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 MS and PhD students, including transfers to TE from within UCB, must take a TE "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 diagnostic, that student must enroll in CE 262 Analysis of Transportation Data in their first semester in the program. This requirement cannot be deferred. Make sure a note has been placed 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 with a three-person committee, one member outside the department.  Identify the faculty member who will serve as your thesis supervisor before the end of the first semester.
  • 20 units with eight in Transportation Engineering (two of these eight can be CE 299) and two of the remaining 12 units (of graduate and advanced undergraduate courses) can also be CE 299. See TE Course Requirements below.
  • Two semesters to complete. Students may take up to 4 semesters if completing the Plan 1 program or similar advanced research activities.

Master of Science: Plan II

  • Comprehensive Evaluation fulfilled by submission of work product from a course approved by the course instructor and one other TE faculty.
  • 24 units with 12 in Transportation Engineering (two of these 12 can be CE 299) and two of the remaining 12 units of graduate and advanced undergraduate courses can be CE 299. See TE Course Requirements below.
  • Two semesters to complete. Students may take up to 4 semesters if completing the Plan 1 program or similar advanced research activities.

Master of Engineering (MEng)

  • 25 units.
  • Six units of core leadership classes: ENGIN 270 series (one unit business & management courses).
  • An integrative capstone project: E 296 MA/MB.
  • Two required courses: CE 251 Operation of Transportation Facilities; CE 252 Systems Analysis in Transportation (six units).
  • Two technical electives chosen from: CE 253 Intelligent Transportation Systems (offered sporadically); CE 255 Highway Traffic Operations; CE 259 Public Transportation Systems; CE 260 Air Transportation; CE 264 Behavioral Modeling (six units).
  • Additional coursework includes a minimum of five units of Integrative Capstone Projects complementing the core leadership curriculum (E 296 MA/MB) and one unit each semester (for a total of two units) of the capstone integration course (E 295).

The MEng is administered in conjunction with the Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership.  See Fung Institute for part-time/full time enrollmentcurriculum 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.
  • Five 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 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 and CEE'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. There is one 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 by applying online a second time.

Students in CRP not previously admitted to the joint program should submit an application 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
  • at least one additional letter of recommendation from a Berkeley faculty

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 ensure that programs of study are 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; CE 290U/CRP 213 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, 
Group 4 Analysis Electives: CE 254; CE 258/IEOR253; CE 264; CE 290I; CE 291D
Group 5 Systems Electives: CE 290I; CE 271; CE 291D

All MS and MS/MCP students need to take CE 251, CE 252, and CE 262, although they can test out of CE 262. They also need to take three approved electives.

MS students must choose a concentration in either Transportation Engineering or Transportation Systems. Elective requirements depend on the concentration:

  • Students concentrating in Transportation Engineering also need to take one course each out of the selections in Policy, Modals, and Analysis.
  • Students concentrating in Systems need to take, in addition to the three required courses, one course each in Modal, Analysis, and Systems, with no overlap in course work.

MS/MCP students need to take a total of three courses across the Modal and Analysis areas, with no overlap in course work.


  • 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 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 with funding.
  • Broad variety of courses in Transportation Engineering (including policy, operations, systems, analysis, and design) in addition to the basic core courses (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
  • Two minors.
  • Two examinations:
    • Preliminary Examination
    • Qualifying Examination
  • After passing the second 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
  • Between two and four 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 CEE Department’s  Academic Affairs Office. The Blue Form should be signed and returned to the AAO during your first semester of study.

MS students may enter the PhD program through the agreement of a faculty advisor who commits to financial and academic support for the subsequent three years.

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

- see department handbook for additional detail.

The PhD preliminary exam is a 90-minute oral exam that assesses your readiness to undertake independent research. The exam is conducted by a three-member committee, normally during the first year after entry into the PhD program. This will be during the second year of study for students who matriculated to Berkeley as MS students, and during the first year for students admitted to Berkeley as PhD students.

Qualifying Examination

- see department handbook for additional detail.

The oral Qualifying Exam will normally occur in the year following the Preliminary Examination. The exam committee will include three TE members and one outside member and 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 within 3 to 6 months after the original attempt.

Upon passing the oral Qualifying Exam, you need to request the formation of a three-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 three 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 three-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 three-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.

Thesis Seminar

You are strongly encouraged to present your thesis work in a seminar open to the Berkeley campus community.