Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Materials Overview


  • 2 years college-level calculus (e.g. Math 1A, 1B, 53, 54 or equivalent)
  • 1 year college-level physical science (e.g. Physics 7A/B or equivalent)
  • 1 semester probability and statistics (e.g. Stat 20 or CE 93 or equivalent)
  • 1 semester course in matrix structural analysis (e.g. CE 121 or equivalent)
To see Berkeley course descriptions, visit the Guide; to go directly to CE courses, click here.


MS: Plan I

  • Thesis required
  • 20 units with 8 in SEMM (2 of these 8 can be CE 299) and 2 of the remaining 12 can be CE 299
  • 2 semesters
  • See Detailed Requirements for MS for more information.

MS: Plan II

  • Comprehensive examination requirement fulfilled by either 1) presenting a written report based on at least 2 units of CE 299 and approved by a committee of at least 2 faculty members, or 2) passing a written closed-book examination in 2 areas chosen from the following: Mechanics of solids, Properties of materials, Structural design, Structural dynamics, and Theory of structures.
  • 24 units with 14 in graduate courses of SEMM with the remaining 10 units from approved graduate or advanced undergraduate courses.
  • 2 semesters
  • See Detailed Requirements for MS for more information.

Special programs/degrees


  • A bachelor's or master's degree from an accredited institution or a recognized equivalent is required.  If you hold only a bachelor's degree, you must earn the master's degree while progressing towards the Ph.D.  
  • Minimum GPA of 3.5 in the major and above 3.0 in the minor fields are required but does not guarantee admission.
  • Support of a faculty research adviser is required for admission to the Ph.D. program.  UC Berkeley students are also required to have faculty support prior to petitioning for the Ph.D.
  • Each PhD student must have a graduate advisor to provide general academic guidance and to help with administrative matters, and a research advisor to supervise the student's dissertation research and to assist in identifying funding paths.
  • Final programs are individually formulated through consultation with a faculty guidance committee.
  • A minimum of 21 units within SEMM and 2 minor areas (of at least 9 units) appropriate for the student’s area of research. The first minor is mathematics or statistics and the second minor is for providing breadth of the student’s technical base and for background for research.*
  • Pass a written closed-book preliminary examination to assess academic preparation. The examination consists of 4 areas, 1 of which must be mathematics and the 3 additional areas may be selected from Theory of structures, Structural dynamics, Mechanics of solids, Properties of materials, and Structural design. The student may petition to substitute one of these 3 areas with another bearing a relation to SEMM.*
  • Pass a qualifying examination to test the candidate’s ability to synthesize the factual information and training in techniques absorbed through coursework and seminar research. Testing the student’s mastery of the field is regarded as an essential part of the examination.
  • Complete a thesis describing research related to SEMM program with guidance from committee of 3 faculty members.
  • See Detailed Requirements for PhD for more information.

* Students majoring in structural materials should follow the information on the materials page.