Schedule Planning

A Balanced Schedule

Finding balance starts with setting realistic goals for yourself. We usually suggest a normal course load of 13 (minimum) to 15 units in the first term. This allows you to get adjusted to the pace of Berkeley work.  Review Paige's "Balanced Meal" approach video. Note: Financial Aid and/or scholarships may have different unit requirements.

Schedule Planning

It's about more than just choosing and scheduling courses.  It's about learning who you are right now, and how you can plan your time at Berkeley to get the education that will help you meet your goals.

Consider these steps for course selection.

  1. Review the College of Letters & Science Video Overview.
  2. Find course descriptions and prerequisites in the Berkeley Academic Guide. Check class times, instructors, and register in CalCentral.  Avoid classes with the same final exam group.
  3. Include at least two major prerequisites for a major you are exploring.
  4. Add one or two open breadth or transition classes by reviewing our Course Search chart below.
  5. P/NP (Passed/Not Passed) units can be no more than one-third of your Berkeley units.  A student who receives all incomplete grades, takes all courses on a passed/not passed basis, earns all IPs, or a combination of passed/not passed, incomplete, NR and IP grades will fail to achieve a sufficient GPA and will be placed on probation.
  6. Courses with Unit Limits impact enrollment.  Excess Special Studies units will appear on the record, but they are not included in the unit total. They will not count toward graduation.
  7.  Review Unit Ceiling. L&S has set limits on the maximum number of semesters and units allocated for each student. 

Below are courses with unit limits of which you should be aware:

Special Studies Courses Physical Education Activity Courses Professional Courses
  • No more than 16 units in courses numbered 97, 98, 99, 197, 198, or 199 may be applied to the degree.
  • It is strongly recommended that students take no more than 4 units from courses numbered 97, 98, 99, 197, 198 or 199 in any one semester in order to comply with the 16-unit limit.

No more than 4 units may be applied to the degree. No more than 6 units from courses numbered 300-499 may be applied to the degree.

Deductible Units

Units that can be internally deducted by the College of L&S if the student is approaching the unit ceiling: Units that are deducted by the Office of the Registrar. Units will appear on the record, but they are not included in the unit total. They will not count toward graduation.
    •    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
    •    Physical Education (PE) activity course work (transfer work included) in excess of 4 units
 •    Special Studies course work numbered 97, 98, 99, 197, 198 and 199 in excess of 16 units.
 •    Special Studies course work numbered 97, 98, 99, 198 and 199 in excess of 4 units in a single semester prior to fall 2016.

8.  Create potential schedules in CalCentral.
9.  Check with a College Adviser to review your academic history. It can take up to one semester for coursework to be reported in the system.  Check with the undergraduate major adviser (UMA) in regard to academic progress in major.
10. Enroll at your CalCentral appointment time in order to increase your chances of getting into your preferred classes. Check your schedule periodically, especially if you are on a waitlist. You may also use adjustment period to change your schedule.
11.  If you have not enrolled in at least one class by the end of the third week, you will need to meet with a College Adviser to file for Late Enrollment and Registration.

Next: Info for Transfers at Berkeley or the Freshmen Four Year Planner

Course Search:

Suggested Classes Freshman and Sophomore Seminars
Berkeley Connect Discovery Courses
Big Ideas Courses L&S 1
Course Threads L&S 10 - On the Same Page
Data Science Courses Student Learning Center (SLC) Adjunct Courses
Democratic Education at Cal (DeCal) Class Schedule