Apply To MSSE

The MSSE program is currently accepting applications for a 2023 fall semester program start. All applications must be submitted through UC Berkeley’s online Graduate Application for Admission and Fellowships site for graduate admissions, by Friday, January 27th, 2023.

Each semester begins with the on-campus two week programming & leadership bootcamp courses that begin before the official start of each semester. Accommodations will be made for students unable to attend in person.


The Master of Molecular Science and Software Engineering program is designed for both recent science or engineering graduates and individuals with several years of professional experience. To Qualify for Admission you must have:

You must hold or expect to hold, prior to the beginning of classes, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited US school. International applicants of recognized academic institutions outside the United States must hold a degree equivalent to a US bachelor’s degree.

The MSSE degree is intended for those with a STEM degree, including but not limited to: Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Bio Engineering, Physics, Engineering, Math, and Computer Science.
If you have questions on who is eligible for the MSSE Degree, please email us at
To be elgible for the MSSE degree, you must have prior coursework in chemistry, materials, or physics.

MSSE courses teach machine learning and software engineering skills in the context of these fields. The degree program is intended to allow you to combine your previous science coursework in one or more of these areas with computing.
To be eligible for the MSSE degree, you must have taken high-level coursework in mathematics.

Multivariable calculus and linear algebra are essential prerequisites for MSSE courses in advanced machine learning, parallel computing, numerical algorithms and data science courses. It is recommended to have taken these courses prior to starting the MSSE degree, but students can be admitted if they demonstrate strong math skills through their coursework. Please review the next section on requirements to met before starting the program for more information on meeting prerequisites without formal coursework.
To be eligible for the MSSE degree you must have a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale.

Requirements to be Met Before Starting the Program

These requirements are important to succeed in MSSE courses. Students may fulfill them after admission.

Some MSSE courses require linear algebra and multivariable calculus as a prerequisite. It is recommended to have coursework in these subjects, but motivated students without this coursework are allowed to self-study the relevant material.

You can review the recommended self study materials here. Please email us at if you have any questions.
To succeed in MSSE courses, you must have some prior experience programming in a high-level language such as Python, Java, or C/C++. Students should be familiar with variable assignments and control structure (for loops, if statements, logic) in one of these languages. You can satisfy this requirement through prior coursework or through experience, or after admission.

Here are some courses that could be used to fulfill this requirement. This list is not exhaustive. If you have a question about if your experience is enough or if a certain course would work, please email us at

When filling out the application, there is a space to include your programming experience not included on your transcript.

Admission Materials

We are interested in learning about your academic, work, and experiential background. On the application, please upload your most current resume or curriculum vitae. If applicable, please also include honors, awards, publications, presentations, languages spoken, and associations you belong to.
You will be required to submit transcripts from every post-secondary school ever attended.
For the statement of purpose you should describe your aptitude and motivation for graduate study in your area of specialization, including your preparation for this field of study, your academic plans or research interests, and your future career goals.The Personal Statement should be 1-2 pages single spaced.
Please be specific about why UC Berkeley and the MSSE Program would be a good intellectual fit for you.
More tips can be found on the Graduate Division Website:
We encourage you not to duplicate any of the information that you present in your Statement of Purpose. The Personal Statement should be 1-2 pages and describes how your personal background and experiences influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree.

In this section, you may also include any relevant information on the following:
  • How you have overcome barriers to access higher education
  • How you have come to understand the barriers faced by others
  • Your academic service to advance equitable access to higher education for women, racial minorities and individuals from other groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education
  • Your research focusing on under served populations or related issues of inequality
  • Your leadership among such groups

More tips can be found on the Graduate Division Website:
Letters of recommendation provide the admissions committee with third party, qualitative accounts of your potential for success in our program. We require two letters of recommendation from all applicants.

We strongly prefer that letters of recommendation come from a current direct supervisor, former direct supervisor, faculty, or other individuals with whom you have had significant professional interaction. Please select individuals who know you well and who will take the time to write thorough and thoughtful letters on your behalf. The title of those you select is not important. What does matter is how closely your letter writers have worked with you and whether they can attest to your value as an employee or student, your professional accomplishments, and your personal qualities. We have found the most helpful letters to be recent, relevant, and written specifically for this application. We discourage letters of recommendation from subordinates, family, or friends.

