[Click on the links in this section to go directly to the answers, or browse the FAQs and their answers below]
Why is R&C important to a Berkeley education?
Reading and Composition (R&C) is a college requirement designed to ensure that students have the strongest possible reading, critical thinking and writing skills. This will help ensure students’ success in college. R&C courses provide a solid foundation in the lower division for more discipline-specific writing that students will be expected to do in their majors. R&C also prepares students to navigate our increasingly complex information-driven world and to become sharp-eyed readers and clear writers as they move into post-graduate work and/or into the workforce. R&C is typically a two-semester requirement (R1A and R1B). [Back]
How does the R&C requirement differ from the University writing requirement?
The University Entry-Level Writing Requirement must be satisfied as a foundational pre-requisite to enrollment in all reading and composition courses. Students who have not passed the Analytical Writing Placement Examination (AWPE), or otherwise fulfilled the requirement by the time they enter the University, must take College Writing R1A to satisfy both the University writing requirement and the first semester of the R&C requirement in one six-unit course. Additional information is available on the Online General Catalog. [Back]
Does the R&C requirement vary by college?
Yes. All of the colleges have an R&C requirement; however, students can pass out of some or all of the requirement in a variety of ways including Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) exam results. The requirement and the options for passing out of the requirement vary slightly for each college. For specific details, students should consult their college handbook and/or advisor. [Back]
When should the R&C requirement be completed?
Students must satisfy the R&C requirement before entering their junior year. Students who need both R1A and R1B should complete R1A as a freshman and R1B by the end of their sophomore year. Students who need just R1B should complete R1B as a freshman. Students who still need to satisfy the University writing requirement should complete College Writing R1A as a freshman and R1B by the end of their sophomore year. Remember that there are three terms each year in which R&C can be taken: fall, spring and summer. [Back]
Will there be enough sections for students to enroll in R&C in a timely way?
Yes. The Chancellor and EVCP have increased the R&C budget by $770,000 annually to meet demand from new incoming students. [Back]
How is the campus able to allocate money for additional R&C courses if it’s facing a budget shortfall? Where is the funding coming from?
The funds are being allocated from increases in the fees paid by in-state students, as well as from out-of-state fees paid by non-resident students. The Chancellor and EVCP place the highest priority on using a portion of undergraduate fee increases, as well as a portion of the extra revenue generated by increasing out-of-state enrollment, to protect the quality of undergraduate instruction and to ensure that students can gain access to core courses that will be critical to their academic success at Berkeley. The R&C curriculum is one of the key areas of priority. [Back]
As an incoming freshman, how do I know which R&C courses I am required to take?
If you are a California high school student and have not met the requirement via AP exams, you are urged to take the Analytical Writing Placement Examination (AWPE) in the spring of your senior year in high school.
If you are an international or out-of-state student, and have not already passed out of the requirement, the AWP exam is administered on campus twice a year to meet your needs. You should take this exam during your first semester at Berkeley. The exam schedule is posted on the College Writing Programs website.
The results of the AWP exam will allow your college advisor to guide you as to your proper placement. Information about whether or not you have satisfied the requirement will also be available in myBerkeleyApp. [Back]
What if I don’t know the results of my Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE) before attending CalSO?
If you know your placement in time, you may sign up during Phase I of Tele-BEARS. If not, you should hold time in your class schedule to sign up for an R&C course during Phase II, once you have been notified of your AWP exam results. Thanks to the increased funding for R&C, it is no longer vital that you prioritize R&C during Phase I. [Back]
What will happen if I don’t complete my R&C requirement before entering my junior year?
Incoming students are now required to enroll in R&C in the freshman and sophomore year, and seats will be provided to ensure that they have access to the courses. Beginning in Fall 2012, students must satisfy the requirement before entering the junior year. Upper-division students who have not completed the requirement will face registration blocks.
It is important to be proactive in satisfying the requirement before you declare your major and enter upper- division coursework. Taking R&C early in your Berkeley career will help you build a solid foundation for advanced-level reading, critical thinking and writing skills and will support your academic success. [Back]
What departments offer R&C courses and which course should I take?
One of the strengths of Berkeley’s R&C curriculum is the diversity of offerings. Over 20 departments offer R&C courses, and you are strongly encouraged to consider courses in any of these departments, including some that you may not have associated with R&C. For a complete list of courses that satisfy the requirement, visit the College of Letters & Science website. Some departments that offer R&C post individual course descriptions for R&C sections; visit the department's website for more information. To search for available courses, visit the R&C search engine. [Back]
Can I take R&C in Summer Sessions?
Yes. Summer Sessions typically offers over sixty R&C courses per year. For a complete list of summer courses, visit the Summer Sessions website. [Back]
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How does the R&C requirement impact me if I am seeking readmission to UC Berkeley after an absence?
UC Berkeley expects that you have fulfilled the R&C requirement at a community college, through UC Extension, Summer Session, or at another institution during your absence. If you were unaware that students must now complete R&C by their fourth semester, you must enroll in the first or second half during your first semester back. Failure to do so will result in the cancellation of your registration. For assistance or more information, contact your adviser. [Back]
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