Upper-division Major Requirements

Social Welfare Core Courses

Social Welfare majors must complete four required, upper-division Social Welfare courses, known as "core courses." All of the following core courses must be taken for a letter grade. In order to graduate, you must earn a minimum GPA of 2.0 overall in all of the core courses.

1. SOC WEL 110, Social Work as a Profession (3 units, Lecture + Discussion)
Prerequisite: Declared as a Social Welfare major (enrollment restricted to declared majors)
This first core course required for undergraduate Social Welfare majors introduces the field of social welfare and the profession of social work. Students explore the social, political, and historical contexts in which social welfare and social work have developed. Current social welfare issues are critically examined within the context of social work practice and in terms of their effectiveness in meeting needs of diverse clients and communities.

2. SOC WEL 112: Social Welfare Policy (3 units, Lecture + Discussion)
Prerequisite: SOC WEL 110
This required course for undergraduate social welfare majors is designed to enhance understanding of social policies and programs in the United States, including public assistance, social insurance, social services, health and mental health. Its focus is on the circumstances of the disadvantaged and impoverished. Students explore and begin to analyze major social welfare policies and programs, the choices involved in their formulation, and the nature of their implementation and results.

3. SOC WEL 114: Practice in Social Work (3 units, Lecture + Discussion)
Prerequisite: SOC WEL 110 or consent of instructor
This course introduces students to basic social work practice skills through the generalist intervention model. Both direct and indirect practice methods are introduced. Students are exposed to both theory and research that informs understanding of client system's strengths, problem development, and intervention. Biophysical, psychological, environmental, social, and cultural contributions to effective and ethical social work assessment and intervention with individuals, families, and communities experiencing a range of challenges are examined.

4. Focused Topic Core Course: SOC WEL Elective (at least 2 units)
The Focused Topic Core Course requirement may be satisfied by taking ANY upper-division Social Welfare elective class (any class other than the core classes-110, 112, 114), or approved graduate (200-level) elective course in Social Welfare. SOC WEL electives or approved alternative courses are generally offered each Fall, Spring and Summer.

Social Science Electives Requirement

Social Welfare majors must complete a minimum of FIVE approved social science electives, totaling at least 18 upper-division units.  Effective October 15, 2021 for all social welfare students, we are consolidating the primary and secondary electives list into one master list.  Students are no longer required to take a minimum of 3 primary electives; instead, the only requirement is that students take FIVE approved social science electives that add up to 18 units.  For a list of courses that are currently approved to satisfy the elective requirement, please see the Master List of Approved Social Sciences Electives.

Supplemental Elective Units

Students who choose five Social Science Electives that do not total 18 units will need additional coursework to supplement the required five elective courses. Supplemental units can be chosen from the approved courses, from Social Welfare elective coursework, or Special Studies course units (e.g., group study or community service units). Courses taken to fulfill supplemental units may be taken on a Pass/No Pass basis.

How to Petition to Add a Course to the Master List of Approved Electives

If you would like to petition for a class to be added to the Master List of Electives as an approved primary or secondary social science elective, please send an email to the Undergraduate Major Adviser, Cassandra Castillo, at swundergrad@berkeley.edu. Please include a copy of the current course syllabus (course descriptions are not sufficient for evaluation). The course must be at least 2 units and be numbered 100 or higher.