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.
Declare or Change a Major FAQ
How to declare/change a 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 and/or specific Undergraduate Major Adviser for support.
When to declare
Declaring a major by 90 units
All College of Letters and Science (L&S) students must declare a major by the time they have 90-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 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.
Finalizing majors/minors prior to egt term
Changing majors and adding double majors are all actions that must be taken before your EGT term. Simultaneous degrees should be added at least two terms prior to graduation. See our Majors/Minors section for more about these options.
If you wish to change your major or declare a double major/simultaneous degree in your final semester, you will be ineligible to graduate that term and must change your EGT to a future term, even if you do not plan to be enrolled in that term (see FAQ for extra steps if you will not be enrolled).
Possible Exception: Undeclared in EGT Term
If you are undeclared and are able to declare a major in your EGT term, you will be allowed to graduate. However, some major departments will not allow students to declare in their final term, so check with your intended major department in advance. You may need to move your EGT term if you cannot declare in your final semester.
High Demand majors
High demand majors have restrictions on declaration, usually due to demand exceeding the capacity of the major. These majors include:
Operations Research & Management Science
First-year students starting Fall 2023 or later:
For first-year students admitted to the College of Letters & Science (L&S) for Fall 2023 and after, there are two pathways to declare a high-demand major.
If you applied to UC Berkeley with a high-demand major selected as your first choice: You are guaranteed a spot in the high-demand major you selected as your first choice as long as you complete the prerequisites within a particular timeframe, maintain good academic standing in L&S, and fill out a declaration form (more details at link below).
- If you plan to change to a high-demand major after arriving at L&S*: For students who did not select a high-demand major on their UC Berkeley admissions application as their first choice or who wish to change to a different high-demand major, the process for declaring will be through a comprehensive review, rather than a minimum GPA requirement only. Students will have one opportunity to apply for a high-demand major, and will be required to have an alternate plan to declare a non-high-demand major as a back-up (more details at link below).
*The opportunities for being admitted to a high-demand major after enrollment are extremely limited, and applying via comprehensive review does not guarantee a spot in a high-demand major. If you are hoping to change to a high-demand major in the College of Letters & Science after being admitted to Berkeley, it is critical to also be taking courses toward a non-high-demand major.
For further details on the L&S High-Demand Major Policy, please review the L&S High-Demand Major Policy: FAQs.
transfer students and First-year students admitted prior to fall 2023
For transfer students and first-year students who started prior to Fall 2023, you will apply to high-demand majors the same way regardless of whether you listed that major on your application to UC Berkeley. Admissions requirements to these majors might include a particular GPA in prerequisites, 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 you are able to apply (e.g. before reaching 80 units). As with all majors, it is important to review requirements for declaration as early as possible.
Alternates to high demand majors
We always recommend that students explore multiple major options, but it can be particularly important to plan an alternate option if you are pursuing a high demand major. Students pursuing high demand majors often identify a second major whose prerequisites they also work into their first and/or second year schedules.
An L&S College Adviser can help you explore alternate options and help you plan staying on track for both until you know which major you can declare.
Undeclared at 90 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 90 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.
Transfers in their first semester will not receive this hold.
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 have received this hold due to the fact that you earned a high number of college units before high school graduation, and are not yet eligible to declare a major: please email email@example.com and include your SID in your email. You are still encouraged to meet with an Undergraduate Major Adviser to explore options for your area(s) of interest.
If you would like support in exploring areas of interest, we encourage you to meet with a Undergraduate Major Adviser or an L&S College Adviser for support. Additional resources such as the Career Counseling Library(link is external) are also available to help you find the best major for you.
Is it too late to change majors?
You may change your mind about your major after starting 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.
If I change my major, can I change it back?
Once you change away from a particular major, you cannot change it back to that same major. For example, if you are declared Political Science and change to Legal Studies, you cannot then change your major back to Political Science.
You can change your major multiple times to different majors. For example, if you are declared Political Science and change to Legal Studies, you could then apply to change your major to Global Studies.