Five year BS / MS


The Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) at the University of California, Berkeley, offers a five year combined B.S./M.S. program to our undergraduate student cohort. In this program, the existing four year undergraduate program (B.S.) will be augmented with a fifth year of graduate study that provides a professionally-oriented component, preparing students for careers in engineering or engineering management within the business, government, and/or industrial sectors. This five-year program emphasizes interdisciplinary study through an independent project coupled to coursework.

In this program, students will earn their B.S. degree first and then their M.S. degree under Plan II of the Academic Senate. It is not a concurrent program. Careful planning during the undergraduate program will allow motivated students to begin a research project and complete some Master’s course requirements while still in undergraduate standing. Depending on how quickly a student progresses through the undergraduate program, the additional graduate year may come sooner than the fifth year at Berkeley. The Five-Year Program is not intended for those who wish to pursue a Ph.D.

Academic Program

The academic curriculum for the Master of Science is flexible and interdisciplinary, allowing students to tailor coursework and/or their independent project to individual interests and backgrounds. Areas of study/emphasis include the traditional materials science and engineering areas, as well as energy science and technology, nanoscience and technology, engineering management and biomaterials.

A minimum of 24 credits for the M.S. is required. Of the 24 units, at least 12 must be strictly 200-level graduate units in the major subject (University requirement) and of these 12 units, there shall be at least 1 unit/semester (2 units total) and no more than 2 units/semester (4 units total) of credit for individual study or research (new MSE296A and B). The remaining 12 units may be letter graded upper-division or graduate courses approved by the major field advisor. Students must earn a grade of B or better in three of the five core course categories that include thermodynamics, structure or phase transformations, characterization, processing and properties at the 200 level and also maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 required by the College 1.

No single course may be used to satisfy more than one category. The balance of the coursework should establish a coherent program in the area of emphasis, approved by the BS/MS Academic Advisor2.

  • An independent project will be performed as part of a required two course sequence, MSE 296A&B, under the supervision of a faculty member. Students are encouraged to identify faculty supervisors as soon as possible, but no later than the beginning of the ninth semester. Students will be required to complete both a project report and an oral presentation.

Possible independent projects may include but are not limited to:

  • Traditional independent research project.
  • In-depth follow-up to MSE 199 or H194 project.
  • Product development with business plan.
  • Industry collaborative project.

NOTE: Only course units taken in the FINAL undergraduate semester that are not applied towards the Bachelor’s degree may be petitioned to fulfill the Master’s degree requirements. Students therefore have at most three consecutive semesters to fulfill all Master’s requirements.

Criteria for Admission into the Program:

  1. Academic record in good standing as an MSE major, MSE/ME, MSE/NE, MSE/BioE, MSE/ChemE, or MSE/EECS joint major. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required and a GPA of 3.3 or higher is recommended.
  2. A well-written statement describing the reasons for pursuing a combined B.S./M.S. program. Students should address why the B.S./M.S. program is right for them and how it will help to satisfy their career goals.
  3. If selected, a faculty interview in which the student’s technical background and communication skills are assessed.
  4. One letter of recommendation, from a faculty member or industrial supervisor who knows the applicant well and has seen evidence that he or she will benefit significantly from a program of this kind.
  5. A non-binding “draft” course of study plan, indicating that the applicant has carefully considered areas of technical depth and breadth that he or she wishes to pursue if admitted to the program.
  6. Recommended, but not required, is the identification of a project supervisor.

The admissions process will be as follows:

  1. Submit online application available at Applications must be submitted by October 15, 2018.
  2. Selected applicants will be interviewed by the Graduate Admissions and Fellowship Committee in mid November or mid March depending on when the application was submitted.
  3. The Graduate Admissions and Fellowships committee will evaluate applicants on the basis of their application packets and faculty interview reports.
  4. The Graduate Admissions and Fellowships committee will inform successful applicants in November that they are being recommended to the Graduate Division for admission.

Please upload the following to your online application:†

  1. a statement of purpose
  2. course of study plan form
  3. transcript with grades through 2nd semester junior year (may be unofficial but the official version will be required when applying to Graduate Division)
  4. one letter of recommendation (The recommender should be someone who can attest to the student’s suitability for an accelerated MS program)

†No GREs are required for this program.

1 In order to complement the undergraduate curricula of the double majors, particular graduate courses are required. MSE/ME majors must choose MSE201A as one of their core courses. MSE/ChemE majors must choose MSE201A and MSE 204 as two of their courses 

2 Areas of Emphasis
For the Engineering Management emphasis, these courses should include at least
two from MBA 263, MBA 264, MBA 290A, MBA 290C/ EECS C201/ INFO C224, MBA 290E, MBA 290G, MBA 290I, MBA290N, MBA 290T.