Graduate Admissions

Overview of Graduate Programs in MSE

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?

I ultimately want to obtain a Ph.D. degree.

MSE at UC Berkeley offers two pathways to a Ph.D. degree:

  • 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.

I ultimately want to obtain a Master’s degree only.

MSE at UC Berkeley admits students for terminal M.S. programs only on rare occasions. Instead, if you desire to receive a Master’s degree, we run our Master’s program through the M.Eng. program. This is an area of growth for us and we are actively looking for excellent candidates in this regard. If your ultimate goal is to be in the Ph.D. program, you will have to apply again separately to that program following completion of an M.Eng. degree


All applications are submitted online. The deadline to apply for Fall 2020 admission is December 2, 2019 8:59 pm Pacific Time, (US) for M.S./PhD, and Ph.D degree program.**   The deadline is the date by which all letters of recommendation,  transcripts, GRE exam scores, and for international applicants, TOEFL exam score are due. Late applications will not be considered. Please plan accordingly.

**The application deadline for the M.Eng program is January 6, 2020, including all letters of recommendation.

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. 

Application Requirements

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:

  1. Complete the online graduate application.
  2. Submit a statement of purpose and personal history statement online. Please limit your essays to 2 pages each.
  3. Submit three letters of recommendation online; submission of additional letters is not encouraged.
  4. Submit one unofficial transcript from each college or university you have attended.
  5. Submit the General GRE exam scores (and TOEFL/iBT 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.

Statement of Purpose

A statement of purpose is required and should be included in your online application.  Please describe your aptitude and motivation for graduate study in your area of specialization, including your preparation for this field of study, your academic plans or research interests in your chosen area of study, and your future career goals.  Please be specific about why UC Berkeley would be a good intellectual fit for you, which research groups you are interested in, etc.  The personal statement should be no more than 2 pages.  Please also submit a personal history statement to augment this document.

Personal History Statement

The Personal History Statement describes how your personal background and experiences influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree. In this section, you may also include any relevant information on the following: How you have overcome barriers to access higher education; how you have come to understand the barriers faced by others; your academic service to advance equitable access to higher education for women, racial minorities and individuals from other groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education; your research focusing on under served populations or related issues of inequality; your leadership among such groups. The this is used for fellowship consideration. Please limit your essay to 2 pages.

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 December 3rd, 2018 application deadline. Keep in mind that we will not consider your application if it is not complete.


You will need to upload unofficial transcripts with the online application for the initial review.  If you are admitted, and if you enroll, the Graduate Division will require one official hard copy transcript from each college or university you have attended.


  • Our department requires the GRE General exam; no exceptions. GRE scores older than five years are not accepted. (For Fall 2020 admission the oldest acceptable exam date is October 2015).  We do not require any subject tests.
  • Test results of the GRE General Exam should be sent to Berkeley (4833 institution code). 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 the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This requirement applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, Israel, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and non-English-speaking countries in Africa.

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 2020 applicants, tests taken before June 1, 2018 will not be accepted even if your score was reported to Berkeley. Official scores are required. The institution code for Berkeley is 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.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

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, 2018 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.

Voice Mail: (510) 642-0716
Fax: (510) 643-5792

Graduate Admissions
Materials Science and Engineering
University of California at Berkeley
210 Hearst Memorial Mining Building #1760
Berkeley CA 94720-1760
United States of America