Graduate Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

Pre-Admissions Questions

  1. What can I do to prepare my graduate application to UC Berkeley?

    • Register and study for the General GRE (Graduate Record Examination) if you have not taken it or if your scores have expired. Please see ETS (Educational Testing Service) for testing locations, test dates, and the length of time it will take to receive your test scores (scores must be reported on the application).
    • Contact three individuals, preferably professors, to write letters of recommendation. To aid your recommenders with writing your letters, you may want to prepare packages for them that include copies of work you have done with them, transcripts, and a resume/CV. Letters are very important to the admissions committee so it’s best to make sure that your recommenders know you well enough to compose a detailed and positive letter.
    • If you received your bachelor’s degree in a country in which English is not an official language must satisfy the Evidence of Language Proficiency Requirement. You can do this by taking the TOEFL or the IELTS.
    • Please see the UC Berkeley Graduate Division Admissions Requirements for more information.
     
  2. What are the minimum requirements to be considered for graduate admission?

    Please see the Prerequisites.
     

  3. What graduate degree programs do you offer if I’m interested in research?

    Please see our Research-Oriented Graduate Degree Programs.
     

  4. Do you offer online degree programs?

    No, all of our graduate programs are on campus.
     

  5. Do your degree programs have a part-time option?

    The EECS Department does not allow part-time study for the MS or PhD programs. All MS and PhD students are required to maintain a full-time load of 8-12 units. There are no evening or weekend courses.
     

  6. Does the department have a supplemental application?

    No, we do not have a supplemental application. Applicants only need to complete the university graduate application.
     

  7. Does the department have a rolling admission process?

    No, we do not offer rolling admission. You must submit a completed application by the deadline to be considered for admission.
     

  8. Can I apply for Spring semester admission?

    No, we only offer admission for the Fall semester.
     

  9. Can I apply to two departments or two degree programs?

    No, you can only submit one graduate school application per admission cycle.
     

  10. My undergraduate degree is not in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science, can I still apply to a graduate program in the EECS Department?

    Yes, however, to have a strong application you will need to demonstrate your technical knowledge, your ability to do graduate level research and equivalent coursework, and your academic potential in general. Please see our Suggestions for People Without a Technical Background.
     

  11. Does UC Berkeley accept three-year undergraduate degrees?

    Some three-year Bologna Process bachelor-level degrees are accepted for graduate admission. A bachelor-level honors degree is required for applicants from universities in Australia and New Zealand who have completed three-year degrees. Three-year degrees from India are not accepted; instead, a 4-year degree (such as a B.Eng or a B.Tech) or a 3-year bachelor's degree followed by a 2-year master's degree is required for applicants from India.
     

  12. Do I need a master’s degree to apply to the PhD program?

    No, we do not require a master’s degree to apply to our PhD program. Students with a bachelor’s degree can apply directly to the PhD program.
     

  13. If I already have an MS or a PhD, can I apply to one of your graduate programs?

    Applicants who already hold a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, or any field closely related are not eligible for an MS degree in our department and, instead, should apply for a PhD. Students who already hold a doctoral degree in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, or any field closely related are not eligible for a PhD degree or a lesser degree, such as an MS, in our department.
     

  14. What is the difference between the MS/PhD and PhD programs?

    The MS/PhD and PhD programs are nearly the same. Both programs are considered doctoral programs, have the same course requirements, and, for students coming in with a bachelor's degree, take approximately the same length of time to complete.
    The MS/PhD program allows students to earn the MS degree while continuing to work towards earning their PhD degree. Students usually submit a thesis report to earn the MS. There is no break in coursework or research for students in the MS/PhD program.
    The PhD program allows students to earn only a PhD. Students do not need a master's degree to apply for PhD program. However, students who already have a master’s in a similar field should apply to the PhD program rather than the MS/PhD program.
     

  15. Do you accept transfer students to your graduate programs?

    No, we do not accept transfer students to our graduate programs. All students apply for regular admission.

Application Questions

  1. Do I need to pay an application fee?

    Yes, you must submit an application fee by the application deadline for your application to be reviewed. The application fee is not refundable. Please view the Application Fee rates.
     

  2. Are application fee waivers available?

    U.S. citizens or permanent residents who can demonstrate financial need are eligible to apply for an application fee waiver. Please see the eligibility requirements and deadlines for Requesting an Application Fee Waiver.

     

  3. Do I need to contact faculty or establish an advisor before I apply?

    No, you do not need to contact faulty or establish an advisor in order to apply. Instead, on the application, you will list faculty members who you would like to work with should you be admitted to our graduate program. You can view the list of all our current faculty or you can view the faculty associated with each research area.
     

