Degrees Options Explained

There are four degree options: MS Only, 5th Year M.S., M.S./Ph.D., Ph.D., MAS-IC, and M.Eng.

There are three groups of students pursuing an M.S. The M.S. is often obtained by Ph.D. candidates as an intermediate step, giving them an opportunity to exercise their research skills in the master's project before beginning their doctoral research. We do not guarantee any sort of financial support for these M.S. Only students. The second group consists of students in the five-year B.A./M.S. or B.S./M.S. who are finishing up the five-year M.S. component. The only difference in degree requirements among these three types of M.S. applies to the 5th Year M.S., which has an additional breadth requirement of 8 units of coursework outside of EECS. The second and third groups are free to later apply for admission to the Ph.D. program, and because their applications will compete with other applicants for the Ph.D. they are not guaranteed admission to the Ph.D. The Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) is a professional degree that takes one academic year to complete.

5th Year M.S.

This program is for Berkeley EECS undergraduates only. If you think you are eligible please consult 5th Year B.S./M.S. program website

M.S. Only

The M.S. only students are research-oriented students who may have particular reasons not to continue on to the Ph.D. immediately or who want to try their hand at research without committing to working toward a Ph.D.


The M.S./Ph.D. is one program that allows you to earn your M.S. on the way to a Ph.D., usually two years into the program. Most students who are going for their Ph.D.s choose this option, but a M.S. is not required for the Ph.D. This degree usually takes about five to seven years to complete.


The Ph.D. only program allows one to earn only a PhD. Students usually choose this option when they already have a master's degree in their field. This usually takes three to five years.

Master of Advanced Study in Integrated Circuits (MAS-IC)

The MAS-IC program allows working professionals to become true experts in the field of Integrated Circuits. This usually takes two years of part-time 100% online study.

Master of Engineering (M.Eng.)

The M.Eng. program is a one year professional Master's degree. The program focuses on developing essential leadership skills while deepening your technical foundation. The M.Eng program is specifically streamlined for students looking to enter into industry upon matriculation. The program is run through the College of Engineering. More information can be found at the Fung Institute degree information page and the EECS Master of Engineering description.

Questions? Please contact EECS Graduate Admissions.