Policies & procedures: Enrollment & courses

Below is the information on course registration, procedures and deadlines for the College of Engineering.

Adding/dropping courses or changing grading option

  • Deadline to add courses: 11:59 p.m. (PST) on Wednesday of the fourth week of instruction.
  • Deadline to drop a course on the early-drop deadline list: 11:59 p.m. (PST) on Friday of the second week of instruction.
  • Deadline to drop courses not on the early-drop deadline list: 11:59 p.m. (PST) on Wednesday of the fourth week of instruction. 
  • Deadline to change grading option for a technical course that cannot be used to fulfill any requirements for your major: 11:59 p.m. (PST) on Friday of the fifth week of instruction.
  • Deadline to change grading option for an H/SS course: 11:59 p.m. (PST) on Friday of the tenth week.
  • The Office of the Registrar has a student enrollment calendar with specific deadlines and schedule change fees.

Adding/dropping courses or changing grading option after the deadline

You are able to add and drop classes using CalCentral until Wednesday of the fourth week of instruction.  Courses on the Early Drop Deadline list must be dropped by Friday of the second week of classes. Technical courses that can fulfill a requirement for your major must be taken for a letter grade. However, if you are taking a technical course that cannot fulfill any requirements for your major, you may change the grading option for that course until the end of the fifth week of instruction. After the fifth week of instruction, you may only change grading options in your H/SS courses. 

Courses may be dropped by the Wednesday of the fourth week provided that you will still be enrolled in at least 12 units and in at least two letter graded technical courses required for your major. Changes to the grading option must be made by the stated deadlines: end of the fifth week for technical courses that cannot be used to satisfy any requirements for your major, and end of the tenth week for H/SS courses.  

Generally, adds, drops and changes of grading options are not permitted past the deadlines stated above in Adding or Dropping Courses. However, if you are experiencing academic or personal difficulties or other unexpected circumstances, you are encouraged to meet with your ESS Adviser to discuss options.

Note: Courses for which academic dishonesty has been verified by established campus procedures cannot be dropped from the record. Grades for such courses will be reinstated to the record when dishonesty is verified.

Attendance at other schools after enrollment at UC Berkeley

Once you begin your education in the College of Engineering, attendance at any institution other than UC Berkeley requires permission. If you wish to take courses at another school during the summer (or in a semester that you are not enrolled at UC Berkeley), you must consult with your Engineering Student Services (ESS) Adviser before registering for the courses.

In general, students are not allowed to enroll at another school during a fall or spring semester while enrolled at UC Berkeley. Under very unusual circumstances, students have been given permission to enroll simultaneously. You should consult with your ESS Adviser to discuss simultaneous enrollment for your specific circumstances.

Credit by exam

Some requirements in the College of Engineering can be satisfied with Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and A-Level exams.  To receive credit, exams must be taken prior to graduating from high school. Our exams page in the Undergraduate Guide has more details.

In very limited situations, the College of Engineering allows students to petition for credit by examination for MATH 1A and/or MATH 1B. These are the only two subjects that may be petitioned to satisfy by examination. At a minimum, approval of both the College of Engineering Dean and a math department faculty member willing to administer an examination that covers the entire course is required. You must be in good academic standing and registered during the term the exam will be offered.  The credit by examination petition is available through Engineering Student Services (ESS) Advisers.

Completion of lower-division course requirements

You are expected to complete required lower division courses before beginning upper division work. Transfer students must complete any outstanding lower-division requirements within the first two semesters after admission.

Course evaluations

You should use the Assist website to determine equivalencies for courses taken at California community colleges. Courses taken at four-year institutions (including other UC schools) and at community colleges outside California must be evaluated before subject credit can be awarded. To have a course evaluated, please consult with your Engineering Student Services (ESS) Adviser in 230 Bechtel Engineering Center. In most cases, you will need to provide a syllabus of the course in order to begin the course evaluation process.

Course load

Each semester, you must enroll in a minimum of 12 units and two technical courses (a minimum of 3 units each, with the exception of Engineering 25/26/27) required in your engineering curriculum. Students who are not in compliance with this policy by the end of the fifth week of the semester are subject to a registration block that will delay enrollment for the following semester. For most majors, you will need to enroll in an average of 15 units and take more than two technical courses each semester to stay on track. Programs of less than 12 units or more than 20.5 units require approval. You should consult with your Engineering Student Services (ESS) Adviser. 

Education abroad programs

Many College of Engineering undergraduates are interested in studying abroad, and we strongly encourage participation as a means of broadening your education and developing a global view of engineering. International study requires a good deal of planning, organization and self-motivation to be successful, but the benefits are well worth the effort. You may choose to study abroad by participating in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP) or in a non-UC sponsored program. Study abroad programs are offered for one semester, a full academic year or a summer session. If you are interested in study abroad, you should begin researching country and program options early in your academic career. With careful planning, you can complete a study abroad program without delaying your graduation; however, you will be granted one additional semester to complete your degree requirements if needed.

