Programs & Centers

Berkeley Master of Engineering

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Berkeley Master of Engineering degree offer that other programs don’t?

The program offers three distinct features to position graduates for higher-level positions and more influence in your organization:

  • A cross-disciplinary cohort that completes a core curriculum in engineering leadership.
  • The completion of a hands-on capstone project with industry relevance and tangible impact.
  • The benefits of tailored career advising focused on professional development and career placement.

Why should I earn this M.Eng. degree rather than an MBA?

In the M.Eng. program, students deepen their technological expertise by completing 12 units of graduate-level engineering coursework. This is balanced with 8 units of leadership coursework covering the essential business and management concepts engineers must know to advance to higher positions in industry. Additionally, 5 units of focused work on the capstone project integrates the technical and leadership elements of the curriculum.

Why should I earn this M.Eng. degree rather than an M.S.?

For those seeking a research or academic career, an M.S./Ph.D. program may be the best fit. However, if you ever intend to start a firm, or simply want to multiply the effectiveness of your technical research, the M.Eng. is an excellent choice. The M.Eng. will provide the leadership and technical skills for advancement toward these goals after just one year of intensive, industry-oriented study.

I’m about to graduate with my B.S. Why should I enroll in this program rather than get work experience right away?

The chances of landing a higher-level industry position improve greatly with the M.Eng. degree on one’s résumé.

I’ve been working in the industry for a few years. Is this program a good fit?

We recognize that students do not always follow a linear trajectory from education to career. The M.Eng. program welcomes early-career professionals who opt to resume their education. Industry experience will be an advantage in the leadership and Capstone courses. Being out of school for more than 5–7 years, however, may make it harder to do well in the technical or quantitative graduate courses. In the selection process, we will be looking for a balance of these two skill sets.

What types of careers will this program prepare me for?

In high-tech settings, the program facilitates a career path leading to positions such as technology manager, director of R&D, director of engineering, vice president of engineering and so forth. Virtually all companies and organizations in today’s global economy rely heavily on technology. This program prepares graduates to play a key strategic role in influencing how technology can be managed to advance business objectives.

What degree does the program confer?

Upon completion of program requirements, students receive the Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) degree in their chosen technical concentration; i.e., Civil & Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Operations Research, Materials Science & Engineering, Mechanical Engineering or Nuclear Engineering.

Can I choose a technical concentration that is not on the list?

For 2013-14, we are able to offer engineering concentrations across all seven Berkeley Engineering departments:

Can I design my own technical concentration?

The course sequence for your 12 units of technical electives has been carefully designed to give you the optimal exposure to your chosen field in just two semesters. If you have an interest in, for example, energy, your home department (the one offering your technical concentration) may allow you to choose some energy-related technical electives.

Can I take additional technical electives?

The 25-unit Master of Engineering Program is an intensive, accelerated degree focused on preparing you for leadership roles in industry. We think the balance of 8 units for your leadership and management coursework, 12 units for your technical electives and 5 units of capstone project work is the best preparation. It is possible to take more than 13 units per semester, but we believe that will make a demanding program even more demanding.

Does the program address entrepreneurship?

In your 8 units of leadership and management coursework, you will learn how technology innovation is managed in both entrepreneurial ventures and established companies. The required skill set is the same in both settings: finding a market for your idea, identifying risks and opportunities, motivating stakeholders and securing resources. 

What kind of industry contact can I expect?

Across the program’s three dimensions – leadership coursework, technical concentration and capstone project – you’ll have regular contact with industry leaders and organizations. Guest lecturers will describe what they’ve learned from their successes and failures. Industry partners will help you apply your technical knowledge to real-world challenges and opportunities.

How large is the program?

The M.Eng. admissions process is highly selective and classes are kept small to encourage interaction among the student cohort, faculty and industry mentors. That said, we do not have a set limit on enrollees.  The 2013-14 cohort is 140 students.  Class size ranges from typically 10-30 students in a technical course, to a weekly lecture of 150 plus case discussion sections of 50 for the leadership course.  

What access will I have to job placement?

