Admissions FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

General Questions

Can I apply for spring admission?
No.  The School of Information accepts applications for fall admission only.

When will admissions decisions be made?
We will send admissions decisions in mid-March.

I am considering eventually pursuing a Ph.D. Should I apply to the MIMS program first, as preparation for the Ph.D.?
The MIMS program is not intended to serve as preparation for our Ph.D program. The MIMS program is intended to teach the skills necessary for professional practice in various information-related careers; the Ph.D. program, on the other hand, is designed to prepare you for an academic or research career.

If I am not accepted for the I School's Ph.D. program, will I automatically be considered for admission to the MIMS program instead?
No. Because of the different educational goals of each program, the admissions processes are separate and are not shared between the two programs.

What if I have previously applied to the School of Information?
We keep copies of previously submitted transcripts for two years from the date of your previous application; you will still need to submit any new or updated transcripts. We may have copies of previously submitted GRE, GMAT, or TOEFL scores submitted within the past 5 years; please email to confirm. You will need to retake the exam if your exam date now falls outside the acceptable time frame (5 years for GRE/GMAT, 18 months for TOEFL/IELTS). We request that applicants submit new letters of recommendation, to reflect the updated status of the application.

Letters of Recommendation

If I submit my letters of recommendation online, do I need to mail hard copies too?
No, the online version of the letter will suffice. You do not need to mail a hard copy of the letter.

If my letter of recommendation is not submitted online, how should they be sent?
The letter of recommendation should include the Letter of Recommendation Cover Sheet and be sent in a sealed envelope. If possible, recommenders should mail their hard-copy letters directly to the School of Information. If that is not possible, you may forward the letters yourself, provided that the letters remain in their original sealed envelopes.

Can letters of recommendation be received after the application deadline?
All supporting application materials (including test scores and letters of recommendation) must be received by the School no later than the announced deadlines.

Programming Competency (Required of MIMS applicants only)

What is the Programming Competency Statement?
Each MIMS program applicant must submit a Programming Competency Statement describing specifically his/her level of programming proficiency. This statement is not a form; it is a document each applicant creates, similar to a resume. It should, however, specify the programming language(s) in which you are proficient, describe your level of skill, and provide a brief description of relevant courses completed. The Programming Competency Statement can be uploaded as part of the online application.

Which programming languages meet this requirement?
We require knowledge of a high-level object-oriented language such as Python, Java, or C++. Programming languages such as Visual Basic, C, and those languages used to implement and enhance database management systems (such as SQL) are not acceptable.

Are specific courses required for meeting the Programming Competency entrance requirement?
No, but it is expected that applicants will have completed one or more courses in the programming languages described above.

Should any documents be submitted as evidence of completion of the competency requirement?
It is not necessary to submit any transcripts showing successful completion of an appropriate programming course, but applicants should describe their level of programming competency and name and describe completed courses in their Programming Competency Statement.


What if I am currently in school or have not completed my degree?
Please send your current transcripts, in advance of the application deadline. Do not wait for the end of the term or until you have completed your degree.  If you are admitted, we will follow up and request your final grades.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)

May I take either the GRE or the GMAT?
Applicants to the I School's Ph.D. program must take the GRE; GMAT scores will not be accepted as a substitute. Applicants to the MIMS program may take either the GRE or the GMAT (although the GRE is prefered).

What minimum test scores are required?
The I School has not set any minimum scores, but normally successful applicants score in the high percentiles (80's and 90's) on all sections of the exam.

Can the test scores be received after the application deadline?
All supporting application materials (test scores and letters of recommendation) must be received by the School no later than the announced deadlines.

Do applicants who already possess a Ph.D. degree need to take the GRE?
Yes. No exemptions are granted to holders of higher degrees.

Do applicants already admitted to the UC Berkeley Graduate Division need to take the GRE?
All applicants must furnish valid GRE or scores (or GMAT scores, for MIMS applicants). If your scores are already on file with the Admissions Office and are still valid, you do not need to resubmit them.

How long are test scores valid for admission purposes?
No more than five years may have passed between the GRE or GMAT test date and the application deadline. For example, applicants for Fall 2014 admission should not submit test scores taken before December 2008.

Should I include copies of my test scores in my packet of supplemental materials?
No. Test scores should be sent directly from the testing authorities.

What are the GRE School and Department codes?
The School code for UC Berkeley is 4833. The Department code for the I School is 0404 (Information Sciences).

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Do foreign national applicants who graduated from a university in the U.S. have to take the TOEFL or IELTS?
If you have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better in residence at a U.S. university, you do not need to take the TOEFL. Instead, you must submit an official transcript from the U.S. university.

