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What are the Best Majors at Berkeley?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of Berkeley clock tower from afar.

What are the Best Majors at Berkeley?

What are the best majors at Berkeley? Students interested in furthering their education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) typically flock toward UC Berkeley, which is widely recognized for its academic prowess in these fields.

The University of California, Berkeley, is among the most prestigious public universities in the United States. The university is home to one of the most stunning campuses in the United States, and it can be found in the heart of Berkeley, California, a bustling and metropolitan metropolis in the state of California.

Numerous major institutional rankings have placed the University of California at Berkeley among the top public universities in the United States of America. When we talk about the ranking of UC Berkeley, we should mention that the university has been ranked by US News & World Report – Global Universities at #4, THE (Times Higher Education) – University Ranking at #8, US News & World Report – National University Ranking at #22, and QS – World University Ranking at #32 for 2022. All of these rankings were done for the university.

Aerial view of Berkeley campus.

The University of California, Berkeley, is well-known for its academic standards, creative contributions and discoveries, and world-famous faculty members. Berkeley takes excellent satisfaction in having a robust sense of community, and the university actively pushes its students to develop into leaders who will benefit the globe.

UC Berkeley is known for its commitment to diversity and inclusion. The following are among the best majors offered at UC Berkeley.

Sociology

Earning a degree in sociology is a fascinating endeavor that opens up a wide variety of doors for one’s professional and personal life. As one of the best majors at Berkeley, undergraduate students have the extraordinary chance to participate in a vibrant academic environment, as they have access to faculty members who are known throughout the world and to one of the most prestigious graduate programs in sociology.

Students interested in pursuing a major in sociology are strongly encouraged to educate themselves in various other disciplines, including History, philosophy, cultural anthropology, psychology, economics, and political science, before beginning their sociology studies.

Within the framework of the major, the Sociology Department additionally provides students with the opportunity to concentrate on Sociological Research Methods. This Concentration primarily emphasizes the fundamental significance of analytical and methodological tools in sociology.

Computer Science

At UC Berkeley, there are two distinct paths that one can take to study Computer Science (CS):

Gain entry into the College of Engineering (COE) and the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) major as a first-year student. However, getting into the COE is not easy because of its competitiveness. You will get a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree if you choose this path. People interested in pursuing a career in engineering should consider taking this route.

Enter the College of Letters and Science (L&S), and then, after achieving the appropriate grade point average (GPA), a petition to be admitted to the L&S Computer Science major after completing the courses required to declare the major.

Four students working for the common application in a library.

People interested in obtaining a more well-rounded education in the sciences and arts (such as by double majoring in other L&S subjects) and are unsure at the time of application whether or not they will be accepted into the EECS program should consider taking this route. You will earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree if you choose this path.

The Bachelor of Science (BS) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees offer the same curriculum for their computer science classes. The distinction lies in whether you focus primarily on engineering, the arts, sciences, and social sciences in your additional coursework.

In particular, an interest in hardware indicates the EECS route, but an interest in double majoring (for example, in math or cognitive science) suggests the L&S route. Both of these routes are available.

Bioengineering/Materials Science and Engineering Joint Major

One of the premier majors at Berkeley, this dual-major program is designed for students eager to study two subfields of engineering. This approach amplifies their qualifications for either subfields or positions requiring expertise in both areas.

These programs incorporate the fundamental classes required for study in each of the principal areas of study. These programs can be finished in four years despite a slightly increased course load. On the student’s official transcript, both majors are recorded as completed.

Students who want to learn more about biomaterials can consider enrolling in the Bioengineering/Materials Science and Engineering Joint Major. In this course, students will not only receive a comprehensive education that will include exposure to fundamental courses in engineering and life sciences, but they will also study the design and synthesis of novel materials that will define new paradigms in biomaterials at all levels from the molecular to the macroscopic.

The purpose of this dual major is to provide the student with the opportunity to understand the connection between the two different subjects of study. Students who pursue both concentrations will be well prepared to compete for careers in biomaterials in various settings, including academia, industry, and the public sector.

