The Berkeley Changemaker

A Discovery Experience, Letters & Science C12

At UC Berkeley, you are encouraged to develop your passions through discovery projects that deepen your learning, better the world, and launch your future. This course is designed to help incoming students start this journey.

"There's no better time in history than right now to become a changemaker, and there's no better place to discover your changemaker identity than right here at UC Berkeley. No matter your interests, background, or experiences, if you are inspired to solve meaningful problems and are ready to take action, you are a changemaker." –Alex Budak


Berkeley Changemaker Info Session

Hear directly from fellow Cal students (Ashutosh Bajpal BA'21 Business Administration & BS'21 Data Science, Aurora Lopez BA'21 Political Science, Camyrn Bush BA'21 Business Administration & BS'21 Society & Environment, Eric Manzo, BS'21 Society & Environment) who have previously taken changemaker courses at UC Berkeley: Zoom link/password: 1d?3..=3


Alex Budak
Lecturer, UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business

This course is rooted in the belief that all Berkeley students are in the process of becoming Berkeley Changemakers. Changemakers make their impact everywhere on the campus intellectual landscape – through scientific breakthroughs, artistic imagination, social action projects, and entrepreneurial ventures. It is a course for entering students, who will learn to employ creative and critical thinking to imagine better futures, and then develop leadership skills to mobilize others to help create them. The ultimate goal of the course is to help incoming students discover their own identity as Berkeley Changemakers through shaping their educational experience at UC Berkeley.

The first Berkeley Changemaker course, piloted with 50 students across 17 majors, received an average student course-evaluation score of 6.7/7.0 and student feedback such as: “Everyone at Cal should be required to take this course. It gives an optimistic and change-making perspective to any discipline. It has genuinely changed my outlook on the world and how I want to go through life. Even if you think you are already a good leader, this class will teach you so much about being not just a leader, but a changemaker, wherever you go in life."

Course: The Berkeley Changemaker: A Discovery Experience
L&S C12
Instructor: Alex Budak, Coordinating Instructor
Prerequisites: None
Session: D
Class Number: 10651
Units: 2, Pass/No pass
Location: Online
Register/Add Deadline: July 16, 2021 (PT)
Student Orientation Guide
Who to Contact for Support

Course Objectives

By successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

Develop a changemaker mindset— a whole new way of seeing the world and how to improve it.
Start seeing yourself as a leader who does your most important work through and with others. You’ll practice leadership that drives real change whether you are a scientist, artist, or engineer.
Describe how to transform an idea for change into real, measurable, and sustainable impact through learning academic frameworks, practical tools, and insights from a diverse group of outstanding changemakers.
Develop rich critical thinking skills that reflect the breadth of disciplines at UC Berkeley.
Gain confidence in your ability to clearly and persuasively communicate to inspire others.
Describe how to be a collaborator who brings out the best in your teammates and who understands how to apply lenses of diversity, equity, and inclusion to lead teams that bring out the best in everyone.
Create bonds with your classmates who will be your change-making community on campus and beyond in the years to come.

Learn More


Taught by an all-star team of 21 UC Berkeley faculty members, representing 16 diverse departments and 7 schools across our campus. Our guest faculty includes Chancellor Carol Christ, former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, and 8 Distinguished Teaching Award winners.

By taking this online course you will meet incoming Berkeley students from all around the world before you arrive on campus, and you can engage with lectures, assignments and readings at the time of day which works best for you.



To enroll in Berkeley Changemaker: A Discovery Experience L&S C12 you will first need to register for the Freshman Edge program.

Look for the Freshman Edge task in your CalCentral and accept and join the program to register. After registering, you will be able to enroll in the course. Please make sure to opt into Freshmen Edge by TBD so that you can register for this course by the TBD deadline. Make a note of the Class Number 10651 – you will need it to complete the enrollment process.