The DeCal Program (or just DeCal) is an aggregate of student-run courses at the University of California, Berkeley – here, students create and facilitate their own classes on a variety of subjects, many of which are not addressed in the traditional curriculum.
Each semester there are over 150 courses on topics ranging from Taiwanese Language to Simpsons and Philosophy. Around 3000-4000 UC Berkeley students take DeCals each semester. DeCals are an excellent way of meeting the University’s minimum unit requirement, developing a new or past interest, and meeting peers in a small, comfortable environment. The DeCal Program is undoubtedly one of the many unique aspects of Berkeley’s undergraduate program, and all students are encouraged to consider taking a course!
DeCal classes, in a nutshell, are legitimate university classes run by students. The responsibility of such courses rests on the department chair, faculty member, and student facilitator, who all sign a contract of understanding before the DeCal is reviewed by COCI / the Academic Senate. A faculty member sponsors a student’s course as a 98 / 198 section. That faculty member, as far as the computer systems and transcripts are concerned, is the “instructor of record.” The student that runs the course can be viewed as the delegated instructor for the faculty sponsor. At the end of the semester, the student will provide grade “recommendations” for the faculty sponsor, who will then do the actual grade inputting. Grades are only offered as Pass / No Pass, and the academic credit for each class typically range from 0.5-2 units.