Engineering Mathematics and Statistics

Engineering Mathematics and Statistics is considered one of the top majors offered at Berkeley. Students who enroll in the Engineering Science Program and choose this major can study pure and applied mathematics related to contemporary engineering challenges, an essential field component.

Students raising their hands on a classroom.

A student can create an individualized program of study, either in theory or in the applications of theory and practice, by mixing courses in pure mathematics, applied mathematics, statistics, the physical sciences, and engineering.

In addition to laying a solid groundwork for further study at the graduate level in theoretical subfields of engineering and mathematics, this degree can also help students become ready for a job in specific fields of industry or business.

Art History

The purpose of the Major in Art History is to provide students with a strong foundation in the artistic traditions, methods, and settings that make up both historical and current visuality. Additionally, it gives an overview of the field’s methodology, historical developments, and ongoing disputes.

Students are equipped with the abilities necessary to do independent research, analyze evidence, construct coherent and sustained arguments, and develop skills in academic writing as a result of this preparation.

The major’s format for students to learn how to analyze and interpret visual, material, and textual evidence from specific cultural settings and historical circumstances can be broken down into four categories: lower division, upper division, seminar, and honors program.

Each of these categories is comprised of a series of increasingly focused courses. The requirements for the major are designed to give students the broadest possible exposure to a variety of periods, geographical regions, and subject areas while enabling them the freedom to explore their particular areas of interest through a Focus of Study.

Business Administration

Ranked among the top majors at Berkeley, the Haas School of Business Undergraduate Program equips students with the knowledge and technical skills essential to understand the modern business landscape. Those who earn a Bachelor of Science degree are poised to achieve unparalleled success in their professional careers and are well-prepared for further graduate study.

The program’s coursework is intricately intertwined with the university’s liberal arts curriculum. As a result, graduates can draw upon their understanding of the arts and sciences and business in their future endeavors.

How Do Interdisciplinary Majors Fare?

In the ever-evolving landscape of higher education, interdisciplinary majors have emerged as a compelling alternative to traditional fields of study. UC Berkeley, a bastion of academic excellence, has been at the forefront of this educational revolution.

So, how do interdisciplinary majors fare among the best majors at Berkeley? Exceptionally well, it turns out. These majors offer a unique blend of courses that allow students to explore multiple disciplines, broadening their intellectual horizons and making them more marketable in a diverse job market.

It’s not just about dabbling in different subjects; it’s about synthesizing knowledge from various fields to solve complex problems. In a world that increasingly values specialists, Berkeley’s interdisciplinary majors produce well-rounded individuals who can adapt to many professional environments.

The rise of interdisciplinary studies at Berkeley

The rise of interdisciplinary studies at Berkeley is not a mere trend but a thoughtful response to the complexities of the modern world. As issues like climate change, social justice, and technological advancements become increasingly multifaceted, the need for an interdisciplinary approach becomes more apparent.

Berkeley has recognized this and has been steadily increasing its interdisciplinary offerings, making them some of the best majors at Berkeley. From Media Studies, which combines elements of sociology, political science, and journalism, to Cognitive Science, which melds psychology, neuroscience, and computer science, Berkeley is crafting curricula that prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century.

These programs are not just academic exercises but are designed to equip students with the skills to navigate a rapidly changing world.

The advantages of a multi-disciplinary approach to education

The benefits of a multi-disciplinary approach to education are manifold. For starters, it fosters cognitive flexibility, enabling students to switch between different modes of thought. This is invaluable in today’s job market, where adaptability is a prized asset.

Moreover, interdisciplinary majors often involve project-based learning, which enhances problem-solving skills and encourages teamwork and communication—highly sought after in any profession.

The ability to draw from various disciplines also allows for more creative solutions to complex problems. In essence, interdisciplinary majors are not just academic programs; they are incubators for the leaders, thinkers, and problem-solvers of tomorrow.

Given the robustness and flexibility of these programs, it’s no surprise that they are considered among the best majors at Berkeley.

How Do You Decide on Your Major?

