Getting into graduate school can be extremely competitive, so you probably want to know your chances before applying. If UC Berkeley is on your list, what is their graduate school acceptance rate? Let’s take a look at the stats and factors that influence admission.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: UC Berkeley’s overall graduate school acceptance rate is around 15-20%, but it varies widely by department and program, academic year, the number of spots available, and other factors.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover UC Berkeley’s graduate school acceptance rates broken down by field of study, factors that impact your chances of admission, tips for strengthening your grad school application, and what to expect after you apply.

UC Berkeley Graduate School Acceptance Rate Overview

The University of California, Berkeley has long been one of the most prestigious public universities in the world. It is also one of the most selective.

The acceptance rate at UC Berkeley has declined by nearly half in just five years. Below are admission rates for UC Berkeley:

  • Class of 2024: 17.5%
  • Class of 2025: 14.5%
  • Class of 2026: 14%
  • Class of 2027: 11.6%

This decline in admission rates is due to a number of factors, including the increasing number of applications that the school receives each year and the increasing competitiveness of the applicant pool.

UC Berkeley‘s admissions process has evolved significantly over time, reflecting changes in the university’s policies and the broader landscape of higher education.

One of the most notable trends in UC Berkeley’s admissions history has been the increasing number of applications over the years. In the early 2000s, UC Berkeley received around 40,000 applications per year, while in recent years, that number has risen to over 100,000.

Another trend has been the increasing competitiveness of UC Berkeley’s admissions process. In the early 2000s, UC Berkeley’s acceptance rate was around 25%, while in recent years, it has dropped to around 15%.

UC Berkeley Graduate School Acceptance Rates by Department

Physical Sciences: 10-15%

For those interested in pursuing a graduate degree in the physical sciences at UC Berkeley, the acceptance rate ranges from 10% to 15%. This includes disciplines such as physics, chemistry, and astronomy.

While this may seem like a low acceptance rate, it’s important to remember that UC Berkeley is a highly competitive institution known for its exceptional research and academic programs.

Biological Sciences: 10-15%

If you have dreams of studying biological sciences at UC Berkeley, be prepared for a competitive application process. The acceptance rate for graduate programs in this field typically falls in the range of 10% to 15%. This includes areas such as molecular and cell biology, genetics, and neuroscience.

It’s worth noting that UC Berkeley boasts world-renowned faculty and state-of-the-art research facilities in the biological sciences, making it an attractive choice for aspiring scientists.

Social Sciences: 15-25%

The social sciences department at UC Berkeley encompasses a wide range of disciplines including psychology, sociology, economics, and political science. The acceptance rate for graduate programs in these fields typically falls between 15% and 25%.

As a leading institution for social science research, UC Berkeley offers numerous opportunities for students to engage in groundbreaking research and contribute to the advancement of their respective fields.

Arts and Humanities: 15-30%

If you have a passion for the arts and humanities, UC Berkeley offers a diverse range of graduate programs in areas such as literature, history, philosophy, and visual arts. The acceptance rate for these programs typically falls between 15% and 30%.

With its vibrant arts community and renowned faculty, UC Berkeley provides an inspiring environment for students to pursue their creative and intellectual interests.

Engineering: 10-15%

UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering is highly regarded for its excellence in research and innovation. The acceptance rate for graduate programs in engineering typically ranges from 10% to 15%. This includes disciplines such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and civil engineering.

As a hub for technological advancements, UC Berkeley offers unparalleled opportunities for aspiring engineers to make significant contributions to their fields.

Professional Programs: 10-30%

UC Berkeley also offers a range of professional programs in fields such as business, law, and public health. The acceptance rate for these programs can vary widely, typically falling between 10% and 30%.

These programs provide students with the specialized knowledge and skills necessary for successful careers in their respective industries. Whether you’re interested in pursuing an MBA, a JD, or an MPH, UC Berkeley offers competitive programs that can help you achieve your professional goals.

Keep in mind that acceptance rates can fluctuate from year to year and may vary depending on the number of applicants and the competitiveness of the applicant pool. It’s important to thoroughly research and prepare your application to give yourself the best chance of admission.

For more information on UC Berkeley’s graduate programs and acceptance rates, visit their official website here.

What Impacts UC Berkeley Grad School Admission Chances

Getting into UC Berkeley’s graduate school can be a highly competitive process. There are several factors that can impact your chances of being accepted into the program of your choice. It’s important to understand what these factors are and how you can improve your application to increase your chances of admission.

Undergraduate GPA

Your undergraduate GPA is one of the most important factors that admissions committees consider when reviewing applications. UC Berkeley looks for applicants with a strong academic record, so having a high GPA can significantly improve your chances of acceptance.

It’s important to strive for excellence in your undergraduate studies and maintain a competitive GPA.

GRE/GMAT Test Scores

In addition to your GPA, standardized test scores such as the GRE or GMAT can also play a role in the admissions decision. These tests are designed to assess your verbal, quantitative, and analytical skills.

Performing well on these exams can demonstrate your ability to handle the rigorous coursework at UC Berkeley. It’s important to prepare thoroughly for these tests and aim for scores that are above the average for accepted students.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation provide insight into your abilities, achievements, and potential as a graduate student. UC Berkeley values recommendations from professors or professionals who can speak to your academic and professional strengths.

It’s important to choose recommenders who know you well and can provide specific examples of your accomplishments and potential. A strong letter of recommendation can greatly enhance your application.

Personal Statement

Your personal statement is an opportunity to showcase your unique qualities, experiences, and motivations. It allows you to explain why you are interested in pursuing graduate studies at UC Berkeley and how you can contribute to the program.

