The beginning of your college career is so exciting: dorm shopping, making new friends, living in a new place and registering for your first semester of classes. However, one thing to keep in mind when choosing classes is Berkeley’s breadth requirements. Not all of your classes that you take in your four years here will be directly for your major. Though each college has their own set of requirements, each has a set of breadth requirements outside of major requirements. These are a set of required classes that all students within the college have to complete, and range from topics such as Arts and Literature to Biological Sciences.
In the college of Letters and Sciences, which includes over 70% of Cal’s undergraduate student body, students have to complete a series of seven breadth classes. This is meant to give students a broad overview of every subject, and to create well rounded individuals who are prepared to go out and change the world. Though breadth classes may sometimes seem like an extra burden to take on during the semester, they offer a unique opportunity to expand your worldview. Sometimes, you may even discover a new passion that you never knew existed.
My spring semester of freshman year, I took my first breadth class at UC Berkeley. It was Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies, taught by Darren Zook, and it was my first experience taking a class outside my major. I looked forward to every single class section I had, whether the topic was law in Antarctica or religion in Asia. I was able to learn about worldwide politics and policy, and meet new students from all different majors and backgrounds. Learning about a new field of study broadened my worldview past the subjects I had been studying.
When choosing a breadth class, I would suggest taking a class on a topic that actually interests you, not just a class that seems easy. If you are truly interested in the subject, you will be able to be more involved in the material and class environment. You will be able to truly broaden your horizons and explore new subject material that you previously may never have known existed. More importantly, you will get a small taste of all the amazing classes, professors, and departments that we have here at Cal.
This fall, I am taking my last breadth requirement for my four years at Berkeley. Though I never took some of the more popular breadth classes, such as Introduction to Astronomy or Wealth and Poverty, I have learned so much from every course I have taken here at Berkeley. I am excited to have the opportunity to take a class in a completely new subject and to continue to grow and develop my academic interests in my senior year.