FAQ

Why MSSE?

The MSSE professional master’s degree is an interdisciplinary master’s program at UC Berkeley. It offers in-demand skills that allow its graduates to easily fit in a multidisciplinary team. Skills such as software engineering practices, leadership and management, molecular modeling and machine learning are not only taught by UC Berkeley professors and researchers in the College of Engineering and College of Chemistry but also, they are applied to real-world projects from industry and government labs through capstone projects. The degree utilizes the immense strengths of multiple departments, colleges, and institutes. MSSE offers courses to deepen computational and software skills along with training in business analytics and project management in a coherent academic program. Compare the Berkeley MSSE program to other UC Berkeley College of Engineering professional degree programs.

An MSSE degree prepares graduates to enter the professional workforce as technical leaders in science, software, and technology. Workforce readiness in the development and use of software and high end computing infrastructure is seen as a limiting factor in addressing what will certainly be even more complex grand challenge science problems as well as societal issues of the future. Standard MS degrees do not tackle these highly multidisciplinary and technological demands. The MSSE degree also addresses a vacuum in management and leadership in the simulation software sciences that have a rich ecosystem of code bases and users that intersect with literally thousands of institutions and industries world-wide, thereby making software project management a growing issue.

The MSSE program welcomes working professionals who are interested in continuing their education. Industry experience will be an advantage in the leadership and capstone courses. The program is designed for both baccalaureate students who just finished school and those who have been working for a while and are interested in learning the latest technologies in software engineering, data science, machine learning and high-performance computing and how to apply them to molecular science.

Upon completion of program requirements, students recieve a Master of Molecular Science and Software Engineering degree.

Admissions

No work experience is required. The program is designed for recent college graduates and early-career technical professionals.

Yes, but candidates are still required to meet the below requirements. Candidates are required to provide evidence of the following to be considered for the program: B.A. or B.S. in a science or engineering discipline from an accredited institution. Transcript from every post-secondary school ever attended. Prior coursework in linear algebra and multivariable calculus, and chemistry, materials, or physics. Prior exposure to programming methodology. Minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale. 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.

The average GPA of our admitted Fall 2022 cohort is 3.4. Current students earned their Bachelor’s degrees in a physical science field (Chemistry, Chemical Biology, Biology, Molecular & Cell Biology, Biotechnology, Physiology & Neuroscience, Molecular & Cell Biology) and various STEM fields (Computer Science, Applied Mathematics, Communication Engineering, Software Engineering). If you would like more help on your application or have questions around eligibity, email msse@berkeley.edu.

The program only accepts students for a Fall start each year and curates a cohort model. This cohort becomes a professional network you can rely on throughout your career. There may be opportunities in the future to offer students greater enrollment and completion flexibility.

There are no preferences granted to students who meet the eligibility requirements for consideration. The program seeks to admit a diverse student pool, which should be reflected through the comprehensiveness of the application materials and in particularly the statement of purpose and outside activities.

No. The GRE is not required to apply.

Students who speak English as a second language are required to provide a TOEFL 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 msse@berkeley.edu and MSSE will submit an exception memo on your behalf to the Graduate Division.

MSSE is very multidisciplinary. There will be a strong emphasis on software engineering for scientific applications but there will be courses in other areas such as Data Science, Machine Learning, Applications of Parallel Computing, and Computational Chemistry. Our program is designed to simulate industry experience. When you work in the industry you often find people with different backgrounds and this environment is what we’re training for and simulating. Given the multidisciplinary nature of our program, our current students have a Bachelor’s degree in a science field (Chemistry, Chemical Biology, Biology, Molecular & Cell Biology, Biotechnology, Physiology & Neuroscience, Molecular & Cell Biology) and various STEM fields (Computer Science, Applied Mathematics, Communication Engineering, Software Engineering). In our Fall 2022 cohort, 32% of the students are women, 74% of the students are international students and the average GPA is 3.4.

During the admissions cycle (September to January) we offer multiple virtual information sessions where interested applicants have the opportunity to hear from MSSE Faculty and current students and ask questions. You can register for our mailing list here to stay up to date on all our upcoming events. https://msse.berkeley.edu/mailing/.

Our program launched in 2019. It is small but it is expected to grow in the next few years.

Yes, you will be considered a UC Berkeley Graduate student. Some student services require an additional payment.

No, remote students are not eligible for on-campus or campus owned housing. Those looking into housing in Berkeley can refer to https://och.berkeley.edu/.

