Academics

Location
Berkeley, CA
Undergrads
25,018
Tuition (in-state)
$35,752 ($12,874)
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
More statistics . . .
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Reviews

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4 College Sophomore

Academics: Professors and GSIs are so helpful!

3 College Sophomore

Academics: Lots of cool options, but doesnt offer much room for change if you mess up and get bad grades

3 College Senior

Academics: It's Berkeley. Competitive, high-speed and sometimes too fast-paced.

4 people found this useful Report
5 College Junior

Academics: Berkeley, although a competitive and pretentious environment, is a power institution. It is one of the best research schools and there are opportunities to grow within your field or discover new ones all over campus.

2 people found this useful Report
3 Recent Alumnus

Academics: 1. IT'S HARD.

2. There are no "easy" majors.

3. There are very, very few "easy" classes. The moment you treat it as an easy class, you'll fall behind and it'll suck.

4. Students here work so hard that we don't leave the library when we feel an earthquake. Whatever. It's NorCal. Earthquakes happen.

5. There was also an explosion in one of the vents on campus and people complained about leaving the library. WE NEED TO STUDY. WE TAKE IT SERIOUSLY.

6. Imagine 500 people in one class who were the top 10% of their high school class, and imagine adding a curve where only 15% of them will get an A. That's what the competition is like. Sink or swim, baby.

7. You will come out scarred but much, much tougher. No one will hand you your grades or resources, so you learn to be independent. That comes with being a highly-ranked public university - budget cuts make some resources (like advising, classes, library hours) harder to come by.

8. Regardless, it's still a rewarding experience. You'll be around Nobel Laureates, peers who are freaking geniuses, classes that blow your mind, and a long legacy of Cal pride.

4 people found this useful Report
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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 9th
    Best Use of Teaching Assistants
  • 15th
    Smartest Professors
  • 36th
    Best Course Variety
  • 456th
    Professors Most Interested in Classes
  • 814th
    Most Flexible Curriculums

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Meegan Brooks
Hometown
Granite Bay, CA
Major
Political science
View all previous student authors

While Berkeley is nationally recognized for many reasons, its top-notch academics are probably its most notable feature. Students at Cal are proud to be getting an Ivy League education at a quarter of the cost, and they say the larger class size is worth the price difference. While every Berkeley department is ranked in the Top 10 nationally, Berkeley’s research gives it an international reputation. Class competition varies by department. Pre-med courses and prerequisites for the Haas Undergraduate Business Administration major are notoriously cutthroat, since students know how much their grades will influence their futures. The colleges of Chemistry, Environmental Design (architecture), and Engineering are generally considered more difficult that the College of Letters and Science and often involve more class time because of labs and studio sessions. The homework loads in these schools are also fairly daunting, though most students figure out how to handle their schoolwork by sophomore year. While students can definitely get competitive, most are more likely to help their classmates than sabotage them.

Nobody will notice if you miss a lecture, and many classes are podcast, so students often cash in on this option. In reading-based courses, some students do all of the reading but never attend lecture, some attend class but never read, and some find a happy medium. As long as you turn in whatever papers are assigned, you should get a decent GPA. Still, it’s clear when a student does all of the reading and goes to every class, and these students normally end up with the best grades.

 

Facts & Statistics

Student-Faculty Ratio
17:1
Full-Time Instructional Faculty
1,603
Part-Time Instructional Faculty
648
Total FT Faculty
3,079
Faculty with Terminal Degree
99%
Average Faculty Salary
$124,799
Full-Time Retention Rate
96%
Part-Time Retention Rate
68%
Graduation Rate
91%
Programs/Majors Offered
122
Academic/Career Counseling?
Yes
Remedial Services?
No
Class Sizes
  • Fewer than 20 Students: 60%
  • 20 to 49 Students: 25%
  • 50 or More Students: 15%
Instructional Programs
Occupational: No
Academic: Yes
Continuing Professional: No
Recreational/Avocational: No
Adult Basic Remedial: No
Secondary (High School): No
Special Credit Opportunities
Advanced Placement (AP) Credits: Yes
Dual Credit: No
Life Experience Credits: No
Undergraduate Schools/Divisions
  • College of Chemistry
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Environmental Design
  • College of Letters & Sciences
  • College of Natural Resources
  • Haas School of Business
  • The Richard & Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy
  • Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
  • School of Information Management and Systems
  • School of Public Health
  • School of Social Welfare
  • University Professors Program
Degrees Awarded
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Doctorate - Professional practice
  • Doctorate - Research/scholarship
  • Master's degree
  • Post-bachelor's certificate
  • Post-master's certificate
Most Popular Majors
  • Business Administration and Management: 4%
  • Cellular and Molecular Biology: 2%
  • Economics and Econometrics: 2%
  • Political Science and Government, General: 2%
Special Study Options
Study abroad
Best Places to Study
  • CafĂ© Strada
  • VLSB Bioscience Library
Tips to Succeed
  • Do as many extracurricular activities as you can handle.
  • Don't be afraid of not knowing what you want to do with your life
  • Don't be discouraged by the smart, ambitious, and hard-working renaissance men and women around you.
  • Don't develop a drug/alcohol habit.
  • Don't give up your academic dreams.
  • Go abroad if you can.
  • Go to class.
  • Make more friends than you need.
  • Try taking classes that you don't know much about
Did You Know?
  • Despite Berkeley's reputation for having huge, over-impacted classes, only 15 percent of the courses offered have 50 or more students.
  • UC Berkeley's Democratic Education at Cal ("DeCal") program allows students to design and teach their own classes. Past offerings included Italian Cooking, Philosophy of The Simpsons, and Advanced Rubik's Cube.
  • Every Cal student must take an American Cultures (AC) course, which highlights diverse cultures within the United States. This requirement is unique to Cal, and AC courses are specifically designed with the school's requirement in mind.

Student Polls

Who are the most notable alumni from this school?    Based on 14 responses

  • 27% Steve Wozniak - co-founder of Apple Computer
  • 15% Jack London - novelist
  • 12% Tom Anderson - co-founder and president of MySpace
  • 12% William Randolph Hearst Jr. - newspaper publisher
  • 12% John Cho - actor
  • 10% Chris Pine - Actor
  • 5% Jonny Moseley - Olympic gold medalist in skiing
  • 2% Adam Duritz - lead singer of Counting Crows
  • 2% Philip K. Dick - science fiction writer
  • 2% Jann Wenner - founder of Rolling Stone
  • 0% Terry McMillan - novelist
  • 0% Joan Didion - novelist

Rate your school's academic environment on the following topics    Based on 122 responses

Very poor
Excellent
  • Academic advisers
  • Class availability
  • Consistency in grading
  • Course subject variety
  • Curriculum flexibility
  • Gen-Ed requirements
  • Manageability of workload
  • Online course options
  • Quality of teaching assistants (TAs)
  • Scheduling/registration process
  • Technology in the classroom

Rate your school's professors on the following topics    Based on 122 responses

Very poor
Excellent
  • Accessibility
  • Communication skills
  • General knowledge
  • Interest in class subjects
  • Interest in students
  • Time spent in classroom
  • Use of teaching assistants

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