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Applications for this term will be available in September 2009 at

The online application is due: December 2, 2009, at 11:59:59 pm, Pacific Standard Time.  Applications submitted after this time will not be accepted. You will not be informed if your application is submitted late–it simply will not be processed.

Supporting data, such as transcripts, recommendation letters, and GRE and TOEFL scores, should arrive no later than January 8, 2010.

Though we do not have a rolling application process, it is always best to apply as early as you can. That way, if there are errors, we can let you know in advance.

Required Materials

1.  The Online Application

2.  Emphasis of Specialty Area of Study (First and Second Choice)

3.  Three (3) Letters of Recommendation

4.  A Completed Recommendation Waiver Form(to be completed online after you apply–it should arrive via email about a week after you apply)

5.  Official and Unofficial Transcripts

6.  Conversion of GPA (for International Students Only)

7.  Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Official Scores

8.  Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Official Scores(for international students only)

9.  Application Fee

Applications that are incomplete by the time of review will not be competitive for admission.  Making sure an application is complete is solely the responsibility of the applicant and should be done in a timely manner.

The application process is ENTIRELY ONLINE except for original transcripts. Please DO NOT mail copies of the Statement of Purpose, GRE AND TOEFL scores, publications, resumes or recommendation letters. Directions for submitting the recommendation letters online are included below. The only hardcopy documents to be submitted are original transcripts from each college or university you have attended. Any supplemental data, such as publications, resumes, and homepages, should be submitted by including the URLs in the confirmation e-mail you will receive about a week after submitting your online application. All applications must be submitted through the Berkeley campus’ online application site for graduate admissions. Please take care to ensure all email addresses, as well as your own email address, are entered correctly.

Online Application


The Online Application has several sections, including two essays, the Statement of Purpose and the Personal History Statement. Please note that these essays are very important to the application process and should be taken seriously. They should also be two separate essays-please do not cut and paste one into the other.

The Statement of Purpose asks:

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.

The Personal History Statement asks:

In an essay, discuss how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Please include any educational, familial, cultural, economic, or social experiences, challenges, or opportunities relevant to your academic journey; how you might contribute to social or cultural diversity within your chosen field; and/or how you might serve educationally underrepresented segments of society with your degree.

Faculty Contact

We do not require you complete sections Faculty Contact or Faculty Interest under ACADEMIC INTERESTS, although if you wish to work with specific professors, feel free to list them.

GPA Conversion

If you attended an international university, you need to convert your grades to our system.  Leaving this section blank will result in an incomplete application. To assist you in the conversion off your GPA please visit gpa conversion page.

Ethnic Survey

Though this section is not required, the provided data may be used by the department for various purposes, one of which is granting financial support.

California Residency

To determine if you are a California Resident, please use the UC Berkeley’s Residency Office’s criteria, found at

Parents’ Educational Level

Though this section is not required, the provided data may be used by the department for various purposes, one of which is granting financial support.

Emphasis of Specialty Area of Study (First and Second Choice)

After the Department receives your electronically submitted application from the Graduate Division, you will receive an email asking for additional information. Prior to logging on we encourage you to review the area of study section of our website at: as well as the faculty associated with the area that best reflects your research interests.  You will be required to select your first and second choice of research areas a combination of Mechanical Engineering Disciplines and Focus Areas. These will represent your areas of study and emphasis during your graduate studies in Mechanical Engineering at Berkeley. The main purpose of this section is to guide us in determining which faculty members are best suited to review your application and consider you for a Graduate Student Assistantship and/or Fellowship.

Letters of Recommendation


Do not send hardcopies or have them sent. Please follow the online recommendation procedure below.

The online recommendation process begins once the online application has been submitted. Beginning in early October, applicants will be sent an email requesting the names and e-mail addresses of their recommenders. At this time applicants will check the information they provided on the online application, including waiver options. The Electronic Departmental Form is required and decisions cannot be changed after submission. Please note that recommenders will not be contacted at all until you fill out this information, even though you provided it when you applied online. After October 1, 2009, this form will be sent to you within 5 business days of submission of the online application.

Upon receipt of their names and electronic addresses, recommenders will receive an e-mail informing them to submit their letters to a URL address. The URL will accept text and PDF documents. Because our letter process accepts text and PDF documents, your recommenders can write their letters in advance of your application and load them when our e-mail arrives. Applicants will receive an e-mail acknowledgement for every letter submitted electronically. Recommendation letters should arrive no later than January 9, 2010.

