Graduate Requirements


  • 1 year of college-level calculus
  • 1 year of college-level physical science, including a physics course on mechanics and waves (e.g., Physics 7A)
  • 1 semester engineering-level probability and statistics
    • Incoming students, including transfers to TE from within UCB, must take a TE's "Statistics/linear algebra diagnostic" at the beginning of their first semester in TE to determine if their linear algebra, and probability and statistics preparation is adequate (on a level similar to CE 93). The diagnostic does not emphasize memorization; rather, the 4-5 problems test whether the student can apply linear algebra and statistical concepts in solving simple transportation problems. If the student does not solve most of the problems easily or does not take the test, that student must enroll in CE 262 Analysis of Transportation Data during their first semester. This requirement cannot be deferred. Make sure a note has been place in your student file indicating how this requirement was satisfied. Students may remedy a lack of linear algebra knowledge by working through a suitable book, such as the Schaum's Outline Series.
    • See Sample Statistic/linear algebra diagnostic.
  • 1 semester 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.


Master of Science: Plan I

  • Thesis required in either of the 2 TE tracks: Transportation Engineering or Transportation Systems.  Identify the faculty member who will serve as your thesis supervisor before the end of the first semester.
  • 20 units with 8 in Transportation Engineering (2 of these 8 can be CE 299) and 2 of the remaining 12 units (of graduate and advanced undergraduate courses) can be CE 299. See TE Course Requirements below.
  • 2 semesters

Master of Science: Plan II

  • 1-hour oral Comprehensive Examination by a faculty committee in either of the 2 TE tracks: Transportation Engineering or Transportation Systems is required. It should be scheduled for the end of the semester in which the class requirements for the MS degree in Transportation Engineering are completed. (Any exceptions must be arranged with your graduate adviser and approved by the TE Faculty.)
  • 24 units with 12 in Transportation Engineering (2 of these 12 can be CE 299) and 2 of the remaining 12 units of graduate and advanced undergraduate courses can be CE 299. See TE Course Requirements below.
  • 2 semesters

Master of Engineering (MEng)

  • 24 units
  • core leadership classes: E 271 Engineering Leadership I; E 272 Engineering Leadership II (6 units)
  • an integrative capstone project: E 296 MA/MB
  • 2 required technical electives: CE 251 Transportation Questions; CE 252 Transportation Systems Analysis (6 units)
  • 2 technical electives chosen from: CE 253 Intelligent Transportation Systems; CE 255 Highway Traffic Operations; CE 259 Public Transportation Systems; CE 260 Air Transportation; CE 264 Behavioral Modeling (6 units)
  • additional coursework includes a minimum of 5 units of Integrative Capstone Projects complementing the core leadership curriculum (E 296 MA/MB) and 1 unit each semester (for a total of 2 units) of the capstone integration course (E 295).

The professional MEng degree is in the Intelligent Transportation Systems Track. Expanded surveillance, communication and computing technologies are enabling unprecedented opportunities for developing and deploying innovation that benefit managers, service providers and system users. This program prepares you to use a mix of technical and business skills to capitalize on the opportunities in the transportation infrastructure.

The MEng is administrated in conjunction with the Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership.  See Fung Institute for part-time/full time enrollment, curriculum models, and possible career paths.

Concurrent MCP/MS with City and Regional Planning

  • Satisfy requirements of City and Regional Planning. You will need to work with a CRP adviser to make sure that the CRP degree requirements are satisfied.
  • Satisfy requirements of Transportation Engineering Master of Science: Plan II. See TE Course Requirements below.
  • 5 semesters (60 units)

The joint MCP/MS degree integrates the engineering aspects of transportation with land use, environmental, and social planning. It leads to the dual degrees of Master of City Planning (MCP) and Master of Science (MS) in Engineering, which if pursued separately would require taking 72 units of course work.

Note: a MCP/MS student will be assessed CRP's prorated professional degree fees.


An online application for graduate study may be sent to either CEE or City and Regional Planning indicating interest in the Concurrent Degree program MCP/MS. It is 1 application for the joint degree.

If you are admitted, and enrolled, into one program and then decide you would like to add the second program, you must add the second degree objective through a petition.

Students in CRP not previously admitted to the joint program should submit an application the CEE TE Admissions Officer that includes:

  • the transcripts used to gain admission to the CRP graduate program
  • the most current UC Berkeley transcript
  • a brief statement of purpose
  • a proposed plan of study that details the TE courses to be taken and the proposed sequence

Second-year applicants may have to spend an extra semester to complete all degree requirements.

Course Requirements for TE MS and MS/MCP Degrees (not MEng)

To assure programs of study of sufficient breadth and depth, TE requires students to take classes in several different Groups.

Group 1 Fundamentals: CE 251; CE 252; CE 262
Group 2 Policy: CE 250N/CRP 217; CE 256; or some other course by petition
Group 3 Modal Electives: CE 153; CE 253*; CE 255; CE 259; CE 260 (require CE 251 and CE 252 as prerequisites, although these prerequisites may be taken concurrently) (CE 153 strongly recommended for students with a non-engineering degree)
Group 4 Analysis Electives: CE 254; CE 258/IEOR253; CE 261; CE263; CE 264; CE 290I; CE 291F (require CE 251 and CE 252 as prerequisites, although these prerequisites may be taken concurrently)
Group 5 Systems Electives: CE 290I; CE 271; CE 291F

Note: Course requirements by Group vary slightly based upon the track chosen by the student and whether the student is in the MS/MCP program.

All students need to take CE 251, CE 252, and CE 262, although they can test out of CE 262. They also need to take 3 approved electives.  The elective requirements differ with each focus a student selects.  At the end of his/her program, a student will have a focus in Transportation Engineering, Systems, or City Planning.

  • Students concentrating in Transportation Engineering also need to take 1 course each out of the selections in Policy, Modals, and Analysis.
  • Students concentrating in Systems need to take, in addition to the 3 required courses, 1 course each in Modal, Analysis, and Systems, with no overlap in course work.
  • Students concentrating in City Planning need to take a total of 3 courses across the Modal and Analysis areas, with no overlap in course work.

Certificate in Intelligent Transportation Systems

Jointly sponsored by 3 departments, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering, the Certificate Program in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) is designed to assist you in studying ITS in a systematic and focused way.

Faculty advisers help you design a personalized study program to meet your goals. The Certificate provides formal recognition that you have achieved a basic understanding and expertise in the ITS field.


  • take CE 251 Operation of Transportation Facilities; and CE 253 Intelligent Transportation Systems
  • complete a minimum of 3 courses from the following list (2 courses must be from outside your home department)
    • Artificial Intelligence: CS 188, CS 281A, CS 281B
    • Civil Systems: CE 271, CE 290I, CE 291F
    • Communications: EE 122, EE 224, EE 228A, EE 228B
    • Control: ME C134, ME 230, ME C231A, ME C232, ME 233, ME 234, ME 237, ME 290J  
    • Databases: CS 186, CS 286, IEOR 115, IEOR 215
    • Human Factors and Risk Analysis: IEOR 170, PH 269B, NE 275
    • Optimization: IEOR 262A, IEOR 262B, IEOR 264, IEOR 266, IEOR 268, IEOR 269, EECS 227A
    • Sensor Technology: EE 192, EE 290G
    • Systems: EE 221A, EE 221B, EE 222, EE 223, EE 226A
    • Transportation Engineering: CE 255, CE 259, CE 260

Faculty Advisers


No formal application is required. To earn the certificate, you complete the required courses and bring a copy of your transcript showing completion to Professor Alexander Skabardonis, Program Coordinator. He will present to you your certificate and make sure that notification of it is added to your student file.


  • Transportation Engineering welcomes applicants with undergraduate degrees in any scientific or engineering discipline.
  • 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 to continue in the program.
  • 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.
  • Broad variety of courses in Transportation Engineering (policy, operations, systems and design) in addition to the basic core courses (CE 250; CE 251; CE 252). Your degree plan should include a special emphasis in an area of interest (major field).
  • Proficiency in probability/statistics, e.g. Stat 134 and Stat 135 or CE 262
  • 2 minors
  • 3 examinations:
    • Preliminary Examination
    • written Qualifying Examination
    • oral Qualifying Examination
  • After passing the third and final exam, you will meet regularly with faculty on your thesis committee. Doctoral work culminates in an informal thesis defense.
  • Workshops with thesis committee
  • 2-4 years post-MS, including a year of original dissertation research

Your plan of study should be chosen in consultation with either a graduate adviser, a guidance committee, or the thesis adviser. To help develop a tentative plan of study, you should fill out the Tentative Program of Study for Doctoral Candidates (Blue Form), which is available from the Academic Affairs Office. The Blue Form should be signed and returned to the AAO during your first semester of study.

