Grad Policies: Ph.D. Coursework

The Faculty of the College of Engineering recommends a minimum number of courses for students in the Ph.D. program. Depending on when you entered the EECS Ph.D. program, your required number of units in the program is either 24 or 32, taken for a letter grade, and  not including 298, 299, 301, and 602 units.  At the discretion of the Vice Chair for Graduate Matters, you may receive credit for some units you’ve taken at a comparable institution. Please see the Transfer Credit section for more information.

Graduate courses you used for the Berkeley M.S. degree may be included as part of your Ph.D. coursework.

The EECS Department requires that a student establish a major subject area and 2 minor subject areas.

Minimum Course Requirements

If You Entered After Fall 2009

If you entered after Fall 2009, you must meet the following minimum course requirements

Units

GPA

Major (all grad (200 level) courses)

12+

3.5+

Inside Minor (at least 1 grad (200 level) course)

6+

3.0+

Outside Minor (at least 1 grad (200 level) course)

6+

3.0+

All Ph.D. students must fulfill the Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) requirement. For students entering after Fall 2009, the requirement is 30 hours of GSI (with at least 20 hours of this being for undergrad courses).

If you entered in Fall 2009 or before,  you have the option of  following the coursework and GSI requirements for post-2009 or meeting the following minimum course requirements  combined with  20 hours of GSI (with at least 10 hrours being for undergrad courses).

If You Entered in Fall 2009 or Earlier

Units

GPA

Major (all grad (200 level) courses)

16+

3.5+

Inside Minor (at least 2 grad (200 level) course)

8+

3.0+

Outside Minor (at least 2 grad (200 level) course)

8+

3.0+

Major Subject Area

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. Most students take considerably more than the minimum units in the major area.

Minor Subject Areas

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.
The minor for your Ph.D. should provide broad support for the technical goals of your proposed dissertation research. There are 2 issues which you should consider when you are choosing specific courses for the minor:

  • adequate technical content in the minor, and
  • adequate breadth provided by the minor, as distinct from the major area.

Ph.D. candidates, with the approval of their advisor, must choose courses for each of their minor subjects which meet the following criteria:

  • Each minor program must have an orientation different from the major program, and the courses involved should contain concepts not present in the major program.
  • At least one minor program must consist mainly of courses from outside the EECS Department.
  • The Inside Minor may include one or more classes from outside the EECS department.
  • The minor program must have depth (meaning 1 graduate course for a 6-unit minor or 2 graduate courses for an 8 unit minor should be included). The more removed the outside minor program is from the content of the EECS major program, the fewer the number of graduate-level courses which may be required (as in the case of a biology minor for a computer hardware major program). To attain depth of knowledge in one technical area, a minor is expected to contain courses in related technical topics. A minor should not usually comprise courses covering broadly different technical areas. In particular, a minor cannot consist of two classes placed in different breadth areas by the prelim breadth requirement rules.
  • The Outside Minor must include two classes outside of the EECS department, one of which should be a graduate-level course. Only one of the courses can be cross-listed with EECS, and it should not appear on the list of restricted courses for that minor. (See list below.)
  • The minor programs should provide broad support for the technical goals of the proposed dissertation research.

These criteria attempt to define minors not by departments but by your selection of courses, which constitute a body of knowledge and include courses from several different departments. For example, a student in computer hardware who wishes to have a minor in statistics and stochastic processes could include courses from the Statistics Department, as well as EE 226A. In general, one member in the Qualifying Examination Committee will represent each of the minors.

There are cases where the technical overlap between EECS courses and courses in other departments is so great that the latter should be listed as part of the major, rather than as a minor, since they add so little breadth to your program. Examples of this sort of overlap would be Electromagnetics students in EECS taking certain EM courses in Physics or CS Theory students taking some of the theory courses in IEOR. These complications make it essential for students to fill out their Blue Card in the EECS Graduate Office as soon as they have passed the preliminary exam requirement.

Suitably chosen sequences in subjects that support the student’s professional goals may be used to satisfy the EECS course requirement for a minor. In proposing a set of courses for any minor to the Vice Chair of Graduate Matters for approval, the student should provide descriptions of the course material if not readily available. The student should maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in minor fields. In the event of a disagreement, the student may appeal to the EECS Graduate Matters Committee by submitting a written petition to the Graduate Office.

Sample Blue and White Cards

Statistics (outside) minor

(updated September 2014)

Please be advised that a minor consisting solely of Stat 201A (formerly Stat 200A) and Stat 243 is not considered acceptable. We strongly recommend that students in areas of EECS with a strong background in probability, such as CS theory or EE systems take 2 graduate courses other than  Stat 201A and 243, as they may find these courses insufficiently advanced for their purposes.

Restricted courses for a Statistics minor:

  • Stat201A (formerly Stat200A)
  • Stat243
  • EE226A is not officially cross-listed but, due to course content, may be considered as cross-listed with Statistics.
  • EE227A is not officially cross-listed but, due to course content, may be considered as cross-listed with Statistics.

The Teaching Minor

The Teaching Minor is intended for those with a strong interest in education, teaching    pedagogy, or future faculty positions. The following are the requirements:

A 3-unit course surveying research in issues relating to computer science education. Examples include the following:

  • Education 224A, 224C, 225C, and 295B
  • Information 216 and 247

Experimental courses such as those offered as Education 290 or Information 290 may also be appropriate for this requirement. Contact the Faculty Advisor for GSIs for further information.

  • CS 302, "Designing CS Education" (3 units). In a semester-long project, participants invent and refine a number of homework and exam activities, review relevant educational research, and evaluate alternatives for texts, administrative policies, and uses of technology.

  • A total of 40 hours of GSI appointments. (20 hours of work per week is equivalent to a 50% GSI appointment for a semester.) At least a 20 hour per week appointment or two 10 hour per week appointments in lower-division courses and at least a 20 hour per week appointment or two 10 hour per week appointments in upper-division or graduate courses that include discussion sections. The lower-division GSI appointment must include at least a 10 hour per week appointment in one of the large lecture sections.

  • Students must enroll in the CS 399 section corresponding with their GSI appointments for a total of at least 4 units. This represents 40 hours of GSI appointments required for the Teaching Minor. A 10-hour per week appointment requires 1 unit of CS399. A 20 hour per week appointment requires 2 units of CS399.

Designated Emphases

Ph.D. students may choose to add a designated emphasis to their program. A designated emphasis is a specialization, such as a new method of inquiry or an important field of application, which is relevant to 2 or more existing doctoral degree programs.A complete list of the Designated Emphases.

You must apply for a Designated Emphasis and be accepted before you take your Qualifying Exam, since someone from the DE will sit on your Qualifying Exam.

Adding the M.S. Degree

Many Ph.D. students choose to add the M.S. degree along the way to earning the doctoral degree. This is not a requirement, but can be a financial incentive for graduate students choosing to earn both degrees during their academic career at EECS. EECS students who want to complete the M.S. should just consult with their staff Graduate Advisor about requirements after reading through the M.S. section above.  Ph.D. students from other departments are now required to apply as if they were new students to enter the M.S. program in EECS.