Bridge course instructions

Explanation of bridge courses

Courses such as EECS 47D, COMPSCI 47B or COMPSCI 47C are referred to as bridge courses. They are not actual courses, but are an option for students who have completed some, but not all, of the material in the actual course (e.g., EECS 16A, COMPSCI 61B or COMPSCI 61C). If you enroll in a bridge course you will complete specific portions of the regular course to cover concepts not covered by your previous coursework. The instructor of the regular course will determine how much of the course you will need to complete via the bridge course in order to satisfy that course requirement. By enrolling in a bridge course you are able to receive units (usually 1-2 units) and a grade for the work that you are completing. Bridge courses must be completed for a letter grade.

Example of bridge course enrollment

You may have completed CS 1C at Foothill College. You will note on that you must also complete COMPSCI 47B at UC Berkeley in order to fulfill the COMPSCI 61B requirement. Students in this situation can either opt to take COMPSCI 61B at UC Berkeley or can arrange with the COMPSCI 61B instructor to enroll in COMPSCI 47B to cover the concepts not covered in CS 1C at Foothill in order to fulfill the COMPSCI 61B requirement.

Scheduling recommendations

We recommend that you enroll in the actual course (e.g., COMPSCI 61B, EECS 16A) during the enrollment period. You will not need to make a final decision about whether you want to enroll in the bridge course until after school has begun and you are able to consult with your instructor. You will have until the add/drop deadline to make a final decision about whether to stay in the regular course or complete the bridge course.

If you decide to take the bridge course it is likely you will need to attend the regular course for part of the time, so you need to keep that class time available in your schedule to be available to attend lectures, labs, and/or discussion sections as needed. You may also be asked to take the final exam for the course so be sure you don’t have a conflict in your final exam schedule with your other courses.

Important notes

While your instructor may not ask for this, we recommend that you have copy of your course syllabus from your transfer institution for the instructor to review. It may help determine which portions of the Berkeley course you need to complete.

You are not required to take the bridge course. Even if your course was partially articulated on, you are still eligible to take the regular course at Berkeley and you will receive full units for the course. Many students opt to complete the regular course at Berkeley in order to establish a solid foundation in the material and prepare for their upper division courses. After consulting with your course instructor about the bridge course requirements, you are welcome to consult with your ESS Adviser about the possible advantages and disadvantages of enrolling in a bridge course.

Enrolling in a bridge course

  • To enroll in a bridge course for COMPSCI 61B or COMPSCI 61C:

​If you decide, after consulting with the course instructor, that you will enroll in a bridge course, you will add COMPSCI 47B or COMPSCI 47C to your schedule. If you are unsure if you are eligible to take COMPSCI 47B or COMPSCI 47C, please contact your ESS Adviser before adding yourself to 47B or 47C as you may want to enroll in COMPSCI 61B or COMPSCI 61C instead. Remember that you are required to be enrolled in at least 12 units and at least two technical courses, and a bridge course does not count as one of your two technical courses.

  • To enroll in a bridge course for EECS 16A:

In general, the EECS faculty believe that even students who have completed a Math 54 equivalent course and have some exposure to circuits will greatly benefit from taking EECS 16A and will be better prepared for EECS 16B and upper division EL ENG courses. However, if you wish to explore whether or not EECS 47D is a good option for you, please contact the instructor(s) for EECS 16A.  Please read the comments below from Professor Ranade to help you decide whether EECS 47D is the right option for you. If  you decide that EECS 47D is a good fit for you, you should email the instructors for EECS 16A to determine how many units you would be required to take. If you decide to enroll in EECS 47D you will be given enrollment information at that point. Remember that you are required to be enrolled in at least 12 units and at least two technical courses, and a bridge course does not count as one of your two technical courses.

  • Should you take EECS 16A or the EECS 47D?

Professor Ranade recommends the following:

1. Look over the previous homework. You can find previous homework here. In particular, make sure you look at the circuits homework towards the end of the circuits module and the linear algebra homework towards the end of the class. Then, without looking at the solutions sit down and try to write out in full detail the answers to at least two of the homework sets. Is this easy?

2. Look over the previous final exams. You can find previous exams here. We recommend writing out answers to the entire final exam. It’s important to actually write out the answers on paper and check them instead of just doing it in your head. This should be a three hour exercise. Check your solutions. Are you mostly correct? Do you feel solid enough on the material that you can build on it in 16B?

One of the things students often forget (and are unfortunately pressured to forget by the competitive atmosphere around) is that it is important to actually enjoy what you are learning! It is possible you will be able to get by in more advanced classes without taking 16A, but will you enjoy them? Or will it be a “catch up” struggle? These are some questions to think about. Our aim with 16A is to prepare you as best as we can for the rest of the EECS curriculum, and we would hate to have you feel you were underprepared for an upper-division class.

Another factor to consider is your schedule and study habits. Remember that you are required to take the 16A final (which is comprehensive on the material in the course) even if you are only taking 47D for the circuits part or the linear algebra part. Many students have said that by studying only “half” of the course (e.g. circuits) they struggled on the final because they fell out of practice with the other half (e.g. linear algebra). Make sure you plan well for this so that you have time to brush up on all the material for the final.

If you choose to take 47D remember that the 16A course staff and instructors will be there to help you with all aspects of the course. You should be coming to office hours, discussion sections, homework parties, and lecture. You are also encouraged to come to lab sections — we put a lot of work into designing the 16A labs so that you can get the best experience, and we hope you also enjoy them. Because of space constraints we cannot guarantee availability in the lab section of your choice if you take 47D, but we will make an effort to ensure you can complete the labs if you want to.

The course staff will be working very hard to make sure the class runs smoothly. We will expect you to do your part in this. It will be your responsibility to arrive at the exams on the appropriate date and time and also your responsibility to start submitting the homework at the correct time. We will not be able to send you extra reminders to tell you when the circuits module is starting. It will be your responsibility to check Piazza and the website. Given the size of the class, unfortunately we cannot make exceptions.

If you are taking 47D to cover the circuits part, please know that you are required to complete all homework starting from module 2 and take Midterm 2 and the Final. In this case you will sign up for 2 units. We recommend you also take Midterm 1 for practice, though this will not count towards your grade.

If you are taking 47D and have both a circuits and linear algebra background, then you are only required to take all the exams. No homework is required, though you are encouraged to work on it to prepare for the exams and very welcome to join homework parties, office hours, and discussion sections if you would like. In this case, you should sign up for 1 unit.

If you feel comfortable with all this, please email the EECS 16A instructors for a code to enroll in 47D.

We hope this description helps you make the best decision for you. Our goal is not to force you to take classes for the sake of taking them, our goal is to help you be the best engineer you can be. And we are always available to help and support you as much as we can. We all think the material in 16A/47D is exciting and useful and look forward to sharing it with you. Whichever class you decide to take, we look forward to seeing you!