Transfer Student FAQs

What is the College of Letters & Science?
The College of Letters & Science (L&S) is UC Berkeley’s liberal arts college and is the largest of the university’s schools and colleges. It is also known as "the College".  L&S offers over 80 majors in Arts & Humanities, Biological Science, Physical Science, Social Science, and Interdisciplinary Studies. Earning a degree in the liberal arts provides you with a rich and varied educational experience and allows you to explore fields of knowledge beyond your major.

How many classes should I take during my first semester?
All L&S students are required to take a minimum of 13 units each semester (taking fewer than 13 units requires approval from the College). Most courses are worth 3-4 units.

  1. In order to make a smooth transition to UC Berkeley, we recommend you take 13 to 15 units, typically 4 courses, during your first semester. While this may seem like a small amount, remember that UC Berkeley classes tend to be more challenging than community college courses. Additionally, you will also be learning new ways to structure your time while adjusting to life on campus.
  2. Do not worry about falling behind. You will have plenty of time to add more courses in subsequent semesters or take courses during the summer. It is better to begin with a manageable course load and start the year off successfully than to overload yourself.

Should I declare my major during the first semester?
Yes, if possible. Some majors will require you to complete prerequisite courses prior to applying to a major. Declaring your major as soon as possible will allow you access to seats in upper division courses that are reserved for students in that major.

How do I declare my major?
All students in the College of Letters & Sciences enter as “undeclared”, despite any indication of an intended major on their application. Please note that no student at UC Berkeley is declared until you have met with an undergraduate major adviser (UMA) and apply to the major. Contact the UMA in the major department that you are interested in to evaluate the courses you have taken at other institutions and find out if the courses fulfill major prerequisites. Make sure that during your first semester you take any prerequisites that you lack for your intended major. Always bring copies of your transcripts (official or unofficial) when you visit a major department.

What is a “capped” or "restricted" or "limited" major?
Entry requirements vary by major and some majors are in high-demand. Consult with your intended major department regarding major prerequisites, GPA guidelines, and deadlines to declare.

How can I get help choosing a major?
To explore possible majors, use the Berkeley Academic Guide, and visit the departmental websites of the majors that you are considering. Talk to a College Adviser in the College and visit the Career Center and the Career Counseling Library. Some departments also offer workshops to help students choose majors. When you have narrowed down your choices, visit the UMA for detailed advising.

What will happen if I do not declare my major during my first semester?
It is best to declare as early as possible. Undeclared students with more than 75 units (including in progress units) will be subject to registration holds.

Do I have more time if I want to declare a double major or simultaneous degrees?
Traditional native freshmen students pursuing a double major or simultaneous degree are allotted 9 semesters of unlimited units to complete all graduation requirements. If more than 9 semesters are required, a student may enroll as long as s/he has not exceeded 136 units. Transfer students double majors are allotted 5 semesters of unlimited units. If you are intending a double major, begin talking with your undergraduate major advisers and a College Adviser as soon as possible and they can go over unit ceiling restrictions with you.

What is IGETC? How do I know if I have satisfied (completed) IGETC?
The Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) is a series of courses that California community college students may complete to satisfy the lower-division breadth/ general education requirements at UC Berkeley. You must complete IGETC before you transfer. Otherwise you will be required to satisfy specific lower-division general education requirements of the College. Once you complete the IGETC coursework, ask your community college to send your IGETC certification to the UC Berkeley Admissions Office. 

Note: If you’ve never heard of IGETC, you probably haven’t satisfied it.

Does IGETC satisfy the American History, American Institutions and American Cultures requirements?
IGETC does not automatically satisfy American History and Institutions (AHI) or American Cultures (AC). However, courses that you have already taken may have fulfilled one or more of these requirements. Check ASSIST under General Education/Breadth to see if you have satisfied any of these requirements. Most students from California satisfy AHI with coursework taken in high school. For more information on these requirements, visit American History & Institutions and the American Cultures website.

What is the transfer unit limit?
No more than 70 units of community college course work may be applied toward the 120 unit graduation requirement. Units above 70 may be eligible to receive subject credit toward completing degree requirements. Students transferring from a California community college can check ASSIST to determine whether a community college course will satisfy a major or college requirement.

Where do I send my transcripts from my previous school?
After you have completed transfer work and grades have been posted, submit an official transcript from that institution to:

UC Berkeley
Undergraduate Admissions Transcripts
16 Sproul Hall, MC 0608
Berkeley, CA 94720-0608
Do not open the envelope! Unsealed transcripts will not be accepted.