WRITTEN BY JADE LIU
But breadths aren't necessarily just another requirement to fit into your schedule. In high school, you were subject to a rigid curriculum of English, math, history, science, and all that good stuff. In college, you choose every single class you will take. And history is not just history at Berkeley. It can be literature, philosophy, archaeology, etc. Of all the hundreds of courses that satisfy each breadth, there is bound to be at least one that you like.
So...because there are so many interesting classes on campus, make it your priority to take classes you enjoy. Satisfying breadth requirements is an end result. It doesn't need to be your primary goal. Obviously, you still have to keep track of your progress, but you don't need to make breadths a chore. That way, you will get the benefits of having a well-rounded education AND enjoy your undergraduate career at Cal.
Here are some tips for fulfilling breadths without even trying:
- If you've taken transferable community college classes in high school, submit your transcripts and check assist.org to see if any of your breadths may have already been met that way.
- Look at your major requirements. Are you able to fulfill any or several of the breadths using these courses alone? Disclaimer: this tip does not work for Haas undergraduates, who are not allowed to use major requirements or any econ/business courses toward breadths.
- Do you have a double major, alternate major, or minor that you're taking classes for? See if any of the breadths can be met this way.
- Are you undecided on your major and are just exploring around? Take a variety of introductory classes that interest you. They can get a couple of breadths out of the way.
- Are you interested in studying abroad? If you receive at least two units of transferable credit, your international studies breadth is automatically fulfilled.
- Many students enjoy L&S discovery courses and big ideas courses. A number of these courses can satisfy breadths as well.
- Are there classes that simply sound so interesting that you want to take them anyway? Go for them! They might prove useful in the end too.
- If there are two or more classes that you're super interested in, but you only have room in your schedule for one, choose the one that will satisfy a breadth that you haven't satisfied or that you're not as likely to satisfy in the future using the methods stated above.
- If all else fails, browse the listings and use the breadth search engine (http://ls-breadth.berkeley.edu/search.php). You can always find something interesting.
- Check your college, school, or major's guidelines for meeting breadth requirements to make sure that you've actually met all of them.
Personal story: I never once took a class just to meet a breadth. Two of the classes (ethics and cultural geography) I had taken at my local community college for fun in high school satisfied the philosophy & values and social & behavioral science breadths. As a science major, my prerequisite course work automatically satisfied the physical and biological science requirements. I was a musician and auditioned and got into the university wind ensemble, a 2 unit "class" (I considered it more of an activity) that then fulfilled the arts and literature requirement. Also, I loved French in high school and wanted to continue. I started in French 3, which took care of international studies.
By the end of my first semester at Berkeley with a 14.5-unit course load, I had 6 of the 7 L&S breadths done (I wasn't even an L&S student back then). The continuation of my French studies also fulfilled my historical studies breadth, and I managed to overlap my AC with a dietetics requirement as well. I won't even mention requirements for anthropology and French because I can't expect people to have majors as diverse as mine. But see? None of the classes I mentioned were taken to meet any specific breadths. They just happened. So stop saying "ugh...I have to take history." Stop asking others which would be an "easy" biology class. Follow your instincts, and you will find that meeting breadths can be easier and more fun than you expected it to be