All New BCC Students Should Enroll in English 1A

English 1A (First Year Composition)
at Berkeley City College

We are here to support you!

At Berkeley City College, all students are eligible to enroll in English 1A and should enroll in their first semester.

English 1A is a course that gives you foundational college-level skills in writing, reading, and research – skills that you will use throughout your college career and beyond. Taking this class in your first semester will help you succeed in college because you are required to use these skills in many of your other college courses and because it’s a prerequisite to at least one other class that you will need to transfer or get your associate degree.

Some students will enroll in English 1A by itself, and others will enroll in English 1A PLUS. In English 1A PLUS, you’ll receive help from your teacher and well-trained writing coaches in a supplemental lab course to maximize your chances of success. The lab portion of the class will provide you time and space to start assignments, check your learning, ask questions, and practice what you learn in English 1A lecture.

Please use the following guidelines to help you enroll:

  • If your overall high school grade point average was below 2.6, please enroll in English 1A PLUS (consisting of English 1A, linked to English 508A, 508B, and 508C). The cost to you will be the same as if you had enrolled in English 1A.
  • If your overall high school grade point average was 2.6 or above, please enroll in English 1A, rather than English 1A PLUS.
  • If you don’t know your overall high school grade point average or you attended high school more than ten years ago, please use the Berkeley City College English 1A Guided Self-Placement tool to help you determine whether you should enroll in English 1A PLUS or English 1A. A counselor (including Quick Stop counselor), student ambassador, Admissions and Records staff member, or Placement and Orientation staff member can direct you to the Guided Self-Placement tool.

Milvia Street Art and Literary Journal

Milvia Street Art and Literary Journal, first published in 1989, has featured creative work by Berkeley City College students–many who have gone on to university writing or art programs–recent alumni, faculty and staff. It is a student edited and produced publication that in 1996 won national first place in the Literary Magazine competition of the Community College Humanities Association, and since then has placed in the top three.

Current and back issues can be purchased at BCC’s Cashier’s Office, 2050 Center Street, Berkeley.  The current issue is also available at University Press Books in Berkeley and Diesel Books in Oakland. Past and current issues can also be seen in the Berkeley History Room and the Berkeley Public Library and in the Bancroft Library, U. C. Berkeley.

Submissions:  You must be a Berkeley City College student, recent alumnus, or member of the faculty, staff, or administration to submit work. Literary Submissions may be poems, short stories, plays, memoir, creative nonfiction, manifestos, etc.  Please send only three pieces per person, poems up to three pages double-spaced or prose up to ten pages double-spaced.  Please do not include your name on the manuscript; include a cover sheet with your name, address, phone, email, and the titles.    For more information:

Art Submissions: any medium.  Please send no more than five pieces per person on a CD. Digital entries must be at least 300DPI @ 5 by 7 inches, JPEG or TIFF. Label each file with your name, title, size of original, and medium.  Also provide a short bio.  Please request an entry form:  Send all submissions to Sharon Coleman, Berkeley City College, 2050 Center Street, Berkeley CA, 94704.

Production:  If you are interested in selecting, editing, producing, or promoting Milvia Street, join the Milvia Street Club. We form prose and poetry selection committees at the beginning of the fall semester.  Contact Sharon Coleman ( at the beginning of the semester to participate.

The Milvia Street Club is currently meeting.  Any students interested in being on selection committees, submitting work, or otherwise promoting the journal, as well as artistic and literary activity on campus, should contact Sharon Coleman at

Each year, we organize a reading and art exhibit to celebrate the release of the new issue, and throughout the year there are often readings at different venues in the Bay Area.

For more information, please visit the Milvia Street website.

Berkeley City College’s English AA-T.: The Path to Transfer to a U.C. or C.S.U.

shakespeare Maxine Hong Kingston

Those who complete the Berkeley City College English AA-T (Associate of Arts for Transfer degree)  have taken all courses required for transfer to U.C. Berkeley, U.C.L.A., and other U.C. campuses as an English major and are guaranteed admission to a C.S.U. campus as an English major.  Berkeley City College’s English program offers a variety of literature and creative writing courses to serve students with diverse goals. 

Please see your counselor and/or one of the English department chairs (Jenny Lowood, or Adán Olmedo, for more information.


Our Values

We in the English Department support our college’s values of academic excellence, multiculturalism and diversity, commitment to preparing students for citizenship in a diverse and complex changing global society, commitment to a quality and collegial workplace, and the importance of innovation and flexibility:
Berkeley City College embraces values which allow all members of our college community to grow and thrive. Our values include the following:
  • A Focus on Academic Excellence and Student Learning. We value our students’ varied educational and experiential backgrounds and learning styles, as well as educational objectives.
  • A Commitment to Multiculturalism and Diversity. We value diversity, which fosters appreciation of others, depth of understanding, insight, empathy, innovation and creativity, characteristics our institution seeks in its students, faculty and staff.
  • A Commitment to Preparing Students for Citizenship in a Diverse and Complex Changing Global Society. We value the fact that students live and work in an increasingly complex society and world.
  • A Commitment to a Quality and a Collegial Workplace. We value the high quality that characterizes everything we do.
  • The Importance of Innovation and Flexibility. We value innovation because it encourages our students to question the typical and expand their thinking in a flexible manner that allows them to understand life’s dynamic potential.

BCC English Department Alumni Honored

Congratulations to our alumna, Amy Clark, for her acceptance to Harvard’s English Ph.D. program (2015) with a full scholarship.


Congratulations to our alumnus, Joseph Cadora, who published his book, Rilke: New Poems, with a foreword by Robert Hass, in 2014.


Congratulations to our alumnus, Martin Zirulnik, who was awarded the UC Berkeley English Department Citation for Graduating Seniors in 2011; he was the sole recipient of this award.  Martin is currently earning a PhD in English Literature at UCLA.


Congratulations to our alumnus, Jack Howells, who won the UC Berkeley English department’s 2011 “Bertrand Bronson Prize for the Outstanding Senior Honor’s Thesis,” as well as the Center for British Studies’ Kirk Underhill Undergraduate Paper Prize.  Jack  earned his BA in English literature at UC Berkeley.