MSSE Curriculum

Courses include topics such as computational science, data science, management, and software engineering. We encourage you to review our course curriculum to learn more about our course offerings and timeline. https://msse.berkeley.edu/curriculum

A part-time option is available for the MSSE program where you can complete the degree in over a longer period. Please reach out to our Graduate Student Services Advisor, Emma Bilski, to discuss part-time options

All courses are mandatory. You can review the course list and schedule at https://msse.berkeley.edu/curriculum

All MSSE courses can be taken online. MSSE bootcamps are intended to be in-person but may be held online due to student need and public health conditions. Accomodations will be made for any student unable to attend in-person bootcamps.

Full-time students take 15 units in the Fall semester and 14 units in the Spring semester. You can review the MSSE curriculum and workload at https://msse.berkeley.edu/curriculum

According to the UC Berkeley Academic Senate Regulations, each unit is equivalent to a minimum of 3 hours of work each week during the semester. Based on these regulations and our program’s units, full-time students can expect between 42 and 45 hours of work each week during the semester. Every student’s academic background is different and the length of time it takes to complete the homework assignments may vary. These numbers are meant to serve as a rough guide.

Yes. The Master of Molecular Science and Software Engineering program Leadership Bootcamp is a two-week intensive course that introduces program participants to the leadership, management and entrepreneurial skills necessary in today’s professional environment. Using the capstone project as a baseline, this course aims to provide program participants an understanding of the key aspects of management and leadership disciplines; team and organization dynamics; leading and participating in cross functional teams; engineering economic, finance and accounting concepts; effective communication skills and project management.

Yes, almost all the MSSE courses include projects. Additionally, the Capstone project in the final semester provides MSSE students with a multifaceted experience managing a project of their choice involving the application and development of high-end computational software for Computational Sciences with emphasis on Molecular Sciences. Students will exercise their leadership and team building skills through individual class assignments, peer reviews and a final Capstone project report. This course is designed to provide students with practices and tools for designing project deliverables, planning and meeting project deadlines, giving presentations, writing technical communications and providing constructive feedback to peers. In this course, students will build a professional MSSE software portfolio, which aligns with the software engineering best practices.

Maybe. UC Berkeley has a process for Backdating Graduate Standing, which allows courses taken in the last semester as an undergraduate at Berkeley to be used towards a Master’s degree program. You would need to coordinate with your undergraduate Academic Advisor and your MSSE Advisor to confirm eligibility.

The Program does not currently honor any transfer credits since the courses that MSSE provides are developed to meet the specific pedagogical needs and requirements of the degree.

MSSE Eligibility and Application

The application opens in September and is due in January. Apply: http://grad.berkeley.edu/admissions/apply/ Sign up for our mailing list for more information: https://msse.berkeley.edu/mailing/.

Absolutely! The online nature of the program especially accommodates international students. In the case there are required synchronous discussions or other activities, the program will provide options to accommodate the time differences. Also there will be two leadership/entrepreneurship bootcamps that will be taught on campus: one at the beginning of the program (August) and another at the end of the program (May). These bootcamps last 2 weeks. Bootcamps may be online due to public health conditions and student demand.

The list of required application materials is available on our apply page.

It’s a good idea to request letters of recommendation from a mix of academic and professional connections. These letters should be written by someone who knows you well and can speak to your ability to succeed in an intensive master’s program. Sometimes students will put together a portfolio with the programs that they’re applying to along with a bulleted list of key ideas for their recommender to emphasize in their letter of recommendation.

The application fee is $135 for domestic students and $155 for international students. We have offered application fee waivers to early applicants in the past, sign up for our mailing list to hear about these opportunitieshttps://career.berkeley.edu/PhDs/faqsPhD

MSSE provides opportunities such as the Capstone Project for students to connect with our industry and government lab partners. In addition, MSSE students become part of the larger UC Berkeley alumni network and have access to career advising services.

Cost and Financial Aid

The MSSE Program is committed to providing financial access to a quality education. All admitted applicants are automatically considered for merit-based awards; no additional application materials are required. Financial assistance and student loans are available through the Offices of Financial Aid.
To apply for Financial Aid, please complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application: https://fafsa.ed.gov
• Select academic year.
• Include UC Berkeley school code 001312.
• Students must report most recent tax information.
• 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. International Students – please contact us for more information.
For more information about graduate student financial aid, please go to: http://grad.berkeley.edu/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.