General undergraduate program FAQs

What is the graduation rate in the College of Engineering?

Approximately 85 percent of incoming freshmen graduate from the College of Engineering and 91 percent from Berkeley overall.

When will I enroll in classes, if admitted to Cal?

New students should plan to attend one of the two-day sessions of the Cal Summer Orientation (CalSO) program held in June. At CalSO, students will meet with their assigned academic advisers to learn about requirements and enroll in courses for their first semester. New students who do not attend CalSO will enroll in courses after the CalSO sessions are complete. Admitted students receive information about CalSO after they submit their Statement of Intent to Register.

Can an engineering student pursue a minor?

Yes, students may apply to pursue a minor, and all the engineering departments offer them. Students may also consider pursuing a minor in another Berkeley school or college. Those who are interested in a minor should get information about the requirements and admission standards from the department offering the minor. Visit our minors page for a list of minors offered in the College of Engineering.

How much studying is expected in this competitive environment?

A student can expect to study at least three hours per week for every class unit. For example: 15 class units = 45 hours of study time per week.

How long does it take to complete an engineering degree?

Our majors are designed to be completed in four years (eight semesters). Academic advising and our structured four-year plans assist students in graduating on time. Although the college has a four-year graduation policy, there are times when an additional semester may be warranted. See the four-year plans for all engineering majors in the College of Engineering Undergraduate Guide.

What is the difference between the electrical engineering & computer sciences (EECS) major in the College of Engineering and computer science major in Letters & Science?

The lower-division requirements for the EECS computer science option offered in the College of Engineering emphasize science and math and lead to a Bachelor of Science degree. Computer science in the College of Letters & Science requires a greater number of non-technical courses and leads to a Bachelor of Arts degree. More information about the two programs can be found on the EECS website.

When can engineering students apply for internships?

Faculty and companies typically search for students who have completed their first and second years of engineering foundation courses. This means that securing an internship is most likely to occur in the junior and senior years or summer. The Career Center offers job and internship fairs throughout the academic year, and all students are encouraged to attend. For more information about engineering internships, visit the student research section.

Can I get research experience?

Our professors welcome undergraduates in their laboratories, both during the academic year and for special summer projects. Many positions are paid. To see a comprehensive listing of undergraduate research experiences, visit the student research section.

What is the job placement rate for engineering students after graduation?

Job prospects are very good for our graduates. Many students who are chosen for internships are hired by those same companies after they graduate. Others find great prospects with the help of job fairs and the Career Center. To learn more about the employment and graduate school choices made by our most recent graduates, visit the Career Destinations Survey page.

Do I have to major in bioengineering or a biological science (in Letters & Science) to get into medical school?

There is no preferred major for medical school. While any undergraduate major is acceptable, the pre-medical requirements including chemistry, physics, general biology and sometimes calculus must be fulfilled. For more information, review the Career Center’s medical school page. 

Will there be time for co-curricular activities?

Yes, in fact, we encourage students to join student organizations and participate in recreational sports and outside interests. Berkeley Engineering offers over 70 different groups that students can join, and there are even more throughout campus. Visit our student life section for more information and a list of student teams and organizations.

What kind of advising services are available to engineering students?

All Berkeley Engineering students are assigned a faculty adviser, an Engineering Student Services (ESS) adviser and a departmental adviser. Faculty advisers are mentors and help students select the appropriate courses to complete their major. Students are expected to meet with their assigned faculty adviser at least twice a year to discuss course selection and prepare for class enrollment. ESS advisers help students navigate university and College of Engineering policies and procedures, and they are a lifeline for other questions and concerns that students may have during their academic career at Berkeley. Departmental advisers guide students toward opportunities within their field of study. They provide referrals to student groups related to the student’s major and handle all aspects of faculty advising and research opportunities. Peer advisers are also available to answer general questions regarding policy and course requirements during the academic year.

Where can I find out more?

If you have questions specific to Berkeley Engineering’s application requirements, curriculum or student life, feel free to email Engineering Student Services.