College of Natural Resources Undergraduate Handbook

The College of Natural Resources (CNR) Undergraduate Handbook serves as a guide to the academic policies and information that students need in order to be successful while completing their coursework at Berkeley.


1. The College of Natural Resources
Your Small College Home

College of Natural Resources (CNR) has five departments offering 9 majors and is one of the 14 colleges and schools at the University of California, Berkeley. We strive to be a place where students can readily access advising services and receive support from CNR staff and faculty. 

When you declare a major, you work with the academic advisor and faculty advisors for the major to plan your schedule and program. They are dedicated professionals who have had a lot of experience helping students plan their courses, and even their careers. However, it is ultimately your responsibility to make sure you satisfy the requirements for your major to earn your degree.

If you have not declared a major, you will meet with an undeclared advisor who will guide you on course planning while you explore majors. Be aware of the requirements you must fulfill while you remain undeclared, and how to take care of them. You should also visit the undergraduate advisor of any major you are interested in to find out more information, and to talk over your options. You are expected to meet with your academic advisor at least once each semester for advice in planning your academic program.

Like all the colleges and schools at UC Berkeley, CNR has specific requirements for students in the College. You must satisfy college requirements in addition to your major requirements. To graduate, you must also satisfy university requirements. These are set by the University of California and cannot be changed by CNR.

Academic Integrity and Dishonesty

Cheating, plagiarism, copying all or part of another person’s work, using reference materials not specifically allowed, and other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. A student guilty of academic dishonesty may be assigned an F grade or a zero grade to the subject work, may be assigned an F grade in the course and may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. Students are encouraged to learn more about the UC Berkeley Honor Code and carefully review the campus guide to understanding plagiarism and the Code of Conduct. If you ever have a question on whether something is allowable, check with the faculty or GSI for the course.

NOTE: Courses for which academic dishonesty has been verified by established campus procedures may not be dropped from the record. Grades for such courses will be reinstated to the record when dishonesty is verified.

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2. Advising Services

The Office of Instruction and Student Affairs (OISA) is the center for all academic-related matters in the College. Professional academic advisors partner with students to identify campus and community resources to support student success. Services offered by advisors range from major exploration, short-term and long-term program planning to enrichment opportunities, career exploration and personal goals and discovery. Students are highly encouraged to actively engage with their academic advisors as they are experts in College and major requirements and policies. Advisors are dedicated to meeting the needs of the students and respect each student as a unique individual. Advisors also connect students to faculty to make the most of their undergraduate experience. All CNR students are assigned advisors based on their majors.

Although advisors are available to assist students in navigating the campus, it is the student’s responsibility to understand and comply with all policies, and to complete satisfactorily all degree requirements within the allotted time frame. This includes the responsibility to track completion of major, University and Berkeley campus requirements, as well as to comply with residence, minimum progress, and scholarship requirements. Students are expected to utilize the Berkeley Academic Guide and CNR Undergraduate Handbook to become familiar with policies and requirements and partner with OISA to ensure academic success.

Undergraduate advisors have a special role on campus — they serve as a link between faculty and students, and between students and campus. Advisors are your “tour guides” to student services and academic information across campus, and they have access to the resources you may need as a student. If problems arise, they are trained to assist you in understanding your options and campus policy. You may contact your advisor with any questions, while respecting your privacy and concerns in confidence.

Faculty Advisors

Faculty advisors are CNR faculty assigned to advise students about a particular major of field to discuss about the majors, courses, research, and other academic issues. Students are often assigned a faculty advisor when they declare a major depending on departmental requirements. Students should see their faculty advisors in order to receive guidance toward achieving academic and career goals, ask questions about the content of courses and research in their respective field, and discuss interest in graduate school. Faculty advisors are not aware of all college policy and campus requirements so you should rely on your major advisor for this sort of advising.

Peer Advising Leadership (PAL) Program

The support of peer advisors is integral to the success of their fellow CNR undergraduates. Peer advisors are trained in understanding CNR and university requirements, policies, and procedures, and they help with CNR recruitment and enrichment programs. They work at information tables in the residence halls, participate in Cal Day and Golden Bear Orientation, and they assist CNR student affairs staff with various other outreach programs. They also design and manage their own college-wide advising projects. Most importantly, they introduce their fellow students to a wide variety of campus services and resources.Students in the PAL Program are CNR students who have completed 30 or more units and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. For more information visit their page.

