Majoring in Mathematics

First Upper-Division Math Courses

It should be emphasized that the character of mathematics changes sharply between lower and upper-division courses. The role of computation diminishes and there is a greater emphasis on deductive reasoning. While some students find the theoretical approach more congenial, most find upper-division courses more difficult. Because of this, it is strongly recommended that only students who earned grades of B- or better in all of Math 53, Math 54, and Math 55 apply to the major programs in Mathematics or Applied Mathematics.

Additionally, the advising staff recommend Mathematics 110 as your first upper-division class. Students are more successful in making the transition with this course. Math 104 is a particularly demanding class and should be taken later in your program. Be aware that top students spend 12 to 15 hours per class beyond the lectures and sections, so plan your course load accordingly.

Eligibility to Declare the Major

You are eligible to declare the major in Mathematics or Applied Mathematics if you have met ALL of the following criteria:
1) Completion of Math 1A & Math 1B (or equivalent) with averages grades of at least "C". For our policy on Advanced Placement scores, please see the following link.
2) Completion of Math 53, Math 54, and Math 55 (or equivalent) with minimum grades of "C" in each, or completion of two of those three courses (with minimum grades of "C" in each) and currently enrolled in the third.  If declaring while currently enrolled in the final lower-division requirement, that course will need to be completed with a letter grade of at least "C". Please note that we will accept Computer Science 70 in lieu of Math 55 if you have a double-major in Computer Science or Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
3) Have a grade point average of at least 2.0 from any upper-divison major courses completed at the time of declaration.
Any alterations to the above requirements must be authorized (in writing) by the Head Major Advisor, upon referral from an Undergraduate Adviser in 964 or 965 Evans Hall.

Major Declaration Procedures

1) Fill out the Math Department application form (available outside 964 Evans)
2) Download and fill out ONE of the following:   The Petition to Declare a Major form (for students declaring a Single Major), the Double Major packet (for students declaring two majors within the College of Letters & Science), the Simultaneous Degrees packet (for students declaring Math or Applied Math as well as a major in another College), or the Change of L&S Major form (for students changing to Math or Applied Math from another major within the College of Letters & Science.
3) Print a copy of your Bearfacts transcript showing your completed Math courses.  If you completed any math requirements at another institution we will need a copy of that transcript as well. 
4) Bring all of the above items to the Undergraduate Adviser in 964 or 965 Evans Hall.

Honors Program

In addition to completing the requirements for the major in mathematics or applied mathematics, students in the honors program must: (a) earn a GPA of at least 3.5 in upper division and graduate courses in the major and at least 3.3 in all courses taken at the University; (b) complete either Math 196, in which they will write a senior honors thesis, or pass two graduate mathematics courses with a grade of at least A-; (c) receive the recommendation of the Head Major Adviser. Students interested in the honors program should consult with an adviser early in their program, preferably by their junior year.


The Undergraduate Adviser provides information on requirements, policies, procedures, resources, opportunities, untying bureacratic knots, developing study plans, attending commencement, certifying degrees and minors. The student is strongly encouraged to see the Undergraduate Adviser as soon as problems arise.

The individually assigned Faculty Adviser counsels students on the academic content of their mathematics major. The Faculty Adviser's signature is required on program forms (a) when a student first declares the major; and (b) confirming approval of courses that are not already pre-approved to be used for the major electives. Appropriate questions for the faculty adviser include selection of electives and preparation for graduate-level courses in a specific mathematical area to be used for Honors in the major. Be sure and let him/her know if you are considering graduate work in or related to mathematics, and solicit help in how best to prepare.

Occasionally, the student's adviser goes on sabbatical or is taken off the major advising list and a new official adviser will be appointed by the Head Major Adviser. Requests to change advisers will be accommodated to the extent possible on an individual basis. Please make requests well in advance of the Tele-BEARS period in which the change is to become effective.

Tele-BEARS and Adviser Codes

Adviser Codes are required for enrollment in the next semester's courses during Tele-BEARS. Mathematics majors must consult with their Faculty Adviser when they first declare. In subsequent semesters, they may meet with the Staff Advisers. Meeting the Faculty or Staff Advisers should take place prior to the beginning of the Tele-BEARS period to ensure obtaining the Adviser Code in a timely manner. Before meeting with the Adviser, the student should plan a tentative program for the coming semester, and have an overall plan for completing the major. Tele-BEARS packets consisting of a Course Approval Form (green) and a Major Checklist (white) which shows your completed courses and grades will be available in the Main Office (970 Evans) two weeks prior to the start of Tele-BEARS. Faculty Advisers hold regular office hours during the academic year. These hours are posted on the bulletin board across from 965 Evans. It is best to allow time for more than one meeting in case decisions depend on information not available at the first visit.

