Program FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

Application Basics

Q: Are transcripts required for all academic coursework, including classes taken at community colleges and at the graduate level, or is just the undergraduate transcript required?

A: Yes, unofficial transcripts are required for all academic coursework.

Q: What are some best practices around letters of recommendation?

A: Three letters of recommendation are required and can be a mixture of academic and professional references. It is best to have a letter from someone who worked with you directly on a technical project or can speak to your ability to succeed at the graduate level.

Q: Can applicants use the Letterbanc service for their letters of recommendation?

A: Unfortunately, no. All letters of recommendation must be uploaded via our electronic database to be considered.

Q: What is the preferred length of the Personal History Statement & Statement of Purpose?

A: 1-2 pages, double-spaced.

Q: Is there a minimum GPA requirement?

A: 3.0

Q: If a prospective student does not meet the minimum 3.0 GPA requirement, will their application still be considered on the basis of other factors (work experience, letters of recommendation, essays)?

A: Yes.

Q: Is the GRE required?

A: No.

Q: What are the course prerequisites for the program?

A:  Appropriate preparation for advanced study in the domain of Integrated Circuits including mastery of content equivalent to EE 40 (Introduction to MicroElectronic Circuits) and EE 105 (MicroElectronic Devices and Circuits) courses. These classes (or their equivalents) cover Linear Algebra, Introductory Physics, and Introductory Circuits & Devices. The UC Berkeley Extension Integrated Circuits Certificate may be an option for prerequisite classes but is not an advantage from an admissions perspective.

Q: When is the TOEFL/IELTS required?

A: The TOEFL/IELTS is required if the prospective applicant’s bachelor’s degree was obtained in a country where English is not an official language. If you have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better in residence at a recognized U.S. institution, you do not need to take a standardized test. Instead, you must upload an unofficial transcript from the recognized U.S. institution.

Q: What if a prospective international applicant has taken the TOEFL or IELTS but hasn’t received the minimum required score (TOEFL = 90; IELTS = 7)?

A: We would recommend that the student take the exam again.

Q: What are the admissions cycles?

A:

 

Cycle Deadline Decision Classes Start
Spring September 1 October/November January
Fall February 2 March August

Q: Are applications reviewed as they are submitted or are all applications reviewed at the same time (after the application deadline)?

A: After the close of the deadline, all applications are reviewed; if, however, prior to the deadline, the Masters Student Services Adviser notices a piece of the application missing, he/she will contact the applicant and remind them to submit additional documents. It is ultimately up to the student to ensure that all documents have been uploaded and he/she submits a complete application.

Program Basics

Q: When was the program launched?

A: The first cohort entered the program in Fall 2013.

Q: Does the diploma say the same thing as other master’s degrees from UC Berkeley?

A: The diploma says “Master of Advanced Study in Integrated Circuits from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at UC Berkeley.” It does not specify that it is an online program.

Q: Why is it called a master’s of “advanced study?”

A: MSc/MS is more research-focused and leads to PhD. MAS is more professionally focused. This type of degree is commonly awarded by the University of California. It differs from the more common Master of Science (MS) in that the MAS is geared toward working professionals specializing in one topic, as opposed to the MS, which is a full-time program in research.

Q: How is the program different from others in the same field?

A: The MAS-IC offers students an opportunity to gain an in-depth knowledge of integrated circuits from a world-renowned faculty; the program is fully online and part-time. There isn’t an identical program offered at other institutions.

Q: Other than being an online program, why would someone specialize in Integrated Circuits, rather than, for instance, applying to the MS or MEng at UC Berkeley?

A: MS is more research-focused and leads to a PhD. MEng is suited for those who have some experience in industry or desire to enhance their technical expertise and develop engineering leadership skills.  MAS-IC is more professionally focused and is for those who want to gain a deeper knowledge of Integrated Circuits design.

Q: Do the UC Berkeley professors teaching the online MAS-IC courses also teach on campus?

A: Yes.

Program Structure

Q: How many hours per week are required?

A: 15-20 hours per week is the average.

Q: What is the program duration?

A: Part-time (2-3 years).

Q: Is it possible to complete the degree in under two years?

A: It is possible if none of the base courses are needed to preface the minimum 7 courses and 24 unit requirement.  Most students are already working full-time, so adding another 15 hours to a 40+ hour work week can be overwhelming and is not recommended.

