Graduate Student Services Staff

The EECS graduate affairs staff focus on the graduate students in EECS: working with them to resolve difficulties, anticipating necessary processes of academic life and creating community with the other people here in the department.  We hope to make your time here a productive and happy one.


Susanne Kauer
CSA Executive Director

Director of Graduate Matters


Advising TBD
EE PhD Staff Advisor
Jean Nguyen
CS PhD Staff Advisor
  • Michael Sun
    MS Staff Advisor
  • Tiffany Sun
    EECS Grad Staff Advisor
Admissions Patrick Hernan
EE MS/PhD Admissions Officer
& GSI Hiring
Glenna Anton
CS MS/PhD Admissions Officer
& GSI Hiring
  • Michael Sun
    MS Admissions Advisor
  • Tiffany Sun
    Grad Admissions Advisor
    & GSI Assignments

Who is my Staff Graduate Advisor?

The Staff Graduate Advisor for CS doctoral students is Jean Nguyen. Her office is in 367 Soda Hall and her email is

The Staff Graduate Advisor for EE doctoral students is TBD.

The Staff Graduate Advisor for masters students is Michael Sun. His office is in 215 Cory and his email is msun86@eecs.

Who is the “Head Graduate Advisor?”

We currently have three Head Graduate Advisors for the department.
  • EE – Ana Arias
  • CS – John Wawrzynek
  • MEng – Alvin Cheung and Sanjit Seshia

However, for most forms that need a signature from the “Head Graduate Advisor,” the Staff Graduate Advisor (Jean Nguyen or Michael Sun) should be the one to sign. In general, the Head Graduate Advisor may not be familiar with each individual student case and the Staff Graduate Advisor can verify the information.

Faculty Advisors

How do I find a faculty advisor?

Most students find a research advisor with little difficulty. For those who do have some difficulties, the least common reason is a lack of qualifications. Professors are likely to be flattered by an invitation to supervise a student’s research, even if they feel compelled to decline the invitation. So students should be assertive and flexible. The sooner a student starts looking for an advisor, the easier it will be for them to retarget their research interests, should that prove necessary.

Can I change my faculty advisor?

Students are free to change their faculty advisor, and quite a few students do this between the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. However, it can be awkward to leave an advisor who has invested their time, energy, and financial support. The best way to avoid awkwardness and misunderstanding is to have free and open communication; students should always inform their advisor of their intentions.

What do I do when I change my faculty advisor?

If students find a faculty advisor, or want to change their faculty advisor, they should send an email to their Staff Graduate Advisor. The previous and new advisors should also be CCed on the email so everyone remains informed of the change. The Staff Graduate Advisor will make the change in the department database.

Can I have more than one faculty advisor?

The EECS department has no specific position on whether a student should or should not have co-faculty advisors. The decision should be determined between the student and their faculty advisor. In some cases, there are students that already have co-faculty advisors. In other situations, students prefer to only have one. If a student does wish to have more than one faculty advisor, they should notify their Staff Graduate Advisor who will update their database entry.

When should I worry about not having a permanent advisor yet?

All students should have a permanent advisor by the end of their second semester, and no later than the end of their third semester.

Campus Resources

It’s my first year in grad school and I’m not very happy. What resources are available to help me cope?

Many students experience difficulty transitioning to graduate school and the EECS program during their first year. This is completely normal and to be expected. There are several different resources available. Students should speak with their faculty advisor to help strategize ways they can cope with the challenges of graduate school. The Staff Graduate Advisor can also be an excellent resource and advocate for students.

Professional counseling resources are also available on campus through the Tang Center.  Furthermore, the College of Engineering has several different wellness resources available to Engineering students.

I have a disability and may need extra resources. What are my options?

As part of the Division of Equity and Inclusion, the Disabled Students Program (DSP) on campus ensures that all students with disabilities have equal access to educational opportunities. The program offers a wide range of services that are individually designed and based on the specific needs of each student. Students with a disability should check in with the DSP to find out what resources are available for their specific situation.


How many units do I need to be registered in every semester?