  4. Is the General GRE or a Subject GRE required?

    The General GRE is required for all applicants, even those with advanced degrees. Scores must remain valid/unexpired through the time of admission; expired GRE scores will not be accepted. Scores from other exams such as the GMAT, LSAT, etc. will not be accepted in lieu of the GRE. A Subject GRE is not required and there is no penalty for not taking one.
     

  5. When should I take the GRE?

    We highly recommend that applicants take the GRE no later than the beginning of November so you have time to receive your scores. GRE scores must be reported on the application.
     

  6. What are the minimum GRE scores required for admission?

    We do not have minimum GRE score requirements.
     

  7. If I take the GRE more than once, which scores do you consider?

    The application allows you to report only one set scores. If you take the GRE more than once, we recommend that you self-report and send the scores from the exam that you performed the best on. Your self-reported scores on your application need to be the same as your official scores in order for your official scores to match to your application.
     

  8. How important is the verbal portion of the GRE?

    Though the math section will be more important in our review, any score less than a 147 (or the 34th percentile) on the verbal section of the GRE will be of concern.
     

  9. Where do I send official GRE, TOEFL, or IELTS scores?

    Send all scores electronically to UC Berkeley institution code 4833. You do not need to provide a department code; we will receive your scores through the institution code regardless of whether or not you enter a department code.
     

  10. Who needs to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores?

    Please see the university requirements for who needs to submit Evidence of English Language Proficiency. Please note that having lived and worked in the U.S. or another English-speaking country does not satisfy the English language proficiency requirement or exempt you from the TOEFL or IELTS.
     

  11. What are the minimum TOEFL or IELTS scores required for admission?

    The minimum TOEFL score required by UC Berkeley for graduate admission is 570 on the paper-based test (PBT), 230 on the computer based test (CBT), and 90 on the Internet Based Test (iBT). The minimum score for the IELTS is an overall band score of 7; there are no minimum scores for the individual bands. Applicants with scores below these will not be admitted.
     

  12. Can I send official test scores before I apply?

    You can have official test scores (GRE, TOEFL, or IELTS) sent any time during the year as long as they are sent by the application deadline.
     

  13. Do I need to calculate my GPA for the application?

    Applicants whose undergraduate GPA is based on a 4-point scale will need to enter their cumulative GPA, as well as calculate their Advanced GPA and Major GPA for the application. The application will specify which courses to calculate for each GPA field. The EECS Department nor the university provide a GPA calculator. Applicants should use their university’s grading scale to calculate their GPAs to the best of their abilities.

    Applicants whose undergraduate GPA is not based on a 4-point scale should not calculate or convert their GPAs. These applicants should leave the aforementioned GPA fields blank or enter “0.00” and, instead, enter their cumulative GPA as it appears on their transcript in the “Other Scale GPA” section of the application.
     

  14. Do I have to provide a GPA calculation worksheet with my application?

    A GPA calculation worksheet is appreciated but not required.
     

  15. What transcripts or academic records should be included in my application?

    Upload to your application unofficial copies (PDFs) of transcripts for all university-level coursework. Unofficial transcripts must include the name of institution, applicant name, courses, grades, and, if applicable, degree conferral. Hardcopy/official transcripts are not required for the application review process. International students who’ve completed their degree should also upload additional

    documents, such as a degree certificate, if their transcripts do not include evidence of the award of their degree. Official or unofficial transcripts mailed or emailed to the department will not be accepted.
     

  16. My transcripts are not in English, do my transcripts need to be translated?

    International transcripts and degree certificates that are in a language other than English must have an official English translation of the transcript uploaded to the application along with the original transcript. Translations should be prepared and issued by the school the student attended or an ATA certified translator.
     

  17. I’m currently completing my undergraduate degree and my fall grades will be released after the application deadline, will I be able to submit an updated transcript?

    No, you cannot submit a new transcript after you’ve submitted your application. If you are currently finishing your undergraduate degree, please just upload the most current version of your transcript; it is okay if your fall grades do not appear on your transcript.  The application will provide a space for you list any additional courses that you are currently taking or plan to take in the future.
     

  18. How many letters of recommendation are required to apply?

    At least three letters of recommendation are required.
     

  19. Can I submit more than three letters of recommendation?

    The online application will allow you to submit more than three letters of recommendation. However, there is no guarantee that more than three letters will be read. Also keep in mind that submitting three good letters and one bad letter will put your application at a disadvantage.
     

  20. Who should write my letters of recommendation?

    Recommendations from professors are highly preferred, however letters from employers in industry or outside academia are acceptable. Regardless of who the recommender is, the letter should demonstrate your academic and research ability and potential.
     

  21. What should be included in my letters of recommendation?

    Your recommenders are asked to give their personal impressions of your intellectual ability, your aptitude in research or professional skills, your character, and the quality of your previous work and potential for future productive scholarship.
     

