Frequently Asked Questions
How is this program different from the existing M.S. program?
While the degree requirements are identical to the B.S. and the M.S.-only program (with one exception, see below), both degrees give considerable flexibility to choose a curriculum that is more or less specialized and more or less interdisciplinary. The fifth year of education with the combined Bachelors/Masters program can enable a student to pursue a program of study that is more interdisciplinary, including concentrations in EECS and allied fields like the sciences, other engineering, or business, law, or public policy, and at the same time achieve mastery of a specialized area of technology. For this reason, the M.S. component of the five year program has a breadth requirement that is not present in the regular M.S., with candidates required to take at least eight units outside of EECS. An education that includes interdisciplinary technical skills as well as a broader understanding of business, legal, and social context of technology development and use is valuable for many future careers as well as future graduate study in engineering, business, law, public policy, etc.
What is the application process and what are the requirements?
I don't quite meet the GPA requirement of 3.5. Will exceptional applicants be considered with a cumulative GPA of less than 3.5?
Chances of admission are not good with a cumulative GPA of less than 3.5. However, demonstrated leadership and interdisciplinary (technical or otherwise) skills could augment a slightly lower cumulative GPA.
I don't have any research experience. How important is this for my application?
Undergraduate research is definitely a plus, but is not required for the application.
When are participants admitted?
Students should apply and be provisionally admitted by the Department in the Fall semester of the senior year. Students admitted as freshman in a Spring semester should apply in the Fall semester of the Junior year. Students in the final semester of undergrad are not eligible to apply.
I'd like to take some time off between completing my bachelor's degree and starting the master's degree. Is this possible?
No. This program will not accommodate leaves of absence. Admitted students are expected to transition immediately from the undergrad program to the grad program in order to complete the entire program in five consecutive years. You are encouraged to apply to the regular graduate program.
I recently graduated from EECS with my B.A./B.S. Can I apply for this program?
No applications will be accepted from students not currently enrolled in our undergraduate degree program. These students are encouraged to apply to the regular graduate program.
How does financial support for the graduate year work?
Students are expected to provide their own financial support for the year of graduate work. Students should be aware that there are NO undergraduate-style, need-based grants for graduate students.
Can 5th Year Students be appointed as Graduate Student Instructors (GSI)?
No. Completing the requirements for the M.S. degree in two semesters will be very challenging and time consuming and the student will not have time to commit to teaching.
Can 5th Year Students receive Graduate Research Assistantship (GSR) support?
Yes. If a faculty member wishes to support a 5th year student to complete his or her M.S. program within two semesters, then that is the decision of the individual professor.
How Do I Find a Research Advisor?
Because of the requirement to complete the Masters portion of the program in only one year, it is essential that the student have identified a research advisor among the faculty during the Spring semester of their senior year (if not sooner!). Several faculty will actively seek students from this program. In general, students may pursue independent projects, or join a project team, but they are required to submit an independently written masters report that makes clear their own independent contribution to the research.
Is this program well suited for someone who eventually wants a Ph.D.?
This program is not intended for students who want a Ph.D. It is intended as a terminal M.S. degree. However, graduates of the program are free to petition to go on for the PhD at UC Berkeley or apply elsewhere to graduate programs.
I am considering applying to the Five Year Bachelor/Master Program, but I may also apply for a Ph.D. program at other schools and Berkeley as well? If I am accepted into the Five Year Program, how will that affect my potential Ph.D. application?
You can most definitely apply to other schools when you apply to our program.
If you are accepted into the program and in the midst of it decide that you would like to continue to a PhD at Berkeley, you can petition to add the PhD. There is no guarantee you will be accepted, but you will not have to go through the regular admissions process again.
There is nothing to stop you from applying to another school's PhD program.
Am I allowed to apply into this program and, if not admitted, apply into the regular M.S./Ph.D. program later?
Acceptance to the EECS Five Year Bachelor/Master Program will neither positively nor negatively affect your application to Berkeley's M.S./Ph.D. or Ph.D. program. If you are denied and would like to roll your application over to a regular program (MS, MS/PhD, or PhD), please email the graduate admissions advisor in EE or CS. In the email, you should let them know what program you would like to be considered for as well as when you are planning to take the GRE (due January 9th). .
If you have any other questions, please contact the Center for Student Affairs, located at 205 Cory Hall.