To maintain full-time status, students must be enrolled in at least 12 units during the spring and fall semesters. During the summer session, registration in units is generally not required.  In some special cases, such as international students wanting to work off campus through Curricular Practical Training, registration in a course will be required.

I would like to take some time off from my studies. What do I need to do?

Graduate Division requires that students be registered continuously until a degree is completed. Students who want or need to take a leave of absence, should not just vanish. Students should notify their Staff Graduate Advisor by email and bring them a withdrawal form.  Students should also make sure they do not have any registration blocks or outstanding fees. They should also make sure they are not registered for units in the semester they intend to withdraw.

I withdrew from the University and plan to come back to finish my studies. What do I need to do?

If you have withdrawn from the university and want to come back and finish your degree, you will need to file a Petition for Readmissions and a Statement of Legal Residence (SLR). You can obtain this readmission form from the department Graduate Offices, the Graduate Division Degrees Office, in 318 Sproul Hall, or on the Registrar’s website. Once you have obtained the necessary signatures you should file the petition with your Staff Graduate Advisor.

Note: Readmission is not guaranteed.

In addition to the Petition for Readmission you will need to submit the following materials to an EECS Graduate Assistant:

  • a statement of purpose which includes
    1. what you believe has changed since you were last enrolled and
    2. what your plans for research and financial support are upon your return
  • if you plan to use courses more than 7 years old in fulfillment of degree requirements and do not already have an approved program of study (blue or white card) on file with the Department’s Graduate Office, you must submit a petition justifying the use of these courses in your program of study
  • official transcripts if you have attended school since you left Berkeley
  • a letter of academic, research and financial support from an EECS faculty member who will serve as your advisor

What is In Absentia Registration?

In Absentia is a type of registration for full-time graduate students who have an academic need to conduct research outside of California for a period of up to one academic year. A student will pay 15% of the Tuition (formerly educational fee) and Student Services (formerly registration) fee and 100% of health insurance, non-resident tuition, and, if applicable, professional degree fees.

As an international student, do I need to register in units to work off-campus?

Yes. To legally work in the United States, international students need to apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT). International students that register for summer units to participate in CPT will be expected to pay fees for summer sessions, or should discuss the payment with their faculty adviser.

Filing Fee

What is Filing Fee?

Filing fee is a reduced fee for graduate students who are advanced to candidacy, are eligible to register, and have completed all requirements for the degree except for filing the master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation, or taking the final examination for the master’s degree. The Filing fee is not a form, nor the equivalent of, registration. It can only be used once during a student’s academic career. For more information on Filing Fee, please refer to the Berkeley Grad Degrees FAQ.

I was on Filing Fee but did not finish the requirements for my degree. What do I need to do?

Students that were on filing fee but did not finish need to be readmitted to the program if they plan to return for either the spring or fall semester. See the readmissions procedure.

However, the exception would be if a student was on Filing Fee in the spring semester and planned to file in the summer. An approved readmission application would not be required, but enrolling in at least three summer session units would be necessary.

How long is Filing Fee valid?

Filing Fee lasts until the last day of the semester it was approved.

Can I take classes while on Filing Fee?

No, students on Filing Fee are not permitted to take courses.

Can I be a GSR, GSI, Reader, or Tutor while on Filing Fee?

No, students on filing fee cannot have academic student employment.

Can I be on Filing Fee for the summer?

Filing fee is technically only for the Spring and Fall semesters. However, students may apply for the Filing Fee option any time over the summer. The last day they should submit their thesis will be the last day of the Fall semester.


How do I find the Course Control Numbers for 299s (research units)?

The Course Control Numbers are updated on the Ph.D. Class information and Scheduling web page.  Students should be aware that these codes change every semester.

Can I enroll in the 299 units for a letter grade?

No, the EECS department specifies that graduate students should enroll in the 299s on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis.

Can I transfer units from another institution that would apply to my coursework here at EECS?

Yes, this is possible. However, the process is slightly different between Masters students and Doctoral students. In addition, only MS students are eligible to transfer their coursework. MEng and MAS-IC students may not transfer units.