Q: How many classes can a student take in a semester (maximum and minimum)?

A: Minimum one course per semester, summer optional.

Q: Can a student take a semester off?

A: The student can withdraw from the program, but will need to apply for readmission.

Q: How many classes are in the program?

A: There are 12 courses, from which 7 (24 units) are chosen.

Q: How are those classes structured?

A: Maximum of 3 base courses, minimum of 3 out of 4 advanced courses, and a minimum of 1 specialized course.

Q: Is it possible to take ONLY advanced and specialized courses and skip the base courses entirely?

A: Yes, as long as the 7 course (24 units) requirement is fulfilled.  UC Berkeley graduates may have already taken some of the base courses while they were undergraduates.  As we currently have a limited number of courses being offered, a student (most likely a UC Berkeley graduate) may have to withdraw for a semester if he/she has already taken some of the base or other courses.

Q: How much does the program cost?

A:

  • $2,200 per unit x 24 units (minimum of 7 courses)
  • ~$55,000 total cost
  • There is no difference in cost between residents and non-residents, summer session or regular semester.

Q: Is financial aid available?

A:  Prospective domestic applicants may fill out the FAFSA to see if they qualify for US federal loans (for US citizens and Permanent Residents). We encourage applicants to inquire about Tuition Reimbursement/Assistance from their employers, and to seek out private loans/scholarships as needed. See our Fees and Financial Aid page for more details.

Q: How does the online program/learning platform work?

A: Students can access degree course material through “asynchronous” Internet availability every day and every hour of the semester during which the course is offered. In addition, they will be confronted with challenging problems and will actively participate in collaborative projects. In this process, they will be guided and will engage in real-time (“synchronous delivery”) with instructors and Graduate Student Instructors (GSI’s) using the most advanced communication and networking technologies offered by the Internet.

There are a number of “modules,” or topics, within each course. Sometimes the modules are meant to be done in a week, other times they may span more or less time than that. Each course is around 16 weeks long (summer is around 10 weeks). The online courses were developed from the on campus material and match it almost exactly. The developers took the approximately 3 hours of lecture per week, per course, and turned each 90 minute lecture into a number of 10-15 minute videos. The videos are labeled clearly and specifically by topic, and are optional to watch. So a student can easily and quickly hone in on specific topics that they’d like to watch video lectures for, and weed out anything that they feel isn’t necessarily for them. As such, it’s a very personalized experience. Some of the videos were captured live, during on campus lectures, while others were developed in a studio environment (using all of the same faculty and material that students receive during on campus courses).

Q: What does the Capstone Project entail?

A:

  • Comprehensive/extended project from an advanced or specialized course
  • Written report
  • Webcast presentation

Q: Is it all online or is there an on-campus component?

A: The program is 100% online. There is a Canvas app for iPhone and Android that makes it even more flexible and portable; there’s also a GoToMeeting app for the office hour/discussion components.

Q: What is the peer interaction like? How is it structured?

A: It is as much or as little as the students like.  There is a “discussion” aspect to each course, where students can post questions for the faculty/professor and other students to discuss and/or answer. They may meet offline to have their own study sessions and also participate in the instructor’s office hours and the GSI’s discussion sessions. These are done using the gotomeeting platform, and are recorded and posted later for future viewing. Office hours are typically utilized to discuss homework, problem sets, labs, etc, which discussion sections are for more general questions and clarifications from the lectures. Students can also email instructors directly (1 on 1) through the Canvas platform (if they have a more sensitive or specific question). Faculty usually respond to student questions within about 24 hours.

Q: Can a MAS-IC student transfer from the online to an EECS campus master’s program?

A: They would have to apply for the on-campus program through the regular admission process.  We do not have an on-campus program equivalent to the online program and the MAS-IC degree.

Q: If MAS-IC students live locally, can they take EECS classes on campus?

A: No, it is an online program.  They can come to campus for the final exam and proctoring for no fee.

Q: If MAS-IC students live locally, will they have access to the other on-campus facilities?

A: Yes, MAS-IC students are enrolled fully as UC Berkeley students with access to on campus labs, faculty office hours, job fairs, and all other support services. For students who aren’t local, they are also fully UC Berkeley graduate students, with access to online library resources, online career fairs, webcast campus events, 24/7 technical support for the online learning platform, weekly technical support for the online laboratories, and a dedicated student services adviser to answer degree program questions.

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