Is Berkeley Connect a course?

In order to participate in the Berkeley Connect program, you enroll in a one-credit (Pass/Not Pass) course offered within a participating department. However, the course includes no homework, no exams, and no papers. To pass the course you need only attend and participate in all Berkeley Connect activities (small-group meetings, one-on-one advising sessions, and special events) and complete the required exit survey.

Can I participate in Berkeley Connect in any department on campus?

Berkeley Connect currently is offered in 15 departments: African American Studies: Architecture; Comparative Literature; Computational Biology; English; Environmental Science, Policy, and Management; Ethnic Studies; History; Integrative Biology; Math; Music; Philosophy; Physics; Social Welfare; and Sociology. You are welcome to participate through whichever department is most closely aligned with your academic interests.

I have not yet declared a major. Can I still participate in Berkeley Connect?

Yes! We welcome all students: first-year students, sophomores, juniors, junior transfers, and seniors. If you are interested in a particular major but haven’t yet declared it, feel free to sign up for Berkeley Connect — it’s a great way to learn more about a field of study.

If I have declared or am intending to declare a minor, can I participate in Berkeley Connect through that department?

Yes! Berkeley Connect is an excellent way to deepen your involvement in any of your areas of academic interest.

Berkeley Connect is not being offered in my department — is there still a way for me to participate?

Yes. Berkeley Connect is designed to deepen your engagement with an academic discipline and the faculty, alumni, and other students in it. If you have an academic interest in a field of study, you are welcome to join the Berkeley Connect program in that department. Students often ask, “When is Berkeley Connect coming to my department?” We are fundraising so that we can expand in the future, but in the meantime, you are not required to be a major in one of the participating departments in order to take part. Many students take Berkeley Connect outside their home departments, or use Berkeley Connect as a way to explore possible majors, double majors, or minors. For help on choosing a Berkeley Connect program, see Berkeley Connect: Finding the Right Program.

What are the benefits of participating in Berkeley Connect as a first-year student or sophomore?

UC Berkeley is a large university, and many lower-division courses are delivered as large lectures. Sometimes new students can feel lost in the crowd. Often they find it hard to forge connections with other students who share their academic interests, or they can feel like their professors are distant, unapproachable figures. Berkeley Connect offers you the opportunity to be mentored in your college experience by a seasoned graduate student; to meet like-minded students; to interact informally with professors; and to explore some of the resources the university has to offer.

What are the benefits of participating in Berkeley Connect as a junior transfer?

Berkeley Connect offers a great way for junior transfers to hit the ground running. Berkeley Connect mentors can help ease the transition from a two-year college to a four-year university by familiarizing you with the university environment and expectations. You’ll learn how to get the most out of your interactions with your professors, and how to take advantage of all the resources available to you on campus. Participating in Berkeley Connect will also help you meet other junior transfers, providing you with a network of peers who share similar experiences.

What are the benefits of participating in Berkeley Connect as a junior or senior?

As students enter the final years of their undergraduate education, their thoughts turn increasingly to “life after college.” Berkeley Connect offers you the opportunity to be mentored in your academic and career plans by an experienced graduate student in your major; to be part of a small group of students who are grappling with similar questions and challenges; and to forge relationships with professors and alums who can be helpful to you now and in the future. Panel discussions on career options and on applying to graduate school are often included in the Berkeley Connect curriculum.

Are there any qualifications I must have in order to participate in Berkeley Connect? Any prerequisites?

As long as you are a currently registered Berkeley undergraduate, you are eligible to participate in Berkeley Connect.

If I enroll in Berkeley Connect, what will I be doing during the semester?

Berkeley Connect consists of four kinds of activities:

One-on-one advising: at least twice during the semester — and several more times, if you choose — you will have one-on-one meetings with your mentor to talk about your experience at Berkeley, the courses you would like to take, how to plan a coherent path through the major, and any other academic questions you might have.

Small-group meetings: you will be part of a small group (up to 20 students) that meets every other week with your mentor to discuss topics organized around a particular academic discipline.

Special events: during the weeks in which your small group does not meet, Berkeley Connect will schedule various events, such as informal talks by professors, and a career panel in which alumni from the major talk about the different careers they pursued.

Field trips: once or twice during the semester, you will have the opportunity to visit campus resources, often for a guided tour. These might include the Berkeley Art Museum, the Bancroft Library, or the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

I’ve heard that Berkeley Connect is a “mentoring program.” What does this mean?

When you join Berkeley Connect, you will be assigned to a mentor, an advanced graduate student (or recent PhD recipient) with extensive experience working with Berkeley students. Your mentor meets with you one-on-one to talk about your experience in the major, course selection, and any other academic concerns or questions you might have, and facilitates discussion at your small-group meetings.

Can I sign up for Berkeley Connect for more than one semester?

Yes. We welcome returning students! Some students choose to participate in Berkeley Connect for a full year.

Can I sign up for Berkeley Connect through more than one department?

Yes! Many students use Berkeley Connect as a way to explore several different academic disciplines. You can take Berkeley Connect through different departments in different semesters; you can also take Berkeley Connect in two (but not more than two) different departments in the same semester.

Is there a maximum number of Berkeley Connect sections in which I can enroll?

Yes. You may enroll in Berkeley Connect in up to two different departments in the same semester, but not more than two. You cannot enroll in two sections of Berkeley Connect in the same department in the same semester. There is no maximum number of semesters in which you can enroll in Berkeley Connect, but you should consult with your college or major advisor about how or if the credits will count towards your graduation requirements.

I would like to hear what students who have participated in the program have to say; can I do that?

Yes. Please check out the comments from students and mentors on our Videos page.

How do I sign up for Berkeley Connect?

Each participating department offers Berkeley Connect as 98BC and 198BC. For example, if you are joining Berkeley Connect in the English Department, you would enroll in a section of English 98BC (lower division) or English 198BC (upper division). Each section is designated as primarily for freshmen and sophomores, or juniors and seniors. You may enroll in any section that meets your scheduling and credit requirements.

What if the only time I’m available is for a group aimed at juniors and seniors, but I’m a first-year? Or vice versa?

The most important thing is for you to join a Berkeley Connect group. You can join a group of students whose status is different from yours if necessary. We have found that students benefit most from being in groups with other students at a similar point during their college careers, but we’ve also had many students join other groups very successfully. You’ll still have a great experience, no matter what group you join!

I still have questions: is there someone I can talk to?

If you have not found the answers to your questions here, please feel free to either contact the central Berkeley Connect office at berkeleyconnect@berkeley.edu or (510)664-4182, or the faculty director of the Berkeley Connect program in the department that interests you.