Information for Ph.D. Students
The following may be used as a guideline for obtaining the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in EECS. For complete details on requirements and procedures, see the
EECS Graduate Handbook.
The PhD Flowchart below provides an overview of the necessary steps you will need to take before getting your Ph.D.
Please contact the Staff Graduate Advisors
(EE: Shirley Salanio,
shirley@eecs, 217 Cory Hall /
CS: Audrey Sillers, araya@eecs,
367 Soda Hall) to obtain any forms not linked from below or
if you have any questions.
Doctoral Degree (Ph.D.)
MINIMUM: 24 UNITS:
At least 12 units (200-level courses) with a GPA of 3.5+
At least 6 units (at least one 200-level grad course) with a
GPA of 3.0+.
One or more of these courses may be outside EECS
At least six units (at least one 200-level grad course) with a
GPA of 3.0+.
Courses must be outside EECS, with at most one cross-listed with
All courses must be taken for a letter grade.
Courses in 298, 299, 375, and 602
do not count.
Students can petition to transfer at most 12 units from another
The preliminary requirements include an oral exam and breadth courses.
Students must demonstrate to a committee of faculty members an
integrated grasp of the area's body of knowledge in an unstructured
framework. All students must take the exam at the start of their 3rd
BREADTH COURSES must:
be at a graduate or an advanced undergraduate level
be at least three units
be for a letter grade
EE students must take two courses in areas different
from the oral exam (with A- or better).
CS students must take a course in each of the
three subject areas, passing each with at least a B+.
Upon completion of the prelim requirements, students
should submit a "Blue Card" to their Staff Graduate Advisor.
The blue card is a non-binding document that the staff reviews
to ensure your courses satisfy requirements.
The Qualifying Exam is a University requirement.
Students must demonstrate an expertise in the areas
of the discipline that have been specified for the exam and be
able to produce an acceptable plan for their dissertation.
The Qualifying Exam should be taken by the end of a student's
third year AND only after the preliminary requirements are fulfilled.
At least four weeks prior to the exam, students should plan to
organize their committee and submit the following forms to their
Staff Graduate Advisor:
Advancing to candidacy lets the university know that a student is
almost ready to graduate.
Doctoral students are eligible to advance after successfully passing
the Qualifying Exam.
To advance to candidacy, students must organize their dissertation
committee and submit the
Application for Candidacy
to their Staff
Graduate Advisor. A $90 check* made payable to "Regents of the
University of California" must also be included
*NSF students are eligible to waive the fee.
All EECS doctoral students must serve as a Graduate Student Instructor
Students must complete a total of 30 hours minimum prior to graduation.
(Twenty hours of work per week is equivalent to a 50% GSI appointment
for a semester. Ten hours of work per week is equivalent
to a 25% GSI appointment for a semester.)
At least 20 hours must be for an EE or CS undergraduate course.
First time GSIs must take a 375 Pedagogy course and attend a teaching
Students are expected to give a talk before their final submission
on the principal results of their research (this is a departmental
graduation requirement). The Dissertation talk must be
file the thesis
by the last day
of the semester in which they plan to graduate.
The most important part of filing is submitting the dissertation to
the Grad Division and providing the following documents to the Staff
Copy of the signed signature page
Copy/printout of the title page
Copy/printout of the abstract
Students must also upload a copy of the dissertation to the
When you have found a Research Advisor and no longer have a temporary one, you must notify the Staff Graduate Advisor to update the database. No forms or paperwork required.
( I ) Coursework
Required minimum number of units: 24 (for students entering Fall 2009 or later) or 32 units (only an option for students entering prior to Fall 2009). Each unit total has an obligatory minimum GSI requirement.
EECS Major: 12 or 16+ units of graduate courses; GPA=3.5+; number of units dependent on total number of units required;
EECS Minor: 6 or 8+ units of at least 1 or 2+ graduate courses; GPA=3.0+; number of units dependent on total number of units required;
non-EECS Minor: 6 or 8+ units of at least 1 or 2+ graduate courses; GPA=3.0+; number of units dependent on total number of units required;
All courses of the major and two minors must be taken for a letter grade.
EE or CS298, EE or CS299, EE or CS301, and EE or CS602 units are not counted toward Ph.D.
Credit for courses taken on an S/U basis is limited to one-third of the total units (excluding courses numbered 299 or those in the 300, 400, or 600 series)
Sample blue and white cards
( II ) Preliminary Examination Requirements
The EECS Preliminary Requirement consists of two components: the
oral examination and breadth courses. You will have fulfilled the
Prelim Requirement only after you pass the oral exam and meet the
breadth course requirement.
EE students, visit the EE Prelim
Exam web page for application deadlines and exam area syllabi.
CS students, visit the CS Prelim
Exam web page for application deadlines and sign-up sheets,
exam areas, syllabi and questions.
Only students admitted to the M.S./Ph.D. or the Ph.D. programs
are permitted to sign up for the oral exam.