Having more than 3 letters, though we allow it, is not recommended. Due to the volume of applications we receive every year, there is no guarantee that more than 3 letters will be read.


  • Having more letters is not necessarily better. Three strong letters is much better than 3 strong letters and one mediocre or bad letter.
  • It can be a good idea to ask your recommenders if they can write you a good, detailed letter. The best letters gauge your ability and potential for research and graduate study, often citing examples from the recommenders own experiences with you.

Departmental Waiver Form


The email you will receive after you apply (about a week after) will ask you for:

  • Recommender Contact Information (please be sure to double check all email addresses to see if the email address is incorrect, there is no way our system will be able to contact your recommender)
  • Your waiver decisions.   Yes indicates you do wish to waive your rights to see your letters and No indicates you want to be able to see them later.  (Please keep in mind that letters to which you have waived access are generally thought to be more reliable than those for which you have not waived access. A few recommenders also refuse to write letters if access to them has not been waived. Given this, this may be something you should discuss with your recommenders beforehand.)
  • A Resume, publications, home page URLs, etc. that you would like to submit as part of your application. If you mention any publications or papers in your application you will need to upload them, or include links for them, at this time.
  • Once you have submitted the waiver information, you will not be able to change it.

Official and Unofficial Transcripts


We require one (1) official transcript from each college or university you have attended. Please send sealed original and current transcripts of all University work. Transcripts not in English should include translations from the school that issued the original transcripts. Transcripts should arrive no later than January 8, 2010. (Please note that even if you have not yet finished your coursework when you apply, we still require a current transcript from you. If you are admitted, at that time, we will ask you submit a final official transcript showing the degree awarded to complete our records.)
Send to:

University of California at Berkeley
Department of Mechanical Engineering
6189 Etcheverry Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-1742

You are encouraged, but not required, to upload unofficial transcripts for schools that you have attended. Applicants who studied outside the United States in non-English speaking institutions must upload the English translated transcripts.  Uploading your transcript will help expedite the completion of your file for review. Uploaded files must be in PDF format and no larger than 8 MB. Please make sure that your social security number (SSN) does not appear on your transcript (if it does, black it out before uploading the document).

Whether you upload transcripts or not, you must still mail us your official transcript(s).

For more information about transcripts, please see:

GPA Conversion


If you attended an international university, you need to convert your grades to our system.  Leaving this section blank will result in an incomplete application. To assist you in the conversion off your GPA please visit the GPA conversion page.



Oldest acceptable exam date: June 2005

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for all applicants. It is composed of three sections:

Analytical Writing
Verbal Reasoning
Quantitative Reasoning

For more information about the test, as well as locations, test dates, and the time it will take for score reports to reach Berkeley, please consult the Educational Testing Service (ETS). They can be reached at (609) 771-7670. Inquiries can also be made to and

The institution code for Berkeley is 4833 and the Department codes are 1501 or 1502. We encourage you to take the November administration to ensure that your scores arrive by the deadline, but we will also accept scores from the early December administration. GRE Scores should arrive no later than January 8, 2010.



Oldest acceptable exam date: June 2008

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 U.S. university, you do not need to take a standardized test. Instead, you must submit an official transcript from the U.S. University.

Applicants must receive a score of at least 570 on the written test. The computer-based TOEFL must have a minimum score of 230. The minimum score for Next Generation TOEFL (iBT) is 68. Our Graduate Division will not accept tests taken before June 2008. If is advised to take the TOEFL at least 60 days prior to the deadline. Inquiries about the TOEFL can be made at or at The institution code for Berkeley is 4833. There is no Department code for the TOEFL.

Please note that if you send the tests with the wrong code, we will still receive the scores electronically from ETS. Even with the wrong code, if all of the other information is correct, we will be able to match up your scores to your application.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is also acceptable. The minimum acceptable score is 7 on your most recent exam. The oldest acceptable score is June 2008. More information about IELTS can be found at

Also, please keep in mind that ETS sends us test scores (GRE and TOEFL) twice a month electronically, so even if you’ve received them, it does not mean that we have. Because this is the case, it’s a good idea to take the tests as early as possible in advance.

Application Fee

You must submit an application fee when you apply. The application fee is not refundable. If you are a U.S. citizen or current permanent resident, the application fee is $70; for all others, the fee is $90. Fees are subject to change.

