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Irene Liao
Genetics and Plant Biology major
Samantha Bell
Microbial Biology major
Jena Riggert
Forestry and Natural Resources major
Dale Dualan
Conservation Resource Studies major
Stephen Kwan
Molecular Environmental Biology major
Kay Jiaqi Yang
Nutritional Sciences - Dietetics major
Tiet Nguyen
Microbial Biology major
Selina Chou
Nutritional Science - Dietetics major
Jenn Jehnsen
Environmental Sciences major
Wendy Chen
Environmental Sciences major
Jessica LeBeau
Environmental Sciences major

November 19, 2008

Why CRS?

Why CRS?

- Build Your Own Education
The CRS major allows students to think about an environmental issue that they are motivated about and mold together an interdisciplinary style curriculum that tackles it.

- Flexibility
You pick your classes. You pick your advisors. You make your own upper division curriculum through this major. The CRS major also allows you to branch out to other departments on campus not in the College of Natural Resources including Geography, Public Health, Anthropology, Sociology, and much more.

- The People
Personally, I’ve met some of the greatest people on Earth (students and faculty) through this major. The CRS major has a diverse and close-knit community. It’s a great major to build friendships and networks. The fact that all our Areas of Interest are interrelated helps to bring people together, to work together, to talk about issues in the world, and to collaborate towards the CRS mission of building a healthy and sustainable future.

- Real-World Experiences
Some of your classes might take you on a field trip to get a real-world look at environmental issues and projects. You might also get asked to pursue or start a project in the community where you’ll interact with people of different disciplines. This is a great way to gain experience and to start networking for future internships, jobs, volunteering, or research opportunities.

ESPM 100 field trip group at Big Sur.

April 22, 2007

Finding the right major

Choosing a major is not always the easiest thing to do. Rarely do I met someone who has it all figured out from the get go, and I think coming to Berkeley ready to explore your interests is a great approach. A useful thing you can do is to take classes in subject areas you enjoyed in high school, and even some in areas you know little to nothing about. Declared freshman should consider this as well, because there could be another major waiting for you that fits your interests even better than the one you are intent on now. Researching different majors and the careers they can lead to on the career website can also help if you have any career goals in mind.

Continue reading "Finding the right major" »

April 20, 2007

Tribulations of Choosing a Major

Choosing a major can be a difficult process, but luckily for me, I knew what I was going to major in. The problem was if I wanted to switch majors because of other interests, making sure I wanted to be in the major, or double majoring. Read about why I choose to major in Genetics and Plant Biology in this post.

Continue reading "Tribulations of Choosing a Major" »

On Picking My Major

It is difficult as a high school student to select one's major out of hundreds when you come to the online page where titled "Major." How do you do it? For one, there are many resources one could take advantage of at the library or the bookstore that tells you "how to pick your major" or which is "the best major for you." Personally, I have never read these books--not only are they a bit pricy, but they weigh a ton and are usually larger than my chemistry textbook.

Continue reading "On Picking My Major" »

April 19, 2007

One or two majors out of... hundreds?

How do you pick just one or two majors? When first coming to college, it may seem very overwhelming since at UC Berkeley there are hundreds of different majors, so one may feel as if they don't know where to start. However, I believe that the most important part about picking a major is chosing something that you have an interest in. Do not chose something because your parents, your boyfriends, or your family want you to do. Do something that YOU want to do. I know, this may sound trite and obvious, but you know, there are pressures out there from our loved ones telling us that they want us to do this, but really, who are you living for? You are living for you and only you.

Continue reading "One or two majors out of... hundreds? " »

on picking a major in CNR

CNR certainly does have plenty of majors to choose from, especially if you are looking for something in the biological sciences. Ultimately, it comes down to which fields and subjects interest you the most, as well as your postgraduate career goals...

Interested in biology at the microscopic level? Consider microbial biology, one of the larger majors in CNR that involves...you guessed it, microbes! Microbio is a great major especially if you plan to pursue professional school, as well has graduate work in the sciences. If the environment peaks your interest, CNR has a host of majors that you should check out, including environmental sciences, forestry, conservation resource studies, society and environment, forestry, and molecular environmental biology. Note that each of these majors have different emphases or "tracks"; for example, forestry has a social sciences track versus a biological sciences track. Review them carefully, as their requirements are quite different, especially at the upper division level.