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3. Degree Requirements
University, Campus, and College

All students must satisfy university and college requirements in addition to their major requirements. It is a student's responsibility to plan their coursework and ensure that these requirements are met; however, our advising staff is available to review these requirements at any time and support students in their planning. Learn more about how to complete all of your Degree Requirements here.

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4. Student Status
Class Standing, Part-Time/Full-Time Status, Reduced Course Load, Cancelling Registration, Withdrawing, Honors, Academic Probation, and Dismissal

This section covers key events associated with your status as a student and possible changes in your status, such as reduced study lists, withdrawal, and readmission. You’ll find answers to questions about honors, academic probation, and dismissal as well. Find out more about these and other key pieces of information here.

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5. Courses and Grades
Grading Options, Incompletes, Repeating Coursework, Concurrent Enrollment, AP/IB Test Credit, and Transferring Coursework

Students may decide to change a grading option for a course, receive an "incomplete" for a course, or even repeat a course during their time at Berkeley. It's important that students review their options and the related policies carefully so that they can best plan their coursework. Students may decide to transfer in coursework from other institutions or receive credit for certain scores on AP and IB tests. For more information about courses and grades, review CNR's policies here.

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6. Majoring and Minoring in CNR
Changing Majors and Simultaneous Degrees & Double Majors

CNR has developed multidisciplinary programs that encompass the natural and social sciences, with a strong commitment to undergraduate teaching. Our 10 undergraduate programs provide a foundation ranging in fields that prepare students for graduate and professional programs in biological sciences, health professions, environmental fields, policy, law, business, and economics. CNR also includes programs designed for students with interests in specific professions, such as forestry and nutrition/dietetics. Most are integrative programs that emphasize flexible, interdisciplinary approaches. Majors include:

Biological Sciences

Ecosystem Management and Interdisciplinary Studies

Social Sciences

CNR also offers several unique minor options that students across campus can select. Minors include:

Declaring a Major for CNR Students

You are encouraged to review the minimum requirements needed to declare a major in CNR. Students are also expected to follow these guidelines:

  • Students who came in as freshmen are expected to graduate in eight semesters. Transfer students are expected to graduate in four semesters. Students completing more than one major are automatically granted one additional semester. Students who study abroad through the UC Education Abroad Program during the academic year may petition for an additional semester if unable to complete their major requirements within the eight semester policy for freshman admits and the four semester policy for transfer admits. Students are not granted additional time to complete a minor.
  • All major requirements must be taken for a letter grade.
  • Both halves of Reading and Composition requirement must be completed by the end of the 4th 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 4 semesters at Berkeley. Transfer students cannot apply to transfer colleges or change majors during their first semester.

Once all requirements have been satisfied, you must complete the “Change of College, Major, or Curriculum” petition and meet with the appropriate major advisor. The petition is available online and at the Office of Instruction and Student Affairs.

Changing Majors for CNR Students

You can change majors by obtaining approval from your new undergraduate major advisor and the Office of Instruction and Student Affairs. Should you decide to declare a major in a college other than CNR, 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 should be 2.0 or higher, and you are taking courses that will enable you to complete a major in the College of Natural Resources within the normal time frame.

Changing Majors for Non-CNR Students

You are encouraged to review the PDF iconminimum requirements needed to declare a major for Non-CNR studentsbefore meeting with an advisor. Students are also expected to follow these guidelines:

  • Completion of at least one semester at UC Berkeley.
  • A GPA of at least 3.0 overall.
  • Ability to complete the degree within the semester limit (see above). (Participation in UC Berkeley Extension’s Fall Program for Freshmen is considered a Berkeley semester under CNR policy.)
  • Satisfactory academic progress during the semesters of enrollment (e.g. completion of Entry Level Writing; Reading and Composition).
  • Submitted and signed Change of College petition and signed Program Plan (by both the student and new major advisor)
  • Students may not submit a Change of College petition during their last semester before graduation (i.e. if a student plans to graduate in Spring 17, they must submit and have approved their Change of College petition no later than Fall 16. Students that take a reduced study list might need to submit paperwork sooner in order to meet Senior Residency). Once all requirements have been satisfied, you must complete the “Change of College, Major, or Curriculum” petition, print a copy of your unofficial transcripts, and meet with the appropriate major advisor. The petition is available at the Office of Instruction and Student Affairs, and online.

