American History and Institutions Requirements

Undergraduate Graduation Requirement

All UC Berkeley undergraduates must satisfy the following course requirements in order to graduate:

  • American Cultures (AC): This requirement may NOT be waived. See more info below.
  • American History and Institutions (AH&I) Unless you qualify for an exemption as a nonimmigrant visa holder with senior status (see more info below), this requirement may NOT be waived.

International students who graduated from a California high school or transferred from a California community college may have satisfied the requirements with their high school and/or transfer college curriculum. For complete information on the requirements, please check the Berkeley Academic Guide. If you have questions about how to satisfy the AH&I requirements, please contact your college adviser.

American Cultures (AC)

American Cultures (AC) is a Berkeley campus requirement, the one course that all undergraduate students, including international students, need to pass in order to graduate. AC courses offer students opportunities to be part of research-led, highly accomplished teaching environments, grappling with the complexity of American Culture. Courses are offered in more than 50 departments in many different disciplines at both the lower and upper division level. You can take your AC course at any stage in your Berkeley career.

The AC requirement is not the same as the American History & Institutions (AH&I) requirement and may not be waived.

More information on AC courses.

AH&I Requirement: Nonimmigrant Visa Exemption

International students with a nonimmigrant status are exempt from the American History and Institutions requirements once they meet the following conditions:

  • have completed at least 90.5 semester units (senior status)
  • hold a valid nonimmigrant status (F-1 is the most common) verified by the University
  • maintain the nonimmigrant status through to the end of the Expected Graduation Term (EGT)

How the exemption is applied: When a nonimmigrant visa holder reaches senior status, the AH&I exemption is automatically applied in the CalCentral dashboard, updating the American History and American Institution requirements from ‘Not Satisfied to ‘Satisfied.’ As long as the Office of the Registrar has record of the most current nonimmigrant visa, there is no longer a need to go to Cal Student Central in person to request the exemption.  If you are having problems, please open a case with Cal Student Central.

Note: Nonimmigrant students who change to a residency status before the last day of their EGT will be expected to satisfy the AH&I requirement with course work in order to graduate. If you believe you will change to an immigrant status (ex: Permanent Resident), it is advisable to complete American History and Institutions with approved course work so as not to delay graduation should residency be approved before completing the final term. Please consult with Cal Student Central.