When completing the online application, you will enter the email address of your recommender and click the appropriate box to have the recommender upload their letter. You are responsible for ensuring that letters of recommendations are submitted prior to the application deadline. The application system requires 3 recommenders despite our program requiring 2, please put your own email address as the third and ignore the instructions to submit.
All applicants who have completed a basic degree in a country/region in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This requirement applies to institutions from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, Israel, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asian countries, most European countries, and countries in Africa in which English is not the 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 US institution, you do not need to take a standardized test. Instead, you must upload an unofficial transcript from the recognized US institution. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement: 1) courses in English as a Second Language, 2) courses conducted in a language other than English, 3) courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and 4) courses of a non-academic nature.


Minimum TOEFL score of at least 90 for the Internet-based test (IBT) or 570 for the paper-based format (PBT) or at least a 7 on a 9-point scale for the IELTS, as appropriate for students who have English as a second language.

*Students who have English as a second language are required to provide a TOEFL or IELTS score. There are some exceptions. Some students may be eligible for the language requirement exemption. Students who have coursework from the US or who have worked in the US may qualify for an exemption. The department does not have the authority to waive the TOEFL requirement. If you believe that you may be eligible please contact and MSSE will submit an exception memo on your behalf to the Graduate Division.
You must submit an application fee when you apply. The application fee is not refundable. If you are a U.S. citizen or current permanent resident, the application fee is $135; for all others, the fee is $155.

Graduate Division Fee Waiver
The Berkeley Graduate Division offers application fee waivers for both students who demonstrate financial need and students who have participated in certain programs. The form to request a fee waiver from the Graduate Division is included in the payment section of the online application. To learn more, visit

Fee Waiver for Qualified Berkeley Students
The MSSE program waives our application fee for applicants who fulfill our prerequisite requirements and hold, or will hold, a bachelor’s degree or higher from UC Berkeley at the planned time of enrollment. Visiting scholars and non-degree-seeking students are not eligible. Please reach out to before submitting your application if you believe you are eligible.

Admission Decisions

Applicants offered admission will typically be notified by late March or early April for the fall semester. Applicants who are not offered admission will be notified by the Program as the admissions committee makes its decisions.

We accept applications once per year for a fall program start. The MSSE application for 2023 Fall Admission opens September 15th, 2022 and is due January 27th, 2023.

Cost & Financial Aid

The University of California and the MSSE Program are committed to providing financial access to quality education. Financial assistance and student loans are available through the Offices of Financial Aid.

The planned tuition for the Academic Year 2023 is $1975 per unit, regardless of residency or Full-time status. Full-time students enroll in 15 units the first semester and 14 units the second semester. This cost does not include any applicable campus-based fees, health insurance, the cost of living and any personal costs that may be required to complete the program. Fees are subject to change.
To apply for Financial Aid, please complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application:
  • Select academic year.
  • Include UC Berkeley school code 001312.
  • Students must report tax information from two year’s prior.
  • Students who wish to be considered for need-based scholarships must also complete the Parental Data section of the FAFSA form. (The federal instructions will indicate parental data is not needed for federal loans. However, in order to assess relative financial need for institutional scholarships, parental data will be analyzed). For students under the age of 30 by December 31, 2019, parents’ information must be submitted on the FAFSA to be considered for Full Funding.
The MSSE program offers two types of grants. We encourage students to also apply early to other scholarships and grants, as funding is variable and does not cover the entire cost of the program.

MSSE Excellence Scholarship
All applications are automatically considered for the MSSE Excellence Scholarship. This merit award is given to a subset of candidates with noteworthy academic or professional accomplishments, as determined by department faculty nominations. Exact grant amounts may vary.

MSSE Opportunity Grant
Please fill out the grant section of the MSSE application in order to be considered for an opportunity grant. Students who are awarded grants must demonstrate financial need. Special consideration is given to applicants whose background and life experiences contribute significantly to an educationally beneficial mix of students and enhance educational diversity. This may include applicants who have had limited access to educational resources, who represent geographic diversity, who have persevered over economic disadvantage, who have shown exceptional fortitude by working many hours to support themselves during their education, or whose experiences have brought about a perspective not widely represented within the program. Exact grant amounts may vary.
Applicants are encouraged to apply early to external scholarships and grants if needed. The below resources are for your exploration, please ensure your eligiblity for specific grants and scholarships. For more information about graduate student financial aid, please go to: