This year, I am studying Electrical Engineering & Computer Science in a one-year Master of Engineering program at UC Berkeley. This program combines technical courses and leadership ones as well as mixing them in a year-long capstone project. Mine was about autonomous driving, meaning we have to work on a car in order to allow it to drive by itself. Thus, this project is about robotics, sensors, controls and machine learning, which are the classes I took in parallel.
When I first arrived, what was very striking was how huge the university is compared to what we've been used to in our engineering schools. Indeed, 40 000 students are enrolled at UC Berkeley in very diverse departments.
The best class I took in the Fall semester is, without doubt, the Introduction to Machine Learning, which is basically a mathematics class I was very glad to study again, especially in a very applied context rather than a theoretical one. Classes are also taught very differently, mostly because of the number of students. Every class is composed not only of some teachers but of a group of a dozen Teacher Assistants, which are currently enrolled students who often aced the class in a previous semester. Every week, these TA give Office Hours, during which students can ask questions about the class material or the current homework. They also teach during Discussions, which is a review of the previous week's material in small groups to make sure the students understood it and to go over some exercises.
Moreover, even though the amount of in-class time is very small compared to what we have back in France, the out of class workload is significant and we learn a lot from weekly homework.
All in all, this year starts very well and I'm already starting to feel that one year is definitely not enough to experience everything the campus has to offer.
Pictures taken on Berkeley campus and in SF:
Thank you, Louis, for sharing!