Graduate Requirements

Prerequisites

  • 1 year of college-level calculus
  • 1 year of college-level physical science (e.g. Physics 7A & 7B)
  • 1 semester of probability and statistics
  • 1 semester of elementary linear algebra

Course descriptions

See Berkeley Academic Guide for all CEE course descriptions.

Berkeley Graduate Division's Degree Policy

All UC Berkeley graduate degree programs must conform to minimum requirements established by Graduate Division. See Degrees Policy.

Degrees

Master of Science: Plan I

  • with thesis, approved by a committee of 3 faculty members
  • 20 units which includes
    • at least 8 units in E&PM graduate courses
    • the remaining units must be graduate or upper-division courses from Berkeley that are approved by your major field adviser
    • a maximum of 4 units of individual study (CE 299) may be counted toward the total 20 units
  • attend the E&PM Seminar course. During your first year (both semesters) of study you are required to attend weekly E&PM seminars (CE 298) as they provide a forum for learning about what is happening in the profession and in academic research.

Master of Science: Plan II

  • with exam (Comprehensive Exam)
  • 24 units, of which
    • at least 12 units must be E&PM graduate courses
    • the remaining units must be graduate or upper-division courses from Berkeley that are approved by your major field adviser
    • a maximum of 4 units of individual study (CE 299) may be counted toward the total 24 units
  • attend the E&PM Seminar course. During your first year (both semesters) of study you are required to attend weekly E&PM seminars (CE 298) as they provide a forum for learning about what is happening in the profession and in academic research.

Comprehensive Examination

The Comprehensive Examination is a closed-book written test of your general knowledge of engineering and project management. The test is administered in the spring semester, and at the faculty's discretion, also in the fall (usually during dead week preceding finals).

During the 4-hour exam, students select and answer 3 questions (the number of questions from which to select varies from semester to semester, but is likely 4). Answers should reflect a comprehensive understanding of the field of engineering and project management, command of course material, and ability to link the material presented in different courses.

The Comprehensive Exam has 4 possible outcomes:

  • Master of Science degree pass
  • Master of Science degree fail—with a definition of the activity required to demonstrate pass defined on a case-by-case basis, at the discretion of the faculty.

and if designated by the student taking the exam:

  • PhD candidate pass, provided you have completed at least 3-units of CE 299 with 1 of the 3 core E&PM faculty (Horvath, Ibbs, and Tommelein), and prior to the Comprehensive Examination, 1 of these 3 faculty have agreed to serve as your doctoral research adviser.
  • PhD candidate fail—with a definition of the activity required to demonstrate pass defined on a case-by-case basis, at the discretion of the faculty.

The questions will be graded on a 100-point basis. A grade of 80 or more on each question is required for Master's pass. A grade of 90 or more on each question is required for the PhD candidacy pass. The primary evaluation criterion is the written response to the exam questions. However, in cases where the written response places you on the borderline between 2 outcomes, other factors such as performance in courses and research experience will be given consideration.

Repeat exams for students who are interested in doctoral studies but who do not receive a pass-PhD will be administered at the discretion of the faculty. To pass at the PhD level, your performance on the exam must demonstrate an advanced understanding of the material. The pass-PhD result is valid for 5 years, i.e., if you pass at this level and return for doctoral studies within 5 years, you do not need to retake the exam.

PhD

  • 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 PhD.  A demonstrated superior level of academic achievement (minimum 3.5 GPA) in your graduate studies and support of a faculty research adviser are required.
  • Minimum GPA of 3.5 in the major and above 3.0 in the minor fields
  • Each PhD student must have a graduate adviser to provide general academic guidance and to help with administrative matters, and a research adviser to supervise the student's dissertation research and to assist in identifying funding paths.
  • Complete at least 3 units of CE 299 with one of the faculty members of E&PM and a faculty adviser who has been identified prior to taking the Comprehensive Examination
  • Pass the Comprehensive Examination with at least 3 questions among those provided by E&PM faculty. A passing grade for each question is 90%. Borderline students may pass depending on their performance in courses and research experience. At the discretion of the faculty, repeat examinations will be administered for students who do not pass the first time. You may enter the doctoral program if you have taken and passed the Comprehensive Exam at the doctoral level while completing your master's degree, or you may take and pass this exam in your first year of doctoral study.
  • Following completion of the Comprehensive Examination with a PhD-level pass, you must pass an oral Preliminary Examination. You will make satisfactory progress towards your degree if you take this Preliminary Exam within the year following the Comprehensive Exam. The Preliminary Exam focuses on your ability to demonstrate mastery and apply core knowledge in the area of research activity. Three faculty members—at least 2 E&PM faculty (full-time or adjunct)—will be designated as members of the exam committee. This exam is an E&PM program requirement, not a Graduate Division requirement. You must have a research adviser and have made satisfactory progress towards your degree when scheduling this exam. Authority for approval of an exam committee and date lies with the research adviser. You will have 2 chances to receive a pass on this exam. In the event that you do not successfully pass on the second attempt, you may be dismissed.
  • A major field related to the thesis and 2 minor fields
    • The major is normally devoted to 1 field of study within a single department and should be in the area of the thesis research.
    • The minor typically consists of 2 or 3 graduate or advanced undergraduate level courses. The minor fields should serve to broaden the base of the studies and lend support to the major field. Each should have an orientation that is different from the major program. One minor program should consist of courses outside of the department of the major.
    • A minimum GPA of 3.5 in the major and above 3.0 in the minor fields is required.
  • Before advancement to candidacy, you must be admitted to and pass the Qualifying Examination administered by a committee approved by the Dean of the Graduate Division. In E&PM, this committee consists of 4 faculty members, with at least 1 member from outside your major department. The thesis adviser may be a member of the committee, but may not serve as the committee chair. The qualifying exam is a 3-hour oral exam. Typically, you make a brief presentation on your planned doctoral research. Following this, the committee asks questions on a wide range of topics.
  • After passing the Qualifying Examination, you and your thesis adviser nominate a Dissertation Committee consisting of at least 3 faculty members, 1 of whom must be outside of your major discipline. This committee has responsibility for reviewing your work and signing off on the doctoral dissertation. The Dissertation Committee approves the dissertation.