5.2 Master of Science Degree Requirements (Plan I)

Generally, this Plan is used by some people who are funded by government projects whose sponsors require them to write a thesis as a component/stipulation of their support.  It is not a common option.  For Plan II requirements please see Section 5.1.


Normative Time


1.5 years or 3 semesters


Minimum Number of Units To Complete Degree


20 Semester Units

Course Restriction: Must be either in 200 series or 100 elective upper division series


Minimum Number of Mechanical Engineering Units


8 Semester Units

Course Restriction:  Must be in 200 series and letter-graded


Minimum Units Required To Be Registered Each Semester


Students must enroll in 15 units each semester


Maximum Amount of Independent Study Units (298, 299, 300 And Above)


The maximum units in which you can enroll per semester are listed below.

- 298s: 8 units

- 299s: 12 units

- 300s: 6 units

Please note that only 4 units of 299 can be counted towards the 20 unit total requirement. 


Residency, Minimum GPA, and P/NP & S/U


To be eligible to receive the Master’s degree, the student must complete at least two semesters in residency and undertake the total coursework units defined for the program, earning a CGPA of at least 3.0.  Only courses with a C- or better can count towards graduate requirements.


Please note that only 1/3 of your unit total at the time of graduation may be pass/not pass or satisfactory/unsatisfactory.  Please note that to earn a “pass” or a “satisfactory” grade in a graduate course you need a grade of B- or better.


Minimum Recommended Number of Units in Major Field Area (E.g.  Bioeng, Controls, Etc.)


8 Semester units from 200 or 100 upper division series


Maximum Number of Units You Can Transfer Towards Your Masters Degree


A master's student may transfer up to 4 semester units or 6 quarter units of course work completed as a graduate student at another institution.  The units must be equivalent to courses in the student's graduate program at Berkeley, and the student must have received at least a B in the course(s) and have a grade-point average of at least 3.3 at both Berkeley and the other institution.  However, students cannot use units from another institution to satisfy the minimum unit requirement in 200 series courses or the minimum academic residence requirement.  In addition, they may not present course work previously used to satisfy requirements for another degree program at Berkeley or at another institution.


Berkeley undergraduates who take graduate course work during their last undergraduate semester may petition to backdate graduate standing in order to receive graduate credit for that course work.  Graduate standing may be backdated from the last semester, and students may petition for credit only for the course work that was not required for the undergraduate degree.


All petitions to have units transferred must be first approved by the Vice-Chair for Graduate Study.  The Vice-Chair then forwards the petitions to Graduate Division.


Detailed restrictions can be found in Graduate Division's Guide to Graduate Policy.


Advancement to Candidacy


Before you can receive a Master's degree, you must first be Advanced to Candidacy.  The opportunity for this occurs during the first four (4) weeks of each semester.  By Academic Senate regulation, a minimum period of study of one term must intervene between formal advancement to candidacy and the conferring of the master's degree.  The form can be found on in Chapter 13.




Thesis Committee


Three (3) committee members are needed for the thesis (please see restrictions below).  All committee members are required to be members of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate. 

- Your Research Adviser

- ME Professor

- Professor outside of the ME Department

- At least two committee members must be from ME

- All members must also be members of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate


Procedures for Filing Your Thesis


After you have written your thesis, formatted it correctly, assembled the pages into the correct organization, and obtained your signatures, you are ready to file it with the UC Berkeley's Graduate Division:

  • Convert your thesis to a standard PDF file. 
  • Print and sign the Thesis Release Form.
  • Email your thesis as an attachment to edegrees@berkeley.edu.  Put your full name in the subject line.  Note: DO NOT SUBMIT A DRAFT.  Once your thesis has been submitted, you will not be allowed to make changes.  Be sure that it is in its final form!
  • The Degrees Office staff will review your submission and if everything is in order, you will receive an email stating that it has been approved.  If you need to make changes, you will be given the opportunity and will need to re-send a revised PDF.
  • Submit the following final documents to the Graduate Degrees Office at 318 Sproul Hall: your signed approval page, and your signed Thesis Release Form.
  • Submit a copy of the final documents to the Student Services Office at 6189 Etcheverry Hall.


Please note that all documents should be submitted together (the Graduate Degrees Office will not accept lone signature pages, for example).  You must submit your electronic thesis and bring your final documents to 318 Sproul Hall before 4:00 P.M. on the last day of the term.


For details about filing requirements, including information on deadlines, preparing the thesis, registration, and use of human or animal subjects, please see Instructions for Preparing and Filing Your Thesis (http://grad.berkeley.edu/policies/guides/thesis-filing/) and Policies Affecting Both Master's and Doctoral Students.


Changes in Committee Membership


Before planning to file their theses, students who wish to change the membership of their thesis committee must be sure that such a change has been approved by the Graduate Division.  A student may request a change in committee by submitting a completed Change in Higher Degree Committee form.  The Head Graduate Adviser (who is our Vice Chair of Graduate Study) must state the reason for the change and sign the form.  The Head Graduate Adviser, rather than any committee member, has the final authority to approve the changes.  Forms are available from the Graduate Division website.


Library Permission Form


Each student filing a master's thesis must also submit a completed Library Permission Form, stating whether or not the student is willing to allow the University Library to supply copies of the thesis to any interested persons immediately, or if permission to do so should be withheld (for up to two years) while the student applies to obtain copyright.