Your First Semester

Congrats, and welcome to your first semester as a UC Berkeley student—and the Fall Program for Freshmen!

You’ve taken the first step toward an amazing education, and we’re here to help you through the transition, step by step.

Step 1: Plan your fall course schedule

Golden Bear Advising is the online orientation that you will complete during the summer through bCourses. Once you have registered for FPF, you will receive an invitation from bCourses to start your online orientation. This is where you can learn about requirements and what classes you should take in the fall. At the end of Golden Bear Advising, you will complete a College Assignment, after which you will be able to make your first 1-on-1 advising appointment. See below to get a preview of the various college requirements. 

Breadth Courses

Expand your general-education experience with the Seven Course Breadth requirement, which all L&S students must satisfy before graduation. Courses that satisfy this requirement can be taken throughout your time at Cal. Almost all FPF students take one or more breadth courses.

In addition, all UC Berkeley students must satisfy the American Cultures (AC) requirement before graduation. Many L&S breadth courses also fulfill AC. By taking an FPF breadth course that has "AC" in its title, you fulfill both the AC requirement and one of the L&S Seven Course Breadth categories. Courses that fulfill the AC requirement are also annotated in the course title.

You cannot fulfill these requirements by using AP credit or other high school coursework. However, if you have taken courses at a community or junior college, you may be able to use that credit to fulfill either category. Visit assist.org to determine if your courses are transferable to UC Berkeley and which Breadth categories they may fulfill.

Although many courses fall under multiple breadth categories, each course can be applied to only one of the L&S Seven Course Breadth categories. Choose breadth courses based on your interest or curiosity. Make sure you choose several courses so you have backups in case some of them are full.

Math and Stats

You should take a math or statistics course if you have not fulfilled the L&S Quantitative Reasoning (QR) requirement or if your intended major requires it. Depending on your intended major(s), they may also fulfill major prerequisites or requirements.

If you have satisfied the QR requirement and math is not necessary for your intended major, you are not required to take a math course in FPF.

Selecting a Math or Statistics Course

Make sure you select a math course that reflects your skill level and intended major(s). How can you make sure you’re selecting the right course? Think about:

  • Your math background, specifically the rigor of your high school math coursework; confidence in your math skills; AP scores; last math class taken and when; and results from the UC Berkeley Calculus Diagnostic Placement Exam
  • Your intended major(s)
  • Read through FPF math and statistics course descriptions and prerequisites to find the right match for you.

Both the Math Department and FPF strongly suggest that you do not choose your math course based on AP test scores alone. Students with AP math credit often find the corresponding level of coursework at Berkeley much more difficult than their AP courses in high school. AP scores do not indicate how a student will perform in a Berkeley-level calculus course. Take UC Berkeley's Calculus Diagnostic Placement Exam.

Reading and Composition (R&C) Requirement

You should fulfill the R&C requirement during your freshman year or, at the latest, by the end of your sophomore year. Most students start or complete this requirement in FPF. The level of R&C you take is determined by whether you have already fulfilled the University Entry-Level Writing requirement and by your AP or IB English scores. You must fulfill both the University Entry-Level Writing requirement and the R&C requirement.

Entry-Level Writing Requirement

Many FPF students meet the University Entry-Level Writing Requirement with SAT, ACT, AP or IB exam scores. If you have not fulfilled this requirement, you must enroll in College Writing XBR1A. This course satisfies both the Entry-Level Writing requirement and the first half (R1A) of the L&S Reading and Composition requirement. If you enroll in College Writing XBR1A, which is a 6-unit course, you should not enroll in more than three courses during your stay with FPF. We advise that you don’t take Classics XB10A, English XB31AC or Philosophy XB2 if you have not fulfilled the Entry-Level Writing requirement.

Find out if you have fulfilled the Entry-Level Writing requirement.

R&C Requirement

If you have already fulfilled the R&C requirement with AP, IB or college credit, you are not required to select an R&C course for the fall. Find out if you have already fulfilled the L&S R&C requirement.

