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Available Degrees

Doctoral Degree

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is granted to students who demonstrate a thorough knowledge of a broad field of learning and have given evidence of distinguished accomplishment in that field. The degree also signifies that the recipient has critical ability and powers of imaginative synthesis as demonstrated by a doctoral dissertation containing an original contribution to knowledge in his or her chosen field of study.

The MBSE graduate group has established the following requirements for the Ph.D. degree.

  • Complete at least six semesters of full-time academic residence at UC Merced.
  • Complete a minimum of 24 semester units in approved courses, at least 20 of which must be earned in 200-series graduate-level courses exclusive of credit given for thesis research and preparation.
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.
  • Register for and obtain a satisfactory grade in MBSE 210, MBSE 211, and MBSE 212. 
  • Successfully pass a Core Knowledge exam based on the content of the three courses on the previous line.
  • Register for and obtain a satisfactory grade in MBSE 291: Research Seminar Series – at least once each year of academic residence.
  • Register for and obtain a satisfactory grade in MBSE 294: Responsible Conduct of Research.
  • Complete at least 8 units of MBSE 295: Graduate Research.
  • Serve as a Teaching Assistant for at least one semester.
  • Give two open technical seminars: either on campus or at a professional conference.
  • Before the end of year 2, present a written dissertation project proposal for approval, and pass an oral qualifying exam on specific competence to pursue the proposed dissertation topic and general preparedness in the discipline, administered by the Qualifying Examination Committee.
  • Present a doctoral dissertation containing an original contribution to knowledge in the field for approval, and successfully defend it during a final oral examination, administered by the Doctoral Committee.

Master’s Degree

Students may be admitted to the MBSE graduate program to work toward an M.S. degree. The recipient of an M.S. degree will possess knowledge of a broad field of learning that extends well beyond that attained at the undergraduate level, but is not necessarily expected to have made a significant original contribution to knowledge in that field.

The MBSE group has established the following requirements for the M.S. degree. Each M.S. student must have a faculty advisor responsible for designing and approving a plan of study detailing all classes to be taken. Two different tracks are recognized as described below. Students may switch from one M.S. plan to another with the consent of an appropriate faculty advisor.

PLAN I (Thesis option)

  • Complete at least two semesters of full-time academic residence at UC Merced.
  • Complete a minimum of 24 semester units in approved courses, at least 20 of which must be earned in 200-series graduate-level courses exclusive of credit given for thesis research and preparation.
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.
  • Register for and obtain a satisfactory grade in MBSE 210, MBSE 211, and MBSE 212. 
  • Successfully pass a Core Knowledge exam based on the content of the three courses on the previous line.
  • Register for and obtain a satisfactory grade in MBSE 291: Research Seminar Series – at least once for each year of academic residence.Register for and obtain a satisfactory grade in MBSE 294: Responsible Conduct of Research.
  • Complete at least 8 units of MBSE 295: Graduate Research.
  • Prepare a written thesis describing relevant research in the field that is read and accepted by the Thesis Committee.
  • Defend the M.S. thesis via oral examination, attended and approved by the Thesis Committee.

PLAN II (Non-thesis option)

  • Complete at least two semesters of full-time academic residence at UC Merced.
  • Complete a minimum of 30 semester units in approved courses, at least 24 of which must be earned in 200-series graduate-level courses exclusive of credit given for thesis research and preparation (see Section 2.3.5).
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.
  • Register for and obtain a satisfactory grade in MBSE 210, MBSE 211, and MBSE 212. 
  • Successfully pass a Core Knowledge exam based on the content of the three courses on the previous line.
  • Register for and obtain a satisfactory grade in MBSE 291: Research Seminar Series – at least once for each year of academic residence.
  • Pass an oral comprehensive examination on general preparation in the discipline that is administered by a faculty committee.