How long are TOEFL or IELTS scores valid for admission purposes?
No more than 18 months may have passed between the TOEFL or IELTS test date and the application deadline. For example, Fall 2014 applicants should not submit test scores taken before June 2012.

Should I include copies of my TOEFL or IELTS scores in my packet of supplemental materials?
No. Test scores should be sent directly from the testing authorities.

What are the TOEFL or IELTS School and Department codes?
The School code for UC Berkeley is 4833. The Department code for the I School is 99.

Tuition, Fees, Fellowships and Financial Aid

What are the tuition & fees for MIMS students?
Tuition and fees for MIMS students
("Graduate Professional" fee schedule for the School of Information, from the Office of the Registrar). All tuition & fees are subject to change.

What are the tuition & fees for Ph.D. students?
Tuition and fees for Ph.D. students
("Graduate Academic" fee schedule, from the Office of the Registrar). All tuition & fees are subject to change.

More information: Registration Fees

What is California residency?
Nonresidents, for purposes of registration, are those who have not been legal residents of California for more than one year immediately before the opening day of the semester for which they register. Legal residence is a combination of physical presence and the intention of making the state one's permanent home, coupled with the relinquishment of legal residence in any other state. International students with F-1 visas cannot be classified as California residents for tuition purposes.

More Information:

Is fellowship support provided by the I School?
Each year, the I School has available a limited number of merit-based fellowships for domestic and international students in the MIMS and Ph.D. programs. Applicants interested in applying for fellowship assistance must complete Part C of the application.

Fellowships for MIMS students are awarded only for the first year of study, and cover all or part of the registration fees. A number of student research and teaching appointments are also available to qualified MIMS students, which also greatly reduce the registration fees (see student employment section below). Please note the I School does not offer MIMS students stipends for living expenses. Fellowship support for continuing students (past the first year of study) is awarded only to doctoral students to fund their ongoing degree work.

In most cases, Ph.D. students are offered fellowship support in various forms for the first four years of study. This support covers all registration costs (fees and non-resident tuition) and provides a stipend for living expenses.

The University awards through competition a limited number of merit-based and diversity fellowships each year. See University Fellowships for further details.

Is financial aid available?
Federal and University loans are available to students through the Office of Financial Aid, 201 Sproul Hall, University of California, Berkeley; Berkeley, CA 94720-1960. See Financial Aid for further details. U.S. federal financial aid is not available to students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

Student Employment

Do students work while attending the program?
A majority of our students work part-time while attending school. The course load is sufficiently heavy that students, particularly during the first year, should not plan a very heavy work schedule. Many of our on-campus students work in on-campus academic appointments (teaching and research assistants).

What are academic appointments?
MIMS and Ph.D. students are eligible for "academic appointments" (teaching and research assistants). MIDS students may not hold academic student appointments. The following positions are considered 'academic appointments':

  • Graduate Student Researcher: Performs research under the direction of a faculty member.
  • Tutor: provides tutorial services to individuals or groups of students under the direct supervision of a regular faculty member. I School faculty sometimes hire qualified graduate student tutors to provide lab assistance for I School courses.
  • Reader: Performs duties related to grading of papers and examinations, but are not assigned teaching duties.
  • Graduate Student Instructor: Serves as an apprentice teacher under the supervision of a regular faculty member, usually in the instruction of lower division undergraduate courses. After advancement to candidacy for the doctoral degree, a GSI may with permission teach an upper division graduate course. Graduate students are not permitted to teach other graduate students.

By working in an academic appointment, all or part of the educational costs will be waived depending on the number of hours worked and if the student is a California resident or non-California resident. (Non-resident supplementary tuition and the professional degree supplementary tuition are not waived for students by working in an academic appointment.) You would also receive an hourly wage by working in an academic appointment. See Academic Appointments for further details.

International students on an F-1 or J-1 visa who are enrolled in a full-time degree program may hold an academic appointment.

The Graduate Division determines the requirements for qualifications and working conditions for all graduate student appointments. For further details, please visit the Graduate Division's Appointment Office website.

How do students secure academic appointments?
Faculty members will make individual arrangements with qualified and eligible students depending on their needs for research and teaching assistance. Opportunities are highly dependent on faculty need, and it is difficult to predict the number and kinds of jobs that will be available in a given academic year. The following website provides a helpful list of Instructor, Reader, and Tutor positions normally available each year. There is no equivalent website for researcher positions on campus.

Is there supplementary support available if I take a low-paying non-profit summer internship?
Yes. A small number of grants in amounts up to $6000 will be available to MIMS students serving in internships with non-profits, government agencies, or non-governmental agencies (NGOs) in the U.S. or abroad, during the summer between their first and second year in the program.