Simultaneous Degrees and Double Majors

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

In order to declare Simultaneous Degrees, you need to abide by the following:

  • Completion of at least one semester at UC Berkeley.
  • Students whose home college is not CNR, 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 towards the requirements of both majors.
  • Students may not submit a Simultaneous Degree petition during their last semester before graduation (i.e. if a student plans to graduate in Spring 17, they must submit and have approved their Change of College petition no later than Fall 16. Students that take a reduced study list might need to submit paperwork sooner in order to meet Senior Residency).
  • Your simultaneous degrees request will be approved only if your proposed program demonstrates that you will be able to finish all degree requirements within nine semesters if you entered as a freshman, or five semesters if you entered as a transfer student.

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7. Planning Your Freshman Year

For a list of sample four-year plans by major please see the four year plans page. Additionally, if you have not declared your major in the College of Natural Resources, but have a potential major in mind, you may refer to the recommended courses listed below to help you plan your first year at UC Berkeley. Remember, all undergraduates must enroll in a minimum of 13 units per semester. Check guide.berkeley.edu for course descriptions and find out when courses are offered.

Conservation & Resource Studies (CRS) or Society and Environment (S&E)

  • Courses strongly recommended:
    • Math 32*, Math 16A, or Stats 2 (*if needed, in preparation for Math 16A)
    • Reading & Composition R1A or R1B
    • ESPM C11, ESPM C12, ESPM 50AC or ESPM 60
    • ESPM 2, ESPM 6 ESPM C10, or ESPM 15
    • Freshman seminar: ESPM 24 or 39 courses, or Natural Resources 24 or 39 courses
    Other courses to consider:
    • American Cultures (AC)
    • Elective of interest in preparation toward the Area of Interest for CRS or Area of Concentration for S&E
    • Elective: any course numbered 99 or less if you meet the course prerequisites

Environmental Economics & Policy (EEP)

  • Courses strongly recommended:
    • EEP C1/Econ C3 (after having taken first semester of Calculus)
    • Math 32*, Math 16A, or Math 1A (*if needed, in preparation for Math 16A or Math 1A)
    • Math 16B or Math 1B (after completion of Math 16A or 1A)
    • Reading & Composition R1A or R1B
    • Freshman seminar: EEP 39A, or Natural Resources 24 or 39 courses
    Other courses to consider:
    • American Cultures (AC): ESPM 50AC recommended, or any AC course numbered 99 or less
    • Elective: any course numbered 99 or less if you meet the course prerequisites.

Environmental Sciences (ES)

  • Courses strongly recommended:
    • Math 32*, Math 16A, or Math 1A (*if needed, in preparation for Math 16A or Math 1A)
    • Chem 1A/1AL (or Chem P if needed in preparation for Chem 1A); Chem 3A/3AL or 1A/1AL (spring semester)
    • Reading & Composition R1A or R1B
    • Freshman seminar: Natural Resources 24 or 39 courses
    Other courses to consider:
    • ESPM 2, ESPM 6 ESPM C10, or ESPM 15
    • Elective: any course numbered 99 or less if you meet the course prerequisites

Forestry & Natural Resources (FNR)

  • Courses strongly recommended:
    • Math 32*, Math 16A, or Stats 2 (*if needed, in preparation for Math 16A)
    • Reading & Composition R1A or R1B
    • ESPM C11
    • Physical Science: Geog 1 or 40, EPS 50, or Chem 1A/1AL (or Chem P if needed in preparation for Chem 1A)
    • Freshman seminar: ESPM 24 or 39 courses, or Natural Resources 24 or 39 courses
    Other courses to consider:
    • American Cultures (AC): ESPM 50AC recommended or any AC course numbered 99 or less
    • Elective: ESPM 2, 6, C10, C12, 15, 60, or any course numbered 99 or less if you meet the course prerequisites.