You must obtain the approval of your Engineering Student Services (ESS) Adviser in order to participate in a study abroad program. Your adviser will verify that you are making satisfactory progress toward your degree and that the time abroad wont prevent completion of the College of Engineering requirements in a timely manner. Visit the Study abroad section of our website for further information about College of Engineering policies and procedures for study abroad participation.

Graduate course enrollment

In order to enroll in a graduate course:

  • You must have completed at least 60 units as a college student (does not include units earned through AP/IB/A-Level exams)
  • You must obtain permission from the instructor of record
  • Your upper division technical GPA should be at least 3.0

Please see your Engineering Student Services (ESS) Adviser if you wish to petition to use a graduate course to fulfill a technical requirement for your major. No more than two graduate courses may be used to complete degree requirements.

Independent, group and field studies courses

Limitations to special studies courses

  • Courses numbered 97, 98, 99, 197, 198 and 199 must be taken on a Pass/Not Pass basis and cannot satisfy any technical requirements.
  • There are limitations on the number of units a student may earn toward graduation, and in each semester, for special studies courses (courses numbered 97, 98, 99, 197, 198 and 199). No more than 16 units of 98, 99, 197, 198 and 199 courses can be counted toward the B.S. degree, and no more than 4 units in any single term can be counted.

Approvals required for enrollment in independent and field studies courses

If you are interested in pursuing independent study or participating in research for academic credit (normally courses numbered 198 or 199), you should review the information on your major departments website regarding procedures for obtaining credit for undergraduate research/independent study. You begin the process by obtaining the support of a faculty person who will sponsor your work. Most departments require faculty sponsors to complete and sign paperwork acknowledging their support of your research/study, and on that basis, the department will provide a permission number for registration. Some departments do offer letter graded research units (normally courses numbered H194 or 196).

Online courses

Online courses offered by UC Berkeley during the summer session may be used to fulfill degree requirements. You can also complete courses online during the summer at other institutions, see attendance at other schools after enrollment at UC Berkeley for more details regarding this requirement. 

With the exception of UC Online, you cannot enroll in an online course offered elsewhere during the fall and spring semesters while also enrolled at UC Berkeley. UC Online enrollment during fall and spring semesters is limited to one course, and you are required to maintain 12 units and two technical courses toward your degree. 

Consult with your Engineering Student Services (ESS) Adviser for more information.

Physical education

A maximum of 4 units of physical education courses are allowed to count toward the B.S. degree in engineering.

Self-paced and independent classes

Self-paced classes are offered as alternatives to regular classes in some lower-division computer science courses. These classes allow you to work at your own pace (subject to some constraints determined by the course), with most of the learning completed through study guides, workbooks, texts and frequent quizzes.

Before taking one of the self-paced classes, you should consider whether you are sufficiently motivated to do the work without having very specific deadlines and an instructor. The UC Berkeley Self-Paced Center has more information about these classes.

Substitutions for required courses

Substitutions for required courses must be approved by petition. The petition must be submitted to your Engineering Student Services (ESS) Adviser well before you have started the course you wish to substitute.

Technical courses

Technical courses are defined as courses in engineering, computer science, data science, math, statistics, chemistry, the physical sciences or the biological sciences. (Please check the footnotes for your major program for a list of courses in these departments that are not considered technical.)

  • Any technical course that can be used to fulfill a requirement for your major must be taken for a letter grade. 
  • Each semester, you are required to take at least two technical courses that satisfy requirements for your major.
  • Your upper division technical GPA must be at least 2.0 in order to graduate.

UC Extension enrollment

Units earned in UC Berkeley Extension XB courses or Berkeley courses completed through the UC Extension Concurrent Enrollment Program will be counted toward your degree only in the following circumstances:

  • If you are required to complete academic requirements for graduation, and you have obtained approval from the college.
  • If you have obtained permission from the college prior to taking courses.
  • If you were dismissed, and you have developed an academic plan with your Engineering Student Services (ESS) Adviser.

Grades earned in UC Berkeley Extension XB or Concurrent Enrollment courses will be included in your UC Berkeley grade-point computation. If you have been dismissed by the College of Engineering, however, your grades will only count toward your UC Berkeley GPA if you obtained the college’s approval prior to taking the courses.

NOTE: Students enrolled in UC Extension are not part of UC Berkeley and units completed are not considered "in residence." International students should work with the Berkeley International Office if they will be completing their degree through concurrent enrollment.

In order to take courses through UC Extension Concurrent Enrollment, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Meet with your ESS Adviser to request approval to take courses through UC Extensions Concurrent Enrollment Program.
  2. Enroll in the classes online. Visit the UC Extension Concurrent Enrollment Program for details on how to register.
  3. Obtain approval for enrollment from the course instructor and the department chair. This is done electronically. You are expected to discuss the possibility of enrolling with the instructor during the first week of classes. Enrollment is based on availability of space in the class.

Waiving a required course

Requests to waive a course requirement will not be considered.