UC Berkeley Changemaker—Oakland: Curriculum

Each semester during your first year, you’ll take three or four classes (13–16 academic units).

This specially curated set of courses is ideal for first-year students, and allows you to fulfill breadth requirements and explore new academic areas.

These courses will also prepare you for your major in the College of Letters & Science or in the Rausser College of Natural Resources.

In our smaller classes, you’ll develop closer relationships with instructors and faculty. You’ll gain the confidence to succeed at Berkeley. Finally, the Berkeley Changemaker theme is woven throughout the curriculum, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore the links between the classroom and the world beyond.

You will also be able to enroll in a class on the main Berkeley campus. The Berkeley Academic Guide has lots of details. Your adviser will help you navigate and make choices about your academic path.

Photo of 3 students in a classroom

Our class sizes range from 14 to 60 seats!

Your Classes

The fall semester classes listed below will be offered onsite in Oakland. They are subject to change. While all of the courses available for Spring 2022 have not yet been finalized, we plan to offer the following, among others:

English R1A—Reading and Composition (4 units)

Prerequisite: Completion of the UC Entry-level Writing Requirement

Satisfies: The first-half (Part A) of the Reading and Composition requirement if completed with a C− or better.

Receive training in writing expository prose by reading literature.

English R1B—Reading and Composition (4 units)

Prerequisite: Completion of the UC Entry-Level Writing Requirement and the first-half (Part A) of the Reading and Composition requirement

Satisfies: The second-half (Part B) of the Reading and Composition requirement if completed with a C− or better

Get further training in writing expository prose by reading literature.

Mathematics 1A—Calculus (4 units)

Examples of Intended Majors: Physical Sciences, Engineering, Mathematics, Computer Sciences, Molecular and Cell Biology, Economics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Geology, Statistics

Prerequisites: Three-and-a-half years of high school mathematics, including trigonometry and analytic geometry, plus a satisfactory grade in one of the following: CEEB MAT test, an AP test, the UC/CSU math diagnostic test or Math 32. It is strongly recommended that you take 1A only if you have already completed precalculus.

Satisfies: Quantitative Reasoning requirement if completed with a grade of C− or better. Some majors have specific grade requirements. Math 1A (or equivalent) is required to continue on to Math 1B.

Cover the topics of calculus of one variable, mainly with derivatives, and applications such as graphing and optimization. Learn about the idea of integration and applications such as volumes of revolution. You are expected to understand some theorems and their proofs.

Mathematics 1B—Calculus (4 units)

Examples of Intended Majors: Physical Sciences, Engineering, Mathematics, Computer Sciences, Molecular and Cell Biology, Economics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Geology, Statistics

Prerequisite: Math 1A or equivalent coursework; please check Assist.org or with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to make sure your coursework is equivalent to UC Berkeley's Math 1A.

Satisfies: Quantitative Reasoning requirement if completed with a grade of C− or better. Some majors have specific grade requirements. Math 1B is required to continue on to Math 53 or 54, and is recommended to continue on to Math 55.

Math 1B is a continuation of Math 1A. You will learn about integration techniques and applications and an introduction to infinite series and first- and second-order differential equations and their uses.

Statistics 2—Introduction to Statistics (4 units)

Examples of Intended Majors: Psychology, Political Economy, Development Studies, Legal Studies, Nutritional Science: Dietetics, Nutritional Science: Physiology and Metabolism

Prerequisite: None

Satisfies: Quantitative Reasoning requirement if completed with a grade of C− or better. Some majors have specific grade requirements. Stat 2 does not fulfill prerequisites for the economics major, statistics major or the Haas Undergraduate Business Program.

Get an introduction to basic concepts of probability and statistical inference, as well as standard methods for making inferences about populations from information contained in sample data: the methods used in sample surveys, opinion polls, research studies and industry.

