Humanities and Social Sciences

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Engineering Student Services

230 Bechtel Engineering Center # 1702
Berkeley, CA 94720-1702
(510) 642-7594

Hours: Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

To promote a rich and varied educational experience outside of the technical requirements for each major, the College of Engineering has a Humanities and Social Sciences (H/SS) breadth requirement built into all of the programs of study. Follow these guidelines to fulfill this requirement:

  1. Complete a minimum of six approved H/SS courses. 
  2. Courses must be a minimum of 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 letter grade (C- or better required). The first half (R&C Part A) must be completed by the end of the freshman year; the second half (R&C Part B) must be completed by no later than the end of the sophomore year. Please see the Berkeley Academic Guide for a complete list of R&Cs available and a list of exams that can be applied toward the R&C Part A requirement. Students can also use the Class Schedule to view R&C courses offered in a given semester.  Note: Only R&C Part A can be fulfilled with an AP, IB, or A-Level exam score. Test scores do not fulfill R&C Part B for College of Engineering students.
  4. The four additional courses must be chosen from the following Breadth Requirement areas: Arts and Literature, Social & Behavioral Sciences, Historical Studies, Philosophy & Values or International Studies.  These four courses may be taken on a pass/no pass basis.
  5. Special topics courses of 3 semester units or more will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  6. At least two of the six H/SS courses must be upper-division (courses numbered 100-196).
  7. One of the six courses must satisfy the campus American Cultures (AC) requirement. Note that any American Cultures course of 3 units or more may be used to meet H/SS requirements. The AC requirement must be completed by earning either a letter grade of C- or better, or Pass if taken on a Pass/Not Pass basis.
  8. A maximum of two of the six H/SS course requirements may be met by AP, IB or A-Level exam scores (in humanities and social sciences subjects). View the list of exams that can be applied toward H/SS requirements.
  9. No courses offered by an Engineering department may be used to complete an H/SS requirement other than: BIOENG 100, COMPSCI C79, ENGIN 125, ENGIN 157AC, ENGIN 185, or MECENG 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 HISTORY 127AC will satisfy the American Cultures requirement and one of the upper-division H/SS course requirements.
  12. 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 Breadth areas listed above. (Please note that you cannot use courses on the Biological Science or Physical Science Breadth list to complete the H/SS requirement.) To find course options for breadth, go to the Berkeley Academic Guide Class Schedule , select the term of interest, and use the ‘Breadth Requirements’  filter .