Patent Bar Examination “Category A” Recognized Degrees

In order to take the Patent Bar Examination, you must demonstrate that you’ve had adequate scientific training. The easiest way to meet this requirement is to be a “Category A” applicant, which means that you hold a Bachelor’s degree in one of the technical subject areas recognized by the USPTO.

Here is a list of the Bachelor’s of Science degrees that the USPTO accepts as proof of adequate scientific training:

Science Degrees

*  Computer Science
Electronics Technology
Food Technology
General Chemistry
Marine Technology
Molecular Biology
Organic Chemistry
Textile Technology

Engineering Degrees

Aeronautical Engineering
Agricultural Engineering
Biomedical Engineering
Ceramic Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Civil Engineering
Computer Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Electrochemical Engineering
Engineering Physics
General Engineering
Geological Engineering
Industrial Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Metallurgical Engineering
Mining Engineering
Nuclear Engineering
Petroleum Engineering


* Note that not all Computer Science degrees qualify.  For more on this, please see the article Taking the Patent Bar Exam with a Computer Science Degree.

Somewhat paradoxically, the USPTO will not accept Master’s or PhD degrees in the above listed subjects – to qualify as a Category A applicant, the degree must be a Bachelor’s degree.

If you don’t have a Bachelor’s degree in one of the above listed areas, don’t fret!  You may still qualify to sit for the examination as a Category B or Category C applicant.

How long will it take to hear back from the PTO after applying to take the Exam?


  1. [...] you don’t meet the requirements of Category A or Category B, you may still qualify to take the exam under Category C, a special pathway for [...]

  2. [...] “Category A” applicants are hearing back within 2-3 weeks, and “Category B” applicants are reporting [...]

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