Choosing among the best majors offered at Berkeley or any other school is one of the most critical choices a high school or college student has to face. This dilemma is also one that many people wish they could retake; according to one survey, 61% of college graduates would switch their major if they could go back to school.

However, not everyone suffers from a case of buyer’s remorse when they receive their diploma. The following is a list of the most significant considerations to make when selecting a major, as well as advice on choosing the appropriate college once you have made your selection.

Consider Your Skills

Create a list of your accomplishments and areas of interest to get started. After you’ve finished, inquire with your closest loved ones and friends about what they would say about you. Sometimes, we need a third party to point out the qualities and abilities we sometimes take for granted.

Include any subjects that have always piqued your curiosity but that you’ve never committed to studying in depth. You should also mention things you used to be good at but haven’t done in a while, especially if you haven’t done them.

Investigate Possible Professions

When you have a list of your interests and passions, the next step is to investigate what kinds of professions meet those interests. For instance, if you have a passion for music, you could pursue a career as a music instructor or a club promoter or look for work at a charity organization dedicated to music.

After compiling a list of possible employment lines, you should consider observing those currently employed in those positions to get a feel for what it’s like to do the job. Following the processes that people carry out will help you determine whether or not you are engaged in the endeavor.

If you cannot meet someone in person, you can contact them via email or LinkedIn and arrange a phone call to conduct an interview.

Estimate Future Earnings

Most careers have their progression tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Visit the site and choose the professional fields that interest you most. You will be able to discover what employment is available in each sector from that location.

After compiling a list of occupations that pique your interest, you can use the site to determine which fields have a positive growth rate and incomes commensurate with the lifestyle you intend to lead. Even if the amount of money you will make in the future is not the only thing you should consider while choosing a career path, it is still essential. Having this knowledge can assist you in determining how much of an investment it is prudent to make in your secondary schooling.

Consider what you want your life to be like once you graduate from college. For example, if you want to establish a family, reside in a major city, or do substantial traveling, you will need a career that pays well enough to afford those things.

Consider how much of your time you can invest in your studies

It’s not true that all majors are created equal. There is a significant difference in the effort required for various programs. Think about how much time you can devote to your training and how committed you want to be as a student.

Research any advanced degrees you may require after you graduate college if you want to work in the field that interests you. Before you decide on what you want to study for your bachelor’s degree, it is essential to consider whether or not you will need to move on to earn a professional or master’s degree to achieve the professional goals you have set for yourself.

What are Your Chances of Getting Into Berkeley?

Because of the substantial growth in the number of applications over the years and the recent dangers posed to the university’s ability to accommodate new students, the University of California, Berkeley, is consistently ranked as one of the most competitive schools for admissions.

This application rise is reflected in UC Berkeley’s acceptance rate, cut nearly in half in the last decade, dropping from 21% in 2012 to under 12% in 2022. This decrease in acceptance rate directly results from the increase in candidates. Students accepted to UC Berkeley often have an excellent track record in extracurricular activities and a weighted grade point average of 4.25 to 4.61.

Aerial view of buildings in Berkeley Campus.

The admissions office at UC Berkeley uses a holistic screening approach to decide whether or not a student is a good fit for the university. The admissions process at UC Berkeley significantly emphasizes the application, particularly the UC Personal Insight Questions, to acquire more information about each candidate.

This enables Berkeley to evaluate a student’s personal qualities and academic potential to assess whether or not they have the potential to achieve. In the admissions process at UC Berkeley, interviews and UC Berkeley SAT scores are not considered. However, other extra materials, such as letters of recommendation, are considered.

Your grades and the curriculum you’ve completed should be your first consideration when considering the UC Berkeley admissions process and how to get into UC Berkeley. It would be best if you enrolled in the most challenging classes your high school offers, regardless of whether they are honors, AP, or IB classes. Those granted admission to the UC Berkeley class 2025 had grades primarily in the A and B range in rigorous coursework.

Want to learn more about the best majors being offered at Berkeley? Or do you need help putting the finishing touches on your college applications? At AdmissionSight, we have over ten years of experience guiding students through competitive admissions.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college this fall. Contact us today for more information on our services.

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