Academic Engagement

Undergraduate Studies is especially dedicated to creating and overseeing programs that nurture rich intellectual relationships between faculty members and students. In the best tradition of a liberal arts education, our courses encourage students to explore fascinating new worlds of knowledge. Our academic enrichment programs serve students at every stage of their undergraduate careers, from the initial years of intellectual exploration through the process of finding and pursuing an in-depth academic focus. Several of these programs are curricular and others are co-curricular; however, in each case our goal is to enhance the liberal arts education of the student participants.

Hallmarks of a first-year L&S curriculum are the more than 100 small-group freshman and sophomore seminars and the dozens of Discovery Courses taught by legendary Berkeley faculty. These teaching jewels offer undergraduates a great way to explore new and exciting fields of study.

  • Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarships (OURS) is the place to start, both for students looking for a research apprenticeship and students looking for support to undertake research or creative projects of their own design.
  • On the Same Page brings students and faculty members together to discuss a book by an author who has changed the way we view the world.
  • Big Ideas Courses at UC Berkeley is an innovative breadth curriculum, in which prominent professors from divergent disciplines come together to teach undergraduate courses focused on a single vital concept or controversy
  • Letters & Science 1: An Introduction to Liberal Arts, a course for first-year students, provides an overview of the intellectual landscape of L&S.
  • Letters & Science 5: Introduction to Entrepreneurship. Organized in conjunction with the Berkeley-Haas Entrepreneurship Program, L&S 5 is designed for freshmen and sophomores who wish to learn about entrepreneurship and its role in bringing new ideas to market.
  • Fall Program for Freshmen (FPF) is a small, collaborative learning community for first-year students in their first semester in the College of Letters & Science. You will get much smaller classes and much greater connections with your instructors, classmates, and FPF advisor. We’re like a small liberal arts college with the resources and opportunities of a large research university.
  • Freshman and Sophomore Seminars are small, interactive courses for lower-division students who are eager to explore a topic of interest in the company of a Berkeley faculty member. We offer approximately 100 seminars each semester, on a broad range of topics.
  • Letters & Science Discovery Courses are an ideal way to satisfy the L&S breadth requirements; the outstanding teachers who participate have designed their courses with non-majors in mind.
  • Scholarship Connection administers the application process for several prestigious external scholarships (such as the Rhodes, Marshall, Truman and Gates) and offers a clearinghouse for information on hundreds of other external scholarships.