The M.Eng. cohort will benefit from career advising services tailored exclusively for students in this program. These services emphasize professional development and career search support/career services.

Are the classes on campus? Are there part-time or distance- learning options?

You may choose to apply to either the full-time one-year program,  or part-time program for working professionals.  You will be asked to choose which option you will be considered for during the application process.  Both options employ the same standards and criteria for admissions. All classes are taught on campus by top Berkeley Engineering faculty and industry partners. 

Can I defer admission until spring?

The one-year M.Eng. program follows a cohort model, in which students start and complete the program as part of a closely knit group. This cohort becomes a professional network you can rely on throughout your career. For this reason, spring admission is unfortunately not an option.

Once I’m in the M.Eng. program, can I switch to the Ph.D. track?

This is a one-year professional program that culminates in the Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) degree. If, partway into the M.Eng. program, you decide to pursue a research career instead, you will need to submit a fresh application to a doctoral program. You may be able to apply credits earned in the M.Eng. program toward a Ph.D., provided you are accepted.

How is this program different from a combined B.S./M.S. (also known as 5th-year master’s) program?

In a 5th-year master’s, you continue to take engineering coursework, but you do not have access to the leadership coursework or the integrative capstone experience.

Will I be considered a regular UC graduate student and have access to all campus student services?

Yes, you will be a regularly matriculated graduate student and be accorded all the rights and responsibilities associated with this status.

I already have a master’s degree. Am I eligible for this program?

Certainly! The minimum educational requirement is a bachelor’s degree, or recognized equivalent, in engineering or a related scientific or mathematics discipline from an accredited institution. Holders of advanced degrees are welcome to apply.

May I apply to a home department that’s different from that of my bachelor’s degree?

Yes, although bear in mind that admission is very competitive and that we will need to be confident of your ability to handle the technical rigor of your engineering concentration, at the graduate level.

Do you require work experience?

Work experience is not required. The program is designed for recent college graduates and early-career technical professionals.

Does the program accept international students?

International students are encouraged to apply. We seek a globally diverse student cohort.  Student visas are available to students admitted into the full-time M.Eng. program.  Student visas are not available for the part-time program.  

Are UC Berkeley engineering students given preference for admission?

We strongly encourage Berkeley Engineering undergraduates to apply, although we do not have an official policy giving them preference for admission.

Can I apply to both the M.S./Ph.D. and the M.Eng.?

You cannot apply to more than one UC Berkeley graduate program at a time. You will need to decide which graduate program is the best fit for your goals, and apply to that one program. If you are seeking a research or academic career, apply to an M.S./ Ph.D. program. If you are seeking a professional or management career, apply to the M.Eng. program.

Are the M.Eng. application requirements the same as for an M.S./ Ph.D.? 

Yes, you’ll need to provide all materials required for a standard UC Berkeley graduate application, such as academic transcripts, a statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, current GRE scores and (if applicable) TOEFL scores. Click here for complete application instructions. In selecting candidates for the professional M.Eng., the College of Engineering will use the same criteria used for evaluating M.S. candidates, with extra emphasis on leadership potential. Your statement of purpose and letters of recommendation will be especially important in that regard.

I’ve been working in industry. Do I still need to take the GRE or other entrance exams?

Yes, you’ll need to supply current GRE scores and (if applicable) TOEFL scores. Click here for complete application instructions.

When is my application due?

Your application must be submitted prior to midnight Pacific Standard Time the evening of your department's deadline. Remember to follow your department’s instructions for submitting your letters of recommendation, GRE (and TOEFL, if required) scores and other supplemental materials. Click here for a list of departmental deadlines for applications and supplemental materials.

What are the program fees?

For the current schedule of fees, click here to visit the Office of the Registrar's website. Please note that University fees are subject to change.

What kinds of financial aid will be available?

Financial assistance, in the form of grants and loans, is available.  All admitted students are automatically considered for a merit-based grant.  To be considered for the Master of Engineering opportunity grant, fill out this College of Engineering Grant Application section within the online application completely.  

If you have additional questions regarding the Berkeley Master of Engineering Program, please click here.