Once the course work has been completed, you must file with the AAO the Program of Study for Doctoral Candidates (White Form) describing your final study plan. At this point, you are ready for the oral Qualifying Examination.

Preliminary Examination

This is an oral exam similar to the Master of Science: Plan II Comprehensive Examination, but with certain distinctions. The PhD preliminary exam is a 90-minute exam that serves as an early assessment of your potential for independent creative work.

If you have earned your MS degree in Transportation Engineering at Berkeley, you must take the Preliminary Exam before your new PhD degree goal is approved. (The Preliminary Exam can also satisfy the requirement for a Comprehensive Exam in the Master of Science: Plan II.)

If you have a master's degree from an institution other than Berkeley and you have been admitted directly into the UCB Transportation Engineering PhD program, you must take the Preliminary Exam either at the end of the second semester in residence or at the beginning of the third semester.

Note: It is the student's responsibility to request from the lead graduate adviser that the Preliminary Examination be scheduled.

Qualifying Examination (written)

At or near the completion of your coursework, you must take the written Qualifying Examination. This examination is administered by a committee or 4 instructors chosen by the faculty, and will include your research adviser. The examination consists of 4 sets of questions, 1 set from each member of your committee. Two of the sets of questions will pertain to your main area of interest. The other 2 will cover other areas within transportation. The purpose of the latter is to assess the breadth of your knowledge of the transportation field.

The written Qualifying Exam is taken at the end of the fall semester of the second year. It is a take-home, multi-day, exam, in which you are asked to review and critique 3 research papers or reports chosen by members of the exam committee. You will have 4 days to complete the exam. The review will address both the technical aspects of the paper and the significance of its scholarly contribution.

It is recommended that you meet with the members of your committee prior to the exam date in order to obtain a general idea of the nature of the questions that will be asked and the evaluation criteria that will be applied.

The committee will complete an evaluation of your performance on the exam within 1 week of the end of the exam week. The exam committee chair will then notify you of the result. You will pass the exam if at least 3 members of the committee approve. You may also be given a conditional pass, contingent on completion of additional work to be determined by the committee. If you do not pass on the first try, you may be required either to redo questions on the original exam, or take a second written exam with questions from all or some of the members of the original exam committee. Normally, you will not be allowed to take the exam more than twice.

TE faculty consider the Qualifying Exam a necessary step toward eligibility for the University Qualifying Examination that is described below.

Qualifying Examination (oral)

Within 6 months of the written qualifying examination, you must take the oral Qualifying Examination.

The oral Qualifying Exam will normally be at the end of the spring semester of the second year. The exam committee will include 3 TE members and 1 outside member. The exam will assess your potential to perform original research, based on a PhD thesis proposal and a presentation. If you demonstrate such ability, you will pass the exam, even if the proposal requires substantial revision and refinement before it can serve as the basis for a thesis.

If you fail to pass the oral examination on a first attempt, a second examination may be scheduled no later than 6 months after the original attempt and no sooner than 3 months.

Upon passing the oral Qualifying Exam, you need to request the formation of a 3-person committee to guide you in the thesis research. These individuals must approve the thesis document before it can be filed. Thesis work should be completed within 3 years of the written Qualifying Examination. If you exceed this limit, you are subject to termination.

Workshop(s) with Thesis Committee

Upon passing the oral Qualifying Exam, you will meet with your 3-person thesis committee at least once every 12 months until completing the dissertation. These meetings will have a workshop-like format whereby you may provide a formal presentation of your research progress, solicit committee guidance, and receive feedback. The actual agenda for each workshop can be formulated by you, in consultation with your primary thesis adviser. Others outside of the 3-person committee can also be invited to a workshop, as determined by you and your primary adviser.

It is your responsibility to schedule the first workshop within 12 months of having passed the oral Qualifying Exam and then any subsequent workshops at intervals not to exceed 12 months.

Presenting Thesis in TE Seminar Series

You are required to present your thesis work, before completion, in the Transportation Engineering seminar series.