Note: If you are waiting for exam scores to determine your R&C placement, you may not be able to enroll in an R&C course until Phase II of Tele-BEARS. If you took an IB English exam or an English course at a community college, please email fpf@berkeley.edu for further instructions. If you are unable to enroll in an R1A or R1B course, even though you have satisfied the Entry-Level Writing requirement, it may be that the Office of Undergraduate Admissions has yet to receive or process your exam scores. Please email fpf@berkeley.edu for assistance.

Most incoming freshmen have already met the AH&I requirements with high school courses. Have you fulfilled this requirement?

If you have passed an Advanced Placement (AP) exam and choose to take a similar course in FPF, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions will grant credit only for the FPF course, not for both. AP credit does not fulfill the L&S Seven Course Breadth requirement or the American Cultures breadth requirement. Policies on accepting AP credit in lieu of major prerequisites vary by campus department.

Make sure that the Office of Undergraduate Admissions has received all of your relevant AP and IB exam scores, as well as your high school and community college transcripts, by the July 1 deadline. Your student record needs to be up to date in order to enroll in the appropriate courses.

Most FPF courses are designed for College of Letters and Science students in their first semester. Other colleges and schools, such as the Haas School of Business Undergraduate Program, may have different requirements. If you intend to apply to Haas or to transfer to a different college within UC Berkeley, please refer to those programs when selecting your fall courses.

Step 2: Build your schedule

After you've picked courses that you're interested in, please search in the Online Schedule of Classes to find what's available. Use the search feature to find FPF classes.

Options to choose in the search fields:

  • Course Attribute: Fall Program for Freshmen
  • Course Attribute Value: FPF Berkeley Campus or FPF San Francisco Campus
  • Subject: Select one of the courses that starts with "FPF" followed by "-Subject" (e.g. FPF-History) 

As part of your Golden Bear Advising, you will be submitting a proposed fall semester schedule. Your FPF Advisor will review and approve your proposed schedule before you can schedule your first advising appointment. 

Step 3: Make an advising appointment

In late-May, you will be assigned an FPF advisor. This is your point person for all questions related to FPF, campus, being a successful undergrad and much more! Your first schedule advising appointment will follow after you have submitted your College Assignment through Golden Bear Advising in bCourses. 

Learn more about advising.

Step 4: Enroll in classes

You will enroll in classes online through CalCentral. Phase I starts July 11 (up to 13.5 units) and Phase II starts July 31 (up to 16 units). FPF students, like continuing students, have two-phase enrollment for the fall semester.  This is the same two-phase process that you will have for enrolling in spring semester courses.

Step 5: Buy your books

We recommend that you wait until your fall schedule is finalized before buying your books. Most instructors do not expect all of their students to have their books in the first week of instruction since it is common for students to add and drop classes in the first two weeks.

Some courses use readers in addition to or instead of textbooks. At the beginning of the semester, your instructor will let you know where to buy the reader.

The bookstore is located at 2560 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 94704

To buy online:

  1. Visit calstudentstore.berkeley.edu, select Textbooks and then select Fall 2016 term.
  2. To select by department, FPF books are listed by class, but each class is listed according to the FPF course  abbreviation, starting with an "X." Example: Psychology at FPF is listed as "XPSYCH." English at FPF is listed at "XENGLIS." Choosing a department without the proper abbreviation will display the wrong books.
  3. Select your course based on the FPF online schedule of classes.
  4. Select your section: Again, choose the appropriate section using the FPF online schedule of classes.

Note: Some instructors do not submit a list of course materials until closer to the start of the fall semester. If no books are listed online, check back again later.

Step 6: Get oriented!

Your first eight days at Berkeley will be action-packed with Golden Bear Orientation! This is the time when you will meet your fellow classmates, attend fun events and outings together, and learn all about what it means to be a true Bear.