5.3 5th Year Masters of Science Degree Requirements

Normative Time


1 year (2 consecutive semesters)


Minimum Units of Units To Complete Degree


24 Semester Units

Independent Study Courses such as, but not limited to, ME 298 and ME 299 do not count towards this total.  This is a coursework-only program. 


Course Restriction: All courses taken to fulfill degree requirements must be either in 100 or 200 series. 


Minimum Number of Mechanical Engineering Units


12 Semester Units of ME-sponsored courses (must be in 200 series and letter-graded).  The non-MechE side of a crosslisted course does not count in this category of requirements. 


Remaining 12 Units


12 Semester Units of upper-division and graduate level courses (must be in either 100 or 200 series).  These units can come from the following categories:

  • College of Engineering Courses
  • Department of Mathematics
  • Department of Statistics
  • Biological Sciences
  • Physical Sciences
  • School of Information
  • School of Business
  • School of Public Policy


A strong priority is given to courses that are technical in nature.  Other courses can be petitioned to the Vice Chair through the MechE Student Services Office. 


Course selection must be approved by our Vice Chair for Graduate Study, as well as exceptions to take courses outside of this list.  To receive approval, please bring your Confirmation of Class Schedule to 6193 Etcheverry Hall prior to the beginning of the semester for processing.


Minimum GPA, 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 Units Required To Be Registered Each Semester


As a graduate student in the 5th year BS/MS Program in ME, each student in this program must enroll in a minimum of 12 semester units each semester.


Backdating Graduate Standing


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 (for a maximum of 4 units).  Graduate standing may be backdated for only one semester, and students may petition for credit only for course work that was not required for the undergraduate degree.  The form for this can be found at http://www.me.berkeley.edu/5th-year-masters-program-handbook/chapter-5-forms-deadlines.


Advancement To Candidacy


Students should apply for Advancement to Candidacy early in their second semester.  The form can be found at http://www.me.berkeley.edu/5th-year-masters-program-handbook/chapter-5-forms-deadlines.


Oral Comprehensive Examination


You must arrange for your Comprehensive Oral Examination when you Advance to Candidacy for the Master’s  Degree during the beginning of your second semester.


Your Examination Committee consists of

  • Two professors who are members of the Berkeley Academic Senate.  Generally speaking, this means that they are tenure-track Professors. 
  • At least one of the members of your Examination Committee has to be from the Mechanical Engineering Department. 


Please note that both members of your Oral Exam Committee must be present at the time of the exam.


The Oral Comprehensive Examination must be scheduled at least 45 days before the end of your second semester.  The examination is scheduled for 30 minutes.  Questions will be drawn from upper division 100 and 200 level courses taken during the first semester of your masters program, though exceptions to this can be granted due to extenuating circumstances. 


 At the conclusion of your examination, the Committee Members will sign your Report on the BS/MS 5 Year Completion Examination Form (http://www.me.berkeley.edu/5th-year-masters-program-handbook/chapter-5-forms-deadlines).  Should you not pass the examination, you are eligible to retake the exam with the same committee members.  Retakes should take place within 2 weeks of your first examination.