American Studies 10—Introduction to American Studies (4 units)

Prerequisite: None

Satisfies: Either the Historical Studies or Social and Behavioral Sciences breadth category if completed with a C− or better or a Passed grade

Discuss American culture and cultural change, with attention to the multicultural basis of American society and the need for multiple methods of analysis. In this course, you will consistently draw on the arts, material culture and various fields affecting cultural production and meaning. These include literature, film, history, architecture, history of art, religion, music, engineering, environmental studies, anthropology, politics and economics.

Anthropology 1—Introduction to Biological Anthropology (4 units)

Prerequisite: None

Satisfies: Either the Biological Science or Social and Behavioral Sciences breadth category if completed with a C− or better or a Passed grade

Gain a comprehensive introduction to the field of Biological Anthropology, the study of the processes and products of human evolution. Learn about evolutionary history and theory, systematics, genetics, primate behavior and ecology, comparative primate anatomy, the primate fossil record with emphasis on the human lineage, human variation and adaptation, the origins of culture and human biocultural evolution.

Art 98—Biomythography: Creating a Visual Journal (2 units)

Prerequisite: None

Satisfies: Electives may not fulfill breadth requirements, but are great opportunities to enrich your schedule in areas you find interesting.

This is an entry-level course in the language, processes and media of visual art. Your course work will be organized around weekly lectures and studio problems that will introduce you to the nature of art making and visual thinking.

General Chemistry CHEM 1A (3 units)

Topics include:

  • stoichiometry of chemical reactions
  • quantum mechanical description of atoms
  • the elements and periodic table
  • chemical bonding
  • real and ideal gases
  • thermochemistry
  • introduction to thermodynamics and equilibrium
  • acid-base and solubility equilibria
  • introduction to oxidation-reduction reactions
  • introduction to chemical kinetics

Earth and Planetary Science (Geology) 80—Environmental Earth Sciences: Soils (3 units)

Prerequisite: None

Satisfies: Physical Science breadth category if completed with a C− or better or a Passed grade

Focus on geologic events—such as earthquakes and floods—that impact civilization. Examine these forces and others to understand their causes and the best ways to mitigate and/or adjust to them. You will also assess human impacts on the geologic environment, such as pollution related to groundwater and global climate change.

Environmental Science Policy and Management 50AC—Introduction to Culture and Natural Resource Management (4 units)

Prerequisite: None

Satisfies: Both the American Cultures requirement and either the Historical Studies, Philosophy and Values, or Social and Behavioral Sciences breadth category if completed with a C− or better or a Passed grade

Gain an introduction to how culture affects the way we use and manage fire, wildland and urban forests, rangelands, parks and preserves, and croplands in America. You also learn about the basic concepts and tools to evaluate the role of culture in resource use and management. Examine the experience of American cultural groups in the development and management of Western natural resources.

Ethnic Studies 197—Field Study in Community (2 units)

Prerequisite: None

This seminar connects academic scholarship and your personal experiences to explore concepts of identity, service, social justice and community engagement. Field projects and guest speakers provide opportunities for you to explore the rich history of Berkeley, Oakland and the San Francisco Bay Area within social movements while reflecting on how to use your education to improve societal challenges.

Ethnic Studies 21AC—A Comparative Survey of Racial and Ethnic Groups in the United States (4 units)

Prerequisite: None

Satisfies: Both the American Cultures requirement and either the Historical Studies or Social and Behavioral Sciences breadth category if completed with a C− or better or a Passed grade

Examine the historical experiences of European immigrants, African Americans and Latinos by placing an emphasis on the themes of migration and economic change since the late-19th century. You will also learn about the experiences of Asian Americans, Native Americans and recently arrived immigrants in the context of the course themes. Throughout the course, you will discuss intragroup differences such as gender, socioeconomic stratification and cultural variation.

Gender and Women's Studies 50AC—Gender in American Culture (3 units)

Prerequisite: None

Satisfies: Both the American Cultures requirement and the Social and Behavioral Sciences breadth category if completed with a C− or better or a Passed grade.