My own biased opinion, however, will lead me to recommend nutritional sciences...my own major, ahem. The department has three tracks: physiology and metabolism (for students planning for professional or graduate school), dietetics (which specifically trains students for a career as a dietician), and toxicology (which is also a great major for professional and graduate school).

Confused about which major suits you best? Talk to your faculty advisors, or drop by our own PAL office hours to chat.

April 18, 2007

Choosing a Major

I chose to pursue the dietetics major because I knew I wanted to work in a health field that dealt with how food impacts our body. With a food allergy, I was especially sensitive to what food was made of and what negative effects could have arisen, had I consumed that food. Having this awareness made me want to share my experiences with others, and becoming a dietitian seemed to fit my desire. Fortunately, my passion has not changed since freshman year, and I still hope to be a person who can educate and inform others about the nutritional implications of a person’s diet.
However, even in my first few years at Berkeley, I was very uncertain about whether or not my major was the right one, whether I should just forget the sciences and pursue a music degree, or a if I should choose a different career path. I decided to investigate all of my insecurities by taking a few classes to test my appetite.
Because I was so interested in music theory and improving my musical skills as a singer, I thought that I might double major in music. However, after taking a few music classes and seeing how many classes I would have to take in addition to the nutrition classes, I decided that I could satisfy my musical desires by joining musical groups outside of the classroom.
I also considered becoming a pharmacist, after achieving my BS in nutritional science. However, I realized that this goal was only encouraged by my parents, by the money a pharmacist can make and by the practicality of the job. For me, my passion did not lie in making money or choosing a path made by my parents. I knew that my enthusiasm lied in nutrition and becoming a registered dietitian would allow me to share that.
In the end, I learned that determining my major was a matter of knowing what I wanted, why I wanted it and who I was trying to please. After exploring all my opportunities with different volunteer experiences and talking to various people, I could identify my interests more clearly. I highly encourage you to explore different clubs or organizations to get a better idea of what your interests are. Feel free to read our past blogs to get ideas on extracurricular opportunities if you are still searching. And as always, we have our open office hours where you can talk about your concerns about choosing the right major for you!


So what should my major be in CNR? There are sooo many to choose from!! I will say, pick the one that most intrigues you-the ones that you think you will enjoy and learn a lot from instead of having burdens of taking specific class requirements,etc. You should have a fun fun time in all your classes and feel that studying is a priviledge. You should not be too stressed about your major after determining one and enjoy every aspect of it.
What is my major and why did i choose it? Im a nutrisci-physiology and metabolism major and the reason i chose it was because im just absolutely fascinated and excited when it comes to talking about food and nutrition and body. I love all the classes im taking and enjoy everything that I am learning! It is very interested and fun!
A funny story actually made me decide to major in nutrisci instead of other pre-med majors like MCB: one day i was watching TV and a couple of food scientists for Baskin Robbins were trying to come up with new flavors in the food lab. That became a dream job because not only do i get to come up with cool flavors, i will get to taste and critique it afterwards! Also, because of my love for food and how it affects the body really makes me talk all day.
so yeah, if you have any questions on nutrisci majors..esp physiology and metabolism, im surely here to try my best to help! =D


Why did I pick my major?

For all of the UCs that I applied to, I put the usual molecular biology down, but Cal offered something different: Molecular Environmental Biology. I chose MEB because it sounded interesting. I knew I wanted to do something in science, but at the time that I was applying, I didn’t know exactly what yet. I looked online for more information about the major and instantly knew that MEB was exactly what I wanted to do. It mixed two things I am really interested in: environmental issues and public health/science.

One thing I really like about MEB, now that I am in it, is that it isn’t specifically a pre-med major; there are lots of career options for me to choose from. The courses offered in MEB are so vast that I feel I have a better overall understanding of many health and environment issues, rather than focusing on something specific. I take the classes that a lot of MCB and IB students are taking, but I also take the classes that let me apply that science to something important. For example, ESPM 167: Environmental Health and Development let me use my understanding of biology to see how environmental toxins affect us, and what we can do to change it.

Being in MEB has its perks! It’s in CNR so I get the small college warmth with the big university resources. The MEB advisors are amazing and really care about the students. I feel completely comfortable asking them questions and I don’t have to wait a long time to see them.

