L&S High-Demand Majors for First-Year Students

Last updated: June 11, 2024

FAQs for High-Demand Majors are constantly being updated. For the latest information on HD Major policies and procedures, please refer back to this webpage regularly.

For Students Admitted to UC Berkeley in Fall 2023 & After as a First-Year Admit

There are two pathways to declare a high-demand major. This policy does not impact or apply to transfer students.

  1. Admission into L&S: Those who already know as high school students that they want a high-demand major should select that major on their UC Berkeley admissions application. If admitted to L&S, they will be guaranteed a spot in the major they selected, subject to completing the prerequisites, maintaining good academic standing in L&S, and filing a declaration form.

  2. Changing to a high-demand major after arriving at L&S*: For students who did not select a high-demand major on their UC Berkeley admissions application, the process for declaring a high-demand major will be through a comprehensive review, rather than a minimum GPA requirement only. Students will have one opportunity to apply for a high-demand major and will be required to have an alternate plan to declare a non-high-demand major as a back-up.

*The opportunities for being admitted to a high-demand major after enrollment are extremely limited, and applying via comprehensive review does not guarantee a spot in a high-demand major. If you have an interest in a high-demand major in L&S, we strongly encourage you to select that high-demand major on your UC Berkeley application. If you opt to change to a high-demand major in the College of Letters & Science after being admitted to Berkeley, you will be required to have an alternate plan to declare a non-high-demand major as a back-up.

What are the L&S high-demand (HD) majors?

L&S has a handful of high-demand (a.k.a. “capped” or “impacted”) majors**, where student demand exceeds teaching or facilities capacity. Admission to the following high-demand majors is limited.

Last updated: June 11, 2024

Art Practice

Psychology

Operations Research &
Management Science
Public Health
Political Economy Social Welfare

**Please note the following majors are no longer L&S high-demand majors: computer science, data science, and statistics; economics (effective Summer 2024); global studies and media studies (effective Fall 2024). For more information about these majors, please see the section below.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Majors that are no longer considered "L&S High-Demand Majors"

Computer science, data science, statistics

 Economics (effective Summer 2024) and Global Studies; Media Studies (effective Fall 2024)

Introduction to High-Demand Major Policy

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, maintain good academic standing 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)....

2. How is the HD major policy beneficial to the student and campus community?

With the high-demand major policy, we are striving to improve the undergraduate student experience, make access to our high-demand majors more equitable, and help ensure that student enrollment grows sustainably.

3. Does the HD major policy mean that students enrolled in a high-demand major will come into college declared?

No. Beginning fall 2023, first-year students who select a high-demand major on their Berkeley Letters & Science application and are admitted to L&S will be guaranteed a spot in that major, subject to completing the prerequisites, maintaining good academic standing in the College, and filing a declaration form.

4. How will this impact students who wish to double major or pursue a simultaneous degree?

Any student who adds or switches to a high-demand major will go through a comprehensive review for that major. Even if you are guaranteed a spot in one high-demand major, adding a second one (or switching to a different one) requires a comprehensive review.

5. How will these changes impact Sciences Po or HKU Dual Degree applicants?

If applying to the Sciences Po or HKU Dual Degree programs, please contact dualdegree@berkeley.edu.

6. Will the HD major policy apply to students who were admitted to UC Berkeley before fall 2023, but apply for readmission or Change of College into L&S after fall 2023?

No, the HD major policy does not apply to any L&S student who was admitted to UC Berkeley before fall 2023. Students should follow the admissions policies that were in place during the academic year in which they were admitted (See the Berkeley Academic Guide for the academic year in which you were admitted for more information).

7. Is it possible to apply for two or more high-demand majors, as long as I've met the requirements?

Yes, current students can apply for one or more high-demand major(s) ONCE via comprehensive review. Students will also need to prepare an alternate, non-high-demand major plan.

8. Is there an advantage to applying early to a high-demand major?

For students who did not apply for a high-demand major at the time of application, there is no advantage to applying early for a comprehensive review.

First-year students applying to the College of Letters & Science with an interest in a high-demand major are highly encouraged to select that major on their UC Berkeley admissions application. If admitted to L&S, they will be guaranteed a spot in the major they selected, subject to completing prerequisites, maintaining good academic standing in L&S, and filing a declaration form.

9. If a high-demand major also offers a minor program, can students add the minor without the comprehensive review process?

Not all L&S majors offer a minor. Of the L&S high-demand majors, only Global Studies and Political Economy offer minor programs. The Psychology department and School of Public Health offer summer minors.

L&S does not have a comprehensive review process for any of its minor programs. The department that offers the minor determines the criteria to declare a minor. Please contact the department that offers the minor for more information on how to add the minor program to your degree plan.

