SESAME - Admissions Instructions and FAQ
Application deadline: SCIENCE & MATHEMATICS EDUCATION Ph.D.: December 2, 2016
The Online Graduate Application to apply to the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Science and Mathematics Education is now available. We encourage you to thoroughly read our application instructions and begin your application early.
To apply to the Education in Mathematics Science and Technology (EMST) MA/Ph.D. program in the Graduate School of Education, please follow the application instructions found here.
PH.D. APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS
Application Deadline: December 2, 2016.
We welcome students from a diverse set of backgrounds. SESAME offers a graduate program leading to a doctoral degree in science, mathematics, or engineering education. The program is designed to produce graduates who have advanced expertise in a scientific discipline as well as in educational theory and research methodologies. This Graduate Group was established so individuals with training or experience in a mathematical, scientific, or technical discipline could pursue advanced studies focused on educational issues in these disciplines. All application materials must be received by the deadline, including letters of recommendation, transcripts, and examination results. We encourage you to apply early. SESAME does not accept applications for spring term admissions.
A bachelor's degree or its recognized equivalent from an accredited institution
Superior scholastic record, normally well above a 3.0 GPA
Indication of appropriate research goals, described in the Statement of Purpose
Results of the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
For international applicants whose academic work has been in a language other than English, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
SESAME accepts 3-7 Ph.D. students each year from more than 50 applications. Applications are reviewed by a committee of SESAME Faculty.
Applicants are judged on a number of factors. Good scores and a high GPA are necessary, but not sufficient. The deciding factor is the ability to demonstrate a research record and agenda that fit well with specific SESAME faculty. In a small, interdisciplinary program, it is important that applicants clearly indicate in their statement of purpose which faculty member(s) they are interested in researching with, and why.
Online Application Forms
Statement of Purpose & Personal History
The Statement of Purpose and Personal History are two separate essays.
The Statement of Purpose should succinctly explain your reasons for applying to SESAME, briefly review your relevant academic preparation and work experience, and describe your future academic or professional goals once the degree is acquired. The focus should be on your preparation, experience, and aims rather than a discussion of the trends or the importance of education in general. The most successful statements are 1-2 pages in length and focus on the strengths and experiences of the applicant, providing the reviewers with evidence and justification for admitting those applicants who are qualified and well-suited for SESAME.
Ph.D. applicants should make clear their research interests and agenda. Applicants should also identify the SESAME faculty member with whom they are interested in working.
CORE FACULTY Graduate Group in Science & Mathematics Education
- Dor Abrahamson
- Alice Agogino
- Anne Baranger
- Andrea A. diSessa
- Armando Fox
- Bernard R Gifford
- Kris Gutierrez
- Marcia C Linn
- Zachary Pardos
- Michael A Ranney
- Alan H Schoenfeld
- Angelica Stacy
- Michelle Wilkerson
AFFILIATED FACULTY Graduate Group in Science & Mathematics Education
- Sara Beckman
- Robert Bergman
- Michael Clancy
- Michelle Douskey
- Marti Hearst
- Robert Jacobsen
- Terry D. Johnson
- Arash Komeili
- Luke Lee
- Deborah Nolan
- Jon Wilkening
The Personal History should include any relevant information not already included in the Statement of Purpose. Additional suggestions may be found in the Graduate Division's Personal Statement Guide. There is no minimum length for the Personal History.
The two essays are used in part to evaluate the candidate's writing skills. Pursuant to UC Berkeley policy, the statements must be written by the candidate her or himself. For admitted students, application materials must comply with the Code of Student Conduct.
Both essays should be uploaded as PDF documents, as part of the online application.
Three Letters of Recommendation
Ph.D. applicants should provide at least three and no more than five letters that speak directly to their ability and potential to perform academic research at the doctoral level.
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 SESAME, at:
Graduate Group in Science and Mathematics Education Admissions
4533 Tolman Hall #1670
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-1670
If your letters of recommendation are being submitted online, please do not send duplicate hard copies of the letters.
(submitted with the online application)
Fee for domestic applicants: $90.
Fee for international applicants: $110.
NOTE: If you have ever registered as a graduate student at UC Berkeley (whether or not you completed another graduate degree, you will be charged a $80 fee for the application for readmission. Please contact the SESAME Program Office for the Application for Readmission instructions.
Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
All applicants must submit valid test results from the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
We recommend taking the GRE no later than October, and preferably earlier. To be valid, the GRE must have been taken within the past 5 years: for applicants for Fall 2015 admittance, test scores taken before December 2009 will not be accepted.