When the Adviser and the student have agreed on a program of study, the Adviser will sign the Course Approval Form (green). Approved alternatives and electives should be indicated on the bottom of the program form and initialed by the Adviser. Adviser Codes are released by the Staff Advisers in 964 and 965 Evans Hall. Adviser Codes are not given over the phone.

Admitted transfer students should attend CalSO orientation programs during the semester preceding their first semester at Cal. Returning students should see their faculty adviser or the Undergraduate Adviser during the semester prior to their readmitted term.

Although students are formally required to see their Faculty Advisers only when they first declare the major, they are strongly encouraged to consult with them, or seek the advice of any faculty member, at any time. If the Adviser's office hours conflict with the student's classes, the student should schedule an appointment with via email.

Credit by Examination

Outstanding lower-division students may choose to fulfill one or more of the lower-division requirements via credit-by-exam. Although the University awards only P/NP grades for credit-by-exam, a department record of the letter grade plus approval by the Head Major Adviser make credit-by-exam acceptable for entry into the major. Head Major Adviser approval is required if upper-division courses are taken via credit-by-exam. The Credit by Examination Petition is available through the following link on the Office of the Registrar website. In order to file the petition, the student must acquire the approval of: (a) an instructor willing to administer the examination, and (b) the Major Adviser, (only if already declared).  The list of eligibility criteria for Credit by Examination can be found on page two of the petition. (Note that you must be registered in the term in which the examination is to be taken, so Credit by Exam is not an option for the Summer preceeding your first term at Berkeley, unless you are a registered student for that Summer.)

Course Equivalency

Equivalency of courses taken at other colleges and universities should be determined early in the application process. Articulation agreements with the California Community Colleges define specific course equivalencies and can be confirmed by an Undergraduate Adviser in 964 or 965 Evans. Other coursework will be individually evaluated by a Non-Major Faculty Adviser prior to the student declaring the major or minor. Students must take their transcripts, syllabus, textbook, samples of work, and the Math Equivalency Form to the Non-Major Faculty Adviser's office hours. (Forms are available outside of 964 Evans.) Once the equivalency form is signed, the student submits that form along with his or her major/minor application to the Undergraduate Adviser.

Program Changes

Students can add or drop courses via TeleBEARS through the end of the FIFTH week of classes. Grading option changes from letter grade to Pass/No Pass or from Pass/No Pass to letter grade can be done via TeleBEARS through the TENTH week of classes. Any student with fewer than 13 units needs permission from L&S Undergraduate Advising, located on the 2nd floor of Evans Hall, for a reduced study load.

Minimum and Maximum Limits of Number of Mathematics Courses Taken

Majors must take a minimum of four upper-division courses to establish residency in either of the math majors.

The only limitation on the maximum number of upper-division and graduate mathematics courses a major may take is a College of Letters and Science regulation which states that students cannot register beyond the semester in which s/he surpasses their 130th unit. Advance planning can result in hitting 130 units and having an additional semester available, should you need it. An Undergraduate Adviser in 964 or 965 Evans can assist you.

Passed/Not Passed Grading (P/NP)

Courses taken to fulfill major requirements must be taken for a letter grade. The one exception is four units of Mathematics 199 (offered pass/not pass only) which may be used if approved by one's Faculty Adviser. Mathematics 199 cannot be used to study material covered in standard courses. To be eligible for enrollment, a student must have completed 60 units and have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0. Additional regulations concerning 199 courses are outlined in the College of Letter and Science Earning Your Degree Guide. Staff in 970 Evans can assist students with the enrollment procedure.

Probation and Dismissal

A mathematics major whose cumulative grade-point average in the upper-division major taken at Berkeley falls below 2.0 will be placed on departmental probation. The departmental grade-point average computation includes both required courses in the major and approved electives. Any additional upper-division or graduate mathematics courses which are not used to satisfy major requirements are exempted. Students are expected to check their grades at the end of each semester. A student on probation will be subject to dismissal from the major if the grade-point average is not brought up to 2.0 within the following term. Questions concerning probation and dismissal may be directed to an Undergraduate Adviser in 964 or 965 Evans or the College of Letters and Science Advising, 206 Evans Hall.

Additional Academic Assistance

The Undergraduate Program Office, 970 Evans Hall, maintains a list of tutors for students seeking assistance. There are tutors listed for mathematics courses at all levels, from the most basic, precalculus courses, through upper-division, and even including basic graduate level courses. Students make arrangements with tutors on an individual basis.

The Student Learning Center, located in the Cesar Chavez Center, offers group and drop-in tutoring for the basic lower division classes: Mathematics 1A-1B, and 53-54. Call (510) 642-7332 for scheduling and other information. There are also Academic Centers located at the dorms that provide drop-in tutoring during the evenings.