Is there a deadline to declare a high-demand major?

Yes - students must apply for or officially declare the high-demand major no later than their 5th semester. This applies to students admitted in fall 2023 who are guaranteed a seat AND to students who are subject to comprehensive review.

For Students with a Reserved Seat in a High-Demand Major

1. How will students be notified if they have been guaranteed a spot in the HD major they selected on their UC Berkeley application (subject to completing prerequisites, maintaining good academic standing in L&S and filing a declaration form)?

At the time of admission to UC Berkeley: Students will be notified via a letter from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, which will confirm that a seat is reserved for them in the HD major (that was listed as their primary major) on their UC Berkeley application.

After students matriculate: If the student selected a high-demand major on their UC Berkeley application, this will be displayed in the student's Cal Central record under the "My Academics" section. The student's record will officially list "...

2. What is the process for officially declaring my HD major?

After the student completes the required course prerequisites for the HD major and has met eligibility requirements (e.g. good academic standing), they are ready to declare. The major adviser will verify that the student has met all eligibility requirements by their fourth semester or earlier. If all conditions are met, the major adviser will officially declare the student into the major and the student's record will be updated with their new major on Cal Central.

3. How do I meet "Good Academic Standing" to officially declare my HD major?

Good academic standing is defined as earning a 2.0 with no grades lower than a C- in each and all of the following areas: (1) GPA in major prerequisite courses, (2) GPA in the semester that you declare the major, and (3) cumulative UC GPA.

4. What if I don't meet the eligibility requirements to officially declare my HD major? Can my admission to an HD major be revoked?

If a student is reserved a seat in a HD major but does not meet the eligibility requirements to declare, they are no longer guaranteed a seat in their HD major. However, the student has one opportunity to apply to the HD major through the comprehensive review process.

5. Once declared in the major, can I be removed from the major?

Students can be removed from the major if they do not make satisfactory academic progress in their major. Please contact your major adviser for information about the specifics of your major.

6. Will I be able to enroll in the required major prerequisite classes?

Course enrollment is managed by the department offering the course. Please contact an adviser in the department offering the course for enrollment information.

7. I was recently admitted off the waitlist into the College of Letters & Science. If I had selected a HD major on my application, how do I know if my seat is reserved?

To confirm whether you were guaranteed a seat in your HD major, please go to CalCentral and and look under the "My Academics" tab. You should see your major listed as "Letters & Sci Undeclared UG" with a note just below indicating "Applied HD [Major]."

For example, if you were guaranteed a spot in economics, in CalCentral, in the "My Academics" Tab, you should see your major listed as "Letters & Sci Undeclared UG" with a note just below indicating "Applied HD Economics."

There may be a delay for those admitted...

8. Can students who were admitted to a high-demand major choose to switch to another high-demand major?

Yes. Applying to any high-demand major not previously requested on the UC Berkeley admission application would require a comprehensive review. Current students can apply for or or more high-demand major(s) ONCE via comprehensive review. Students will also need to prepare an alternate, non-high-demand major plan.

Comprehensive Review

1. What will I need to submit as part of the comprehensive review process?

Students who did not list a HD major on their Berkeley application but wish to pursue a HD major will have one opportunity to apply for a HD major through a comprehensive review process. Components of this review may include a short essay statement(s), transcript(s), and resume.

2. Is there an appeal process for students who are denied after the comprehensive review?

No, students will have only one opportunity to apply to one or more HD majors via the comprehensive review. Since space in HD majors is limited, students must also plan for an alternate non-high-demand major.

3. What are my chances of being admitted as a HD major if I am applying through the comprehensive review process (either as a double major or as an undeclared student)?

We are unable to project acceptance rates or the number of applicants who will be admitted into each HD major at this time. The new HD policy aims to match student demand to the current teaching or facilities capacity in the major; therefore, the number of applicants who will be admitted to the major will depend on the capacity in the HD major at the time of the comprehensive review.

4. What are you looking for in applicants?

Some key qualities and characteristics that will be favorable for your application include:

Demonstrated interest and rationale driving the decision to apply to said high-demand major(s).

Academic achievement, including grades*, course load, consistent academic excellence, and high performance in prerequisite courses,

Consistency and impact in extracurricular activities,

Personal attributes and life experience suggesting leadership, maturity, ethical...

5. How can I prepare for the comprehensive review?

Continue to visit this page - updates and links to new resources will be posted here.

6. When will comprehensive reviews take place?

Students admitted in fall 2023 or later who would like to pursue, change, or add a high-demand major remain subject to the L&S high-demand major policy, and will need to participate in the comprehensive review process, which begins in fall 2024.