Undeclared at Rausser College

Interested in biology, but uncertain of what field to focus on?  Interested in environmental justice and environmental economics, but unclear which pathway to pursue? Would you like to build an interdisciplinary major that focuses on global issues, but looks at local impacts? For students passionate about environmental issues but undecided on a major, the Rausser College of Natural Resources does allow incoming freshman to be admitted as undeclared and explore major options in their first year. You can see an overview of all of our majors, sample plans, and major maps here!

Advising:  Students who are undeclared in Rausser College can connect with the RCNR Undeclared Advisor at undeclared.rcnr@berkeley.edu. Any student who has a major in mind that they would like to pursue can also meet with that specific major advisor to discuss their planning and declaration timeline. You can find major advisor appointment links and virtual drop-in schedules on this Advisor Availability Calendar. For RCNR Undeclared students who intend to declare a major outside of Rausser CNR, we encourage you to speak directly with your intended college and major advisors. For L&S Undeclared students or students in other colleges who wish to pursue a major in RCNR, you are encouraged to use the Advisor Availability Calendar to connect with your intended major advisor since you will need to be ready to declare your major when you change colleges (you cannot change into RCNR as an undeclared student). You can also direct questions to undeclared.rcnr@berkeley.edu and our RCNR Undeclared Advisor will help advise you accordingly.

If you are a freshman, you are not required to be in a major program during your first two years at Rausser. You must declare a major by the end of your fourth semester of enrollment at UC Berkeley. Failure to declare a major by your fifth semester in the college will result in a hold being placed on your account that will block registration for the coming terms. Students must at this point either declare a major or obtain at least two signed program plans for two different potential majors that are feasible to finish by the semester limit. If any of these majors are in colleges outside of Rausser, an intent to change college form must also be attached. This will be required each semester thereafter until a major is declared. Extra semesters will not be granted on the basis of a student being unable to finish a major due to late declaration.

Choosing Your Major

Explore our majors and minors to find out more about how you can be a part of our community. Wondering how your interests relate to the Rausser majors? Check out the Major Maps to see an overview of what students in each major study and what jobs/graduate programs they pursue after graduation! 

 If you're still trying to find your passion, UC Berkeley offers many services to help guide you. You can make a Career Center Advising Appointment, or utilize the Career Counseling Assessment and Library offered through University Health Services. Work with your major advisor, join student organizations, take a DeCal, or sign up for the freshman seminar "How to be a Rausser CNR Scientist".  

Your major should reflect your interests and your career goals. Both may change during your first years of college, and you need not feel locked into your initial choice of major. Many major programs have similar lower-division requirements, and changing majors within Rausser during the first two years generally creates no difficulties.
You can also make an appointment with any of our academic advisors to find out more about a particular major.

Declaring a Major for Rausser Students

Please study the minimum requirements needed to declare a major at Rausser. 

We've also developed a set of self-guided questions to help you navigate the Major Declaration process. Use your UC Berkeley Account to access the form. 

Students are also expected to follow these guidelines:

  • Undeclared students must declare a major by the end of their fourth semester. 
  • Current UC Berkeley students who entered as freshmen are expected to be able to graduate in a total of 8 semesters (summers excluded). Exceptions are rarely granted. Students should be progressing in major requirements each semester.
  • All major requirements must be taken for a letter grade.
  • Both halves of the Reading and Composition requirement must be completed by the end of the fourth semester.
  • Transfer students are declared into a major upon admission. Students wishing to change majors and/or colleges must meet with the major advisor for specific guidelines. Students must meet all lower-division requirements and be on track to graduate in a total of four semesters at Berkeley. Transfer students may not apply to transfer colleges or change majors during their first semester, but are strongly encouraged to consult their intended major advisor while planning their schedule for the first semester. 

Once all requirements have been satisfied, you must complete the Change of College, Major, or Curriculum petition (since you are changing your major from Undeclared to a specific Rausser College Major). After you have done that, meet with your intended major advisor to discuss your major requirements/coursework planning.   

Minimum Requirements Needed for Rausser Students to Declare a Major, by Major

  • All courses required for the major must be taken for a letter grade.
  • Both halves of Reading and Composition (R1A & R1B) must be completed by the end of the fourth semester.
  • Transfer students are declared into a major upon admission. Students wishing to change majors and/or colleges must meet with the major advisor for specific guidelines. Such requests are rarely granted, as students must meet all lower-division requirements and be on track to graduate in a total of four semesters at UC Berkeley. Students cannot apply to transfer or change major during their first semester. 

