Application Guide

Applying to MSSE is easy! Applications open September 13, 2023, and are due February 1, 2024. Start your application here. Follow the detailed instructions below as you fill out the application to ensure all materials are submitted correctly and ready for review. If you have any questions, email us at msse@berkeley.edu, or schedule a phone call.

When you log into the online application system, you will see a long menu running down the left side of your screen. We will go through each tab in order and provide with you some MSSE-specific instructions. Unless otherwise noted, you should follow all instructions in the online application system.

  • Biographical Information

  • Fill out this section immediately (especially your phone number!) so that we can keep in contact and send you important application reminders.

  • Personal Background

  • Non-US Citizens
    The first question in this section asks for your residency or visa status. Non-US citizens do not need a visa to complete the MSSE program – if you are planning to complete the MSSE program while living in another country, you should select “The program is fully remote, and I don’t need a visa.”

    California Residency
    This section is required, but please note that MSSE does not differentiate between in-state and out-of-state students for tuition purposes.

  • Educational Background

  • No MSSE-specific instructions on this page.

  • Academic History

  • Bachelor’s Degree from a U.S. Institution
    Upload unofficial transcripts to your online application. Request a current unofficial transcript from every post-secondary school that you have attended, including community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs.

    Bachelor’s Degree from an International Institution
    Upload unofficial academic records (ie, transcripts, degree certificates/diplomas, and/or applicable translations) to your online application. Academic records should be issued in the original language and accompanied by English translations unless the institution issues original documents in English. English translations are required for all languages except Spanish; degree names and grades should be transliterated, not converted into English words or the U.S. grades of A-F. If your home institution does not issue documents in English, you may submit translations prepared by certified translators from the American Translators Association or the Ministry of Education.

  • Grades

  • Download GPA Calculation Worksheet

    The “Grades” page of the MSSE application includes five different GPA calculations. The MSSE program requires that applicants submit only three:

    (1) Cumulative Undergraduate GPA
    (2) Graduate GPA (if relevant)
    (3) Advanced Undergraduate GPA

    Instructions for calculating these three required values can be found in the GPA Calculation Worksheet (above). The worksheet is intended to be used as a guide to ensure that your GPA Calculations are accurate. You are not required to upload this worksheet in order for your application to be considered complete, but you are welcome to upload this document to show your work.

    Students are not required to submit calculations in the fields that read:

    “GPA for courses in the major field of study”, or
    “If your intended field of study was not your major for your Undergraduate degree, please calculate the GPA for all courses listed on your transcript(s) that relate to the field of study for which you are applying.”

    Please leave these fields blank.

  • Languages

  • This section is optional.

    Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship
    Please note that MSSE students are not eligible for the FLAS Fellowship. Please leave this section blank.

  • Recommendations

  • MSSE requires a minimum of two letters of recommendation, and you may submit up to four.

    Unfortunately, the application system requires that you enter the information of at least three recommenders in order to submit your application. If you wish to submit only two recommendations, enter your own information in place of the third. You can simply ignore any instructions sent to your email address for uploading the recommendation.

    Who to ask? Recommendations may be either professional or academic. The best recommendations are given by those who can give their personal impressions of your intellectual ability, your aptitude in research or professional skills, your character, and the quality of your previous work and potential for future productive scholarship. The most helpful letters are recent, relevant, and written specifically for this application. A strong professional recommender may be a direct supervisor or another individual with whom you have had significant professional interaction. We discourage letters of recommendation from subordinates, family, or friends.

    Applicants may waive the right to inspect their letters of recommendation on a voluntary basis. This option can be selected when you fill out the recommendation invite for your recommender.

    The Graduate Division may verify the authenticity of academic letters of recommendation with the school or recommender.

  • Employment

  • No MSSE-specific instructions on this page.

  • Test Scores

  • The MSSE program does not require applicants to submit GRE scores.

    Students who do not speak English as their first language
    You may be required to submit proof of English language proficiency in the form of TOEFL or IELTS test scores. For the TOEFL, Berkeley requires a minimum score of 90 on the IBT or 570 on the PBT. For the IELTS, Berkeley requires a minimum score of 7 on a 9-point scale. Not all students who speak English as a second language are required to submit test scores – to learn more about exceptions, visit https://grad.berkeley.edu/admissions/steps-to-­apply/requirements/.

  • Statements

  • All applications must submit two essays: the Statement of Purpose and the Personal History Statement. The suggested length for each essay is around 1-2 pages, single-spaced.

    Statement of Purpose
    This essay question was created to provoke honest, thoughtful responses to help us get to know you. The admissions committee is interested in learning how your professional and academic experiences and achievements equip you and motivate you to enroll in our program. At a minimum, the Statement of Purpose should indicate, with clarity and focus, your purpose for entering the Master of Molecular Science and Software Engineering program. While you are not required to directly answer this question, a good starting point for approaching your statement of purpose is to ask yourself – “How does earning the Berkeley Master of Molecular Science and Software Engineering reinforce your future professional and personal goals?” For more guidance on the Statement of Purpose, visit Graduate Division’s guide.

    Personal History Statement
    The Personal History statement provides an opportunity for the admissions committee to get to know you better on a personal level. Anything that can give reviewers a sense of who you are belongs here; especially experiences that show your promise, initiative, and ability to persevere. If you have faced any obstacles or barriers in your education, or if part of your academic record is not ideal, this is where you can explain and direct the reviewers’ attention to the evidence of your promise for higher education. Ask yourself “What do I contribute to my community, and how would I contribute to the UC Berkeley community?” For more guidance on the Personal History Statement, visit Graduate Division’s guide.

  • Molecular Science & Software Engineering Program

  • Please read the instructions on this page closely.

  • Supporting Materials

  • All applicants are required to upload either a resume or CV in the first section of this page. All other sections are optional.

  • Payment/Fee Waiver

  • Applicants may qualify for a fee waiver through the Graduate Division. The MSSE program waives our application fee for applicants who hold, or will hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from UC Berkeley at the planned time of enrollment who meet our eligibility requirements. Please email us at msse@berkeley.edu before submitting your application if you qualify.