Welcome to Carnegie Mellon University!
We are very pleased that you’ve chosen to pursue your graduate degree in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University this Fall. While the next few months may be a bit stressful, it will be also very exciting as you make plans for your new adventure at Carnegie Mellon University. We have provided answers and/or links to the most commonly asked questions with the hope that this information will help to ease any concerns and stress that you may have. Please note that some of the university links mentioned below have not yet been updated with the new semester information, so please do check back throughout the summer.
Is there a New Student Orientation program?
There are actually two orientations!
Are the orientations mandatory?
The International Student Orientation (August 13) is mandatory for all international students. All students, including Carnegie Mellon undergraduates continuing to the graduate program, are strongly encouraged to attend both the University and the CEE Orientations. Please contact Maxine Leffard should you have questions or are unable to attend any of the orientations.
What do I do once I arrive in Pittsburgh?
The most important thing for you to do is to find a place to live and get settled in. In early August, you will be contacted (via your CMU email account) with a schedule of CEE check-in dates. You will receive additional information, as well as your keys or ID card access and your Get Started checklist, during the CEE check-in. You will also be given the opportunity to register your laptop at the CEE check-in.
What is "The Hub"?
The HUB is Carnegie Mellon University's student services center that handles issues including transcripts, enrollment, financial aid, billing and payments, and more. Everything that you need to know about enrollment, registration and finances can be found on the found on the HUB's New Graduate Student Enrollment and Finance information page.
When do classes start? Where can I find the official academic calendar?
The first day of classes for the Fall 2013 semester is Monday, August 26th.
Where can I find the Fall 2013 course listings?
What are the MS and PhD course requirements?
Our MS program is very flexible with no specific course sequence. Instead, MS students are required to satisfy 96 units of coursework, meeting the specific criteria (60 CEE units, 78 graduate level units, etc.). Course recommendations are available in the Graduate Program Brochures. AIS EESS MMC
PhD degree requirements
When will advisor assignments be made?
Advisor assignments will be posted on the CEE online resource page and sent out in an email in mid-June. MS students will be assigned to an advisor whose interests match their own and PhD students will be assigned to the advisor with whom they will be doing research. Although we will make every effort to assign you the faculty advisor that was requested in the enrollment decision notification form, there are no guarantees due to faculty advisor load.
May I contact my advisor prior to arriving to campus?
When and how do I register for classes?
May I register for courses before speaking with my advisor?
What textbooks do I need?
The Carnegie Mellon University Store posts textbook information as it becomes available (see left side menu).
What are the academic year tuition and fees?
The anticipated 2013–14 academic year tuition is $40,00 ($20,000 per semester) plus activity, technology, and transportation fees.
When do I need to pay my bill? May I pay by credit card or wire transfer?
What do I need to do to apply for financial aid?
I have an outside sponsor. What instructions do I need to provide to them?
Where can I find information about student health insurance? Am I required to carry the student health insurance offered through the university? Do I need to sign-up for student health insurance?
Enrollment in the CMU Student Health Insurance Plan is mandatory unless you can provide proof of coverage under a sponsored plan (such as an employer or government plan). A completed waiver form must be submitted and approved by University Health Services in order to be waived from the plan. Self-purchased health plans are not acceptable for waiver from the student plan. We recommend that you consider self-enrolling for Carnegie Mellon's Student Health Insurance Plan in order to secure the plan most appropriate for your personal situation. Every student who does not self-enroll or submit a waiver will be automatically enrolled in the standard plan. Dental and vision coverage is optional.
Payment in full for health insurance is due in August unless you sign up for monthly payments through Tuition Management Service (TMS).
What is the medical health history report? Is it required? What are the immunization requirements, and what if I don’t have the required immunizations?
A completed medical health history report is required to be on file for all Carnegie Mellon students to enable Student Health Services to provide you with the best possible health care. This report is completed electronically with your Andrew ID on University Health Service's online portal, HealthConnect. Medical history reports should be submitted as early as possible. University Health Services also provides information on health requirements, including immunizations, for incoming students.
Are my I-20 documents complete? When will my I-20 be processed?
The Carnegie Mellon Office of International Education (OIE) processes over 2,000 I-20s for international students every year. In fact, Carnegie Mellon has the largest percentage of international students in U.S. colleges and universities. Due to the high volume of packages received in OIE, they are unable to confirm the receipt or completeness of your forms. You will be contacted directly by OIE if additional information is needed.
In order to assure the smooth and expedient processing of your certificate of eligibility, please be sure to read the International Student Information form carefully and provide all required information and supporting documents. This includes photocopies of your passport, original bank certificates, etc. The I-20 will be sent to international students via express mail approximately four weeks after OIE receives all of the required documents. An email will be sent upon shipment providing the tracking number of your document. It is important that international students do not schedule the visa appointment until after this tracking number is received.
Note that CEE staff are unable to answer I-20 questions. Instead, these questions should be directed to OIE's very comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions.
How can I find out about on-campus jobs?
On-campus employment opportunities are usually posted on TartanTRAK, Carnegie Mellon's online recruiting system. For additional assistance finding a job on campus, you may contact Carnegie Mellon's Career and Professional Development Center.
Are research assistants permitted to have outside employment?
Students with research assistantships are not permitted to accept employment for compensation outside of the department for the duration of their support. Those with a research assistantship were notified in their admission letter. There are no additional research assistantships available for the incoming class.
What are the TA requirements for research assistants?
Participation in the teaching mission of the Department is considered an integral part of the graduate program, providing both learning and mentoring experiences for the student. For this reason, all graduate students (with the exception of course Masters and part-time students) are expected to serve as a teaching assistant (TA) for one course each year.
Are there any other requirements for incoming research assistants?
All research assistants will be required to complete online “Responsibility Conduct of Research” training prior to joining the program. Students with this requirement will be contacted directly via email later this summer. Note that course Masters students do not need to complete this training.
Are course MS students eligible for a paid TA assignment?
Because teaching assistant assignments are required of research MS and PhD students, paid teaching assignments are not usually available to course MS students. However, grader positions are available each year to course MS students with the service project requirement. Watch the service project options list for available positions (more information for students with service responsibilities is provided below).
What are the Service Project options?
Students with a service project requirement will be provided with a list of project options in late August. Service project options vary and, depending on the scope of the project, may be completed in one semester or over the course of the academic year. Additional information will be provided to those with this responsibility in late August.
Note that service assistantships were given on a competitive basis based on merit. Those with a service assistantship were notified in their admission letter. There are no additional service assistantships available for the incoming class.
Is on campus housing available to graduate students?
University housing is not available to graduate students, who instead live in apartments in one of the many surrounding neighborhoods very close to campus. The Community Housing Office has a very comprehensive website that provides information about housing options, a roommate locator, and available apartment listings through a Housing Registry. Access to the housing registry is restricted to those with a Carnegie Mellon Andrew ID.
How can I find a roommate?
How can I find temporary housing?
Graduate students arriving in Pittsburgh in August may have access to limited transitional Carnegie Mellon housing if it is requested in advance.
As an alternative, the Pittsburgh Council of International Visitors is an independent, non-profit, volunteer organization that helps international visitors find short-term housing.
I am an international student who would like to improve my English prior to joining the program. What does Carnegie Mellon have to offer?
The Intercultural Communications Center at Carnegie Mellon offers an intensive five-week summer language program for incoming international students who want to improve their language skills before beginning academic work. The University of Pittsburgh offers a Professional and Academic English Program (PAEP) June 17 through July 26 that is geared toward students with a TOEFL score of 80 or above. The application deadline is May 15.
Where and when do I send my final transcript?
Please send your transcript to:
Melissa Brown, Graduate Admissions Coordinator
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Should I purchase a computer?
The department encourages the use of personally owned laptops to maximize your productivity. If you are considering purchasing a computer, we recommend that you contact the Carnegie Mellon University Computer Store prior to making the purchase in order to insure compatibility and capacity. PhD candidates should not purchase a computer until they've discussed this with their faculty advisor.
If you already own a personal laptop and plan to bring it to campus, special connections, software, and general configuration are required, and can be arranged with a CEE computing staff member during the CEE check-in. Please do not register your computer on the CMU networks until after you have been provided with registration information at the CEE check-in. Networking and printing support will be provided for your personal machine as long as your computer is compatible with the campus network, as outlined at the CEE Orientation.
How can I connect with current and incoming students during this transition period?
A Facebook group has been set up so that new students can connect with each other. Current students and recent alumni are also members of the group, and are very willing to answer transition questions that you might have such as “do I need a car?” or “where is the best place to live?” Also, be sure to "like" CEE's Facebook page.
What else do I need to know?
Please be sure to watch your email throughout the summer, as additional information and reminders will be sent as it becomes available.