Genetics & Plant Biology (GPB) / Microbial Biology (MB)

  • Courses strongly recommended:
    • Math 32* or Math 10A (*if needed in preparation for Math 10A[NLM2] )
    • Chem 1A/1AL (or Chem P if needed in preparation for Chem 1A);
    • Reading & Composition R1A or R1B
    • PMB 22 for MB Majors[NLM3]
    • Freshman seminar: PMB 24 or 39 courses, or Natural Resources 24 or 39 courses
    Other courses to consider:
    • American Cultures (AC): any AC course numbered 99 or less
    • Elective: any course numbered 99 or less if you meet the course prerequisites

Molecular Environmental Biology (MEB)

  • Courses strongly recommended:
    • Math 32* or Math 16A (*if needed in preparation for Math 16A)
    • Math 16B (after completion of Math 16A)
    • Chem 1A/1AL (or Chem P if needed in preparation for Chem1A[NLM4] );
    • Reading & Composition R1A or R1B
    • Freshman seminar: ESPM 24 or 39 courses, or Natural Resources 24 or 39 courses
    Other courses to consider:
    • American Cultures (AC): ESPM 50AC recommended, or any AC course numbered 99 or less
    • Elective: ESPM 2, 6, C10, C11, C12, 15, 60, or any course numbered 99 or less if you meet the course prerequisites.

Nutritional Sciences (NS)

  • Courses strongly recommended for Physiology & Metabolism specialization, Dietetics specialization, and Toxicology specialization[NLM5] :
    • Math 32*, Math 16A & Math 16B, (*if needed in preparation for Math 16A)
    • Reading & Composition R1A or R1B
    • Chem 1A/1AL (or Chem P if needed in preparation for Chem1A[NLM6] );
    • NST 10 (Physiology & Metabolism and Dietetics specializations) or NST 11 (Toxicology specialization, offered spring only)
    • Freshman seminar: NST 24 courses, or Natural Resources 24 or 39 courses
    Other courses to consider for any NS specialization:
    • American Cultures (AC): any AC course numbered 99 or less
    • Elective: any course numbered 99 or less if you meet the course prerequisites

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8. Enrollment
and Add/Drop Deadlines

CalCentral

CalCentral is UC Berkeley’s course enrollment system, which students access online. It runs in “real time,” meaning you will always have the most up-todate information on your course list whenever you access it. To enroll in courses each semester as a CNR undergraduate, you will need to fill out your Registration form and meet with your advisor to get a signature and remove your advisor hold.

Advisor Holds

An advisor hold is a block that gets activated on your CalCentral prior to registering for the next Fall or Spring semester. 

To get your advisor hold released, you will be contacted each semester on how to schedule an appointment to meet with your advisor. As soon as you receive this message you should make an appointment and avoid cancellations. This will ensure that all students will get their advisor holds released prior to their Phase I appointment time. In order to remove yoru advisor hold, you must first fill out a Registration form. Only lecture/primary sections need to be put on the form. Include laboratory and discussion sections only if you earn additional units for them. 

If you have a legitimate reason for not being able to meet with an advisor in person (e.g., you are in a study abroad program), please contact your major advisor for further instructions. It would be helpful if you attach your completed Registration Form to the email so that the advisor can review your plan. 

CalCentral

CalCentral is a system that provides information regarding your registration, grades, financial aid, billing, class schedule, and more. You also use CalCentral to update your mailing or email addresses and phone numbers, order transcripts, and complete/submit a “Statement of Legal Residence.” 

Adding/Dropping Courses and Grading Options

You may add and drop courses from your schedule until the Friday of the 5th week of classes, and you have until the Friday of the 10th week of classes to change the grading option. There are fees associated with adding and dropping classes - please be aware that the earlier you make changes to your schedule, the less expensive it will be!

It is your responsibility to make and monitor your schedule. Exceptions to these deadlines are rarely made and any petitions for late adds or drops must be accompanied by proof of the reason stated (e.g., if there has been a medical emergency with you or a relative, we would need to receive appropriate documentation).

Be sure to check CalCentral frequently to verify your current semester enrollment. Your schedule may change as a result of instructors automatically adding you from the wait list or dropping you from a course without notifying you of the change. Do not assume that you will be automatically dropped from a class for non-attendance or added because the instructor has said so.

If you wish to add or drop a class after the Friday of the 5th week of classes or change your current semester's grading option after the 10th week, you will need to submit a petition in order to request a consideration for an exception. For instructions, please contact your major advisor. 

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9. Enrichment Opportunities:
Getting Involved on Campus, and Other Resources

CNR’s personalized student services program sets us apart from other colleges and academic units on campus. Thanks to our generous and active alumni base and our student-centered credo, CNR’s undergraduates benefit from a variety of special services. In addition, the Office of Instruction and Student Affairs makes services and information available that are relevant to the interests of CNR students. Learn more about your opportunities for getting involved here.

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