All Ph.D. students are expected to take the exam no later than their third semester.
You must be registered for the semester the exam is taken.
have a minimum cumulative 3.5 GPA in courses taken at Berkeley while in
graduate standing. Grade units of 299 and 298 are not included in the
CS and EE PhD students must complete all prelim requirements by the end of the 4th semester. Prelim requirements must be completed before students can take the Qual Exam.
EE BREADTH COURSES:
This requirement is satisfied when you have completed, with a grade
of A- or better, a graduate or advanced undergraduate course of at
least 3 units in two different areas in the EECS Department outside
of the area of the oral exam.
See the EECS Graduate Handbook
for a current list of courses you MAY NOT
USE to fulfill your breadth requirements. Courses vary depending on
your oral exam area.
CS BREADTH COURSES:
Preliminary Breadth Courses:
Students must complete courses from 3 of the following areas, passing each with at least a B+:
Theory: 270, 271, 273, 274, 276, 278
AI: 280, 281A, 281B, 287, 288, 289A
Graphics/HCI: 260B, 283
Programming: 263, 264, 265, 267; EE219C
Systems: 261, 261N, 262A, 262B, 268, 286B
Architecture/VLSI: 250, 252, 258
The courses must include at least one from the group of three above the line and one from the group of three below the line.
CS260B, CS263, and EE219C cannot be used for this constraint, though they can be used as providing 1 of the 3 areas.
(For students who took the old CS260 course, that is equivalent to the current CS260B.)
Students must complete the requirement by the end of their 6th semester.
CS breadth courses can count towards a major or minor, but classes in different areas cannot be used
together for the major or in the same minor.
Although CS PhD students are expected to take at least one course from each grouped areas (Group
1 : THY, AI, GR; Group 2:Programming, Systems, and Architecture), students can petition to have an EE class
satisfy one of their CS breadth requirements.
CS students complete the
CS Blue Card
after passing all Prelim Requirements.
This outlines your tentative program of study.
EE students complete the EE Blue Card
after passing the oral portion of the Prelim examination.
This outlines your tentative program of study.
Transfer credit may be awarded for a maximum of 12 or 16
semester units (dependent on total number of units required); complete a
Transfer of Credit Petition
and submit all supporting documents for each course to which you intend
( III ) Qualifying (Qual) Examination
You should organize your Qualifying Exam Committee in the 3rd year of your
Ph.D. program and start thinking of who will be on your committee the semester before you plan to take the Qualifying Exam. In forming your committee, please remember:
you need a total of 4 Academic Senate Faculty members
your advisor cannot be the chair
1 member must be from outside the EECS Department
Submit the three (3) required pieces of paperwork (details below) to the Staff Graduate Advisors at least one month prior to your scheduled exam:
You must be registered the semester the exam is given. Summer quals are OK if you are
registered the previous Spring or following Fall semester.
Students take quals, format a or b below, within 6 semesters
after starting the EECS graduate program.
Research area survey, directions, evidence of research ability.
Research area survey, directions, thesis proposal defense.
Students passing only format a for quals must also do a satisfactory
thesis proposal defense within 10 semesters after matriculation.
Students enrolling prior to Fall 2003 should refer to the
EECS Grad Student Handbook
for old QE format.
- In the unfortunate case that a student does fail the qualifying exam twice, per the Graduate Division's policy, a third attempt is not permissible. The student will not be eligible to continue in the doctoral program and may be dismissed.
Applications for the Qualifying Exam
Complete the Graduate Division
for Qualifying Exam and the Departmental Qualifying Exam Application
at least one month
before the date the exam is scheduled. Please note that your advisor only needs to sign the Departmental Exam Application,
not the Graduate Division application. The Signature of Head Graduate Advisor is a current member of the faculty appointed to this position
by the Dept. Chair. This signature will be obtained for you by the Staff Graduate Advisors.
Submit both of these completed applications (and the white card described below) to the Staff Graduate Advisor for processing.
Complete the White Card
at the same time you apply for the Qual Exam. This constitutes your
final program of study. EE students must have prelim breadth courses
completed at this time. This form must have your advisor's signature of approval before submission.
Submit your advisor approved white card (with the QE applications above) to the Staff Graduate Advisor for processing.
Advancement to Candidacy
After passing the Qual Exam, start to organize your Dissertation Committee:
total of 3 Academic Senate Faculty members (you do not need to have all four of the same members from your Qual Exam, but your advisor should be the Chair of your dissertation committee)
1 of whom is outside the EECS Department
the chair must be your Research Advisor
before the end of the semester following the semester you passed the Qual
Exam. Note the application fee accompanying the application.
If you are a GSR, you may be eligible for an increase in the percent
of your appointment. Once you receive notification from Graduate Division
of your official advancement,
take the Certificate of Candidacy form or the ERSO Graduate Student Verification form to
Human Resources Office of ERSO
If you are assessed nonresident tuition, you are now eligible for
an NRT reduction for a maximum of 3 years (whether registered or
not). You must be advanced by the first day of the semester to take
advantage of this NRT reduction.
