Declare or Change Major

Overview

Most questions about declaring or changing a major are best answered by the major departments. This page will help you understand where to go for information and help you understand some college-wide policies on declaring or changing a major. 

If you’re looking for how to find the best major for you, see our Explore Majors & Minors page. For information on adding multiple majors, see our Double Majors & Simultaneous Degrees page. 

 Declare or Change Major FAQ

How to Declare/Change Major

Each major has different requirements in order to declare and different processes. Most major departments in L&S have clear guidelines for declaration on the major’s website. If you have trouble finding your department’s website, you can always go to the Berkeley Academic Guide to look up your major. Click to find the department’s website link under either “About the Program” or under “Contact Information.”

Some students believe it is easier to declare a major if you are undeclared rather than already declared in a different major. However, the process to change a major is the same as declaring a major for the first time. 

If you have further questions, contact your intended major department for support. 

When to Declare

All College of Letters and Science (L&S) students must declare a major by the time they have 75 units (not including high school exam units) in progress or they will get a registration hold that will prevent them from registering in courses for a future semester (see FAQ below for more information). This is because a major is required to complete an undergraduate degree. L&S places registration holds to ensure that all students have a plan to complete a major within the time limits for degree completion

Some majors have their own deadlines to declare. High demand and impacted majors (see next FAQ) have deadlines, but other majors may have their own deadlines as well. Most major departments in L&S have clear guidelines for declaration on the major’s website, including deadlines. 

If you have further questions, contact your intended major department for support.

High Demand/Impacted majors

High demand or “impacted” majors have restrictions on declaration, usually due to demand exceeding the capacity of the major. These restrictions might be particular GPA requirements, require a minimum grade in a specific course, or have elements to the declaration packet beyond grades. Some of these majors also have restrictions on when students can apply (e.g. before reaching 80 units). As with all majors, it is important to review requirements for declaration as early as possible.

 

High Demand majors: 

  • Art Practice

  • Computer Science

  • Economics

  • Environmental Economics & Policy

  • Global Studies

  • Media Studies

  • Operations Research & Management Science

  • Political Economy

  • Psychology

  • Public Health

  • Social Welfare

  • Statistics

Alternatives to High Demand Majors

It can feel very stressful to not get into your intended major. We recommend that all students explore multiple major options, but it can be particularly important for students pursuing high demand majors to plan an alternate option. This means not only identifying another option, but evaluating that major’s prerequisites and attempting to stay on track for both options. Meeting with an Undergraduate Major Adviser is usually a good first step in identifying an alternate major.

Below are some majors that are related to our high demand majors. Remember that alternate majors or changes of majors do not have to relate to these clusters. In fact, if you are struggling with courses for your primary direction, it can be valuable to meet with an L&S College Adviser to discuss broader options. 

Art Practice

Other majors to consider: History of Art, Interdisciplinary Studies

Cognitive Science

Other majors to consider: Anthropology, Computer Science, Linguistics, Psychology, Rhetoric, Data Science.  

Computer Science

Other majors to consider: Data Science, Cognitive Science, Applied Mathematics

Economics

Other majors to consider: Environmental Economics & Policy, Political Economy, American Studies, Global Studies, Applied Mathematics, Statistics, Data Science

Environmental Economics & Policy

Other majors to consider: Global Studies, Legal Studies, Political Economy

Media Studies

Other majors to consider: Rhetoric, Film, American Studies, Sociology, Ethnic Studies

Operations Research and Management Systems (ORMS)

Other majors to consider: Data Science, Applied Mathematics, Statistics, Economics, Sociology, Political Science, Environmental Economics and Policy

Political Economy

Other majors to consider: Political Science, Environmental Economics & Policy, Legal Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, Sociology

Psychology

Other majors to consider: Anthropology, Sociology, Linguistics, Cognitive Science, Ethnic Studies, American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, Integrative Biology

Public Health 

Other majors to consider: American Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, Social Welfare, Ethnic Studies, Gender & Women’s Studies, Sociology, Environmental Economics & Policy, Molecular & Cell Biology or Integrative Biology

Social Welfare

Other majors to consider: Sociology, Legal Studies, Ethnic Studies, Gender & Women’s Studies, Anthropology, Interdisciplinary Studies

Statistics

Other majors to consider: Data Science, Applied Mathematics, Economics

Undeclared at 75 Units Registration Hold

In an effort to ensure that all students have a plan to declare their major by the beginning of their junior year, this hold is placed if you have not declared a major by the time you have 75 units in progress or completed. Any transfer units you have earned will be included in this calculation, but high school exam units such as AP or IB will not counted against you. 

Instructions to remove the hold:

  • If you are eligible to declare your intended major: Declare your major as soon as possible and contact your Undergraduate Major Adviser to release the hold.

  • If you are on track to complete the prerequisites for your major, but not yet eligible to declare: Contact your intended major department. If the Undergraduate Major Adviser believes that you are making good progress to declare the major, they may release the registration hold. 

  • If you are not yet able to declare and the Undergraduate Major Adviser has concerns about your progress to declare your intended major: Meet with an Undergraduate Major Adviser to discuss your plan to declare the major and ask them to sign and complete Conditions to Declare and Program Plan forms. Then meet with an L&S College Adviser to review the Conditions to Declare and Program Plan forms and discuss releasing the registration hold. If the L&S College Adviser has concerns about your ability to declare and complete your intended major in your remaining time, you may be asked to bring a Conditions to Declare and Program Plan form from an alternate major department.

If you are having difficulty deciding on a major, or if you still have questions because you are unable to declare, meet with an L&S College Adviser for support. Additional resources such as L&S Mentors and the Career Counseling Library are also available to help you find the best major for you. 

Is it too late to change majors?

Many students change their minds about major once at UC Berkeley. If you are in this situation, you may be concerned about whether or not you have time to change a major. Many students make decisions to stay in majors they do not like because they feel it is “too late.” While this can be true in some cases, the best strategy is to ask about your options rather than make assumptions. Even if the major you have in mind is not an option, academic advisers may be able to help you identify an option closer to the pathway you are now interested in. 

If you know which major you would like to change into, first meet with your intended Undergraduate Major Adviser to see if it is an option. Often, this adviser will also be able to help you identify alternatives if their major is not possible. They may provide you with a program plan and then suggest seeing an L&S College Adviser to discuss whether you have time to complete it within the unit ceiling or semester limit

If you do not know which major you would like to change into, check out the Explore Majors & Minors page.