The prerequisite has two required courses: a “Disciplines” course and a “World Regions” course. Students must take one from each of the lists below.  

At the time of application, a prospective major can apply to the major by filling out an application after they have completed their first prerequisite course with no less than a B- grade and are currently enrolled in their second prerequisite course. Their final acceptance in the program will be contingent on receiving a grade of B- or better in the second course. Applicants must attain no less than a B- in both prerequisite courses. Students may not apply to the major is they have not finished at least one of the two required prerequisite courses.


Students must take one of the following introductory courses (or their recognized equivalent, if transfer students):

  • Political Science 2 (Comparative Politics)
  • Political Science 4 (Political Theory)
  • Political Science 5 (International Relations)
  • Philosophy 2 (Ethics and Social Justice)
  • Philosophy 3 (The Nature of Mind)
  • Sociology 1 (Introduction to Sociology)
  • Anthropology 3 (Introduction to Social/Cultural Anthropology)
  • Economics 1 or 2 (Introduction to Economics)
  • Geography 10 (World Regions, Peoples, States)
  • Psychology 1 (General Psychology)
  • Rhetoric 10 (Introduction to Reason and Argument)
  • Philosophy 3 (Nature of Mind)
  • Education 190 (Critical Studies in Education)
  • Public Policy 101 (Introduction to Public Policy Analysis)

World Regions

  • Art History 11 or C11 (Introduction to Western Art)
  • Chinese 7A/B (Premodern, Modern Chinese literature)
  • AGRS 10A or 10B (Ancient Greek and Roman Studies)
  • African-American Studies 4A or 4B (Pre-colonial/20th century Africa)
  • History 2 (Comparative History)
  • History 4A or 4B (Medieval Europe)
  • History 5 (Europe Since the Renaissance)
  • History 6A or 6B (China)
  • History 8A or 8B (Latin America)
  • History 10 (Africa)
  • History 11 (India)
  • History 12 (The Middle East)
  • History 14 (Japan)
  • IAS 45 (World History)
  • ISF 10 (Enduring Books of the Western Tradition)
  • Japanese Studies 7A or 7B (Premodern, Modern Japanese Literature)
  • Southeast Asian Studies 10A or 10B (Premodern/modern Southeast Asia)

A Committee of Faculty Advisors will have the discretion, in unusual cases, of accepting applications to the ISF program from students who have completed, with a minimum B- grade, upper division courses that have adequately prepared them for their designated Research Program and that fulfill the spirit of the prerequisite requirements of disciplinary and regional preparation for the major. Finally, additional courses can be added to each of the two lists as deemed appropriate by the Director and the Faculty Advisory Board.

For transfer students, it is strongly recommended that this requirement be completed before enrolling at Berkeley.  Transfer students must submit syllabi of courses already taken to their ISF faculty adviser for approval. Both prerequisite courses must be taken for a letter grade.

Note that Academic Senate regulations stipulate that students must have a minimum grade point average of 2.0 before declaring any major in the College of Letters and Science and are required to declare a major by the time they have each completed 60 units.