Prospective freshman FAQs


Engineering Student Services

230 Bechtel Engineering Center # 1702
Berkeley, CA 94720-1702
(510) 642-7594

Hours: Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

When can I apply for admission to Berkeley Engineering?

The UC system’s annual application period is November 1–30 each year for admission for the following fall semester. Learn more about the application process at

Will I be admitted?

The answer depends upon the quality of the applicant pool and the number of spaces available in the major. Both of these vary from year-to-year which makes it impossible to predict admission.

How many students are admitted into engineering?

For the 2018-2019 academic year there were over 20,300 freshmen applicants to the College of Engineering and 8.5% were admitted.

How does Berkeley decide whom to admit?

The campus selects its freshman class through a comprehensive review of a student’s academic performance as measured primarily by the college preparatory, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate Higher Level (IBHL), honors and transferable college courses completed beyond the UC minimum, and the level of achievement in those courses; weighted, uncapped UC GPA and pattern of grades over time; standardized test scores; honors and awards which reflect extraordinary, sustained intellectual or creative achievement; sustained participation in rigorous academic enrichment and outreach programs; and the planned twelfth grade courses. In addition, the review includes an examination of the likely contributions to the intellectual and cultural vitality of the campus; diversity in personal background and experience; qualities such as leadership, motivation, concern for others and for the community; and non-academic achievements in the performing arts or athletics, employment or leadership. Applicants to Berkeley Engineering are also expected to demonstrate interest in the major to which they are applying since we receive far more applicants than we can admit. Consequently, to gain admission to Berkeley, students need to present an academic profile much stronger than that represented by the minimum admission requirements below. It is important to note that no single attribute or characteristic guarantees the admission of any applicant to Berkeley. For additional information about Berkeley’s application and selection process, please see the Be Berkeley (freshman brochure) on the following website:

What standardized tests should I take?

Engineering applicants are strongly encouraged to take the SAT Subject Test in Math Level 2 and at least one SAT Subject Test in science (Biology E/M, Chemistry or Physics) in order to be as competitive as possible.

What AP tests will I get credit for?

The College of Engineering awards AP credit for most AP tests. Depending upon the test and score, students will receive UC credit and/or College of Engineering subject credit. More information can be found in the College of Engineering Undergraduate Guide – Exams.

If I apply for the fall and plan to take the SATs in January after the application deadline, will you delay the review of my admission application until you receive the January scores?

It’s crucial that applicants complete all tests no later than the December examination dates of the year in which they apply for admission.

How much math should I take in high school?

Although a minimum of three years of college preparatory math is required, we strongly recommend completing four years. Since engineering admission is very competitive, applicants must do more than the minimum, particularly in math and science. Exceeding minimum requirements and doing well in these subjects prepares new students for the rigors of university work, especially in engineering.

Do I need to complete high school physics?

A minimum of two years of laboratory science is required for admission. We strongly recommend completing physics even if the minimum has been completed (the usual pattern is biology and chemistry). If admitted to Berkeley, new students must complete college-level physics as part of the lower division requirements for their engineering major. A high school physics background prepares students for university-level physics.

Does Berkeley Engineering consider the alternate major on the admission application?

No. Berkeley Engineering does not consider the alternate major. However, other UC campuses might.

Can I change my major on my application?

Applicants may change their college and/or major during the November application filing period only by contacting the Office of Undergraduate Admissions no later than November 30. Once admitted to Berkeley, students may only apply to change major after completing at least one semester at Berkeley. There are minimum requirements, including GPA requirements, progress requirements, and coursework requirements in some cases, so students are advised that change of major is not guaranteed.

If I am unable to attend the semester for which I am admitted, will you defer my admission?

Admission to Berkeley Engineering is valid only for the term in which the applicant is admitted. However, if there are extenuating circumstances, the applicant may apply for a deferral through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

If I'm an out-of-state or international student, can I establish residency for tuition purposes?

It’s extremely difficult for an out-of-state or international student to establish residency. Therefore, all out-of-state and international students should expect to pay non-resident tuition for each of their undergraduate years at Berkeley. Learn more at the Office of the Registrar website.

Is it difficult to switch majors within engineering?

The earliest that freshmen can apply to change their major is after completion of their first semester. Some of our majors are more impacted than others (currently EECS and BioE), so a change of major into these programs is competitive and requires more than one semester completed before application. Students considering a change of major should meet with their Engineering Student Services adviser.

Is it difficult to switch out of engineering into another college?

Students who decide to switch out of the College of Engineering should meet with their assigned Engineering Student Services (ESS) adviser to discuss the process.

Is it difficult to get into courses?

Being flexible is the key to getting into courses on the Berkeley campus. Berkeley Engineering students are required to take, at a minimum, two technical courses (math, science, engineering) that fulfill requirements for their major and a total of 12 units. Some of these courses offer several lecture sections along with several sub-sections of discussions and/or labs. With careful planning and some flexibility, students should be able to get into the courses they need. For more information please refer to

Can engineering students participate in a study abroad program?

Yes, in fact we encourage our students to study abroad. With careful planning, many students can complete a study abroad program without delaying their graduation. However, students who participate in such a program will be granted one additional semester to complete their degree requirements, if needed. Visit our study abroad page for more information.

Which residence halls (dorms) are closest to engineering?

The closest residence hall is Foothill, located at 2700 Hearst Avenue. Bear in mind that first-year engineering students will be enrolling in classes located throughout the main campus. You can find more residence hall information at the Housing website.

What kind of computer should students bring?

In general, students should buy a laptop that is affordable and convenient; there is no particular brand or model that is preferred. For information about software available to Berkeley students, visit Software Central.