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UC Berkeley Letters and Science Majors

brementbrement 1 replies8 threads New Member
Which majors are more selective, or capped/impacted, in the college of L&S at UC Berkeley. Im looking at public health, is that a very selective major?
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Replies to: UC Berkeley Letters and Science Majors

  • GumbymomGumbymom 28129 replies171 threadsForum Champion UC Forum Champion
    edited October 14
    This link shows the "high demand" majors at UCB and alternatives and Yes Public Health is listed as a High Demand major:

    https://ls.berkeley.edu/advising/planning/schedule-planning/choosing-major/high-demand-majors
    edited October 14
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 4148 replies89 threads Senior Member
    so from an application standpoint for HS students, theoretically it shouldn't matter what the major you put down is for L&S, since you are evaluated for the college and not for the major. (in reality, not sure). The "high demand" comes into play more with actually declaring for the major since all L&S students enter in as Undeclared (most likely you need a certain GPA along with required classes completed to declare). Also more of an issue for transfer students, since they need to declare within one semester of school year matriculation.
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  • brementbrement 1 replies8 threads New Member
    I don't see Molecular & Cellular Biology there, I thought MCB is a more "in demand" major than public health?
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78581 replies695 threads Senior Member
    While MCB has one of the largest undergraduate student enrollments, it is also a very large department in terms of its instructional capacity. So it can currently accept all students who want to declare the major after passing the prerequisites.

    "High demand" majors are those where student interest in declaring the major would exceed the department's instructional capacity if all who passed the prerequisites were allowed to declare the major.
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  • svlab112svlab112 598 replies7 threads Member
    From UCB website:


    MCB is not an impacted major. Therefore, we will accept any interested student who meets the minimum course and GPA requirements and is realistically able to complete the major requirements during the student's remaining time at Cal. The deadline to declare MCB is the semester before the Expected Graduation Term listed in CalCentral.

    In order to declare the MCB major, you must have:

    2.0 overall UC Berkeley GPA,
    2.0 MCB major GPA (all lower and upper division courses taken for MCB),
    2.0 MCB upper division GPA (all upper division requirements including electives),
    Bio 1A/1AL (either completed or are currently enrolled with a C or better on the first midterm in Bio 1A),
    Chem 3B (completed or are currently enrolled after the 2nd week early add/drop deadline), and
    decided on an emphasis (it is possible to change this after you declare).
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  • lkg4answerslkg4answers 1663 replies201 threads Senior Member
    The "high demand" comes into play more with actually declaring for the major since all L&S students enter in as Undeclared (most likely you need a certain GPA along with required classes completed to declare).
    After fulfilling the required classes, is admission a competition where those with the highest GPAs get in? Is there a GPA cut off that is published in advance and anyone with that GPA or higher can declare the major? Or is it a lottery like CS is at UCSD?
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 4148 replies89 threads Senior Member
    @lkg4answers Fortunately there are no majors at Berkeley where a lottery is used. Hopefully never. However, I feel something has to change eventually with the L&S CS declaration process as the numbers are getting too high for both those that try out and those who get in.

    For the Haas Business undergrad school for business majors, current students apply in their second year with a separate application. No special GPA cutoffs, but the average 50th percentile GPA is around 3.7.

    L&S CS has the requirement of 3.30+ for the first 3 required CS classes in order to declare. Economics has a requirement of 3.00 for the prerequisites needed to declare, which consists of 5 classes. Psychology has a similar border. There may be other majors as well with a separate GPA border than the university mandated one of 2.00 in order to declare.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78581 replies695 threads Senior Member
    After fulfilling the required classes, is admission a competition where those with the highest GPAs get in? Is there a GPA cut off that is published in advance and anyone with that GPA or higher can declare the major? Or is it a lottery like CS is at UCSD?

    Depends on the major. Within L&S majors:

    Prerequisite GPA cutoff (published beforehand, but may be changed as demand relative to capacity changes): art practice (3.3 + portfolio), CS (3.3), economics (3.0), environmental economics and policy (2.7), media studies (3.2), political economy (2.7), psychology (3.2), statistics (3.2)

    Competitive: operations research (minimum 3.2), public health

    Unclear from web site: cognitive science, social welfare

    Changing to another division (e.g. business major in the business school) should be assumed to be competitive.
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  • lkg4answerslkg4answers 1663 replies201 threads Senior Member
    @ucbalumnus thank you, that is helpful.
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 4148 replies89 threads Senior Member
    Just an educated guess, but I would think that eventually both Data Science and Cognitive Science will have more stringent cutoffs. Both are very popular majors, possibly due in part because they become fallback majors for the hordes of CS intended majors who change their mind and/or don’t make it in.

    Currently for CogSci to declare, a 2.0+ in the CS61A (first CS class) and Math 1A/16A class (Calc 1). For DS to declare, a 2.0+ cumulative average in the Data 8 (first DS course), Linear Algebra, and Data Structures (CS61B - second CS class, or equivalent). Interestingly enough, in the case of DS, if one has taken community college classes in Linear Algebra and/or Data Structures, the GPAs that you get from CC for these classes is also used in determining the qualifying GPA. This GPA-mix policy is probably major-dependent - CS for example all the classes needed for determining the 3.30+ cutoff is based on classes taken at Berkeley.
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