Tuition & Financial Aid

Fees

2020-2021

For the MDes cohort beginning in the 2020-21 academic year, the total program fees are $71,000. This includes all tuition and campus fees for the three semesters of the program. 

2021-2022

For the MDes cohort beginning in Fall 2021 (2021-22 academic year), the total program fees are estimated to be $73,130. This includes the tuition and campus fees for the three semesters of the program. 

Please note: All fees are subject to change. The tuition, fees, and charges posted here are estimates based on currently approved amounts. These figures may not be final. Actual tuition, fees, and charges are subject to change by the Regents of the University of California and could be affected by State funding reductions. Accordingly, final approved levels (and thus a student’s final balance due) may differ from the amounts shown.

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 2020-2021, the estimated MDes Graduate Student Budget for Academic Year 2020-2021 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 AY21 Student Health Insurance Fee (SHIP) is $2,841 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: All fees are subject to change. The tuition, fees, and charges posted here are estimates based on currently approved amounts. These figures may not be final. Actual tuition, fees, and charges are subject to change by the Regents of the University of California and could be affected by State funding reductions. Accordingly, final approved levels (and thus a student’s final balance due) may differ from the amounts shown.

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 Admissions 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. 

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:

Fellowships, Awards & Scholarships

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.

Veterans Education Benefits

If you are eligible for VA benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill (Ch 33), Vocational Rehabilitation (Ch 31), Dependents Educational Assistance (Ch 35), or Montgomery GI Bill (Ch 30, 1606 or 1607), you may use them for the MDes program.  However, this program is not eligible for the Cal Vet College Fee Waiver.  Please see this information on initiating VA benefits at UC Berkeley, and contact the Veterans Benefits unit in the Office of the Registrar with any questions.

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.