Undergraduate Major Requirements
Taking Courses for the Major Outside the Campus' Political Science Department
NO COURSE TAKEN OUTSIDE THE POLITICAL SCIENCE DEPARTMENT AT UC BERKELEY CAN FULFILL ANY REQUIREMENT FOR THE POLITICAL SCIENCE MAJOR UNLESS EXPLICITLY APPROVED IN ADVANCE BY THE POLITICAL SCIENCE DEPARTMENT. PLEASE CHECK WITH THE DEPARMENT'S UNDERGRADUATE ADVISERS IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO TAKE COURSES OUTSIDE THE UC BERKELEY POLITICAL SCIENCE DEPARTMENT.
Lower-division requirements can be satisfied by courses offered at community colleges and four-year universities. Students are free to take lower-div courses elsewhere during the summer, just be sure to have the courses approved by your major advisor or an L&S advisor (depending on the requirement you wish to fulfill) in advance. To take courses elsewhere during the academic year, students must officially withdraw from UC Berkeley for that semester. Students may not take courses at another school and UC Berkeley at the same time unless they receive special permission from L&S.
All but one of the lower-division requirements can be fulfilled at community colleges. You can find which lecture-based courses were approved at http://assist.org (external link). FYI: There are no PS 3 equivalents at junior colleges; it must be taken at UC Berkeley.
Upper-division requirements. Political Science majors can satisfy a maximum of 3 upper-division major requirements with courses taken at any accredited 4-year institution, including education abroad. Read on for how to get courses approved. For students admitted to UC Berkeley as freshmen Fall 2008 onwards and junior transfer students admitted to Berkeley Fall 2009 onwards, please note that a maximum of one upper-division course taken outside UC Berkeley can count towards the subfield specialization requirement and none can satisfy a distribution requirement of the new Political Science major program.
To fulfill an upper-division Polisci requirement, the courses must be:
- a lecture course (no internships, independent research, labs, or field work)
- within the university's Department of Political Science;
- upper division;
- taken at a 4-year university or college;
- taken for a letter grade;
- comparable in instruction hours (at least 4.5 quarter units or 3 semester units) to receive full credit. Important! Courses taken at quarter system schools will be viewed as partial credit (using the university standard of 2.66 units) for one of our 4-unit courses. This means that two quarter courses must be taken to fulfill one upper-division requirement; three quarter courses to fulfill two requirements; and so on. The maximum number of quarter courses transferable to fulfill upper-division Polisci requirements is five. This is the equivalent of three semester classes.
Be sure not to duplicate courses you have already taken at UC Berkeley.
To get courses approved for the major, submit the following materials to the Undergraduate Advising Office, 296 Barrows. You will be notified of the decision within three weeks.
- A syllabus. The syllabus should include the following:
- A description and summary of the course.
- Required texts and readings.
- Course outline, week by week.
- Request for Course Evaluation form. Obtainable at the Polisci Undergrad Office or our website: www.polisci.berkeley.edu (click on "Forms and Petitions")
- A transcript (unofficial is okay) showing the courses and grades.
NOTE: Course approvals can take up to three weeks. Plan ahead!
Transferring courses "officially" versus "non-officially"
Officially transferring courses means having an official transcript sent to the Office of Admissions at UCB to be evaluated. Admissions will determine how many units you are to receive and they will be added to your UCB unit count. The actual courses and grades will not appear on your transcript, only the number of units. Admissions will send a copy of your transcript to L&S who will determine if any College requirements (such as breadth) will be fulfilled by the courses you took. We in the Polisci Dept will not receive a copy of official transcripts sent to Admissions or L&S. If you want courses to count for the major, you must give us a copy (unofficial) of that transcript as well.
Unofficial transfers refer to taking courses elsewhere and having them approved for the major, but not going through the Admissions Office as described above. You might want to do this if you have already racked up a lot of units and don't particularly want more to appear on your transcript. Simply follow the steps given on the reserve side for getting major courses approved by the Polisci department and, if approved, we will note them in your file. Bring a transcript to the Political Science Undergraduate Advising Office but do not have an official transcript sent to the Admissions Office. You will have fulfilled requirements in the major, but without having extra units officially transferred in and appearing on your UCB transcript.
Timing and risks
If you are on the degree list for the semester you are away, you might not graduate if your transcripts don't arrive in time. At some colleges, terms end much later than ours does. Transcripts must be received by L&S no later than one month after the term ends. If they are late and you miss your degree date, you must put yourself on the degree list for the following semester.
To get unit credit for any courses taken elsewhere, transcripts must be provided. The one exception to this is the Education Abroad Program - all your courses taken on EAP will automatically appear on your Berkeley transcript.
If you are not graduating, transcripts should be sent to:
Add Credit Undergraduate Admissions and Relations With Schools
110 Sproul Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-5404
If you are graduating, transcripts should be sent immediately to:
Evaluation Unit Letters & Science
113 Campbell Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-2924
Before taking courses anywhere, you should...
- Check with Undergraduate Admissions in 110 Sproul to be sure the units will transfer (if you want them to transfer);
- Check with L&S in 113 Campbell if you want to count courses toward your breadth requirements or, if you are a senior, to be sure that you have satisfied the Senior Residency requirement (mentioned above);
- Check with a Pol Sci advisor in 296 Barrows if you want to satisfy Polisci requirements.