About American Cultures Banner featuring university students protesting the South African apartheid at Sproul Plaza

In 1989, UC Berkeley adopted the ground breaking American Cultures (AC) undergraduate education requirement thanks to years of student and faculty protest and campaigning.  After more than twenty-five years, and the development of hundreds of courses, AC has become a staple of the undergraduate experience at UC Berkeley, fundamentally changing and challenging the undergraduate curriculum to better present the diversity of the American experience.

Today, thanks to support from the Division of Undergraduate Education and Equity & Inclusion, and our partnership with the Public Service Center, the AC Center offers courses in more than 49 departments and programs and supports a multitude of opportunities for faculty and student work. 

Below you will find some of the opportunities the AC Center offers in our work with students, faculty, staff and community organizations.

History of AC

During the latter half of the 1980s, UC Berkeley students organized to demand that the university develop a more inclusive curriculum that reflected the diverse racial groups of the U.S.  In 1989 the faculty approved the AC Breadth Requirement and launched the first courses in 1991... Read more

Courses

AC courses are offered across more than 40 departments and programs at UC Berkeley. Our courses are  uniquely designed to focus on important issues related to the socio-cultural complexity of the U.S., developing a critical understanding of... Read More

Engaged Scholarship Student Projects 

Students in American Cultures Engaged Scholarship (ACES) courses apply critical theoretical frameworks to a social justice project developed alongside a community organization.  For examples of previous projects, visit our Student Projects page.

Student Prize

The AC Student Prize is awarded to students for developing research projects in AC courses, which promote a critical understanding of race, ethnicity, and culture. Recipients are recognized at our annual ceremony and on our EScholarship site for producing a standard of excellence in scholarship. Recipients also receive $1000... Read More.

American Cultures Engaged Scholarship Logo and Slogan "Take a course change yOUR future"American Cultures Engaged Scholarship (ACES)

The ACES Program supports faculty in incorporating community-based learning opportunities into a new or existing AC course, by twinning opportunities provided from our community organizations with the scholarship and teaching of the AC curriculum.  Read More

Faculty Grants 

Apply for a grant to develop or revise an AC course. Guidelines can be found on the Course Development Grants page. Additionally apply to become a 'Chancellor’s Public Scholar' and receive support and resources to incorporate community-based learning in a new or revised AC courses. Please visit our ACES Grants page.

Innovation in Teaching Award

The Innovation in Teaching Award is presented to faculty who have used pedagogical developments to enhance students’ learning and understanding of race, ethnicity and culture in a comparative and integrative way. Recipients are honored at an award ceremony and presented with a grant. Learn More

Spotlight Series

The Spotlight Series was created to critically engage the campus community in conversations regarding future AC curriculum development and publications around themes relevant to the AC requirement. Please visit our Spotlight Series page, for previous guest lectures from Jeff Chang, James Kilgore, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Rickey Vincent, among others.