UC Berkeley can be a great choice if you’re a high school student trying to decide what to study in college. With world-renowned professors and cutting-edge research opportunities, there is something for everyone at Cal.

But which majors are the most popular? Which ones are in the highest demand? In this blog post, we will take a look at the 11 most impacted majors at UC Berkeley.

University of California Berkeley (UCB)

The University of California at Berkeley is a world-renowned public research university located in Berkeley, California.

Founded in 1868, Cal is the flagship institution of the ten campuses that make up the University of California system. With an enrollment of over 45,000 students, Berkeley is one of the largest universities in the University of California (UC) system.

Berkeley has a reputation for being one of the most prestigious and selective universities in the world, and it is frequently ranked as one of the top public universities in the United States.

Because of its reputation, Berkeley receives a lot of applications – over 85,000 for the class of 2024! – which means that not everyone who applies will be admitted. In fact, only about 17% of applicants are offered admission to Berkeley.

So, what does it take to be admitted to UC Berkeley?

In addition to strong grades and test scores, UC Berkeley is looking for students who are interested in and committed to their academics and extracurricular activities. The admissions committee also looks at each applicant’s personal background and experiences to ensure a diverse and well-rounded student body.

Declaring a Major at UC Berkeley

Once you’re admitted to Berkeley, you’ll need to decide which major to declare. This can be daunting, with over 350 undergraduate majors and minors to choose from!

It can be difficult to understand the impacted majors at UC Berkeley. Still, this list provides the most current data in regards to the impacted majors at UC Berkeley as known in the Fall of 2021 cohort (data collection for impacted majors at UC Berkeley at that time).

To help narrow down your options, we’ve compiled a list of the 11 most impacted and high-demand majors at UC Berkeley.

What is an Impacted Major?

College admissions can be stressful, and one factor that can add to the stress is having an impacted major. An impacted major is one for which there are more applicants than spots available. When examining the impacted majors at UC Berkeley, you will notice a trend, primarily in the similarity of impacted majors at UC Berkeley and the impacted majors at UCLA.

Impacted Majors at UC Berkeley

This can mean that admissions standards are higher for students who want to pursue that major, and it can also mean that there may be more competition for course spots once you’re admitted.

While it’s not impossible to get into an impacted college major, it can be more challenging, so it’s important to do your research and be prepared for the admissions process if you’re hoping to pursue one of these majors.

What are the Impacted Majors at UC Berkeley?

The following majors are considered impacted or capped at the University of California Berkeley (UCB)

  1. Art Practice
  2. Computer Science
  3. Economics
  4. Global Studies
  5. Media Studies
  6. Operations Research & Management Science
  7. Political Economy
  8. Psychology
  9. Public Health
  10. Social Welfare
  11. Statistics

Related: 6 Impacted Majors at UCLA you Should Know About

What are the Admit Rates & GPA For High Demand Majors?

The table below depicts the admit rates and enrolled average GPA for the high-demand majors at the University of California Berkeley.

Impacted MajorAdmit RateEnroll GPA Average
Art Practice42%3.49-3.89
Computer Science4%3.89-4.00
Global Studies17%3.59-3.93
Media Studies26%3.58-3.88
Operations Research & Management Science30%3.80-3.99
Political Economy26%3.64-4.00
Public Health15%3.42-3.85
Social Welfare25%3.47-3.84
Visit Explore Majors & Majors for More Information on Offerings

Recommendations for Alternate Majors

If you selected one of the high-demand majors for your application to UC Berkeley. Then it would be wise to evaluate other major options due to the stress of not being admitted into your initial major designation.

Students pursuing high-demand majors at UC Berkeley will select an alternative major option. If you do not meet the requirements of acceptance for the initial major designation, you will be considered for the alternative major.

If you are accepted for the alternative major, remember that it is not a placeholder for the first major you designated but, instead, a complete change in major pathways.

Art Practice

  • History of Art & Interdisciplinary Studies

Computer Science

  • Data Science, Cognitive Science, Applied Mathematics


  • Political Economy, American Studies, Global Studies, Applied Mathematics, Statistics, Data Science

Global Studies

  • Legal Studies, Political Economy, and Environmental Economics & Policy

Media Studies

  • Rhetoric, Film, American Studies, Sociology, Ethnic Studies

Operations Research & Management Science

  • Data Science, Applied Mathematics, Statistics, Economics, Sociology, Political Science

Political Economy

  • Political Science, Legal Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, Sociology


  • Anthropology, Sociology, Linguistics, Cognitive Science, Ethnic Studies, American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, Integrative Biology

Public Health

  • American Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, Social Welfare, Ethnic Studies, Gender & Women’s Studies, Sociology, Molecular & Cell Biology or Integrative Biology

Social Welfare

  • Sociology, Legal Studies, Ethnic Studies, Gender & Women’s Studies, Anthropology, Interdisciplinary Studies


  • Data Science, Applied Mathematics, Economics

Related: Community College for Business Majors

Can I Change My Major at UC Berkeley?

Yes, you can change your major at UC Berkeley. In fact, many students do!

For example, one of our students arrived at UC Berkeley intending to major in English. She fulfilled the admission requirements, but after taking a few classes and getting to know the campus better, she realized that she was more interested in sociology. So she declared a new major and has never looked back.

Related: When do UC Decisions Come Out? Announcing 2023 UC Decision Dates

Sometimes it can be hard to know what you want from your college experience, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t options available. Advisers at UC Berkeley will help guide the way in finding a major and pathway suited for both academic successes and social wellness!

Transfer Students Intending to Change Majors

As a transfer student, you may be considering changing your major. After all, you’re starting fresh at a new school, so why not explore all your options? Before you make any decisions, though, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

First, transferring can be demanding academically, and you may struggle to keep up if you take classes outside your comfort zone.

Additionally, each school has its own policies regarding transfer credits, so there’s no guarantee that all of your credits will transfer if you switch majors.

Finally, it’s important to remember that changing majors can extend the amount of time it takes to graduate, which may not be ideal if you’re looking to save on tuition costs or enter the workforce as soon as possible. With all that in mind, it’s important to weigh your options carefully before changing majors as a transfer student.

Therefore, before making any decisions, transfer students should research and speak with an advisor to ensure that a major change is the right choice.

Of Every 100 Undergraduates at UC Berkeley…

Attending a California Community College will make you more competitive in institutions that you would not have been able to get into while in high school.

  • 79 were freshmen, while 21 were transfer students
  • 81 graduated within four years, while 19 did not graduate within four years
  • 60 received some form of financial aid, while 40 did not receive any financial aid
  • 95 were under the age of 25, while five were over 25.
  • 40 were Asian, 12 were International, 24 were Underrepresented Minorities, and 24 were White or other ethnicities.

Hex figure in blue and yellow from UC Berkeley data center. Showcases a graphic with the number of freshman and transfer student entrants.
UC Berkeley (much like other UCs) are committed to increasing the number of transfer students they enroll.


So, what are the most popular and in-demand majors at UC Berkeley? Hopefully, you can answer this question after reading our blog post. Although many of these majors were specific to the UC Berkeley College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, the data point represents a larger picture. These 11 majors are the most impacted and high-demand degrees at the University of California Berkeley (UCB).

Are you thinking about declaring one of these majors? If so, we wish you all the best as you embark on your college journey.

As a reminder, if you need help finding scholarships or navigating the application process, check our website for more information.

We also have a blog post detailing everything you need to know about choosing a major that might be helpful. And finally, don’t forget to declare your major soon – deadlines are coming up fast!