Grad Policies: Master of Science (M.S.)

There are two types of M.S. degrees EECS students can be awarded:

  • Master of Science in Engineering (EECS)  —normally for EE students with a B.S. degree in engineering
  • Master of Science in Computer Science  —normally for CS students with a B.S./B.A. in computer science

The M.S. degree requires either a thesis (Plan I) or a project report (Plan II); the two options are quite similar.

Coursework

M.S. students must complete  a total of at least 24 units  of coursework (not including 298, 301, or 602 units), approved by their faculty Research Advisor within the following guidelines:

  • At least 10 units must be graduate (200 series) EE and/or CS courses, not including EE or CS 298s or 299s.
  • Under Plan I, between 4 and 10 units of independent research  299 (in either EE or CS, depending on your area), taken in conjunction with the writing of a thesis, are included as part of the 24 total units.
  • Under Plan II, between 3 and 6 units of 299 (in either EE or CS, depending on your area), leading to an approved project report, are included.

The remainder of the units may be fulfilled by 100- or 200-level courses from any department as long as the research advisor signs off on the coursework.

Grades

All courses, except for 299s, must be taken for a letter grade.  299s should be taken with the S/U grade option. Your overall GPA must be at least 3.0 (computed for all 100 and 200 level courses taken up to the time that the M.S. is awarded). Courses with a "C" grade may be balanced with "A" or "B" grades. No credit toward the M.S. degree is given for grades "D+" or below; however, these grades will affect the overall GPA.

Grades of "I" (Incomplete), "NR" (No Report), or "F" must be cleared or explained before you are advanced to candidacy or allowed to receive your degree.

Academic Residency

In order for a semester to count for academic residence, you must enroll for at least 4 units of 100 or 200 level courses. (These 4 units do not necessarily satisfy the requirements for full-time study.) The Department expects M.S. candidates to finish in 3 semesters unless they are continuing for the Ph.D., but Masters students must complete a minimum of 2 semesters in academic residence to receive the degree.

Advancement to M.S. Candidacy

Students should plan to Advance to Candidacy after completing at least half of the required coursework. Both Plan I and Plan II M.S. students need to complete the departmental Advancement to Candidacy form, have your research advisor sign it, and submit it to the Master’s Graduate Advisor in 205 Cory by no later than the end of the second week of classes of your final semester.

If you are planning to use Plan I for your M.S. Degree, you also need to complete the Graduate Division’s Advancement to Candidacy form. Your Faculty Advisor also needs to sign, then it must be submitted to the Masters Graduate Advisor in 205 Cory by no later than the end of the second week of classes of your final semester.

The Master’s Staff Graduate Advisor will verify that your courses are acceptable for the degree before you are advanced to candidacy for the M.S. If you later make any changes to your coursework that will be applied for the degree, notify your Staff Graduate Advisor immediately. Please note that coursework listed on your Advancement form may not be more than 5 years old. Once you have officially been advanced, your candidacy is valid for 3 years.

Transfer of Credit for the M.S. Degree

You are allowed to transfer a maximum of 4 semester units or 6 quarter units of credit earned while you were in graduate standing at another institution, provided:

  1. The credit was not applied toward satisfying the requirements of a previously conferred degree
  2. The credit was earned for coursework normally offered within your current program of study, and
  3. 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). If you were a UC Berkeley undergraduate and you took a graduate course for a grade during your final semester which did not count toward your undergraduate degree, you may be able to transfer this course towards your M.S. program. Consult your Staff Graduate Advisor for details about the process for "backdating graduate standing" and for the proper petition form.

Thesis or Project Report

You must be either registered or on Filing Fee the semester you submit your thesis or project report. The deadline to submit your thesis or project report is always the last day of the semester in which you plan to receive the degree.

In the EECS Department, Plan II's Project Report replaces the "Comprehensive Examination" referred to in university documents and forms. Likewise, there is no examination for Plan I. All fifth year M.S. students must submit a Plan II project report.

PLAN I

The thesis must be approved by your Research Advisor and 2 other members of the Berkeley Academic Senate (regular, Berkeley faculty). The 3-member committee, in turn, must be approved by Graduate Division through your application for Advancement to Candidacy. It is recommended that at least one member of the committee be from another department.

You need to submit two copies of your thesis. (Refer to the Graduate Division's Thesis Filing Guidelines).  Be sure that you follow all of their formatting procedures exactly.

  • 1 copy sent to edegrees@berkeley.edu. Double check that you follow the Graduate Division guidelines.
  • 1 copy (including signature and abstract) uploaded to the EECS Department Website online submission form.
  • You must also submit to your Graduate Assistant the following documents: (1) a copy of the signed signature page, (2) a copy/printout of the title page, and (3) a copy/printout of the abstract.

PLAN II

A written report of a project must be approved by your EECS Research Advisor and by a 2nd reader who is also a member of the regular, Berkeley faculty. Exceptions for non-Berkeley faculty must be approved by general petition.

  • Produce an M.S. Plan II Title/Signature Page. Microsoft Office document iconSee samples(Word);
  • There is no special formatting or paper required for the body of the Plan II MS report (unlike the Plan I MS thesis which must follow strict Graduate Division guidelines);
  • 1 copy (including a blank signature page and abstract) uploaded to the EECS Department Website online submission form.
  • You must also submit to your Staff Graduate Advisor the following documents:
    1. a copy of the signed signature page
    2. a copy/printout of the abstract
    3. 1 copy to Research Advisor (optional)

EECS Department Exit Survey

If you are not continuing beyond the M.S. degree, you must complete the online Exit Survey (this is a departmental requirement in order to receive your degree).

Certificate of Completion

Once you have completed your report and before your degree is posted on your transcript, you may request a certificate of completion of degree requirements.

Diplomas

Degrees are posted to transcripts approximately 3 months after the conferral date. Diplomas are available approximately 1 month after that. For more information, see the Registrar's sites for Transcripts and Diplomas.

M.S. Degree Checklist