Special Studies Courses

Social Welfare undergraduate major students may receive credit for supervised, individual or organized group independent study exploring social welfare topics not typically addressed in the existing curriculum, subject to the conditions and limitations outlined in the following policies and procedures.

Please be aware that for ALL Special Studies Courses:

  • Faculty are required to evaluate and approve a syllabus for any proposed Special Study course. Faculty members who sponsor any Special Studies Course will also maintain contact with student coordinators throughout the duration of the semester for further oversight.
  • To arrange for a faculty sponsor: interested students should approach faculty members with relevant topical research interests and expertise to solicit sponsorship as early as possible. Anyone who has been approved to serve as instructor of record for a course (excluding graduate students) may sponsor a 97/197 or 98/198 course; only Berkeley Social Welfare ladder-rank faculty may sponsor a 199 Independent Study course. Please be aware that faculty members on sabbatical are generally not available to sponsor Special Studies courses.
  • Special Studies course student facilitators and participating students are responsible for confirming the accuracy of all enrollments prior to each semester's published deadline for adding and dropping courses. The Department will not support late adds or drops if enrollment mistakes are not resolved by that deadline.
  • Special Studies Courses must be taken on a P/NP (Passed/Not Passed) grading option only. Exception: students enrolled in an Independent Study course (199) may petition the College of Letters and Science (L&S) to take the course on a letter grade basis.
  • No more than 16 units of Special Studies Courses may be used to satisfy requirements for the B.A. in Social Welfare degree.

SOC WEL 97/197: Field Studies in Social Welfare

Students may earn 1-3 units of credit for supervised experience relevant to specific aspects of social welfare in off-campus organizations. Regular individual meetings with a faculty sponsor and written reports are usually required in order to receive unit credit for 97/197 Field Studies courses.

Independent Field Studies

SOC WEL 97/197 Section 1 is designated specifically for students who have already arranged a community-based service learning opportunity, and would like to receive credit for their involvement. Section 1 requires that students complete Page 1 of the Timesheet and get a signature from the sponsoring faculty member by the Friday of the FIRST week of instruction. Completed timesheets for community service hours are due by the Friday of the LAST week of instruction.

Group Field Studies

A student may also propose a Group Field Studies 97/197 course. Similar to a DE-Cal, this is a course that students propose, which typically includes community service, as well as meetings and academic assignments. Each section of a Group Field Studies 97/197 course requires a written proposal that the sponsoring faculty member must sign and submit to the department chair for approval.

An application will not be considered complete without the faculty sponsor's approval signature, and no incomplete applications will be considered for review. No late applications are accepted under any circumstances, without exception. 

97/197 Field Studies Course Proposal Deadlines

SOC WEL 97/197 proposals are due NO LATER THAN 6 weeks before the end of instruction in the semester previous to the semeter the course will be offered:

For courses to be offered in the:Proposals are due to department by:
Fall 2019 Semester Monday, May 6, 2019
Spring 2020 Semester Friday, November 1, 2019

SOC WEL 98/198: Group Study in Social Welfare (Student-Facilitated)

SOC WEL 98/198 Directed Group Study courses, also known as "DE-Cal" courses, are facilitated by undergraduate students. Each section of a student-facilitated DE-Cal course requires a written proposal that must be reviewed and approved by an instructor of record and the department chair, and then submitted to the Academic Senate Committee on Courses of Instruction (COCI) for review.

An application will not be considered complete without the faculty sponsor's approval signature, and no incomplete applications will be considered for review. No late applications are accepted under any circumstances, without exception. 

DE-Cal Course Proposal Deadlines

SOC WEL 98/198 proposals are due NO LATER THAN 6 weeks before the end of instruction in the semester previous to the semeter the proposed course will be offered:

For courses to be offered in the:Proposals are due:
Fall 2019 Semester Monday, May 6, 2019
Spring 2020 Semester Friday, November 1, 2019

SOC WEL 98/198: Group Study in Social Welfare (Faculty-Led)

Directed Group Study courses may also be developed and taught by faculty members. Faculty-led SOC WEL 98/198 courses are not considered DE-Cal courses, though they do require advance approval from the department in order to be scheduled and taught. Faculty wishing to propose and teach a 98/198 Group Studies course should contact the department (by email to swundergrad@berkeley.edu) for instructions.

SOC WEL 199: Supervised Independent Study and Research

This course is for students seeking supervised independent study and research on a social welfare topic under the direction of a Berkeley Social Welfare faculty member. Each student enrolled in an Independent Study course (199) must have prior consent of the supervising instructor and submit a written proposal that specifies the nature of the study, the number of units to be credited (from 1 to 3), and the basis for grading.

SOC WEL 199 proposals are always due by the first week of the current semester.