Tuition & Financial Aid

Quick Guide


Tuition & Expenses

Awards, Fellowships & ASE Opportunities

Financial Aids

 

Program Fee Schedule

The MDes tuition and fees are charged by student cohort on a per unit basis. The per unit fee for each cohort remains the same for their three semesters in the program. It is inclusive of the per unit program fee, campus fee, document management fee, and class pass. It does not include SHIP (Student Health Insurance Fee). The Degree Tuition & Fees (below) includes the total tuition and campus fees for 38 units (the minimum number of units for the degree) over the three semesters of the program. 

Entering Academic Year Per Unit Fee Degree Tuition & Fees (3 semesters, 38 units)
2020-2021  $1820/unit $71,000
2021-2022 $1875/unit $73,130
2022-2023 $1930/unit $75,270
Please note: Some or all instruction for all or part of the Academic Year may be delivered remotely. Tuition and fees have been set regardless of the method of instruction and will not be refunded in the event instruction occurs remotely for any part of the Academic Year. Figures for tuition and fees represent currently approved or proposed amounts and may not be final. Actual tuition and fees are subject to change by the University of California as determined to be necessary or appropriate. Final approved tuition and fee levels may differ from the amounts presented.

Additional Expenses & Student Health Insurance

In addition, students can expect to pay for books, health insurance*, housing, transportation, and other personal costs. Using the University’s Cost of Attendance estimates for graduate students in 2021-2022, the estimated MDes Graduate Student Budget for Academic Year 2021-2022 is as follows:

*The University requires that all students have major medical insurance, and provides the Berkeley Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) to meet this requirement. In AY22 Student Health Insurance Fee (SHIP) is $3,032 per semester.  This fee may be waived with proof of insurance. 

  • All MDes students will be automatically enrolled in SHIP for the three academic terms of the degree program.
  • Students who have comparable insurance coverage may apply for a waiver from SHIP enrollment (and fees).  In order to waive SHIP, you must be enrolled in a medical health insurance plan that meets ALL of the waiver criteria guidelines of UC Berkeley for the entire SHIP term.  Please note that the waiver criteria may be updated throughout the year. You must meet the waiver criteria in place at the time of your waiver submission to be waived out of SHIP.

For complete information, please visit the SHIP Website.

Please note: Some or all instruction for all or part of the Academic Year may be delivered remotely. Tuition and fees have been set regardless of the method of instruction and will not be refunded in the event instruction occurs remotely for any part of the Academic Year. Figures for tuition and fees represent currently approved or proposed amounts and may not be final. Actual tuition and fees are subject to change by the University of California as determined to be necessary or appropriate. Final approved tuition and fee levels may differ from the amounts presented.

Financing Your Education

The responsibility of financing the MDes program usually rests primarily with the student. Therefore, we strongly suggest that applicants investigate all available financing options. We have gathered some information on funding sources on this page, although it is not exhaustive and applicants are encouraged to conduct their own research. International students should explore funding opportunities in their home countries.

MDes Departmental Awards

The MDes Faculty Admissions committee selects and distributes two types of departmental awards as part of the admissions process. These awards carry a monetary value that is applied to tuition and fees across the three semesters of the program. Recipients of MDes Departmental Awards are notified as part of your acceptance. 

In recognition of the achievements of an applicant, the MDes Distinguished Scholar Award is an honor extended only to candidates of the highest caliber. MDes Distinguished Scholar awards are highly selective among the most competitive applicants. Decisions are based on overall strength of required materials submitted with the MDes admissions application and no separate application is needed.

The MDes also invites students seeking financial assistance to apply for an MDes Opportunity Grant. These grants are awarded to applicants whose lives, experiences, and knowledge contribute to the educational diversity and breadth of the cohort, or to applicants who have had limited access to educational resources or have persevered over economic disadvantage. Applicants may apply for an MDes Opportunity Grant by completing an optional section of the MDes admissions application. 

Fellowships, Awards & Scholarships

  • Accepted MDes students who are U.S. Citizens, students with permanent residence, and students with DACA or refugee status are eligible and encouraged to apply for the Arcus Social Justice Corp Fellowship.  The ARJC is new fellowship program at the College of Environmental Design that offers significant debt-relief to select graduate students who intend to do social justice work after graduation. For more information about the program and application process, please review the ASJC program website. The deadline for application for the Spring 2022 Award Cycle is January 15, 2022.
  • Accepted MDes students from Sub-Saharan African countries are eligible to apply for Masters Degree Scholarships from the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UC Berkeley. For more information about the program and the application process, please review information on their program website.
  • UC Berkeley Graduate Division offers a number of fellowships and awards. While many awards listed are for students pursuing doctoral studies, we encourage MDes applicants to review the list for potential eligible fellowships.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor Scholarship Search Tool is another resource for finding and identifying potential scholarship opportunities. 

Academic Student Employment (ASE)

MDes students may apply for ASE appointments in any of the three semesters during which they are enrolled. ASE appointments may reduce some tuition fees up to the total cost of in-state tuition. Though incoming students are eligible to apply, these positions are competitive and the MDes program itself is demanding; students should consider carefully their ability to take on employment in addition to their coursework before committing to a position.

Please review the job descriptions available through UC Berkeley’s Graduate Division to determine what category best fits your needs and interests.

MDes students who are fully sponsored, meaning all fees are paid by a third party or outside agency, may choose to work as GSIs and/or Readers. However, if you are eligible for a fee remission from UC Berkeley, you will only receive it if your sponsoring agency reduces the sponsorship by that amount. Fee remissions will not be paid to the student as a refund if fees are being covered by an outside source.

Federal Student Loans

If eligible, MDes students may qualify for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan or Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan to help cover program costs.

Please consult these links for more information:

Fee Payment Plan

UC Berkeley’s Fee Payment Plan allows for qualified semester fees to be paid in five monthly installments. Interested applicants can read more here.

Aid for International Students

International students are encouraged to visit the Berkeley International Office Financial Aid page, and to take advantage of the resources it provides.