L&S Curricular Connections

Big Ideas Courses

Professors Kent Lightfoot and Scott Stephens wearing Hawaiian shirts in front of a whiteboard
Professors Kent Lightfoot and Scott Stephens co-teaching the Big Ideas Course "Fire: Past, Present and Future Interactions with the People and Ecosystems of California." Photo credit: Mathew Burciaga, Communications specialist, College of Natural Resources

What happens when you bring together two (or more!) outstanding professors, from completely different disciplines, and one BIG IDEA? Add a room full of bright Berkeley undergraduates and let the spirited discussions begin!

Big Ideas Courses fulfill breadth requirements, are designed with non-majors in mind, do not have prerequisites, and are taught by some of our most engaging instructors. Each Big Ideas Course takes up a question, concept, or topic, a key intellectual and societal challenge, that cannot be adequately addressed by the perspective or methodology of one discipline alone. Big Ideas Courses are co-taught by two or more faculty from different departments, who expose students to multiple approaches to the central focus of the course, and teach them the excitement of grappling with a big idea, as well as the rich, nuanced, and illuminating results that arise when disciplines come into contact around a topic of mutual vital interest.

Faculty interested in proposing a Big Ideas Course should consult our For Faculty page for more information.

There are no Big Ideas Courses being offered in fall 2024. Check back in October for a list of Big Ideas Courses being offered in spring 2025!

"This course challenged the way I look at problems. I realized that when people from different disciplines come together, they bring more creative and innovative thoughts to the table."
— Fall 2022 Big Ideas Course Student

The Big Ideas Courses program is administered by the College of Letters & Science’s Division of Undergraduate Studies and serves students in all colleges and schools across the UC Berkeley campus. The program is generously supported in part by donors to the L&S Leadership Fund.