The Department of Ancient Greek and Roman Studies (formerly known as the Department of Classics, now DAGRS) at UC Berkeley is a leading center for studying Greco-Roman antiquity, offering excellent undergraduate and graduate education in language, literature, history, philosophy, religion, and archaeology. It is the intellectual home of a distinguished faculty, superb graduate students, and an extraordinarily talented and diverse group of undergraduates. Our community is also enriched by visiting scholars, including the annual Jane K. Sather Professor of Classical Literature.
UC Berkeley offers an interdisciplinary program of graduate study in Ancient History and Ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean Archaeology (AHMA). The program is conducted by an interdisciplinary group that includes more than 20 faculty members affiliated with 7 different Berkeley departments and the Graduate Theological Union. A chair, a graduate adviser, and student affairs officers administer the program. The AHMA program offers MA and PhD degrees in areas that combine work in archaeology and history and related disciplines of ancient studies.
UC Berkeley’s Department of Art Practice provides rigorous practical, conceptual, critical, and professional training within the context of a world-renowned public research university. The department prepares students for professional lives within contemporary art, while acknowledging that these can take multiple forms and approaches. The department emphasizes an ethical, global scope, with a necessary encouragement of diversity of viewpoints and modes of practice. It offers innovative media-specific, and interdisciplinary courses leading to BA and MFA degrees.
The Berkeley Group in Buddhist Studies offers an interdisciplinary program of study and research leading to a PhD in Buddhist Studies. The group, which cooperates closely with the Departments of South and Southeast Asian Studies (SSEAS) and East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC), emphasizes the study of Buddhism in its many forms within its Asian historical and cultural context. The group also offers an undergraduate minor in Buddhist Studies.
The Celtic Studies Program is an undergraduate degree program housed by the Department of Scandinavian at the University of California, Berkeley. Its purpose is to bring together faculty and students with interests in the cultures, languages, literature, and history of the Celtic regions.
The UC Berkeley Department of Comparative Literature is dedicated to comparative literary study that is both historical and theoretical, covering literary traditions from several inter-related regions and traditions. This combination of intensity and breadth is reflected in the composition of our faculty, seventeen of whom are jointly appointed with national literature departments; the remaining two are closely involved with and provide an important link to the Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory. Our signature combination of teaching and research on literature, film, and other media is based on knowledge of original languages, an understanding of historical context and production, and theoretically innovative perspectives.
The Designated Emphasis (DE) in Critical Theory permits interested graduate students already enrolled in UC Berkeley PhD programs to specialize in critical theory and to obtain certification of this specialization while pursuing the doctoral degree in their home departments. (The program in Critical Theory is not an independent degree-granting program.) Students admitted to the program's DE and who complete its requirements will receive a parenthetical notation to that effect on their doctoral degrees.
The digital and data revolutions have transformed our world. For students of the humanities, these revolutions have made new kinds of study possible.
In our Summer Minor or Certificate Program in the Digital Humanities, you will explore questions about art and culture using digital tools. You will learn to search through large collections of sources instantly using text analysis. You will learn to analyze and present your research vividly in visual formats. You will learn to design dynamic and interactive projects on digital platforms. Above all, you will learn how to employ these cutting-edge techniques to investigate subjects in the humanities in new and fascinating ways.
Introduce yourself to the language, literature, culture and history of the Netherlands, Flanders, the Dutch Caribbean, and Suriname. Dutch Studies offers English-taught courses on Dutch cultural history, literature, and linguistics, as well as four levels of Dutch language courses, a reading and translation course, and a Summer Abroad Program to the Netherlands and Belgium.
East Asian Languages and Cultures is the core department for East Asian Humanities on campus, and home to the Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, and Tibetan language programs. As the campus center for teaching and research in the literatures and cultures of East Asia, our mission is to train students to understand the texts (written, as well as visual, aural, and material) at the core of its literary, religious, and philosophical traditions. Our curriculum centers on the acquisition of the modern and classical forms of the languages, the informed and engaged reading of a wide variety of East Asian texts in their historical and cultural contexts, and the development of effective writing skills and critical thinking.
The Department of English offers courses in literature, in language, and in writing. The courses in literature have many different focuses: major authors, historical periods, genres, critical theories and methods, and cultural and multicultural studies. Courses in language offer instruction in both the history and the structure of the English language. Writing courses offer training in both expository and creative writing.