Change of College and Declaring a Major for Non-Rausser Students

Current UC Berkeley students interested in transferring to the Rausser College of Natural Resources from another college (Letters & Science, Engineering, Environmental Design, or Chemistry) may petition to do so if the change of college requirements are met. Rausser does not permit students to transfer in undeclared. Students must be eligible to declare a Rausser major to change colleges. 

Please study the minimum requirements for Declaring a Rausser Major for Non-Rausser students. 

We've also developed a set of self-guided questions to help you navigate the Change of College / Major Declaration process. Use your UC Berkeley Account to access the form. 

In addition, students must:

  • Have a minimum of 3.0 overall UC GPA. Students seeking an exception to the 3.0 GPA minimum should first consult with the Rausser major advisor. Exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis. Supporting evidence such as improved GPA in major coursework, changes to one's personal situation, and supporting information such as letters of recommendation from faculty, GSIs, and/or research mentors are all taken into consideration.
  • Have completed at least one semester at UC Berkeley.
  • Have satisfied the Reading & Composition (R1A and R1B) requirement.
  • Be able to complete the major within the semester limit. Students who entered as freshmen are expected to graduate in a total of 8 semesters (summers excluded). Participation in the Fall Program for First Semester (FPF) is considered a Berkeley semester under Rausser policy. Transfer students are expected to graduate in a total of 4 semesters (summers excluded). Exceptions to this policy are rarely granted.

Students pursuing a change of college should:

  • Review the requirements for their intended major. Requirements needed to declare will vary by major.
  • Meet with the advisor for the major they wish to declare. Please note that Rausser advisors are primarily meeting with declared students for registration advising during the months of April and October, and are typically unavailable to meet with students seeking to declare during this time.
  • Consider meeting with a peer advisor for a student's perspective on their intended major.

Once all requirements needed to declare have been satisfied, students must complete the Change of College, Major, or Curriculum petition and meet with their intended major advisor.  

Students may not submit a change of college petition during their last semester before graduation.  For example, a student graduating in Spring 2017 must submit their petition to change colleges no later than Fall 2016. Other declaration restrictions may apply by major.

Changing Majors

You can change majors by obtaining approval from your major advisor and from the Office of Instruction and Student Affairs. To change your major within Rausser CNR, follow the directions above for "Declaring a Major for Rausser Students".

Should you decide to declare a major in a college other than Rausser, visit the website for the other college or school to find out how to consult an advisor for that program. In all cases, it is important to maintain good academic standing, which means that your grade point average is 2.0 or higher and you are taking courses that will enable you to complete a major in the Rausser College of Natural Resources within the normal time frame.

Double Majoring and Simultaneous Degrees

Double majoring is when you pursue two majors at Rausser; obtaining simultaneous degrees is when you pursue one major at Rausser and one major in another UC Berkeley college or school. To declare either course of study, fill out a petition and obtain the appropriate signatures. Students pursuing a double major or simultaneous degree are granted one additional semester to complete all degree requirements.

To declare a double major, please complete and submit this form.

To declare simultaneous degrees, you must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Completion of at least one semester at UC Berkeley.
  • Students whose home college is not Rausser must meet all criteria for a Change of College (please note: students pursuing a simultaneous degree are allotted nine total semesters as incoming freshmen and five total semesters as incoming transfers).
  • Students must obtain all necessary signatures from undergraduate advisors for each major on the Program Planning form. In planning simultaneous degrees, you will need to adhere to all unit and residence requirements for each college or school.
  • No more than two upper-division courses count toward the requirements of both majors. If a student is pursuing three or more majors, with at least one major in the College of Letters & Science, the student is allowed to overlap two upper-division courses in total within their degree programs.
  • Students may not submit a Simultaneous Degree petition during their last semester before graduation (i.e., if a student plans to graduate in Spring 2014, he or she must submit and have approved a Change of College petition no later than Fall 2013). Students who take a reduced study list might need to submit paperwork sooner in order to meet the Senior Residency requirement.
  • A simultaneous degree request will be approved only if the proposed program demonstrates that all degree requirements can be finished within nine semesters if the student entered as a freshman, or five semesters if a transfer student.
  • To confirm the processing of simultaneous degrees, students can check CalCentral periodically after submitting their application. If there is a problem with the application, a notification will be made by email.

If you no longer wish to complete your Rausser College major, you must meet with the college of the major that you wish to retain to initiate dropping your Rausser College major.  They will submit the request to cancel your Rausser major.  Students who cancel their simultaneous degree and drop their major in Rausser College will not be eligible to re-declare the major at a later point in their academic career.  Therefore, students should seriously consider whether they wish to cancel their Rausser major before submitting a cancellation request. Students who have previously dropped one Rausser College major are, however, eligible to add a different major in RCNR later in their academic career and would work with the new major advisor to determine eligibility to declare.