Graduate Requirements


  • 1.5 years of college-level calculus
  • 1 year of college-level physics (e.g., Physics 7A & B)
  • 1 semester of probability and statistics 
  • 1 semester of elementary linear algebra
  • GPA, after the first 2 years, of at least 3.25

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.


The Systems degree programs are flexible, and students can tailor their programs in consultation with a graduate adviser in any of a variety of areas of interest. Students have to get their curriculum approved by the Systems Graduate Adviser.

Upon arriving on campus a student will need to define an area of interest and, in consultation with a graduate adviser, design the necessary curriculum.  While there are a number of possibilities, we strongly encourage students to build their own curriculum based on their personal goals.  

Students must take 4 of the Systems core graduate courses.

The other 4 courses to fulfill the MS requirement are chosen by the student with the approval of their faculty adviser. These courses must realize a definable intellectual goal.

Master of Science: Plan I

  • 24 units; 21 units of course work and 3 units of research
  • thesis required with at least 1 adviser from the Systems faculty
  • 4 of the Systems core graduate courses
  • degree plan coursework must be reviewed and accepted by the Systems program graduate adviser. (Students must receive signed approval of their proposed course work by the first week of each semester. Failure to do so can result in not graduating on time.)

Master of Science: Plan II

  • 24 units
  • a capstone project or comprehensive report. This project can be either 2 or more units of individual study or research (CE 299); or satisfactory completion a capstone project in any of the Systems core graduate courses
  • degree plan coursework must be reviewed and accepted by the Systems program graduate adviser. (Students must receive signed approval of their proposed course work by the first week of each semester. Failure to do so can result in not graduating on time.)

Master of Engineering (MEng)

The professional MEng degree is in the Large Cyber-Physical Systems track. This MEng prepares you to use computational innovations for sensor networks, cloud computing, behavioral science, mobile communications and distributed parameter control to create entrepreneurial solutions for industries such as transportation, water, or energy.

  • 25 units
  • 6 units of core leadership classes: ENGIN 270 series (1 unit business & management courses)
  • 5 units of integrative capstone projects that complement E 296 MA/MB and 1 unit per semester (total 2 units) of capstone integration E 295
  • 12 units technical courses from the Systems core graduate courses.

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.


PhD coursework includes the same structure as the MS degree, with the coursework taken under the advice and approval of the graduate and dissertation advisers. The recommended minimum number of units of formal course work (major and minors) in graduate study for the doctoral degree is 33 units. The minimum major requirement is approximately 17 units (excluding research) of which 4 may be upper division undergraduate courses. Two minor fields must be completed, only 1 of which can be within the College of Engineering. The minor normally consists of a group of 2 to 3 upper division undergraduate and graduate courses.

Your major field of study may be within a single department, with essential related courses from other departments; in several departments; or in an interdisciplinary group. Twelve units must be taken within the civil engineering department. Once you have chosen a field of study, you must confer with your graduate and research adviser to select the sequence of courses that will best prepare you for the qualifying examination and research work.

  • 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
  • You must have a graduate adviser to provide general academic guidance and to help with administrative matters, and a research adviser to supervise your dissertation research and to assist with identifying funding paths. Your research adviser must be identified before the Preliminary Examination.
  • At least 3 units of individual study and research (CE 299) must be completed with a Systems faculty member before the Preliminary Examination.
  • Preliminary Examination - see department handbook for additional detail.
    • The Examination Committee is made up of 3 members of the Systems program (one member can be from another program), one of whom is the research adviser. The Preliminary Examination has three parts. The Examination Committee faculty write one or more questions, and the student submits written answers to the provided question(s) after 3 days, a few days before the Preliminary Exam. The student sends the Committee a short research proposal a few days before the exam. The Preliminary Exam is a 2-hour long oral exam, focusing on the written answers, the proposed research, and the completed course work. The student is expected to give an approximately 10-minute presentation on the proposed research.
  • At least 17 units (excluding research) in major, 3 of which may be upper-division courses
  • 4 of the Systems core graduate courses
  • 2 minor fields where only one can be in CEE
  • Serving as a Graduate Student Instructor for an approved course or the equivalent
  • Each minor is a group of 3 upper-division and graduate courses
  • Qualifying Exam - see department handbook for additional detail.
    • The Systems PhD qualifying examination is administered by a committee of four faculty members, at least two from CEE, with each minor subject represented by a faculty member, and with at least one member from outside of CEE. The research/thesis advisor may be a member of the committee but not the chair. The student sends the committee a 3-5 research proposal at least a week before the exam. The student is expected to give an approximately 20-minute presentation on the proposed research.
  • Completion of a dissertation approved by a dissertation committee of at least 3 faculty members, with 1 from outside CEE
  • Before advancement to candidacy, you must pass a Qualifying Examination administered by a committee appointed by the Graduate Division. The University requires that you have a 3.5 (or higher) GPA in the major field to sit for this examination.

The Graduate Council sets the rules and regulations concerning the Qualifying Examination. If you fail the examination the first time, and a second examination is recommended, it must be given not less than 3 months after the first examination. Two failures in the Qualifying Examination constitute cause for denying you the privilege to continue in the Systems program.

The request for appointment of the Qualifying Examination Committee is made by submission of the Program of Study for Doctoral Candidates form ("White Card") to the CEE Academic Affairs Office no later than the second week of the semester after completion of the course requirements.

The names of the Committee for the major and minor fields of study, the proposed dissertation topic, the name of the faculty member designated in charge of the your research, and the proposed dissertation committee must appear on the White Card in the spaces provided. The Systems program adviser shows, by signature, approval of the card. You must give the examining committee a 3-5 page summary of your dissertation research plan no later than 2 weeks prior the date of examination.

The CEE Vice-Chair for Academic Affairs reviews the plan of courses, the suggested Qualifying Examination committee, and the proposed dissertation topic. Approval by the Vice Chair for Academic Affairs is necessary prior to the formal request for appointment of the Qualifying Examination committee.

After approval by the Vice Chair for Academic Affairs, the AAO requests the appointment of the Qualifying Examination Committee by the Dean of the Graduate Division. Any change in the constitution of the Qualifying Examination Committee should be requested using the general Petition Form before the examination is given. All examinations contain an oral portion, and examiners in the minor fields may require a written portion at their option.

You may also take the Qualifying Examination during your last semester of courses if you have met the Systems program-specific requirements. You should refrain from delaying this exam beyond the semester following completion of course requirements.


The Systems Program adviser, upon consultation with the research adviser, recommends a Dissertation Committee, which is appointed by the Dean of the Graduate Division. The dissertation must follow the guidelines in Graduate Division's Dissertation Writing and Filing. The selection of the dissertation topic is made by you working with the faculty member best qualified to supervise research in your particular area of study.