Graduate Program Deadlines
Online Application Deadline
(Application available early September 2020)
Doctor of Philosophy (MS/Ph.D., Ph.D.)
December 1, 2020
January 6, 2021
|December 1, 2020
8:59 pm, Pacific Standard Time
If you are considering applying to the graduate program in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) at UC Berkeley, please take a few minutes to read the following to help focus your efforts and applications. MSE at UC Berkeley currently offers Master of Science (M.S.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and, in conjunction with the College of Engineering and the Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership, a Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) degree.
Which Degree Should I Apply For?
- Applicants with a B.S. or B.A. degree should apply to the M.S./Ph.D. program.
- Applicants with a B.S. or B.A. and a M.S. or M.Eng. degree should apply to the Ph.D. program directly.
General Admissions Requirements
- A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent (must be conferred prior to enrollment into our program) from an accredited institution in Engineering, Physics or Chemistry, or related field is required. We do not accept students without these types of degrees. Complete details on minimum admission requirements are on the Graduate Division Admissions website. The Graduate Division will not admit applicants who already have Ph.D. degrees in science.
- Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in your chosen field.
- A minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.2 for bachelors and graduate degrees. International students should be in the top 5% of their class.
- Unofficial transcripts submitted online from each college or university you have attended for the initial review. Official transcripts of all college-level work will be required if admitted. Transcript details
- We require three letters of recommendation submitted online.
- A general Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test score (85th percentile or higher is desirable) in the Verbal/Analytical/Quantitative sections.
- For international applicants: recent TOEFL exam scores.
Admission decisions are based on a combination of factors, including academic degrees and records, the statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, test scores, and relevant work experience. The MSE department also considers the appropriateness of your goals to the degree program in which you are interested and to the research interests of the program’s faculty.
To be considered for graduate admissions in MSE you need to:
- Complete the online graduate application.
- Submit a statement of purpose online. Please limit your statement to 2 pages.
- Submit three letters of recommendation online; submission of additional letters is not encouraged.
- Submit one unofficial transcript from each college or university you have attended.
- Submit the General GRE exam scores (and TOEFL/BT for international students).
All graduate applications must be submitted online at Graduate Division Admissions website. Upload unofficial transcripts with the application for the initial review. Official transcripts of all college-level work will be required if admitted. Please do not mail hard copies of the statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, GRE exam scores, TOEFL scores for international students, resumes, or publications.
Letters of Recommendation
The department requires three (3) letters of recommendation to be submitted online. We recommend these letters to be from persons who have supervised your research or academic work and who can evaluate your intellectual ability, creativity, leadership and potential. Letters from instructors with little knowledge of your abilities are not recommended.
The submission of more than three letters is discouraged. Letters must be submitted electronically, and we encourage you to make your recommenders aware of this at an early stage.
Reviews of applications begin once they are complete. You are thus encouraged to submit your application as early as possible, and to make every effort to assure that your letters of recommendation are submitted as early as possible, on or before the application deadline. Keep in mind that we will not consider your application if it is not complete.
GRE / TOEFL / IELTS
The GRE General exam is required, no exceptions. GRE scores older than five years are not accepted. (For Fall 2021 admission the oldest acceptable exam date is October 2016-5 years). We do not require any subject tests.
- Test results of the GRE General Exam should be sent to Berkeley (4833). You can enter any departmental code. As long as you enter the correct institutional code for Berkeley (4833) your scores will be matched with your submitted application.
- We encourage you to take the GRE as soon as possible to ensure that your scores arrive by the deadline.
- Dates and information for computer-based testing (CBT) may be obtained by consulting the GRE website.
- Domestic candidates from families with extremely low incomes may qualify for a waiver of GRE test fees. Consult your undergraduate financial aid office to determine whether your institution participates in the GRE Fee Waiver Program and whether you qualify. Fee waivers are not available directly from the Educational Testing Service or from the UC Berkeley Graduate Division Admissions office.
All applicants from countries in which English is not the official language are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency through the TOEFL or IELTS.
- If you have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better in residence at a recognized U.S. institution, you do not need to take a standardized test. Instead, you must upload an unofficial transcript from the recognized U.S. institution.
We will only accept TOEFL tests administered by the Education Testing Service (ETS) and sent to us directly by the TOEFL office. For Fall 2021 applicants, tests taken before June 1, 2019 will not be accepted even if your score was reported to Berkeley. Official scores are required. The institution code for Berkeley is 4833. As long as you enter the correct institutional code for Berkeley (4833) your scores will be matched with your submitted application.
In lieu of the TOEFL exam, you can submit scores from the Academic Modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), which is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP:IELTS Australia, and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations. Tests taken before June 1, 2019 will not be accepted. Your most recent overall Band score must be at least 7 on a 9-point scale.
You are responsible for providing us with an official Test Report Form (TRF) of your IELTS. Remember to order the TRF when you register to take the test. More information about these requirements, can be found on the Graduate Division website.
The department does not provide support to terminal M.Eng. students, but there is financial support through the M.Eng. program.
M.S./Ph.D. and Ph.D. Students
As is common in engineering and science graduate programs in the United States, the vast majority of our graduate students working (ultimately) towards their Ph.D. will have their tuition, campus fees, insurance, and stipend covered for them. This support can come in multiple forms:
- Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) – Applicants and admitted students are encouraged to contact faculty in your areas of research interest to discuss the possibility of joining their groups as a GSR. GSRs are paid from research grants of the faculty and enable the graduate student to do research throughout the year. Note that not all faculty will be taking students each year. Faculty members may offer you a position in their group at the time you are admitted, after you have been admitted, or upon your arrival at campus at the start of your graduate career. As of the Fall 2016 semester, the following payscale will be in place for GSRs:
- Pre-Qualifying Exam Students – Step V GSR – $30,915/year (Projected 2016 Levels*)
- Post-Qualifying Exam Students – Step VI GSR – $32,349/year (Projected 2016 Levels*)
- Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) – At least once semester during your career, you will serve as a GSI to enhance your educational process. Openings for positions as GSIs are announced each semester and appointments are offered by the individual faculty instructors after reviewing the applicants. During this semester the department will support your tuition, fees, insurance, and stipend as you support the educational process. Students who do not speak English as a native language and do not hold a bachelor’s degree from an institution in the United States must demonstrate oral English proficiency to be appointed as a GSI. In those countries where the TOEFL Internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT) is administered, English language proficiency is determined by the speaking section score of the TOEFL iBT. If the TOEFL iBT is not available, students can demonstrate their proficiency by taking and passing the SPEAK test offered on the Berkeley campus. Please visit the GSI Teaching & Resource Center for more detailed information about the language proficiency test.
- Campus Fellowships – UC Berkeley offers a number of campus-wide merritt fellowships including the Chancellor’s and Berkeley Fellowships. These awards are made to the individual graduate student to aid them in their education process.
- Outside Fellowships – Domestic applicants are highly encouraged to apply for any number of graduate fellowships. For a complete listing see our External Funding Opportunities page. International applicants are also highly encouraged to see financial support from funding agencies in your home country. Although not a requirement for admission, being awarded one of these external fellowships can greatly expand your graduate career, open up new possibilities for research programs, provide additional financial benefits,
*These are projected values, current GSR rates can be found on the Graduate Division’s website.
Frequently Asked Questions
Department offices are located in 210 Hearst Memorial Mining Building, in the Northeast corner of campus.
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
210 Hearst Memorial Mining Building
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-1760
Phone: (510) 642-3801
Fax: (510) 643-5792