The Department of Film & Media offers innovative, interdisciplinary programs leading to a BA in Film and a PhD in Film & Media. It also provides curricular support for the Designated Emphasis in Film Studies for doctoral students in other departments. The department teaches students to think historically, theoretically, and analytically about film and media within the broad context of humanistic studies. Students and faculty engage with all forms of moving-image culture, including film, still photography, television, and digital media. The Department also offers courses in screenwriting, curating, and digital video production.
In the Department of French, you can study French and francophone literature, culture, and film, along with the French language and French linguistics. For its undergraduate majors and minors and its graduate students, the Berkeley French Department provides thorough coverage in the traditional, historically-based divisions of French literature and culture, as well as in francophone literatures. It blends this coverage with the study of a wide array of related fields and topics — from literary history and theory to philosophy, to social and cultural theory, to the study of gender and sexuality, historiography, visual arts and film, music, popular culture, and politics. We encourage independent and innovative thinking and research at both undergraduate and graduate levels.
The Department of German offers language and literature classes in German, Dutch, and Yiddish, as well as breadth requirement courses (taught in English) on German philosophy, linguistics, political culture, and cinema. The department's degree options include an undergraduate major, a minor, and a PhD. Our renowned doctoral program is affiliated with the departments of Comparative Literature and Film and Media, the Program in Medieval Studies, and the Graduate Group in Critical Theory.
We are a vibrant learning community of researchers committed to advancing the study of visual arts, material culture, and built environment through interdisciplinary scholarship, teaching, and public engagement. Our internationally recognized faculty and lecturers, outstanding graduate students, talented undergraduate students, and exceptional group of department staff all contribute to making us one of the world’s leading art history departments. Our teaching encompasses a broad range of questions and specializations, spanning the globe and traversing cross-regional zones of contact. Employing diverse methodologies, including formal analysis, social and cultural history, gender and sexuality studies, critical race theory, eco art history, and digital humanities, our faculty and students investigate the production, circulation, reception, and meaning of visual forms across different media, genres, geographies, and regimes of perception. We seek to cultivate critical thinking, visual literacy, and cultural awareness in our teaching and to promote diverse perspectives, inclusivity, and social justice in our scholarship and pedagogy.
The Italian Studies Department is an interdisciplinary enterprise. You will find courses in Italian language, literature, history, cultural studies, film, and folklore offered by the department, both in Italian and in English. You will also discover that courses with significant Italian content are often taught in other departments and programs, including History of Art, Music, Comparative Literature, Film Studies, Anthropology, Political Science, History, and Medieval Studies. The department's diverse faculty includes scholars of literature, history, music, anthropology, art history, architecture, and cinema. We are also fortunate to have frequent visiting faculty from Italy and elsewhere.
UC Berkeley has long been a national leader in Jewish Studies, especially notable for the innovative scholarship promoted in its graduate program. The Center for Jewish Studies provides a strong new focus and a vivid presence for the many varied activities associated with Jewish Studies on the Berkeley campus. It oversees the Designated Emphasis in Jewish Studies for graduate students and the undergraduate minor in Jewish Studies. Additionally, the center is home to UC Berkeley's two annual endowed lecture series, sponsors conferences and public lectures, offers a congenial setting for graduate student colloquia, and serves as an attractive meeting place for the many visiting scholars in the field who come to UC Berkeley each year.
The Medieval Studies Program is an interdisciplinary group that coordinates and sponsors lectures, events, and visiting professorships; promotes scholarly interests common to medievalists of different academic departments; and communicates information of interest among them. The Committee on Medieval Studies offers a concurrent PhD program in which candidates have both a home department and training in the core disciplines of medieval studies. The program also offers an undergraduate minor.
The Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (MELC) studies the languages, literature, and cultures of the ancient, medieval, and the modern Middle East. The department offers specialized training in archaeology, art history, Assyriology, Egyptology, Iranian studies, Judaic studies, Islamic studies, comparative Semitics, and Turkish, Hebrew, Arabic, and Persian languages and literature. Students can explore the interconnected worlds of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and their neighbors, as well as the modern literature and diverse cultures and societies of the modern Middle East. Students are given the opportunity to participate in a discovery experience that is innovative, collaborative, transdisciplinary, and features digital research.
The Department of Music fosters the cultivation of music on campus through undergraduate and graduate programs of study; and also through public concerts and lectures in Hertz Hall, Morrison Hall, and elsewhere. For undergraduates, the department offers a major in music, as well as numerous nonmajor courses for students with little or no previous experience in music. A minor in music draws on courses for either majors or nonmajors, depending on student qualifications. For graduate students, the department offers programs leading to the MA/PhD or PhD degrees in musical composition, history and literature, or ethnomusicology.