When you apply online, you may pay the fee by credit card. If you submit a check or money order, it must be drawn on a United States bank. Checks should be made payable to “UC Regents.” Do not submit UNESCO coupons, traveler’s checks, international postal money orders, Eurocheques, or cash. We do not accept electronic funds transfers.

Application Decisions

Applicants offered admission and who have also been awarded a fellowships will be sent a letter of admission and award by April 1. Applicants offered admission only, or admission with financial support administered by the department, will be notified as the department makes its recommendations, usually by the end of April for the fall semester.

Applicants who are not offered admission will be notified by the departments as they make their decisions.

Reapplying/Reactivating Your Previous Application

We keep all materials for 2 years. If you applied to our program in Fall 2007 (for 2008) or Fall 2008 (for 2009) and have received email notices that we have received your documentation we have retained it in our files. You are not obligated to send us these materials again unless you wish to update previously submitted materials. Your previous application will be added to your new application. You must, however, submit a new online application.

The deadline to submit an online application for Fall 2010 is December 2, 2009. Supporting data, such as transcripts, GRE and TOEFL scores and recommendation letters, can arrive as late as January 5, 2010.


1.  Fill out a new online University application at:

2.  Submit at least one new letter of recommendation online.

3.  Submit a new statement of purpose and/or personal history statement online if you have new interests or experience not included in your previous application.

4.  Pay the application fee. Fee waiver information can be found at:

5.  Submit new transcripts of work that was in progress at the time of your previous application, such as final B.S. or M.S. transcripts. Transcripts are the only hardcopy documents to be submitted for the Fall 2010 application. Please send them to:

University of California at Berkeley
Department of Mechanical Engineering
6189 Etcheverry Hall
Berkeley, CA  94720-1742

Your old test scores will be added to your application as long as they fall within the accepted date range.

All connections for reapplications/reactivations (addition of the old documents to the new applications) will be made in December 2009 and early January 2010.

Application Tips and Advice/Application Status

Applying Early

Although we do not have a rolling admissions cycle, applying early is always a good idea. The earlier you apply, the earlier you and we can spot problems such as missing transcripts, test scores, etc. As the application deadline approaches we receive numerous email inquiries and mail.  This results in your having more difficulty contacting us as well as checking your application status.  Your patience during this time is appreciated.  We receive about 900 applications each year with the bulk of them arriving in December.

Also, it’s a good idea to take your GRE and, if applicable, your TOEFL as early as possible. ETS can take up to a month to get the scores to us. Do not wait until early January 2010 to request your scores be sent as our review process is beginning and your application should be complete by then.

Online Application Advice

  • Check all email addresses twice before you submit the application, including your own. Any mistyped addresses make it difficult to contact you and/or your recommenders.
  • Do not transpose your name when entering this information. Transposed information will slow processing.
  • Make sure that official transcripts are mailed to:

University of California at Berkeley
Department of Mechanical Engineering
6189 Etcheverry Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-1742

Regarding Your Application Package

It is always best submit only information requested.  Sending none requested materials will not be included with your application for review.  As stated before, the only materials you should be sending are official transcripts (one per school). Please do not send the following:

  • Financial documents of any kind
  • Notebooks or diaries
  • Overly long publications (if 15+ pages, please send the abstract only and put the document up on the web, if you are able).
  • Your Statement of Purpose (we will have received this online)
  • Your Personal History Statement (we will have received this online)

Once You Apply

 Please keep in mind the following advice: We ask that you be patient and you should receive update emails as materials are received to your application. 

Application review begins around January 9, 2010. If your application is incomplete at that time, review may be delayed.  It is your responsibility to have your materials submitted by the deadline.  You can check your application status at with the login and password the department provided when you applied online.


Please see our Career Center’s webpages on applying to graduate school

For information on writing your statement of purpose:

Competition for Admission

If Berkeley is your preferred choice for graduate study, we encourage you to apply. However, you should be aware that admissions are very competitive. Most successful applicants last year had GPAs above 3.7 and GRE quantitative scores above 90%. For Fall 2009 we had approximately 900 applicants for about 44 admission slots.

Admissions FAQ


We do not offer part-time, evening or distance learning degree programs. All our degree programs are full-time day programs.

Online courses are offered through UC Extension and more information can be found about this at

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