New L&S First-Year Pathways Program guides students through a unique learning experience

May 16, 2023

UC Berkeley is renowned for its vast array of engaging and diverse academic offerings, but for new students, the task of selecting the right courses can be overwhelming. With this in mind, L&S has designed an innovative new program launching in fall 2023: L&S First-Year Pathways. L&S Pathways will guide first-year undergraduate students in the College of Letters & Science through their breadth requirements while introducing aspects of community and thematic learning. 

The L&S Pathways program centers around course clusters, which consist of a central "hub" and two "wing" courses that share a common theme. The hub course offers an intimate, seminar-like environment, and the wing courses are larger, lecture-style classes. However, all Pathway participants will be assigned specially-designated discussion sessions in a group of 25 students, so that they can experience all three courses with the same community. Additionally, all three courses will fulfill separate L&S breadth requirements and, as the enrollment process for Pathways runs at the beginning of the primary registration period for first-year students, early class enrollment is another beneficial component of the program. 

 Common theme; small cohort experience; degree progress;

L&S First-Year Pathways course cluster

One of the most exciting aspects of L&S Pathways is the opportunity to learn from some of Berkeley's most esteemed professors. These course clusters bring together exceptional faculty members to discuss topics that challenge perspectives and encourage students to see the world--and their place in it--in new and meaningful ways. The fall 2023 course offerings span a range of engaging and thought-provoking themes: Art, History and the Moral Imagination; California from the Field; Technology and Society; Art, Environment and Economic Policy; California and Water; and Neuroscience, Philosophy, and Society. 

The benefits of L&S Pathways extend far beyond the traditional classroom experience. Alongside a small cohort led by a faculty expert, students participate in enriching activities such as field trips, guest speaker sessions, cultural events, immersive projects, and more. The activities are designed to enhance students' understanding of course material, foster a sense of community, and provide opportunities for personal and intellectual growth. Similar programs at other universities have shown that participants tend to earn higher GPAs, complete their degrees more efficiently, and enjoy a more fulfilling college experience. 

L&S Pathways is an ideal program for students who are unsure about their intended major, how to get started on their academic journey, or are feeling a bit intimidated by the size of the student population at Berkeley or the number of course choices available. Sign-ups for L&S Pathways are currently open and space is limited (first-come, first-serve). More information about the L&S Pathways program is available on the website