Frequently Asked Questions

General Program Questions

Application Questions

Useful Links

General Program Questions

1. May I take graduate courses in CEE without being admitted into a program? (back to top)

Through UC Berkeley Extension's Concurrent Enrollment program, you may be able to enroll in regular CEE courses, with instructor approval. Please be aware that when enrolled through Concurrent Enrollment, you are considered an Extension student, not a Berkeley student, and that Concurrent Enrollment is not intended as a means of accumulating credit toward a Berkeley degree by a student who has not been formally admitted to Berkeley. For more information about University Extension, visit their website.

2. Do you offer any online degree programs or classes? (back to top)

No, we currently only offer on-campus courses and degrees.

3. May I enroll in a graduate program part-time? (back to top)

  • We currently only have 2 programs under the MEng degree that are part-time.
  • You can find more information about them at their website.

4. What is the length of the programs? (back to top)

  • All full time Masters programs (MS and MEng) are 1 year (2 semesters) long.
  • The part-time MEng program is between 2-4 years.
  • PhD programs take on average 5 years to complete.

5. May I transfer coursework completed at another institution? (back to top)

  • The UC Berkeley Graduate Division does not allow the transfer of units toward a doctoral degree. Graduate Division regulations do permit a maximum of four semester units of coursework taken at another accredited institution to be applied toward a master's degree. Requests for transferring degree credit are not considered until an applicant has been admitted into a program and has conferred with his or her advisor.
  • You will not be required to retake courses you have already completed.Those courses would be substituted with others relevant to your degree.

6. Are interviews required? (back to top)

No, we do not conduct formal interviews for any of our programs.

7. May I defer my admission? (back to top)

Deferrals have been granted on a case by case basis after a discussion with the applicant's Admissions Officer after you have been officially admitted.

8. What type of funding is available? (back to top)

Most funding is reserved for PhD students meaning there is limited funding for MS only students. Most MS students will try and find teaching assistant positions (GSIs) or reader positions that can mitigate partial to full fees. We also suggest applying for outside funding such as the NSF, the Ford Foundation and the Fullbright.

9. If I was a previous graduate student in CEE at UC Berkeley and I want to apply for another degree, do I need to submit an application? (back to top)

  • No, you will need to fill out an Application for Readmission and a Statement of Legal Residence form, which can be found on the Registrar's website under "Registration & Enrollment." You must inform the Academic Affairs Office (AAO) of your decision to apply, email: aao@ce.berkeley.edu
  • If you were a graduate student at UC Berkeley but NOT in CEE we will require you to submit the following:
    1. The above forms
    2. 3 letters of recommendation
    3. A statement of purpose and an optional personal statement
    4. Unofficial transcripts from all previous universities
    5. Other materials as specified by the AAO

10. I am a Masters student in another program at UC Berkeley (f.g., Architecture, Urban Planning, Public Policy) and I want to add the MS. What should I do? (back to top)

  • You must inform the Academic Affairs Office (AAO) of your decision to apply, email: aao@ce.berkeley.edu
  • Apply online, marking "Readmission/Program Change" as the Application Type.

Application Questions

1. Do you accept applications for the Spring semesters? (back to top)

No, we only accept applications for the Fall semester.

2. May I apply to more than one program at the same time? (back to top)

No, you may apply to only one graduate program on the Berkeley campus per admissions cycle.

3. I applied last year and want to reapply this year. Do I have to submit everything again? (back to top)

You will need to re-submit the online Graduate Application and pay the application fee. The letters of recommendation, transcripts and test scores we have on file in our database. We suggest you add one new letter, change your statements, and add any coursework you may have taken.

4. What do I do if I started an application in the wrong degree? (back to top)

  • If you have opened an application for a specific degree goal and you realize that is incorrect or wish to switch to another degree, please email us at aao@ce.berkeley.edu. State your full name, application ID number, the degree you have an application under and the degree you wish to be switched to, and we will move you over.
  • Be aware that some information may be lost in the switch and you will have to input it again.

5. Should I apply for the MS or MEng or PhD? (back to top)

  • If you are looking for a professional engineering degree apply for the MS or MEng. The MS covers more technical courses while the MEng has a business and leadership component. Note: The MEng is considered a terminal degree program while the MS can continue on for the PhD.
  • The PhD is a research-oriented academic program for those who already hold an MS degree and have a clear research goal in mind. If you apply for the PhD without an MS degree, you will earn an MS degree while progressing to the doctorate degree.

6. What should I write in my Statement of Purpose and Personal History Statement? (back to top)

  • The Statement of Purpose should reflect your reasoning for applying to any specific program. For instance, what you are interested in researching within the program (and any faculty you would like to work with if applicable), what previous experience you have acquired that has qualified you to be accepted.
  • For the Personal History Statement, although the prompt states you should write about some type of diversity or disadvantage, you can speak more to what in your life brought you to engineering.

7. How long should the statements be? (back to top)

Both essays should be no more than 2 pages long single spaced. There is no word limit.

8. What is the minimum GPA for admission? (back to top)

The minimum GPA for admissions into a PhD program is 3.50 on a 4.0 scale, calculated on all courses taken after the first 2 years of undergraduate study.  The campus GPA for admissions for masters programs is a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. This is not necessarily a competitive GPA. The average GPA for admissions into our department a 3.70 (all coursework after the first 2 years) although different programs within the department vary.

9. When should I take the GRE? (back to top)

We suggest taking the test no later than the end of November. If you can take it in the summer, it would be more beneficial to you in case you wish to retake it.

10. What are the minimum GRE and TOEFL scores? (back to top)

  • There are no minimum GRE scores required for admittance. The average scores of the students we do admit are 150+ in Verbal, 160+ in Quantitative, and a 4+ in Analytical Writing.
  • The minimum TOEFL score is a 90/120 on the iBT.

11. If my scores are within the average range stated in the previous answer, what are my chances of being admitted? (back to top)

  • Our decisions process is comprehensive, meaning we base our decision on the entirety of your application, not just test scores. We will not be able to answer this question without having seen your entire submitted application.

12. Who qualifies for a TOEFL exemption? (back to top)

  • If you have a basic or advanced degree from an accredited US institution.
  • If you have a basic or advanced degree from a recognized institution in a country where the official language is English.
  • If you have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with a grade of 'B' or better from an accredited US institution.

13. Who should write my letters of recommendation? (back to top)

  • We suggest that at least 2 out of 3 of the required letters of recommendation should be written by a faculty member who you have worked with or taken a class from. The other recommendation can be from an employer etc.

14. What is the last day I can submit test scores and letters of recommendation? (back to top)

  • You can submit official test scores and letters up until 2 weeks after the application deadline; however, we cannot guarantee that late materials will be reviewed.
  • We suggest that you take your tests no later than the end of November to ensure that they reach us in time when we start reviewing applications.
  • You should request letters as soon as you start the application process to allow your letter writers plenty of time.

15. Do I need to send any materials via paper mail? (back to top)

The only materials that need to be sent to us via mail are IELTS scores. Everything else will be uploaded or sent electronically directly to the online application.

   16. When will I find out if I've been accepted or not?  (back to top)

The admissions process is lengthy and intensive; we notify applicants of their status as soon as possible, usually in March. You will receive an email regarding our decision, whether favorable or not, so please be patient and check your email often.