The Department of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley offers both a BA and a PhD in Philosophy. In addition, we offer many courses for students who specialize in other disciplines, and we offer a lively series of philosophical events. The faculty and graduate students have research interests covering the whole field of philosophy, from antiquity to the present day, and represent both the analytic and continental traditions.
The Designated Emphasis (DE) in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies draws on UC Berkeley’s exceptional faculty strength in Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences to foster interdisciplinary research on the Renaissance and Early Modern period and to provide an intellectual community for those working in these areas. It offers comprehensive training in a wide range of departments and disciplines. Students combine seminar work in intellectual and cultural history, material culture, and languages to supplement their traditional doctoral studies. The DE fosters cutting-edge research and close collaboration with faculty.
The Department of Rhetoric is a leading center for interdisciplinary research and teaching in the humanities and social sciences. Linked by a common interest in the functions of discourse in all its forms, faculty and students engage the theoretical, historical, and cultural dimensions of interpretation and criticism, in fields as diverse as political theory, gender, law, media studies, philosophy, and literature. The department is also committed to the study of rhetorical traditions, from the classical era to contemporary rhetorical theory.
The Romance Languages and Literatures (RLL) interdepartmental PhD program is a joint venture by the Departments of French, Italian Studies, and Spanish and Portuguese. It offers students a unique opportunity to work with distinguished faculty in all three departments as they take advantage of Berkeley's unmatched resources for comparative study of the literatures and linguistics of the Romance language family.
The languages, literature, and cultures of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) are the focus of teaching and research in the department. The interdisciplinary curriculum ranges from topics in Viking and Medieval Scandinavian history and literature to the influential cultural contributions of the successful Nordic societies of more contemporary times. Instructors regularly teach beginning and intermediate classes in all five modern Nordic languages as well as reading and grammar classes in Old Norse at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students in the undergraduate major choose a concentration in medieval studies or in one of the modern language areas while also working in comparative and interdisciplinary ways with other cultural materials from the region. Graduate students pursuing the Ph.D. train to become comparative Scandinavianists while also developing depth and expertise in a more specific scholarly field.
The Slavic Department studies and teaches languages, literature, and cultures of the Russian and other Slavic peoples and their immediate neighbors in East and Central Europe (Hungary and Romania) as well as the Caucasus and Central Asia (hence the terms “Eurasia” and “Eurasian”). Over the centuries, these peoples shared linguistic, literary, cultural and historical experiences, which both united and divided them. These experiences include their intermediary position between the “West” and the “East,” participation in large multi-national states and empires, membership in the Soviet bloc in the twentieth century, and, in recent decades, the transition to post-socialism. In a word, we represent peoples who have influenced the history of a large part of the world.
The Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies offers programs of both undergraduate and graduate instruction in the languages and cultures of South and Southeast Asia. It offers opportunities to explore the rich cultural, social, and religious histories as well as the living contemporary cultures of these areas. The curriculum covers modern cultural history, the classical literary canon, religious literature, folk and popular works, oral traditions and performance media (including recitation, musical and dramatic performance, dance, media, and film), and modern literatures of the colonial and post-colonial period. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the extensive opportunities for interdisciplinary linkages by pursuing courses offered by the South and Southeast Asia faculty in other departments at UC Berkeley.
The Department of Spanish and Portuguese is big enough to offer a wide variety of approaches to teaching and research, yet small enough to afford students at both the graduate and undergraduate level personal attention and mentoring. We offer an abundance of opportunities to learn and achieve mastery of the languages and cultures we study, which include Catalan, Nahuatl, Portuguese, Romance Studies, and Spanish. Our programs are specially designed for highly-motivated, imaginative students with a passion for other languages, literatures, and cultures and the ability to carefully cross traditionally defined geographic, linguistic, and disciplinary borders.
The Designated Emphasis in the Study of Religion (DESR) supports graduate training in Religious Studies and in the Theory of the Study of Religion, promotes graduate research on topics related to religion, and brings together a cross-disciplinary faculty Group in the Study of Religion.
Recognizing that many Berkeley students across the Humanities and Social Sciences are already deeply engaged in the study of religious phenomena, the DESR creates a space where those students may come together and focus on the history and theory of how others have approached such phenomena. Since Berkeley currently has no department of Religious Studies, the DESR also integrates professional approaches derived from Theology and Religious Studies, alongside those derived from other cultural traditions and critical approaches to religion.
The Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) teaches performance as a mode of critical inquiry, creative expression, and public engagement. Through performance training and research, we create liberal arts graduates with expanded analytical, technical, and imaginative capacities. As a public institution, we make diversity and inclusion a key part of our teaching, art making, and public programming.