Policies & procedures: Scholarship & progress requirements

It is your responsibility to be certain that all degree requirements are met (curriculum, scholarship and university) within the allotted time frame. The Undergraduate Guide offers a planned course of study for each major. Engineering Student Services (ESS) Advisers are available to guide you through the curriculum and policies, but it is your responsibility to ensure you are making satisfactory degree progress. Prior to your final term, you should consult with your ESS Adviser to ensure you will be completing all degree requirements.

Degree term

During the semester in which you will graduate:

  • You may take fewer than the minimum units if you don’t need them to complete your degree. Note: If you are receiving federal financial aid you should consult with the Financial Aid Office to determine if enrolling in fewer than 12 units will impact your aid package. International students should consult with the Berkeley International Office prior to enrolling in fewer than 12 units.
  • You may take fewer than two technical courses if you don’t need them to complete your degree.
  • The College of Engineering hosts a commencement ceremony each spring to which all graduates are invited.

Delay in graduation

Most petitions for extra semesters are not approved. However, if you have been unable to make normal progress in your major due to extenuating circumstances beyond your control and you need an extra semester to graduate, you must meet with your Engineering Student Services (ESS) Adviser to submit a petition to request an extra semester. Petitions are not granted to solely complete required courses due to lack of planning, to complete a minor or to take extra courses to improve GPA or prepare for graduate school. Two extra semesters are almost never approved. If an extra semester is granted, you will be required to enroll in at least 12 units in that extra semester. 

Normal progress

You are expected to enroll in a full-time program and make normal progress toward your degree. You must make satisfactory progress by meeting the following conditions:

  • Your semester program must contain at least 12 units of credit in any semester and must include at least two letter graded technical courses (of at least 3 units each, with the exception of Engineering 25, 26 and 27) required for your engineering major. 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. If you complete your major requirements earlier than your final semester, you may take fewer than two technical courses but must continue to meet the minimum 12 unit per term requirement until your final semester. Keep in mind that in order to maintain normal progress for many majors, you will have to complete more than two technical courses toward your major and possibly more than 12 units each semester. Note: Minimum unit requirement for graduation is 120 units.
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of a C average is required for every semester. See Subject to dismissal for further details.
  • All technical courses that fulfill major requirements must be taken for a letter grade.

If you are not making satisfactory progress, you should consult with your Engineering Student Services (ESS) Adviser as soon as possible.

Reduced course load

The College of Engineering requires that students enroll in a minimum of 12 units each semester; however, the college will consider appeals for reduced course loads below the minimum under the following circumstances:

  • Employment: If you have financial need that requires you to work 15 or more hours per week, you may petition to take fewer than the minimum required 12 units. You must submit a Work Verification Form, and a letter from your employer must accompany the verification form. The Work Verification Form indicates the requirements for the employer’s letter. Your completed Work Verification Form and documentation of financial need must be submitted no later than the end of the fifth week of classes. Minimum units of study based on hours of employment per week are as follows:
Hours of employment 0 10 15 20 30 40
Minimum units 12 12 11 9 6 3
  • Recommendation from the Disabled Students Program: You must bring a letter from the Disabled Students Program to your Engineering Student Services (ESS) Adviser.
  • Degree list: If you are on the degree list for that semester, you may enroll in fewer than 12 units as long as you are completing (or have completed) your degree requirements.
  • Health reasons: You may petition for fewer than 12 units for health reasons as certified by your physician (ideally from University Health Services/Tang Center). You must meet with your ESS Adviser to initiate this appeal.
  • Personal reasons: You must meet with your ESS Adviser.
  • Family obligations: You must meet with your ESS Adviser.

Reduced study lists must still include at least two letter graded technical courses required of your major, unless an exemption is approved. You must meet with your ESS Adviser to initiate an appeal for a reduced course load. Please note that financial aid recipients should check with the Financial Aid Office, and international students should check with the Berkeley International Office, before requesting a reduced course load.

Senior residence rule

The college requires that your final 30 units and your final two semesters toward your B.S. degree be completed in residence (you must be registered at UC Berkeley) in the College of Engineering. You must also meet the university’s Senior Residence requirement (24 units completed in residence once you reach 90 units). By completing the College of Engineering residence requirement, you will automatically meet the university’s requirement.

If you are enrolled in the Education Abroad Program, you may be permitted a modified Senior Residence requirement by completing 24 of your final 60 units in residence in the College of Engineering.

Please consult with your Engineering Student Services (ESS) Adviser if you believe you will not be able to meet the Senior Residence requirement. Under specific circumstances, students can request a waiver of the requirement.

Time to graduation

Entering freshmen are allowed eight semesters to graduate, and entering junior transfers are allowed four semesters to graduate. Note: Transfer students who are admitted needing three or more lower division courses for their major will be granted a fifth semester to complete their degree.