Declaring the Political Science Major

Declaring the Political Science Major

For the Incoming Freshmen Class, Fall 2008 and onward and Incoming Junior Transfers, Fall 2009 and onward.

** Students admitted to UC Berkeley as Freshmen prior to Fall 2008, and as Junior Transfers prior to Fall 2009 should consult the Political Science undergraduate advisers, as an alternate set of requirements to declare and complete the major applies.

Minimum eligibility to declare

  • Students must complete two of the following introductory political science courses to declare Political Science. One of these courses should ideally be in their subfield specialization:
    • PS 1, Intro to American Politics *
    • PS 2, Intro to Comparative Politics
    • PS 4, Intro to Political Theory
    • PS 5, Intro to International Relations
  • A 2.0 gpa overall and in courses counting for the major.

*Students who received a 4 or 5 on the American Government AP exam may substitute an upper-division American Politics course for PS 1 after declaring the major. However, an upper-division American politics substitute course taken to satisfy the PS 1 requirement may NOT also fulfill an upper-division requirement in the major. In other words, students will still need to complete 8 upper-division requirements in addition to the upper-division American politics substitute course.

The lower-division requirements for the major can be satisfied by courses offered at community colleges and four-year universities. All but one of the lower-division requirements can be fulfilled at community colleges. You can find which lecture-based courses were approved at FYI: There are no PS 3 equivalents at junior colleges; it must be taken at UC Berkeley.

Note: UCB students are free to take lower-div courses elsewhere during the summer, but should have the courses approved by a 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 UCB for that semester. Students may not take courses at another school and UCB at the same time unless they receive special permission from L&S.

How to declare

You must attend a Major Declaration Session to get declared in the major.  Here's how:

  1. Declaration sessions are scheduled throughout the Fall (August-December) and Spring semester (January-May), not Summer. 
  2. Pick a date from the calendar below. IMPORTANT! You will be eligible to attend a Major Declaration Session after you have completed the final for your second introductory political science course from PS1, 2, 4, and/or 5.
  3. Gather your transcript(s) and make copies of them to submit. See more on transcripts below.
  4. We will accept the first 25 students who arrive at each session (unless indicated otherwise).  A sign-up sheet is available an hour before the session - there is no need to arrive earlier than an hour before the posted time.   Sessions held early and late in the semester, as well as near Phase 1 registration, often fill.  Come early to secure your spot!

Do not come to a Declaration Session without all needed transcripts. You cannot declare without a complete set of relevant transcripts. This includes a copy of your transcript (unofficial is okay) for History and Political Science courses you have taken at community colleges, other universities, and UCB (for your Berkeley courses, you can print out an Academic Summary from CalCentral). One copy of each transcript is all that is required. We keep the transcripts, so bring a copy you can spare. (You need not bring transcripts for courses that do not count for our major.)

A Declaration Session takes about an hour and includes a brief orientation to the major and Q&A, after which declaration forms are completed (we supply the forms - you supply the transcripts).

Transfer Students

Although you were admitted to the university, additional steps are required to declare Political Science as your major. If you attend the Political Science CalSO orientation at UC Berkeley, you need not attend a Declaration Session. In order to declare, bring your transcripts, including a Bear Facts transcript if you have completed a semester or more at UCB, and come to the Undergrad Office in 296 Barrows during regular drop-in hours: 9:00am to 12noon and from 1:30 to 4:00pm Monday to Friday.

However, if you did NOT attend the Political Science CalSO orientation at UC Berkeley, you must attend one of the Major Declaration Sessions (see above). Be sure to bring a unofficial transcript from your previous school as well as one for UCB. Although you may have sent transfer transcripts to Berkeley, we do not have access to them.

Double Majors

To declare a double major, you must complete the Double Major Petition forms. These forms must be signed by an advisor in each department and then submitted to 206 Evans Hall. Double Major Petitions can be downloaded from the L&S Web Site. Hardcopies are available in 206 Evans Hall and outside the Political Science Undergraduate Advising Office in 296 Barrows. You may declare both majors at one time or declare one major first and add the second major later.

Are you adding Political Science as your second major? If you have not yet declared Political Science, you must attend a Major Declaration Session (see above). We will sign your double major petition at the end of the declaration session. Please note that the forms must be completely filled out before we can sign them.

If you are already a declared Political Science major and are adding a second major, bring the forms to the Undergrad Office during office hours for review and signatures. The double major petition can take several weeks for L&S to process (single major petitions take a few days), so be sure to submit it at least one full semester before your intended graduation date.

Schedule of Declaration Sessions

IMPORTANT! If you are eligible to declare now and are a sophomore or junior, it's crucial that you declare before the start of your Phase 1 registration (e.g., April for the Fall semester & October for the Spring semester) so that you can directly enroll in upper-division courses.  Upper-division courses in the major are restricted to declared majors in Phase 1 and often fill before Phase 1 ends.

We start on time (NOT "Berkeley time") and sometimes earlier if a session fills before the start time (which is often the case for the first and last session of the semester).  January, February, and March dates are now posted. The rest of the semester dates will be posted once the semester is underway.  See "How to Declare" above for important details.

  Date Time Location

January 2017

Monday, 1/30


749 Barrows Hall

February 2017

Wednesday, 2/8 10:30am 749 Barrows Hall
  Tuesday, 2/14 11:00am 791 Barrows Hall


Friday, 2/24 2:00pm 291 Barrows Hall  NEW location!
  Monday, 2/27 2:30pm 202 Barrows Hall
March 2017 Tuesday, 3/7 2:30pm 749 Barrows Hall      
  Wednesday, 3/15 11:00am 791 Barrows Hall
  Thursday, 3/23 10:30am 202 Barrows Hall