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.
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.
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.
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 include at least two letter graded technical courses (of at least 3 units each, with the exception of Engineering 25, 26 and 27). Every semester you are expected to make satisfactory progress in your declared major. Satisfactory progress is determined by your ESS Adviser. In general, this means you will need to take two to three technical courses each semester that satisfy requirements for your major in order to graduate on time. Entering freshmen are allowed eight semesters to graduate, and entering junior transfers are allowed five semesters to graduate. Time to degree will not be extended for students who have not consistently made satisfactory progress toward their major requirements. 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. If you are on the degree list, you may enroll in fewer than 12 units as long as you are completing (or have completed) your degree requirements. 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.
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|
- 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.
Special Instructions for F-1 and J-1 International Students
Before dropping below 12 units, F-1 and J-1 international students must get permission from Berkeley International Office (BIO). If you are eligible, BIO will authorize you for an academic reduced course load (academic RCL). Click here to learn more about academic reduced course loads and to download the BIO academic RCL request form. Fill out the top portion of the form and ask academic advisor at COE to fill out the bottom half. Then submit it to BIO in person or via email. If you are approved for the RCL, a BIO advisor will be able to sign COE’s late drop form, and you’ll be able to drop courses. Note that BIO advisors cannot sign late drop forms if the RCL has not been approved.
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 over at least two semesters in residence once you reach 90 units (the semester in which the 90 units are exceeded, plus at least one additional semester). 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 to satisfy a modified Senior Residence requirement. The modified Senior Residence requirement states that of your final 60 units at least 24 must be in residence in the College of Engineering. In addition, at least 12 of these 24 units must be completed after you have already completed 90 units.
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.
Entering freshmen are allowed eight semesters at Berkeley to graduate, and entering junior transfers are allowed five semesters at Berkeley to graduate. Summer terms are optional and do not count toward the maximum. Students are responsible for planning and satisfactorily completing all graduation requirements within the maximum allowable semesters.