC Berkeley academics is known for their science and engineering programs. Some top-rated STEM majors at UC Berkeley include biology (#5 in the country), environmental science (#3), computer science (#4), engineering (#3), and software engineering (#3). STEM UC Berkeley majors are offered across different Berkeley schools and colleges, including the School of Engineering and the College of Letters & Science.
One of the best parts about UC Berkeley’s variety of departments is that students aren’t limited to taking courses within their major’s school. In fact, UC Berkeley students can declare a minor in a different college or school with permission from the minor advising department. So, if you want to major in chemistry and minor in social welfare, go for it!
Liberal arts programs also make up some of the best college majors at UC Berkeley. Other top-ranked majors at UC Berkeley include architecture, economics and business, and psychology. Students who want to pursue liberal arts UC Berkeley majors should explore the Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies (UGIS) college major list.
UGIS offers the following UC Berkeley majors:
- American studies
- Interdisciplinary studies
- Media studies
UC Berkeley minors at UGIS:
- American studies
- Applied language studies
- Creative writing
- Disability studies
- Politics, philosophy, and law
Depending on your academic interests, certain lists of the best college majors may matter less to you. If you aren’t sure what to major in, don’t be afraid to explore less well-known UC Berkeley majors and programs, like rhetoric or marine science.
Ultimately, UC Berkeley academics is highly ranked across the board. So, you can count on receiving a quality education no matter which UC Berkeley majors and minors you choose.
UC Berkeley majors and minors: More information
Next, let’s talk about some finer details around choosing UC Berkeley minors and majors. While deciding what to major in is a big decision, you aren’t bound to the major you indicate to UC Berkeley Admissions. If you’ve already created a college major list, don’t get rid of it once you’ve submitted your application. Hold on to it and feel free to explore courses within that major during your first few semesters at Berkeley.
Have you already chosen which UC Berkeley majors to include on your UC Berkeley application? If so, take some time to further research your college major list using Berkeley’s Career Library and Career Center. These resources can help you refine your list of UC Berkeley majors and decide what to major in.
Besides exploring UC Berkeley majors and minors, incoming students should take a look at Berkeley’s academic policies. These policies apply to the courses you will take for all University of California Berkeley majors. They include information about grades, midterms and finals, degree progress, and graduation.
Declaring your major
While you aren’t tied to the major you select for UC Berkeley Admissions, you will eventually declare your major. Students are encouraged to declare their UC Berkeley majors and minors by the end of their second year. However, different UC Berkeley majors and UC Berkeley minors will have different requirements.
Moreover, timelines may differ by school or college. For example, students pursuing UC Berkeley majors in the L&S must declare a major by the time they have 90 units. UC Berkeley majors that are in high demand may also have different requirements for declaring. In any case, be sure to check each department’s page for specific deadlines.
Satisfying degree requirements
Additionally, students pursuing UC Berkeley majors will need to ensure they satisfy their college or school’s specific degree requirements. Furthermore, there are school-wide requirements for all University of California Berkeley majors: Entry Level Writing, and American History and American Institutions. Above all else, remember that you can always change your major, too!
In sum, thoroughly research the requirements for each of the majors at UC Berkeley on your college major list. Then, you can confidently make a final decision on what to major in on your UC Berkeley application. That way, when it comes time for UC Berkeley enrollment, you’ll be sure about your choice of UC Berkeley majors as you start your freshman year.
University of California Berkeley majors vs. other UC college majors
UC Berkeley is one of nine University of California campuses. Each school has their own unique set of degrees and specialties available to students. As a result, some University of California Berkeley majors may not be available at other UC campuses. The UC campuses & majors page provides a college major list and a search function. You can use this to see which college majors are available by school.
Now, let’s compare the best college majors at UC Berkeley to those of two other UC schools, UC Davis and UCLA. Remember, some of the best college majors at UC Berkeley include biotechnology, economics, and political science.
The top five majors at UC Davis are:
- Biological sciences
- Neurobiology, physiology, and behavior
- Managerial economics
The top five majors at UCLA are:
- Business economics
- Film and television
- Political science
As you can see, you can pursue many of the best college majors at other UC campuses, too. Like other school systems like the Claremont Colleges, UC students can take classes on other campuses. However, cross-enrollment usually has to relate to your major, so research those requirements well in advance.
It’s important to realize that, especially if you’re considering a graduate degree, your undergraduate institution is only part of your future. If UC Berkeley Admissions proves too selective, you can pursue the same major at a different UC school. Later, you can return to UC Berkeley for postgraduate study. To learn more about other UC campuses, check out our webinar about the UC system.
Is UC Berkeley prestigious?
Yes, according to various college rankings, UC Berkeley is indeed a prestigious university. U.S. News ranks UC Berkeley #20 in National Universities and #1 in Top Public Schools in the country. Moreover, many University of California Berkeley majors are considered the best in the country. As a result, many students choose to attend UC Berkeley for their undergraduate degree.
UC Berkeley Admissions is considered highly selective. UC Berkeley enrollment data for fall 2022 shows that of 128,225 applicants, only 14,603 were admitted. This means the most recent admit rate was 11.4%. When evaluating applications, UC Berkeley Admissions looks for students who go above and beyond their minimum GPA requirements. UC Berkeley Admissions wants well-rounded, high-achieving students. Additionally, its holistic review process looks at both academic and non-academic factors, from grades to personal qualities.
Not only is UC Berkeley considered a prestigious school to pursue your undergraduate degree; it is also home to world-renowned graduate schools. U.S. News ranked several of Berkeley’s graduate programs in the top 10 across the United States. Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy ranks in the top four best public affairs and public policy programs nationwide. The Haas School of Business ranks #7 in the country, and Berkeley Law ranks #9.
UC Berkeley majors – Final thoughts
UC Berkeley allows students to explore many fascinating and unique majors. So, you’re sure to find one that stimulates your intellectual curiosity and prepares you for life after college. It’s never too early to start thinking about what you might want to major in if you’re accepted to UC Berkeley. At the same time, you always have time to explore until you settle on a good major for you.
Narrowing down University of California Berkeley majors and submitting your application to UC Berkeley Admissions is no easy task, but CollegeAdvisor.com is here to help. Our CollegeAdvisor Admissions Experts can help you navigate the UC Berkeley application, from exploring popular college majors to deciding which college major to choose in your college applications.
Additionally, once you’ve chosen the best college majors for you, your advisor can help you tie your academic interests into your UC essays. Best of all, CollegeAdvisor.com resources are available for you from the very beginning of the admissions process all the way through UC Berkeley enrollment.
If, after being accepted, you decide to commit to studying your majors at UC Berkeley, come back and visit this page! Spend some time with the resources we’ve outlined to familiarize yourself with all Berkeley academics has to offer, and be sure to check out our guides on how to join a club at UC Berkeley and navigating on-campus housing.
This guide to UC Berkeley majors was written by Stefanie Tedards. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.