Humanities and social sciences

To promote a rich and varied educational experience beyond the requirements for each engineering major, the College of Engineering has established the Humanities and Social Sciences (H/SS) breadth requirement. Follow these guidelines to fulfill this requirement:

  1. Complete at least six approved H/SS courses. 
  2. Courses must be at least 3 semester units (or 4 quarter units).
  3. Two of the six courses must fulfill the college’s Reading and Composition (R&C) requirement. These courses must be taken for a passing letter grade. The first half of R&C, the A course, must be completed by the end of the freshman year; the second half, the B course, by the end of the sophomore year. Use the L&S search engine to view R&C courses offered each semester.
  4. The four additional courses must be chosen from the H/SS offerings (see below). These courses may be taken on a pass/no pass basis.
  5. At least two of the six H/SS courses must be upper-division.
  6. Two of the six H/SS courses must form a series. The two courses can be in the same department or, by petition, in the same subject area. At least one of these two must be upper-division. See below for more details on the series requirement.
  7. One of the six courses must satisfy the campus American Cultures requirement. Note that any American Cultures course of 3 units or more may be used to meet H/SS requirements.
  8. Up to two of the six H/SS course requirements may be met by satisfactory AP, IB or A-Level exam scores (in humanities and social sciences subjects) prior to enrolling at Berkeley. View this list of exam scores that can be applied toward requirements.
  9. Note that only a limited number of engineering courses satisfy the H/SS requirement: BioE 100, CS C79, Engin 125, Engin 157 AC and ME 191 AC or 191K.
  10. Language courses may be used to satisfy the H/SS requirements; view the list of approved foreign language courses.
  11. Courses may fulfill multiple categories. For example, taking AP history and History 127 AC will satisfy your American Cultures requirement, your upper-division requirement and your series requirement.
  12. You may satisfy your H/SS requirements with Berkeley courses (3 units or more) offered in the summer or online.
  13. Courses numbered 97, 98, 99 or above 196 may not be used to complete the H/SS requirement.

Within the guidelines above, choose courses from any of the lists below. (Please note, you cannot use courses from the L&S biological science breadth to complete the H/SS requirement.)

More information about the series requirement:

  1. A sequence of two courses from different departments may be approved by petition if there is a clear connection between the courses. For example, Anthropology 158 (religion and anthropology) could be combined with any course from the religious studies department. Sociology 113 (Sociology of Education) could be combined with Education 40 AC (Race and Ethnicity in American Schools).
  2. An AP, IB or A-Level exam score may be combined with an upper-division course in the same field to satisfy the series. For example, AP psychology and an upper-division psychology course would complete the series requirement.
  3. A course and its prerequisite will satisfy this requirement, even if they are not in the same department. For example, Ethnic Studies 21 AC may be followed by approved upper-division courses in African American studies, Asian American studies, Chicano studies or Native American studies.
  4. You may satisfy the series requirement with two upper-division courses.