The AC Requirement

Background image: Collage of Protests at Sproul Hall in Favor of Divesting from South African Apartheid Businesses
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Collage of Student Efforts for UC to Divest from South African Apartheid Businesses

"American Cultures is more than just a requirement, it's an opportunity to make deep connections within our lives, communities and the U.S by critically engaging in topics such as racial and social equity."

Apartheid Divestment Sproul Protest 1985

History of the AC Requirement

Unlike other requirements on campus, students organized and protested for the campus graduation requirement that would eventually become the American Cultures Requirement. After a successful campaign to divest billions from South African businesses, students fought for ways to "desegregate the campus" and "the curriculum." The result was the American Cultures requirement, a curriculum that critically engages and exposes students to important issues of inequality throughout the United States by helping them develop a deeper understanding of race, culture, and ethnicity in the context of American society. We encourage you to watch our short video that discusses the history and intent of the AC Requirement and its connection to the South African Apartheid Divestment movement.

General Information about How to Satisfy the AC Requirement

General Information about How to Satisfy the AC Requirement(link is external) All UC Berkeley undergraduates (admitted after fall 1991) must fulfill the AC requirement in order to graduate. The AC requirement is fulfilled by taking a pre-approved course from UC Berkeley or a partner institution that is at least 3-semester units (or 4 quarter units).

The American Cultures Engaged Scholarship Program

Some AC Courses offer students the opportunity to learn from community organizations and experts about some of the nation's most pressing social issues and what innovative practices and opportunities are being implemented to address those issues. These courses are known as ACES or American Cultures Engaged Scholarship courses. ACES Program homepage page provides more information about the program generally and lists which ACES Courses are being offered. Please visit our ACES page to learn about the opportunities that the ACES Program offers to students, including the opportunity for students and faculty to work with community organizations to develop cutting edge research projects

Student Prize

The AC Student Prize provides students with the opportunity to highlight work developed in an American Cultures course that promotes understanding of race, ethnicity, and culture. Recipients of the AC Student Prize will receive a $1,000 award, be honored at a public award ceremony and have their submission published on the American Cultures eScholarship site.

firefighter lights fire on open field during a controlled burn to manage and conserve area

AC Courses

AC Courses are offered in over forty academic departments during any given semester of the academic year. Students learn about and engage with issues critical to America's dynamic ethnic, racial and socio-cultural landscape in disciplines such as Engineering, Integrative Biology, Education, Anthropology, City and Regional Planning, Architecture, Ethnic Studies, Environmental Science, the School of Public Health, and others.

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Spotlight on AC Courses

Don't know what AC course to take? Check out our Spotlight Videos on AC Courses. Spotlight Videos give faculty the tell you more about an AC Course, such as research opportunities, assignments, guest speakers, site visits to community organizations, and more.

AC Student Advisory Board

Students have played an essential role in the creation of the American Cultures curriculum, from advocating for the creation of the American Cultures requirement to securing funding the American Cultures Engaged Scholarship Program. We invite all undergraduate students interested in playing a leadership role in the future of the AC requirement to apply to the AC Student Advisory Board.