Assess "gendered" identity constructs by analyzing writings by Native American, African American and Indian American women writers. We take into account origin, movement, gender, class and race as these stories speak of exclusion and exploitation. From there, you also examine these stories as they cut across cultures and contexts to give form or transform identity politics.

Geography 50AC—California (4 units)

Prerequisite: None

Satisfies: Social and Behavioral Sciences, American Cultures

From genocide to gentrification, and from incarceration to innovation, you explore the material places and social spaces that have created both astonishing wealth and intractable inequality in California. You will also have a unique opportunity for experiential learning, social justice activism and collaborative research with community partners through our American Cultures Engaged Scholarship (ACES) project.

Global Studies 10B—Critical Issues in Global Studies (3 units)

Prerequisite: None

Satisfies: Social and Behavioral Sciences breadth category if completed with a C− or better or a Passed grade.

In this course, you will study media and cinema as everyday stories that deepen our relationship with global cultures and flows. You will examine how visual storytelling affects our understanding of race, gender, health, immigration, justice and other related issues in global cultures and politics.

History 7B (AC)—The United States From Civil War to Present (4 units)

Prerequisite: None

Satisfies: Both the American Cultures requirement and either the Historical Studies or Social and Behavioral Sciences breadth category if completed with a C− or better or a Passed grade.

Examine the experiences and conflicts that comprise American society's history. You will be exposed to a wide range of historical actors and dialogues in order to understand the past from the perspective of the men and women who experienced it. You will also gain insight into the daily lives of Americans: work and leisure, cultures and ideologies, relations with one another, and the political and economic system under which they lived. Lectures and readings focus on the complex interplay among political, economic and cultural interests, and will examine race relations, the laboring classes, reform movements, the interior of American lives, the changing conditions for success and survival in the culture Americans were shaping, and the emerging role of the United States as a world power.

Music 27—Introduction to Western Music (4 units)

Prerequisite: None

Satisfies: Arts and Literature breadth category if completed with a C− or better or a Passed grade

Explore the world of art music, mostly but not exclusively from the Western tradition. By the end of the class, you will be familiar with the main outlines of Western art music, beginning with the Middle Ages and concluding nearly 1,000 years later with today’s music.

Philosophy 2—Individual Morality and Social Justice (4 units)

Prerequisite: None; however, this is a writing- and reading-intensive course, and your writing skills should exceed the College Writing course level.

Satisfies: Either the Philosophy and Values or Social and Behavioral Sciences breadth category if completed with a C− or better or a Passed grade

Is there anything to be said in a principled way about “right” and “wrong” action? Is there some conception of “the good” that governs how we should conduct our lives and justifies our moral practices? In virtue of what is it possible that we are free to be held accountable for our deeds?

Political Science 1—Introduction to American Politics (4 units)

Prerequisite: None

Satisfies: Social and Behavioral Sciences breadth category if completed with a C− or better or a Passed grade.

Gain an introductory analysis of the structure and operations of the American political system, primarily at the national level.

Rhetoric 2—Fundamentals of Public Speaking (2 units)

Prerequisite: None

Satisfies: Electives may not fulfill breadth requirements, but are great opportunities to enrich your schedule in areas you find interesting.

Gain help in establishing and developing basic competence in the skills required for effective oral presentations, whether prepared in advance or spontaneous. You cover formulating a clear communicative intent, basic principles of communication and theories of persuasion, organization of presentation material, delivery, use of visual aids and response to audience questions. You make six different oral presentations during the class, with ample opportunity for ungraded practice and coaching prior to evaluation.

Psychology 1—General Psychology (3 units)

Prerequisite: None

Satisfies: Social and Behavioral Sciences breadth category if completed with a C− or better or a Passed grade

Explore the field of psychology by gaining a historical and structural overview of the field. Upon completion, you will be prepared for future courses, having developed both the skill set and knowledge base that is required.

BERKELEY CHANGEMAKER is a trademark of The Regents of the University of California through its Berkeley campus. It is not affiliated with any third parties using “changemaker” or similar terms