5.5 Preliminary Exam

The objective of the Preliminary Examination is the early assessment of a student's potential for satisfactory completion of the doctoral degree.  The exams are entirely closed - no books or notes are allowed. 


Please note that Masters-only students who do not plan to move on to the PhD do not have to take the Preliminary (Prelim Exam).


All students admitted to the MS/PhD program on entry are required to take the examination.  Students who have entered with a declared MS degree goal and who wish to add PhD or D.ENG degree must pass the examination, and apply through the general Online Application for Admission and Review cycle.  This policy is to ensure a transparent, thorough, and fair application review process, independent from an applicant’s current or past enrollment at Berkeley.  There is no need for these applicants to submit the former “Application for Readmission” or the “Change of Major” forms.  The students will need to submit their official GRE scores, and all the PhD required materials listed on the admissions webpage.


For more details about taking the Prelim, please see the Prelim Section of Chapter 7.