  22. What does it mean to waive access to my letters of recommendation?

    Applicants who waive the right to access a letter of recommendation means that they have not and will not view or inspect the letter. Instead, the letter remains private between the recommender and the admissions committee.

    Applicants choose whether or not to waive the right to inspect their letters in the Recommendations section of the application. Please note that the application does not allow you to reverse your waiver decision after you’ve submitted it.
     

  23. Can my recommenders upload their letters after I’ve submitted my application or after the application deadline?

    The application can continue to receive recommendation letters after you’ve submitted your application and after the deadline. However, the review process begins immediately after the application deadline. If the admissions committee has already reviewed your application before your recommender has submitted their letter, it is not guaranteed that your application will be reviewed again. Therefore, it is highly advised that you contact recommenders at least three months before the application deadline to give them ample time to write and submit their letters by the deadline.
     

  24. My recommender did not receive the email with the link to upload their recommendation, what should I do?

    Ask you recommender to check their SPAM folder for the email containing the recommendation link and instructions. If your recommender still cannot locate this email, contact UC Berkeley’s Graduate Admissions Office at gradadm@berkeley.edu and ask for assistance.
     

  25. How do I apply for campus fellowships, graduate researcher appointments (GSR), or teaching assistantships (GSI)?

    Applicants to the PhD and MS programs are automatically considered for these types of support. If you are admitted the details of your financial support will be disclosed at the time of admission.
     

  26. What is the process to reapply to the EECS Department? Can I reactivate an old application?

    All previous applicants must submit a new online application and pay the application fee. It is highly recommended that previous applicants submit all new materials with their online application, including new letters of recommendation, new Statement of Purpose and Personal History Statement essays, and a new CV. New GRE and TOEFL/IELTS scores will need to be submitted if your previous scores expired. Once your new application and items are submitted, if you applied to an EECS Department graduate program within past two years, then your most recent previous application will be linked to your new application.

     

  27. Can you update any documents, test scores, or information after I have submitted my application?

    No, even if you submit the application before the deadline, we cannot update your application after you have submitted it. Please make sure to check that your application is complete and all information and materials are correct before you submit.
     

  28. When does the application review begin?

    The application review begins immediately after the application deadline.
     

  29. How do I check my application status?

    Once you submit your online application, you will receive an email confirming your submission. You may log back into your application to monitor the status of the materials received or processed such as fee waivers, test scores, letters of recommendation, and admission decision.
     

  30. When and how will I be notified regarding my admission status?

    All admission decisions will be sent via email by April 1st.
     

  31. Who should I contact if I’m experiencing technical difficulties with the application?

    If you experience technical difficulty when applying online, please send an email describing the problem to UC Berkeley’s Graduate Admissions Office at gradadm@berkeley.edu.

Program Questions

  1. How long does it take to complete the MS degree or PhD degree?

    Please see our Research-Oriented Graduate Degree Programs.
     

  2. Where can I find the coursework and degree requirements for MS and PhD students?

    Please see the Information for Current Graduate Students.
     

  3. What type of financial support is available for MS and PhD students?

    Incoming MS and PhD students are supported, however we also encourage students to apply for external fellowships. Applications are reviewed on the same basis regardless of an applicant's financial background.
     

  4. What type of financial support is available for international students in the MS and PhD program?

    International students who are seeking an MS or a PhD are given the same financial considerations that domestic students.
     

  5. Can current UC Berkeley graduate students add an MS or a PhD degree from the EECS Department?

    PhD-only students in the EECS Department may petition to add an EECS Department MS degree. However, terminal master’s students in the EECS Department must apply through regular admission should they also wish to receive PhD degree from the EECS Department. UC Berkeley graduate students who are not in the EECS Department, must apply through regular admission to add an MS or a PhD degree from the EECS Department.
     

  6. Can graduate students in the EECS Department change their program division?

    Students who wish to change their program division (from CS to EE or vice-versa) can petition to do so with approval from an appropriate faculty advisor. Please note that newly admitted students must wait until they start their graduate program to submit this petition.
     

  7. Can graduate students in the EECS Department transfer credit from another university?

    Students can petition to transfer relevant coursework from another institution. MS students can petition up to 4 semester units (6 quarter units) of coursework towards their course requirements. MS/PhD and PhD students can petition up to 12 semester units (18 quarter units) of coursework toward their course requirements. Coursework petitions must be approved by the student’s advisor and Graduate Vice Chair in order for units to officially transfer. Approval of transfer units is never guaranteed and units that were used to complete a bachelor's degree will not be accepted. Please note that newly admitted students must wait until they start their graduate program to submit this petition.

Who should I contact if I have further questions or wish to set up an advising appointment?

Please email gradadmissions@eecs.berkeley.edu