Declaring the BASW major

How and When to Declare the Social Welfare Major

Social Welfare is a high-demand major, which means there are specific eligibility requirements that must be met without exception in order to declare the Social Welfare major. Students must meet the following requirements to be considered:

  • Have completed all prerequisite entry requirements (see below) with a letter grade of C or better.
  • Have a minimum GPA of 2.0.
  • Have accrued less than 80 cumulative units, including work in-progress.

**Update 3/29/2020: All Social Welfare prerequisites taken at Berkeley during the Spring 2020 semester will be permitted to be taken Pass/No Pass and will still satisfy prerequisite requirements.  For the full L&S policy, please see here.

Prerequisite Entry Requirements

ALL of the following prerequisites must be completed BEFORE you can petition to declare Social Welfare as your major:

  1. Satisfy the L&S Reading and Composition (R&C) Requirement:
    The College of Letters and Science requires two semesters of lower division work in composition - Reading and Composition (R&C), parts A and B, in sequential order. All undergraduates must complete the R&C requirement by the end of their fourth semester. For information on courses that satisfy the R&C requirement, please visit How to Satisfy Reading and Composition.

  2. Satisfy the L&S Quantitative Reasoning (QR) Requirement:
    The Quantitative Reasoning requirement is designed to ensure that students graduate with basic understanding and competency in math, statistics, or computer science. The requirement may be satisfied by exam or by taking an approved course in math, statistics and computer science, or the Foundations of Data Science (Data 8) course. Course work used to satisfy Quantitative Reasoning must be completed with a letter grade of C- or better. For information on courses that satisfy the Quantitative Reasoning requirement, please visit How to Satisfy Quantitative Reasoning.

  3. Introductory Psychology
    Psychology 1 or 2, or equivalent

  4. Introductory Sociology
    Sociology 1 or 3AC, or equivalent

Prerequisite courses can be taken at UC Berkeley or at another university or at a community college. For courses taken at another institution, the course title must indicate Introductory, Beginning, Elementary etc., and a transcript (unofficial is acceptable) must be presented at the time of declaring for grade verification. High school AP scores that are high enough to provide university units can be accepted in place of a prerequisite class.

For transfer students, eligibility to declare a major begins and ends in the first semester at UC Berkeley, and all transfer students must declare in their first semester For this reason transfer students wishing to declare the Social Welfare major should complete all prerequisites by the time they arrive at Berkeley in order to be eligible to declare the major in the first fall term on campus.

How to Declare the Major (Non-Transfer Students)

Students are eligible to submit the Petition to Declare e-Form after they have satisfied all of the prerequisite entry requirements and received a letter grade for each course. Petitions must include unofficial transcripts and a 4-year program plan indicating how the applicant intends to complete the major requirements by their expected graduation date. For assistance with program planning, please make plans to meet with a major advisor. Late or Incomplete applications will not be considered. 

The next opportunity to submit a petition to declare Social Welfare as your major will be in Spring 2021, starting Tuesday, February 2nd at 10am. This does NOT Apply to transfer students. If you are a transfer starting in Fall 2020, please see the section below. 

Fall 2020 Transfer Students

Welcome to UC Berkeley!  As noted in your acceptance letter, you have been admitted to the College of Letter and Science and not to a specific major. Social Welfare is considered one of the College’s “high-demand” majors, meaning that there are restrictions on the number of students that can be declared each academic year. Our department is able to accept 20 qualified transfer students each term. In order to best position yourself to declare Social Welfare as your major, it’s important that you complete the following steps as soon as possible:

  1. Review the major requirements and complete the 2-year program plan. A sample plan is provided and you may use that as a template for your own, submitting an exact replica if you’d like. This step is requested by the department to ensure that students are aware of the requirements; it is not a binding contract and you are welcome to make changes at a later time.

  2. Complete the “Petition to Declare e-Form. You will upload your 2-year program plan as well as unofficial transcripts.

The petition queue is reviewed on a first come, first served basis, and will be open until Friday, July 31st and students will be notified of their status no later than Friday, August 7th.

Please note that transfer students must have completed all prerequisites for the major prior to arrival and declare the major during their first semester at Berkeley. Priority is given to those students who were admitted with intent to declare the social welfare major. If space is available, students who are wishing to make a switch from another department will be considered. Please read the information on “High-demand Majors” found on the L&S website. As noted, it is highly recommended that you spend some time researching a non-restricted major as an back-up and have an alternative program plan in mind.

Advising Information

Any questions or requests for an appointment can be sent to  Please note, we do not make same day appointments.

**Update 3/15/2020: Drop in Advising is cancelled until further notice.  Due to the ongoing pandemic and the shift to remote/virtual classes, all advising appointments have moved online.  Please email to set up a zoom call or a phone call.