1. Why is L&S implementing a high-demand major policy?

The L&S high-demand major policy is designed to improve the student experience. In L&S, most of our 80+ majors are “open”— to declare that major, you need to take the prerequisite courses, meet academic standards in the College, and file a declaration form. However, there is a small subset of high-demand majors that have additional requirements to better match teaching capacity to student demand. Traditionally, to declare a high-demand major in L&S, students are required to have a minimum GPA in a specific set of courses (also referred to as major prerequisites). Students who did not meet the minimum GPA requirements had to redirect their focus to an alternative major midway through their career, often leading students to experience great stress and anxiety.

The new L&S high-demand major policy is intended to provide peace of mind to students by ensuring that their application will be subject to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions holistic review process. If they select the high-demand major when they apply, they will be guaranteed a spot in the major they selected (subject to completing the prerequisites, meeting academic standards in the College, and filing a declaration form).

For students who don’t know that they want a high-demand major when they apply as first-years, they will be subject to a comprehensive review after enrolling at Berkeley. This review includes quantitative and qualitative criteria such as academic and personal accomplishments by the student along with consideration of the context of those accomplishments and opportunities afforded to the student. Admission to high-demand majors based on these criteria is overall a more fair and equitable process instead of the current criterion of the student’s major prerequisite GPA.