Frequently Asked Questions

General questions

May I take graduate courses in CEE without being admitted into a CEE degree program?

Through UC Berkeley Extension's Concurrent Enrollment program, you may be able to enroll in regular CEE courses, with instructor approval. Note: when enrolled through Concurrent Enrollment, you are considered an Extension student, not a Berkeley student. 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. See University Extension.

Do you offer any online degrees or classes?

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

May I enroll in a graduate degree program part-time?

We currently have 2 part-time MEng degree programs.

How long does it take to earn the different degrees?

  • Full-time Master's degrees (MS and MEng) take 1 year (2 semesters) to complete
  • Part-time MEng program takes between 2-4 years to complete
  • A PhD degree takes on average 5 years to complete

May I transfer coursework completed at another institution?

The UC Berkeley Graduate Division does not allow the transfer of units toward a doctoral degree. Graduate Division regulations do permit a maximum of 4 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 degree program and has consulted with his or her adviser.

You will not be required to retake courses you have already completed. Courses relevant to your degree would be substituted.

Are interviews required?

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

May I defer my admission?

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

What type of funding is available?

Most funding is reserved for PhD students which means there is limited funding for MS-only students. Most MS students will try to secure teaching assistant positions (GSIs) or Reader positions that will offer partial to full fee remission. We also suggest that students apply for outside funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Ford Foundation, and the Fulbright Scholar Program.

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

Yes, you will need to fill out the Graduate Admission's Application. You must inform the CEE Academic Affairs Office of your decision to apply. Contact to notify them of your intention.  Additional materials may need to be submitted, but you may not need to fully complete the application.

I am a master's student in either Architecture, Urban Planning, or Public Policy and I want to add the MS as part of the joint program. What should I do?

You will need to submit the Graduate Admission's Application.  Please apply to the joint program (not just the MS).  


Application questions

Do you accept applications for the spring semester?

No, we only accept applications for the fall semester.

May I apply to more than one program at the same time?

No, you may apply to only 1 graduate degree program on the Berkeley campus per admissions cycle.

I applied last year and want to reapply this year. Do I have to submit everything again?

You will need to re-submit the online Graduate Application and pay the application fee. We have the letters of recommendation, transcripts and test scores on file in our database. We suggest you add 1 new letter, change your statements, and add any coursework you may have taken since your last application.

What do I do if I started an application in the wrong degree?

If you have opened an application for a specific degree goal and you realize that is incorrect or wish to switch to another degree, contact the Academic Affairs Office. State your full name, application ID number, the degree you have an application under, and the degree you wish to be switched to, and AAO staff will move you to the correct degree goal.

It is possible that some information may be lost during this transfer and you will have to re-enter it.

Should I apply for the MS or MEng or PhD?

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 while MS students 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.

See Degrees.

What should I write in my Statement of Purpose and Personal History Statement?

The Statement of Purpose should reflect your reasoning for applying for the specific degree and the specific CEE Program. For instance, what you are interested in researching within the CEE Program (and any faculty you would like to work with if applicable), and list any previous experience that qualifies you for acceptance.

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.

How long should the statements be?

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

What is the minimum GPA for admission?

The campus GPA for admissions for master's degree programs is a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. This is not necessarily a competitive GPA, but the application will be evaluated holistically.

When should I take the GRE?

CEE department no longer requires, or accepts, the GRE.

What are the minimum TOEFL/IELTS scores?

The minimum TOEFL score is a 90/120 on the iBT  (or 7 on the IELTS).

If my scores are within the average range stated in the previous answer, what are my chances of being admitted?

The CEE admissions process is comprehensive, i.e., CEE bases its 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.

Who qualifies for a TOEFL exemption?

  • 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 1 year of full-time academic course work with a grade of 'B' or better from an accredited US institution

Who should write my letters of recommendation?

We suggest that at least 2 out of 3 of the required letters of recommendation should be written by a faculty member who either served as your instructor or with whom you have worked. The other recommendation can be from an employer, etc.

What is the last day I can submit test scores and letters of recommendation?

  • 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 by the time applications are reviewed.
  • You should request letters as soon as you start the application process to allow recommenders enough time to compose and submit your letter.

Do I need to send any materials via paper mail?

All materials should be uploaded or sent electronically directly to the online application.

When will I find out if I've been accepted or not?

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

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