If you have any questions about MEB feel free to drop by my office hours or email us at:

April 17, 2007

the MEB major

I chose to come to the College of Natural Resources(CNR), UC Berkeley, three years ago and I have never regretted.

Being a student in CNR is like attending a private college while still having the resources and supports from a big university. I came into Berkeley as a Natural Resources undeclared student. However, after the major presentations at the CALSO orientation, I declared my major, Molecular Environmental Biology(MEB), on that day.

There are six concentrations in MEB: Animal Health and Behavior, Biodiversity, Ecology, Environment and Human Health, Organisms & Environment, and Microbiology. Being an MEB major prepares you to become a scientist in your specific area of interest. Whether you want to pursuit a career in veterinarian, a medical doctor, a environmental scientist, a public health advocate, a journalist, a dentist, a nurse, a social worker, a counselor, or you haven’t decided yet, being an MEB major leads you towards your career goal. Although the MEB major requirements include a broad array of lower division science classes, its flexible upper division requirement allows you to pick your specific area of interest. The MEB curriculum is flexible yet comprehensive to satisfy most of the pre-health requirements. As a pre-medical student, I find it easy to complete both a B.S. degree and all the medical school requirements.

Besides satisfaction in my major, I greatly enjoy CNR’s personal and caring professors, advisors, and environment. The peer advising leadership program and undergraduate research opportunity I received from CNR are the most rewarding experiences I’ve had at Cal. In addition, I found friends who share the same passion and same career goal as me within CNR. Being a student of CNR definitely made my college life more enjoyable and more fulfilling. Come to CAL DAY, which is this Saturday to check out the programs from College of Natural Resources! Hope to see you there!!


What's your major?

I feel like half the people I meet at Cal are MCB majors. Not to dump on MCB, it's a wonderful major, but most people choose it as a default. If you are one of those "defaulters", not only in MCB or any other major, seriously reconsider why you're studying what you are. Is it because you want to make your parents happy? Is it because all your friends are studying it? Is it because you really don't know what you want to do?

If you're undeclared, think about what you honestly like. If you're not a science/math person, don't be science math major! Your major should be something that to some degree, is enjoyable. Also, think about what are you good at. Usually, these two go together and can help you narrow your focus way down. If you have an idea of what kind of career you want to pursue, it could help to pick a concentration that helps you reach that goal.
Take some courses from different departments. Fulfilling your breadths and AC requirements can help you do this.
Talk to advisors and other people who are in the majors that you're interested in. They can help you get a realistic picture of what the major is like and the kind of courses it entails.

And if all of this fails and you still end up not knowing what you want to study or find yourself constantly switching majors, take heart. Your major doesn't determine the the kind of career you're going to have or who you are. At the very least, college should be a place where you can explore many different things and have the freedom to do what makes you happy.
If you have questions or are super stressed about these issues, come talk to us in office hours!

April 16, 2007

Have You Picked a Major?

Picking your major is the first step in reaching your future career goals. Even though it is very important, keep in mind that it’s okay to take your time to figure out what is best for you. I have a friend who came in as a psychology major, switched to intended public health, then intended pre-dental hygienist and is now back to psychology. With all the switching and exploring she did, she is still graduating on time. The point is, everyone has to figure out what is best for them in their own time and what is most important is that you find something you love.

Here are some general tips on how to pick a major that is right for you:

1. Think about your interests and how you could turn what you enjoy into a career. For me, I have always had an interest in nutrition and physical fitness, so I decided on dietetics.

2. Once you have narrowed it down to a couple of majors that encompass your interests take a core, introductory class from each major. You can get a general sense of each major through these classes and hopefully can narrow it down a bit more. Also, this is a great way to experience all the different kinds of classes UC Berkeley has to offer. When I took NST 10, it confirmed my decision to major in dietetics.

3. Next, you should make an appointment with the advisor for the major(s) you’re interested in. You can discuss the details of the major and possible careers options that are available after graduation. This should help you narrow it down even more. Discussing my major with my advisor was really helpful because she helped me map out my classes.

4. Lastly, if you still need some help deciding on a major, I would suggest talking to students who are currently in the major. Often current students can provide you with the most valuable information about what classes to take and when. Don’t forget that that’s what PALs are here for. So if you want to discuss possible majors, come by our office hours. We would love to help!