5th Year MIDS Admissions

Next start date: August 2020

Early Application Deadline: November 4, 2019, 8:59 pm PST
Application fee waived for candidates who apply by the early application deadline.

Final Application Deadline: March 4, 2020, 8:59 pm PST

Note that if you are recommended for admission, the I School requires a $300 enrollment deposit to secure your spot in the class.

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Admissions Requirements

  • For Fall 2020, we welcome applications from UC Berkeley seniors who have graduated or will graduate in Fall 2019, Spring 2020, or Summer 2020.
  • Completion of UC Berkeley bachelor's degree prior to beginning the program, with grades received in the final term at a similar or higher level of excellence as previous terms
  • A high level of analytical reasoning ability and a problem-solving mindset as demonstrated by academic and/or professional performance
  • A working knowledge of fundamental concepts including: object-oriented programming, data structures, algorithms and analysis of algorithms, and linear algebra
  • The ability to communicate effectively as demonstrated by academic performance, professional experience, and/or well-written application essays.
  • Superior scholastic record, normally well above a 3.2 GPA

Application Instructions

All application materials must be received by the deadline, including letters of recommendation, admissions essays, resume, transcripts, and examination results (which are optional). The 5th Year MIDS program does not accept applications for spring term admissions.

(1) Statement of Purpose and two Short Answer Essays

As part of the online application, we require three separate essays.

The Statement of Purpose should succinctly explain your reasons for applying to the I School, briefly review your relevant academic preparation and work experience, and describe your future professional goals once the degree is acquired. The most successful statements are 1–2 pages in length and focus on the strengths and experiences of the applicant, providing the admissions committee with evidence and justification for admitting those applicants who are qualified and well-suited for the I School.

Short Answer Essay 1 should answer the question: Discuss a time when you used data to make a decision or to solve a problem; explain your decision-making process from beginning to end. Make sure to choose an example and to describe it in such a way that clearly illustrates your analytical and problem-solving abilities. Limit your response to 300 words.

Short Answer Essay 2 should answer the question: To provide the admissions committee with a complete and comprehensive understanding of your background, please use this statement to expand on any personal, professional, and/or academic challenges or hardships you have faced that could provide us with additional insight into the context of the accomplishments and struggles you share in your application. Limit your response to 300 words.

The three essays are used in part to evaluate the candidate’s writing skills. Pursuant to UC Berkeley policy, these essays must be written by the candidate her or himself. For admitted students, application materials must comply with the Code of Student Conduct.

All three essays should be uploaded as PDF documents, as part of the online application.

(2) Three Letters of Recommendation

We prefer a mixture of academic and professional letters. Most importantly, your recommenders should be able to provide details about your accomplishments, impact, technical aptitude, leadership skills, personal qualities, and potential for success in and contribution to the 5th Year MIDS program. We recommend that you select individuals with whom you have had considerable interaction. Letters from personal and family friends are inappropriate and can be detrimental to your application.

We encourage your recommenders to submit their letters online; please follow the instructions in the online application. If this is not possible, recommenders should mail their hard-copy letters along with the letter of recommendation cover sheet directly to the School of Information, at:

School of Information Admissions
University of California, Berkeley
102 South Hall # 4600
Berkeley, CA 94720-4600

If your letters of recommendation are being submitted online, please do not send duplicate hard copies of the letters.

(3) Core Technical Competencies

The 5th Year MIDS degree requires a working knowledge of fundamental concepts including: object-oriented programming, data structures, algorithms and analysis of algorithms, and linear algebra.*

On the 5th Year MIDS program page of the application, you will find the Core Technical Competencies section. Please make sure to describe in detail: your level of proficiency, how you acquired these skills, and if applicable, the class(es) you took and the grade(s) you received.

*Note that the I School offers summer courses in Python programming, as well as self-paced bridge courses in linear algebra and data structures and algorithms, for admitted students who may lack a working knowledge of the fundamental concepts necessary for success in the 5th Year MIDS program

(4) Current Resumé

Please upload a current resumé, reflecting your academic work and accomplishments, work experience, if applicable, and any other relevant information. We request that resumés be 1–2 pages in length and be in a chronological format. The resumé should be uploaded as a PDF document as part of the online application.

(5) College Transcripts

Please upload unofficial transcripts as PDFs through the online application for all university-level studies you have completed abroad and at U.S. institutions. Please be sure that any classes which are in progress your spring semester are reflected on the transcript and/or listed in the Academic History section of your application.

(6) Optional: Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)

The GRE or GMAT exam is optional for applicants to the 5th Year MIDS program.

Please have your test scores sent directly to UC Berkeley by the testing authorities prior to application submission, and at the latest, by the application deadline. The school code for UC Berkeley is 4833; for the GRE, the department code for the I School is 0404 (Information Sciences). Please note that it may take 10-15 days for official score reports to transfer to our system. To be valid, the exam must have been taken within the past 5 years: for applicants for Fall 2020 admission, test scores taken before October 2014 will not be accepted.

More information: GRE website; GMAT website

(7) Application Fee

(submitted with the online application)

  • Fee for domestic applicants: $125.
  • Fee for international applicants: $140.

Application fee waived for candidates who apply by November 4, 2019.


If you have any questions, please email admissions@ischool.berkeley.edu.


Computer Ownership Requirement

We require that students own a computer. No particular configuration or operating system is required. However, students will be expected to complete assignments using office productivity software (e.g., Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, etc.), web browsers, etc., and should own a computer capable of running such software. More specific guidance will be provided upon acceptance to the program.

Last updated:

August 23, 2019