For MS students, a maximum of four semester units or 6 six quarter units of credit earned while in graduate standing at another institution will be eligible provided the following requirements are met:

  • The credit was not applied toward satisfying the requirements of a previously conferred degree
  • The credit was earned for coursework normally offered within the current program of study, and
  • The credit will not be used to reduce the minimum requirement for 200-level courses.

Petitions are considered on an individual basis and should be completed before applying for candidacy. They will be granted only for students with high achievement (i.e., a GPA of at least 3.3 at both Berkeley and the original institution). UC Berkeley undergraduates that took a graduate course for a grade during their final semester which did not count toward their undergraduate degree may be able to transfer this course towards the M.S. program. See the Staff Graduate Advisor for details about this backdating graduate standing. process and for the proper petition form.

For Doctoral students, the maximum amount of transfer units is 12 semester units or 18 quarter units. In most cases, not more than one course will be accepted for the major field. Units used to complete a bachelor’s degree will not be accepted. A Transfer of Credit petition is required for each course a student intends to transfer. If approved, the course will be for department use only and will not appear in the official UC Berkeley transcript.  See the Staff Graduate Advisor for details.

Masters Degree Programs

What are the Masters degree programs offered through EECS?

The EECS department currently offers a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and a Masters degree in Computer Science. There is also a professional Masters of Engineering degree and also a Fifth Year Masters Program which is available only to Berkeley EECS and CS L&S Undergraduates. It is a five year combined Bachelor/Master’s program geared toward outstanding and highly motivated students who desire a program of study that offers greater breadth than is practical in the B.S. or B.A. programs alone.

What is the difference between the various Masters degree programs?

  • MS – research program for students looking at a PhD in the future or going into R&D within industry
  • MEng – professional program for students going into industry
  • Fifth Year Masters – only available to Berkeley EECS and CS L&S undergraduates

Which Masters degree is more highly viewed in industry?

We have heard from our industry partners that any Masters degree from UC Berkeley EECS is considered very highly. They trust our faculty and our programs to effectively prepare students for careers in today’s EECS fields. It is then the student’s role to explain their degree program, accomplishments, projects, learning outcomes, and experiences to the employer during interviews. The same goes for Plan I vs Plan II. The employers do not know the difference, so it is up to you to decide which best fits your learning goals and then explain your thesis or technical report to the employers.

As a Ph.D. student, is it possible for me to also get a Master’s degree in EECS?

Yes, students can get a Master’s degree before receiving their doctoral degree. However, the Masters degree must be completed before you file your dissertation. Information on what steps are needed for the Master’s degree can be found in the EECS M.S. Student Guide.

Is it a possible for a Masters student to get the Ph.D. degree?

Yes, it is possible. However, Masters students would need to apply through the regular admissions process during the fall and be admitted to the doctoral program.

What is the difference between a Masters Plan I and Plan II?

The differences between Plan I and Plan II are summarized in the chart below.  Most EECS students (approximately 90%) complete Plan II. The end result is the same Masters degree.

Plan I Plan II Coursework 4-10 units of 299 3-6 units of 299 Advance to Candidacy Department form + University form Department form only Thesis Committee 3 members 2 members Thesis Format University format (specific) Department format (flexible) Thesis Availability University Library + EECS Website EECS Website

Doctoral Program

What is required of students to get the Ph.D. program?

There is a series of steps students must complete to achieve the doctoral degree. To summarize, there is coursework, preliminary requirements comprised of an oral exam and breadth courses, a qualifying exam, teaching requirement, dissertation talk, and writing the actual dissertation. A flowchart illustrating the steps can be found on the EECS Ph.D. Flowchart. In addition, more specific information can be found in the Ph.D. Student Guide.

What constitutes a Major and Minor for doctoral students on the Blue and White cards?

A coherent program of graduate courses (200 level) or the equivalent, with a GPA of 3.5 or better, as approved by your Research Advisor, will satisfy the major requirement. The minor subject areas requirement is typically met by taking 2 courses in a given area. At least one of the courses must be a graduate (200 level) course. In both cases, the actual nomenclature can be determined by the student and their advisor.

