UC Berkeley Master of Engineering programs waive application fee for current students

Karen Chow/Senior Staff

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The Coleman Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership has announced that the Master of Engineering, or MEng, application fee will be waived for UC Berkeley undergraduates and alumni who apply this year.

Six out of the seven MEng programs will also not require applicants with a 3.5 or higher cumulative GPA to submit their Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, scores with their application. The one exception is the Civil and Environmental Engineering MEng program, as the department has not been able to discuss making the GRE optional, according to Ashley Villanueva, a marketing manager for the Fung Institute.

Beth Leven, a director of academic affairs at the institute, said it has seen a low level of undergraduate applicants from UC Berkeley in the past and wanted more students from the community to apply.

“UC Berkeley graduates or undergrads are very qualified and would be great additions to the program,” Leven said. “We know Berkeley undergrads in engineering and beyond would really flourish in the program. How can we make this more attractive to them and get the word out?”

Leven added that the MEng program would be a great alternative for those who are unsure of their plans upon graduating.

Lee Fleming, faculty director at the institute, said students who are both “technically” skilled and have strong leadership and communication skills are typically the most successful in the program.

Fleming added that students from more than 30 countries are enrolled in MEng programs at the institute, and UC Berkeley students can help to introduce their peers to Berkeley.

“They know Berkeley; they hit the ground running,” Fleming said. “They help everybody else who is coming from all over the world.”

The MEng programs initially started with 317 applicants in 2012. According to Leven, there were 2,200 applicants — inclusive of all seven departments — for the academic year 2018-19.

Leven said the institute has been discussing admission strategies for almost a year and added that the initiative “got a lot of support” from the graduate division and everyone was “on board.”

According to Villanueva, the initiative was first announced during an information session Oct. 26. She added that the institute will host another information session Nov. 9 because of high community interest.

Garrett Hernandez, a campus senior majoring in applied mathematics, said he would want to know more about the program’s admission process but said that knowing he does not have to worry about the fee makes the MEng program feel “more attainable.”

“We are an interdisciplinary engineering leadership institute,” Villanueva said. “It reflects our own leadership in creating these opportunities and just opening access to Cal undergrads because we know that they … would add so much to our classroom experience.”

Contact Sarah Chung at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @sarahchungdc.