University of California Berkeley

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Computer Science Degrees at University of California Berkeley

University of California Berkeley appears in our ranking of the Top 50 Master’s in Computer Science Degree Programs.

At the University of California Berkeley, students majoring in computer science have two possible pathways depending on their career goals. The College of Letters and Science program grants the Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science degree, while students enrolled in the College of Engineering can earn their Bachelor of Science. Both options require identical computer science coursework including foundation classes like Computer Architecture, Computer Graphics, and Programming Languages and Compilers. The main difference between the two programs is that the B.S. includes extensive coursework in electrical engineering. While students in the B.A. track do take some introductory engineering classes, they can also take courses from a variety of other fields and even double-major in an unrelated discipline. This is a good option for students looking to use their computer science skills in other industries. For example, these students may want to work in areas like biotechnology, music recording software development, or political campaigns. Graduates from the engineering track are extensively trained in both the hardware and software aspects of computers, a highly sought-after skill set, especially in technology companies.

The computer science graduate programs at UC Berkeley are divided into two categories, industry-oriented and research-oriented. The former consists of a standalone Master of Engineering program that can be completed in a year of study. Students can follow a more generalized path or choose one of five concentrations consisting of Visual Computing and Computer Graphics, Robotics and Embedded Software, Physical Electronics and Integrated Circuits, Data Science and Systems, and Signal Processing and Communications. The other industry-oriented program is a combined B.S./M.S. degree that adds an additional year of study to the original undergraduate plan. Students work on an extensive research project and take advanced computer science and leadership courses before graduation. The research-oriented programs include a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in computer science. Students can select between the master’s only, doctorate only, or M.S./Ph.D. tracks, all of which combine research, teaching, and advanced coursework.

About the University of California Berkeley

Established in 1868, UC Berkeley is the oldest member of the University of California System which includes a total of ten research universities in the state. Throughout the years, the university has encouraged innovation, both in the areas of scientific advancement but also in pushing for societal change. The university was one of the few to admit women as early as 1870. Also, the Berkeley campus is known to inspire activism, most notably with the protest against the Vietnam War in 1969. Today, with enrollment exceeding 42,000, students in all 300+ degree programs are continuing to make advancements in their fields. The University of California Berkeley has a worldwide reputation for excellence, and the U.S. News and World Report has ranked it the second best public university in the U.S., and the computer science graduate programs are tied for first place nationally out of 188 schools.

University of California Berkeley Accreditation Details

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) is responsible for monitoring the quality of schools at all levels, from elementary to graduate, in California, Hawaii, Guam, and numerous islands and other areas in the Pacific and East Asia. The University of California – Berkeley falls under its purview, and the school initially earned accreditation in 1949. This status was last reaffirmed in 2015. Each review cycle lasts 10 years during which time members of university leadership are expected to discover a weak spot in their organization, devise and implement a plan for improvement, and then document the results, making any necessary changes to the original plan. This shows the Commission that the school is dedicated to continuous improvement. Accreditation protects students ensuring that they are receiving an adequate education and also safeguards against mismanagement of public funds both through federal grants and public school operating costs.

University of California Berkeley Application Requirements

Undergraduate admission to the University of California Berkeley is extremely competitive with around a 17% acceptance rate. Computer science applicants can apply either to the College of Letters and Science or the College of Engineering. The overall requirements and application process is very similar in either case. Prospective students can fill out the application using the university’s online admissions portal making sure to completely list all extracurricular activities and answer the Personal Insight short-answer questions. In addition, applicants are encouraged to use the Additional Comments boxes in each section to add relevant information about their experience and achievements. UC Berkeley must also receive SAT or ACT scores including the writing portions and complete transcripts prior to evaluating the application. The minimum GPA accepted is a 3.0 for in-state applicants and 3.4 for those out of state. The University of California campuses use a holistic approach for admission decisions looking at academics, community involvement, test scores, and personal qualities and background.

For all graduate computer science research-based programs, applicants must submit complete transcripts demonstrating completion of at least a bachelor’s degree with a GPA above 3.0, general GRE scores, and three letters of recommendation from a professor or employer who can attest to the student’s potential as a researcher. Before submitting an application, prospective students need to choose a specialty area and apply to either the Computer Science or Electrical Engineering/Computer Science division. Students applying for the M.Eng. program have the same application requirements listed above but do not need any references.

Tuition and Financial Aid

California residents enrolled in an undergraduate program can expect a total of around $14,000 per year for tuition and fees, while out-of-state students will pay about $43,000. UC Berkeley graduate tuition is more expensive with the one-year M.Eng. program costing $52,508 for residents and $55,754 for non-residents. The M.S. and Ph.D. programs are different, though, as all accepted students receive university funding through fellowships with the expectation that they will work on research and teaching assignments as required. Staff at the financial aid office offer advice and help students find scholarships and grants. In addition, there are various campus jobs that provide financial assistance as well as experience and networking opportunities. Prospective students are always welcome to contact the University of California Berkeley with questions about the computer science programs, admissions requirements, and financial concerns.