How many cross-listed courses can I use to fulfill my coursework requirements?

There is no limit on the amount of cross-listed course that can be used towards a student’s Major and Inside Minor, but the combination of coursework is subject to the approval of the Head Graduate Advisor.

What are the breadth requirements for the doctoral degree?

The breadth requirement stipulates that students must take additional courses outside of the area of their oral preliminary exam. All courses must be at the graduate or advanced undergraduate level and at least three units in two different areas in the EECS Department, outside the area of the oral exam. EE students must complete two approved breadth courses with a grade of A- or better. CS students must complete three approved courses with at least a B+ or better (only one B+ is permitted). (CS does not allow advanced undergraduate level courses for the breadth course requirements)

How are the breadth requirements different from the inside minor?

EE students can use a course listed in their inside minor towards counting for the breadth requirements. However, the inside minor needs at least two courses in the same area. The EE breadth courses require at least one course in different areas. CS students can use the breadth courses to count towards their inside minor but these courses need to be from the same subject areas. CS requires breadth courses to be completed in three specific subject areas and students must choose from the list of prescribed courses in fulfillment of the breadth requirements.

When do I need to take the Prelim Exam?

All students are expected to take the exam no later than their third semester. In some cases, a student may wish to take an exam earlier or later. For both cases, students need to submit a general petition justifying their reasons for taking the exam and solicit their faculty advisor’s approval.

Who is on my Prelim Committee?

The Prelim Committee is comprised of faculty members with expertise in the particular exam area. The members are usually assigned by the Vice Chair of Graduate Matters and the Staff Graduate Assistant. Students are notified approximately one month in advance of the exams who the faculty members will on the committee.

Where can I find the Prelim syllabus?

Information on the Prelim exam syllabus and other useful information can be found on the prelim exam preparation page.

How do I know which Prelim Exam to take?

Students should chose the Prelim Exam that most closely matches their research interest.

If I am an EE student, can I take a CS prelim exam? And vice versa?

Yes, it is possible with approval. Students need to fill out a General Petition, have it approved by their faculty advisor, and presented to their Staff Graduate Assistant who will get final approval from the Vice Chair of Graduate Matters.

Qualifying Exams

When do I need to take the Qualifying Exam?

The Qualifying Examination must be taken within 6 semesters of starting the program, and if the Qual is not a Thesis Proposal, then a satisfactory Thesis Proposal should be presented by the end of 10 semesters. In some cases it may be necessary to delay this strict deadline depending on the format of the exam. Significant delays, however, will be brought to the attention of the research advisor and to the faculty at large at the EE and CS Student Review meetings. The exam is meant to demonstrate readiness to do research; it is not intended as a defense of an all-but-completed dissertation.

Who should be on my Qualifying Exam committee?

The Qualifying committee must consist of four members, all regular faculty members at Berkeley. A student’s advisor is normally a member of the committee but cannot be the chair. Another committee member must be from outside the EECS Department, representing some area of expertise relevant to the student’s research area, and usually from one of the areas declared as the outside minor. All members of the Quals Committee must be able to examine the student on at least one of the three subjects of the examination. The outside minor need not be one of the three subject areas.

What are the requirements to take the Qualifying Exam?

Since the Qualifying Exam is a University requirement, it can be taken only with the approval of, and at a time approved by, the Graduate Division. Eligibility requirements for taking the exam are as follows:

  • Students must be registered the semester in which the exam is taken (an exam may be taken during the summer or winter breaks IF the student paid fees for the semester immediately preceding the exam or intends to pay fees for the semester immediately following the exam).
  • Students must have completed at least one semester of academic residence at Berkeley.
  • Students must have passed the Preliminary oral exam and met the breadth course requirements.
  • Students must have a GPA of at least 3.5 in their major subject area, at least 3.0 in each of the minor areas (298 and 299 not included), and have no more than 2 .Incomplete. grades.