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UC Berkeley


Information for Transfer Students

Fall 2023 and Fall 2024 ISF Transfer Admits

This page is only applicable for UC Berkeley transfer students who were admitted directly into the ISF major in Fall 2023 and Fall 2024. If you were/are admitted to UC Berkeley in and between those terms as a different major, please follow the standard application process to declare the ISF major.

Transfer students admitted directly to the ISF major should have their lower division prerequisite courses completed prior to their first semester at Berkeley. Please cross-reference the list of Disciplines and World Regions courses and your previous coursework for similar or identical course titles, if the courses are not articulated as direct equivalent to UC Berkeley courses.

Golden Bear Advising/before the first semester

Golden Bear Advising (GBA) is a mandatory academic advising module for incoming Berkeley students. Newly-admitted ISF transfer students will be able to access important advising information and details about upcoming information sessions that will take place prior to Fall enrollment. Information sessions will cover the structure of the major, advising services, major requirements, course suggestions for the Fall, and more. Given the amount of information that will be covered through GBA and the information sessions, please refrain from scheduling appointments with the academic advisor or faculty advisors until after you have completed GBA and have attended an information session. It is not required to meet with a faculty advisor before Fall semester begins.

During the first semester

Within their first semester, Direct-to-Admission transfer students (Fall 2023 and Fall 2024) should identify their own Research Program and Course of Study. A viable Research Program is more than a topic or theme: it consists of an interdisciplinary inquiry that requires engagement with both theoretical scholarship and empirical studies. To understand the qualities of breadth, interdisciplinarity and social significance that a Research Program should have, students are advised to consult the ISF-defined Research Fields, review the additional qualities of a viable Research Program, and to meet with a faculty adviser before submitting their proposal in the Fall.

A student’s Research Program consists of a proposed Course of Study (at least six courses in three departments or disciplines totaling 20 units, with no more than three courses from any one discipline) and a tentative topic of a Senior Thesis. The Senior Thesis is not a summary of the Research Field but an attempt to contribute new knowledge on a focused question, using primary sources when possible, within a Research Field.

Students are not assigned an ISF faculty advisor; they are welcome to choose or consult with a faculty advisor whose research interests align with their own. Please refer to the FAQ section of the ISF website for clarification on when to meet with a faculty advisor vs. the Student Academic Advisor, Michelle. Faculty advisors’ office hours for the Fall will be updated closer to the start of the semester. Students can visit their open office hours or schedule an appointment with a faculty advisor to discuss their research interests and potential questions they want to address within ISF.

Course of Study Proposal

Once students have chosen a Research Field and have discussed this with a faculty advisor, they should submit a Course of Study Proposal in their first semester before their enrollment appointment for the following Spring. Students will have the first half of the semester to meet with an ISF faculty advisor to discuss their research interests, possible coursework, and potential thesis questions. Students do not need to solidify their specific thesis topic before or during their first semester.

An enrollment hold will be placed on CalCentral for all incoming ISF transfer students, and this will be lifted upon submission and approval of a Course of Study Proposal. The purpose of this is to outline the classes you plan to take to satisfy the six Course of Study class requirements, to make sure they are supportive of the larger Research Field context, and of the student’s eventual Senior Thesis, and to ensure you are making appropriate progress in the major requirements. There will be a deadline for this proposal, provided at a later date to incoming ISF transfer students.

Students’ APRs (Academic Progress Reports) will be updated by the end of each semester with any classes they have enrolled in from their proposal as well. This plan is not permanent; ISF advisors understand that research interests may change slightly over time, that classes may not be offered in the semester they are planned for, and that new classes may be of interest to students. In the event that students need to make changes to their proposed plan, they should confirm their updated class selection(s) with their faculty advisor.