A well-crafted personal statement can set you apart from other applicants and demonstrate your passion and commitment. Take the time to carefully craft your personal statement and highlight your strengths and goals.

Research Experience

Research experience is highly valued by UC Berkeley’s graduate programs. Engaging in research as an undergraduate can demonstrate your ability to think critically, problem-solve, and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in your field.

If you have the opportunity to participate in research projects, seize it. Your research experience can be a significant asset in your application.


If you have published research papers or articles in reputable journals, it can significantly enhance your application. Publications demonstrate your ability to conduct independent research and contribute to your field. They also showcase your writing and communication skills.

If you have published work, be sure to highlight it in your application and provide the necessary details.

While these factors can impact your chances of admission to UC Berkeley’s graduate school, it’s important to remember that the admissions process is holistic. Admissions committees consider a range of factors when evaluating applications, and each applicant is unique.

It’s important to present a well-rounded application that reflects your strengths, achievements, and potential as a graduate student at UC Berkeley.

For more information on UC Berkeley’s graduate school admission process, you can visit their official website.

Tips for Getting Into UC Berkeley for Grad School

Get Excellent Letters of Recommendation

One of the most important factors that can greatly increase your chances of getting into UC Berkeley for grad school is obtaining excellent letters of recommendation. These letters should come from individuals who can speak to your academic abilities, research potential, and personal qualities.

It is crucial to choose recommenders who know you well and can provide specific examples of your skills and achievements. Additionally, maintaining strong relationships with your professors and mentors throughout your undergraduate years can greatly benefit you when it comes time to ask for letters of recommendation.

Write a Compelling Personal Statement

Your personal statement is an opportunity to showcase your unique experiences, motivations, and goals. Take the time to craft a compelling and well-written statement that highlights your passion for your chosen field of study and your potential contributions to UC Berkeley’s academic community.

Be sure to emphasize any relevant research or work experiences, as well as any personal challenges or obstacles you have overcome. Remember, your personal statement is a chance to stand out from other applicants and demonstrate why you are a great fit for UC Berkeley.

Secure Strong Research Experience

UC Berkeley is renowned for its research programs, so having strong research experience can greatly enhance your chances of acceptance. Seek out opportunities to work on research projects, either through internships, independent studies, or collaborations with faculty members.

Not only will this experience demonstrate your commitment to your field of study, but it will also help you develop essential research skills and potentially lead to strong letters of recommendation from your research mentors.

Maintain a High GPA

While a high GPA is not the sole determinant of acceptance into UC Berkeley’s grad school, it is still an important factor that admissions committees consider. Aim to maintain a strong academic record throughout your undergraduate years, as this will demonstrate your ability to handle the rigor of graduate-level coursework.

However, it is important to note that a strong GPA should be complemented by other factors, such as research experience, letters of recommendation, and a compelling personal statement.

Take the GRE/GMAT Seriously

For certain programs at UC Berkeley, such as business or engineering, the GRE or GMAT scores are required. It is crucial to take these exams seriously and prepare thoroughly. Familiarize yourself with the content and format of the exams and consider taking practice tests to assess your strengths and weaknesses.

Additionally, allocate enough time for studying and consider enrolling in a test preparation course if needed. Strong GRE or GMAT scores can help strengthen your application and demonstrate your readiness for graduate-level coursework.

Apply to Programs That Fit Your Goals/Experience

When applying to UC Berkeley for grad school, it is important to carefully research and choose programs that align with your academic and career goals. Consider the specific research areas, faculty expertise, and resources available in each program.

Tailor your application materials to highlight your relevant experiences and how they align with the program’s focus. Applying to programs that are a good fit for your goals and experience increases your chances of being accepted and ensures that you will thrive academically and professionally at UC Berkeley.

What to Expect After Applying to UC Berkeley Graduate School

Timeline: December to March

Once you have submitted your application to UC Berkeley Graduate School, you can expect to go through a rigorous evaluation process. From December to March, the admissions committee carefully reviews each application, considering factors such as academic achievements, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and test scores.

It is important to note that the timeline may vary slightly from year to year, so it is always a good idea to check the official UC Berkeley Graduate School website for the most up-to-date information.


After the initial review of applications, the admissions committee may invite selected candidates for an interview. The purpose of the interview is to assess the candidate’s fit with the program and to gain a deeper understanding of their qualifications and goals.

It is important to prepare for the interview by researching the program, highlighting your strengths, and practicing potential interview questions.

Acceptance/Rejection Notification

Once the interview process is complete, the admissions committee will make their final decisions. In mid-March, applicants will be notified of their acceptance or rejection via email or through the application portal.

It is important to keep in mind that acceptance rates can vary depending on the program and the number of applicants. For the most accurate and up-to-date acceptance rate information, it is best to refer to the UC Berkeley Graduate School’s official website.

Next Steps If Accepted

If you are fortunate enough to receive an acceptance letter from UC Berkeley Graduate School, congratulations! This is a significant achievement. You will need to carefully review the acceptance letter and follow the instructions provided.

Typically, you will be required to submit an enrollment deposit by a specified deadline to secure your spot in the program. Additionally, you may need to provide official transcripts, complete any necessary paperwork, and attend an orientation session.

It is essential to stay organized and on top of these next steps to ensure a smooth transition into graduate school.


UC Berkeley graduate school acceptance rates vary by department, but overall rest somewhere between 15-20% on average. While gaining admission is highly competitive, focusing on areas like your GPA, test scores, research background, and application essays can help strengthen your chances.

With strategic preparation and putting your best foot forward, you can maximize your likelihood of getting into your program of choice at UC Berkeley. Best of luck with your graduate school applications!

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