Please have your test scores sent directly to UC Berkeley by the testing authorities. The school code for UC Berkeley is 4833.
More information: GRE website
Applicants who received their degrees in countries other than the U.S., U.K., Australia, or English-speaking Canada are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). This includes applicants with degrees from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, North Africa, People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, and most European countries. Only applicants who have completed a full year of U.S. university-level coursework with a grade of B or better are exempt from this requirement.
Your most recent score must be at least 570 for the paper-based test, at least 230 for the computer-based test, or at least 68 for the Internet-based test.
We recommend taking the TOEFL no later than October, and preferably earlier. To be valid, the TOEFL must have been taken within the past 2 years: for applicants for Fall 2015 admittance, test scores taken before June 2013 will not be accepted.
Please have your test scores sent directly to UC Berkeley by the testing authorities. The code for UC Berkeley is 4833.
More information: TOEFL website
Current Curriculum Vitae
As part of the online application, upload copies of the official transcripts or academic records for all university-level studies you have completed abroad and at U.S. institutions. Be sure to include a current transcript from every post-secondary school that you have attended, including community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs.
Each transcript should be uploaded as a separate PDF document; please refer to the instructions on the online application.
All application materials should be received by the application deadline, including transcripts, test scores, and letters of recommendation.
If you have any questions, please email email@example.com
Who to contact for more information
For additional information about the program contact the SESAME/CD office at the Graduate School of Education, 4533 Tolman Hall, MC 1670, tel: (510) 642-4207, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
ADMISSIONS FAQ (FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS)
Can I apply for spring admission? No. SESAME accepts applications for fall admission only.
When will admissions decisions be made? We will send admissions decisions in mid-March.
What if I have previously applied to SESAME? 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 email@example.com 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, 2 years for TOEFL). 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 is all we need.
If my letters of recommendations are not submitted online, how should they be sent? The letter of recommendation should include the cover sheet and be sent in a sealed envelope. If possible, recommenders should mail their hard-copy letters directly to the SESAME Admissions office. 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) should be received by SESAME no later than the announced deadline.
Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)
May I take either the GRE or the GMAT? Applicants to SESAME’s Ph.D. program must take the General GRE.
What minimum test scores are required? SESAME 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) should be received by the SESAME no later than the announced deadline.
Do applicants already admitted to the UC Berkeley need to take the GRE? All applicants must furnish valid GRE scores. 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 test date and the application deadline. For example, applicants for Fall 2015 admission should not submit test scores taken before December 2009.
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.
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
Do foreign national applicants who graduated from a university in the U.S. have to take the TOEFL? 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 scores valid for admission purposes? No more than two years may have passed between the TOEFL test date and the application deadline. For example, Fall 2015 applicants should not submit test scores taken before June 2013.
Should I include copies of my TOEFL scores in my packet of supplemental materials? No. Test scores should be sent directly from the testing authorities.
More information: http://registrar.berkeley.edu/Residency/deadline.html
Tuition, Fees, Fellowships and Financial Aid
What are the tuition & fees for Ph.D. students? Tuition and fees for Ph.D. students. All tuition & fees are subject to change; new doctoral students will also be assessed a $100 Document Management Fee.
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.
Non-US Citizens/Permanent Residents (Legal residents of California must be US citizens or permanent residents)
Is fellowship support provided by SESAME? Each year, SESAME has available a limited number of merit-based fellowships for domestic and international students. Applicants interested in applying for fellowship assistance must complete Part C of the application.
The University awards through competition a limited number of merit-based and diversity fellowships each year. See University Fellowships for further details.
Do students work while attending the program? A majority of our students work part-time while attending school, but normally they are working in academic appointments. The course load is sufficiently heavy that students, particularly during the first year, should not plan a very heavy work schedule.
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 is 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.
What are academic appointments? The following positions are considered 'academic appointments' and are often available to graduate students enrolled at Berkeley:
Graduate Student Researcher: Performs research under the direction of a faculty member.
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.
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? Departments and 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.
If you plan to apply SESAME, we encourage you to visit the campus.
We offer prospective students:
- Class visits: Come experience a class for yourself. Review the current course schedule and email us the course title and date that you would like to visit.
- Meetings with current students about the program and their experiences in SESAME
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org one to two weeks in advance, to allow time to set up class visits, tours, and student meetings. The best times to visit are during the school year (mid-September through the end of April). For a more comprehensive tour of the UCB campus, you can also arrange UC Berkeley campus tours through Visitor Services at 510-642-5215 or the Visitor Services website.