Thesis Proposal Defense and Application
Any student not presenting a satisfactory thesis proposal
defense at the Qual Exam must write up and present to the dissertation
committee a thesis proposal which should include a summary of research
to date and plans for future work.
( IV ) Teaching Requirement
For those Ph.D.'s who enrolled in the graduate program before Fall 1998,
the TA requirement is one semester for at least 25% time (10 hours per
Those admitted Fall 1998 and thereafter are required to fulfill
at least two semesters at 25% time (10 hours per week) each OR
one semester at 50% time (20 hours per week).
Effective with the class entering Fall 2002, students must serve as a GSI for at least 1 undergraduate class. This means one 50% appointment for an undergraduate class or at least one of the 25% appointments for an undergraduate class.
Effective for the Fall 2009 entering class, students must serve as a GSI for at least 30 hours and 20 of those hours must be for an undergraduate course.
( V ) Dissertation Talk and Filing
You must refer to Graduate Division's guidelines on
a Doctoral Dissertation (any deviated version will not be accepted).
To submit your dissertation, you must either be registered or on Filing
Fee. Most students are registered.
If you need to use the Filing Fee option:
May be used only once in your graduate career.
Applicant must have been registered in the semester (or in a Summer
Session) immediately preceding the one for which Filing Fee status is
You cannot hold an academic student appointment (GSI or GSR).
Fee Application by the end of the 1st
week of classes of the semester you wish to file and graduate.
The Filing Fee will apply for the length of the
semester for which Filing Fee status had been approved, up to the
deadline for filing for a degree in that semester. These dates vary
from year to year, but are approximately December 20 and May 15 of each
Give a talk on the principal results of your research (this is a
departmental graduation requirement). Advertise your talk at least one
week in advance on the
Department Calendar (click the left-column link called Submit or edit an event).
All students must also complete and submit the
Thesis Seminar Form. Please note that the dissertation talk must be given in either the spring or fall semesters. Dissertation talks during the summer sessions are not allowed.
All doctoral dissertations must be submitted in electronic form. You need to
consult the publication "Instructions for Preparing and Filing Your Thesis or Dissertation"
which describes the requirements for preparing the final version of your
dissertation and submitting it electronically. (NOTE: Grad Div. needs at
least 3 working days to review your electronic submission before they are able to
provide a receipt of filing. You may still file on the deadline date but don't expect to
receive a confirmation until the following week.) After your degree is awarded, the original copy will be sent
to the University Library to be bound
and included in the Library's collection.
- If you plan more than incidental use of your own previously published or co-authored material in your dissertation or thesis, a practice common in the sciences and engineering and sometimes followed in other fields, you must request permission to do so from the Dean of the Graduate Division, at least three weeks prior to filing. See the Graduate Division policy for more details.
One copy should be uploaded to the EECS Department Website through the online submission form.
Departmental Submission: The Department no longer accepts a hard copy of your dissertation. The documents you must submit to the EECS Grad Office are
(1) a copy of the signed signature page
(2) a copy/printout of the title page
(3) a copy/printout of the abstract .
Effective Spring 2006, every Ph.D. dissertation must be submitted
to the EECS Technical Memorandum Series.
Please fill out the
online submission form.
Your manuscript will need to be in pdf format. Please do not include a copy of the signed signature page with the faculty committee members' signatures.
the report will be assigned a number, given an HTML coversheet,
assigned a URL, and added the
Technical Reports database.
You will be sent its number and URL via email.
If you need to delay the submission of your Tech Report, there is an
option via your My EECS Info page that will allow you to specify a "delayed publication date".
( VI ) Exit Surveys & Graduation
EECS Exit Survey
(this is a departmental graduation requirement).
Check with the Staff Graduate Advisor to make sure all coursework,
prelim, GSI, and other requirements are completed.
Graduate Division Surveys
All doctoral candidates must submit the following:
Survey of Earned Doctorates - collected by Graduate Division on
behalf of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research
Council (this can be obtained prior to filing in 318 Sproul).
Survey of Doctoral Students' Opinions - UCB's exit questionnaire
(can also be obtained prior to filing).
A copy of the approved letter of the Committee for Protection of
Human Subjects or the Animal Care and Use Committee, if necessary.
If you wish to participate in the spring commencement ceremony, you must
fill out the College of Engineering's Commencement
Participation Form. Throughout the spring, details about the ceremony
will be updated on the
website. If you have any other questions about commencement,
please call the COE Student Affairs Office, 642-7594.
Diploma and Transcript
Approximately four months after your degree is conferred, you may pick up your diploma in person at the Office of the Registrar,
120 Sproul Hall, or request to have it sent to you.
For more information, please see
Updated by SAS, January 2016.