Getting Started: Choosing your Classes

Unit Requirements

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A t Cal, the unit value for courses ranges from 1 (one) to 6 (six). Most courses are three or four units. You can find the unit value for a course in the General Catalog or the Schedule of Classes.

Students are required to take a minimum of 13 units each semester. Exceptions to this policy are disussed below. Students who enroll in at least 13 units are considered full-time students by the university.

We strongly recommend that students enroll in no more than 15 units in their first semester. Although students must average 15 units each semester in order to graduate in four years, there are better opportunities to take a heavier unit load than during the first semester. (Students need a minimum of 120 units to graduate. 8 x 15 = 120)

During their first semester, students face many adjustments. Professors expect more in-depth work and classes are taught at a much faster pace than high school classes. There are also social and personal adjustments. Because of this, we encourage students to take a schedule closer to the 13-unit minimum.


There are several reasons that can justify a student being enrolled for less than 13 units.

Disabled Students Program

Students with a documented and verifiable disability may be eligible for an academic accommodation that allows them to enroll in less than 13 units. If you think you might qualify, contact the Disabled Students Program (DSP). They can be reached as follows:
TTY/TDD: 510-642-6376;
230 Cesar Chavez Student Center

Students who receive a reduced-unit load accommodation must submit a copy of the DSP Reduced Course Load letter to the Office of Instruction and Student Affairs in 260 Mulford each semester.

CNR Approval for a Reduced Unit Load

Students who are working at least 10 hours per week for a paid job may apply to the CNR Office of Instruction and Student Affairs for a reduced unit load. The number of hours a student works determines the required minimum units. Talk to the Office of Instruction and Student Affairs for more information.

Students who have extenuating personal situations can also petition the Office of Instruction and Student Affairs for permission to enroll in less than 13 units.

Please note that students who are granted permission by CNR to enroll in less than 13 units are not considered full-time students by the university. Students who need to be full-time students for insurance purposes, financial aid, scholarships, or other reasons should be mindful of this policy.

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Environmental Sciences
260 Mulford Hall
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-3100
phnoe: 510-643-9479
fax: 510-643-3132

e-mail: es-help@nature.berkeley.edu

Modification Date: 07/25/2005