The Berkeley Changemaker

"So, as someone who had relatively little guidance as to how I could be a leader, changemaker, and effective teammate before this course, I am more than excited to instill the lessons I've learned into my everyday life. Since the course, I've started a project with a fellow changemaker, have set aside the time for an organization I'm hoping to develop and have begun planning for future endeavors!” –Cyn Gomez, Class of 2024


You could have gone almost anywhere and you chose UC Berkeley—we’re so glad you did! For generations, people like you have come to Berkeley to leave their marks on the world, questioning the status quo as they think, and act, beyond themselves. Our Course 12 will activate your passions and help you develop a sharper sense of who you want to be, providing the tools you’ll need along the way. Whether you want to start your own company, launch an NGO, discover your passion, or learn how to effect positive, lasting change from wherever you are, our Berkeley Changemaker community has a place for you. Freshmen and transfer students will each be placed in dedicated small-group sections with their peers so they can begin to build community and form friendships and collaborations. To find out more, including the syllabus, a sneak peek into the course, and follow-on courses, please visit:

Since our first course launched less than a year ago, more than 1,200 students have joined the Berkeley Changemaker community. Here’s what one of them had to say about Course 12: “As someone who has grown up feeling like the ‘other’ it was so empowering to hear that there is space for all people to make the meaningful changes they want to see...I'm so grateful to be a part of this program and to have the opportunity to gain the skills necessary for creating the change that I'd like to see!”

Instructors: Alex Budak (Lead Faculty), Laura Paxton Hassner, Brandi Pearce, Mariana C Somma
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

Welcome Incoming Freshmen –– Take this course for free!

Newly admitted freshmen who complete this course with a “Pass” grade will receive a credit toward the cost of this course and the related summer fees on their account. Note that tuition and fees may appear on your account if the credit has not yet been applied. If you do not receive a “Pass” grade or if you cancel or defer your registration to UC Berkeley, the credits will be removed from your account.

Plus! Newly admitted freshmen who pass will also receive a free unit of tuition toward a class or program of their choice during summer 2022. See below for more details.

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.

Click Here to Visit the Berkeley Changemaker Webpage


Taught by an all-star team of 22 UC Berkeley faculty members, representing 16 diverse departments and 7 schools across our campus. Our guest faculty includes Chancellor Carol Christ, former Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and 9 Distinguished Teaching Award winners.

By taking this online course, you will meet other 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.



Incoming freshman and transfer students can enroll in L&S C12: The Berkeley Changemaker by first opting into the Freshmen Edge or Transfer Edge program. Look for the relevant task in your CalCentral and accept and join the program to register. After registering, you will be able to enroll in the course. Make a note of the Class Number 10651 – you will need it to complete the enrollment process.

If you are thinking of enrolling in this or any course this summer, please make sure to opt into your Freshman or Transfer Edge program at your earliest convenience. There is no consequence if you do not enroll later and if you wait until the last minute to opt-in, but you may have trouble enrolling in the course of your choice before the add deadline for the class.

Claiming your free unit for summer 2022: Incoming freshmen who complete the course with a “Pass” grade will receive an email confirming they will be credited a free unit of Berkeley summer tuition when they register for Summer 2022 classes. This free tuition unit (valued at $419 for summer 2021) can be applied toward a general summer class, an online course, a summer minor or certificate program, or a Berkeley Summer Abroad or Berkeley Global Internships program. If not redeemed during summer 2022, this free unit of tuition will expire.

Incoming freshmen can earn a maximum of one free unit of tuition for the following summer. If you are enrolled in both L&SW1 and L&S C12, you will only be eligible for one free unit in summer 2022 upon receiving a passing grade. Students who cancel or defer their registration to UC Berkeley will no longer be eligible.

If you have any questions about this process, please reach out to