Answers to Frequently Asked Questions by Prospective Students:

Students who are interested in joining the Design Decisions Lab are encouraged to review research and prior publications on this website. Graduate students typically join the lab through one of the graduate degree programs in Mechanical Engineering or Engineering and Public Policy (or both). Undergraduate students join the lab through independent study, summer projects, and CIT Honors Research.

Ph.D.: Admissions each semester depend on candidate qualifications as well as availability and area of project funding. Ph.D. students generally must have a funding source to support tuition and living expenses. Applicants are encouraged to apply for their own funding, and strong applicants are also considered for funded DDL projects. A partial list of student funding sources can be found <here>. Funded DDL projects vary from semester to semester, and availability of DDL funding is determined at the time of admissions decisions. All applicants are reviewed through the application process according to the Carnegie Mellon application schedule. It is not necessary to have a M.S. degree before applying to the Ph.D. program; however, a relevant M.S. degree can make an applicant more competitive.

M.S.: The M.S. degree is a self-supported degree, meaning that DDL project funds are generally not available to support M.S. students; however, students typically make up for any educational loan costs with higher salaries and increased job prospects. Students interested in research should pursue the 2-year M.S.-project degree (which may include a 2-year research project with DDL in addition to coursework) and consider applying for funding. A partial list of funding sources can be found <here>. Students interested in coursework only should choose the 1-year M.S.-coursework option. Students specifically interested in interdisciplinary product development should consider the Master's Degree in Product Development option. Mechanical Engineering students who are interested in obtaining a M.S. degree along the way to a Ph.D. should consider the direct Ph.D. option. The Department of Engineering and Public Policy admits to the Ph.D. program only there is no M.S. program.

B.S.: High-performing undergraduate students at Carnegie Mellon may apply to join the lab through CIT Honors Research, summer projects, and/or independent study. Students can apply for funding to do paid research during the summer. A partial list of funding sources can be found <here>. Honors research is a CIT program for juniors who have an accumulated QPA of at least 3.5. More information can be found <here>. Admissions and projects will vary depending on project availability and student qualifications, skills and interests. For undergraduates interested in graduate school, early involvement in research is an excellent experience.

Internships: DDL receives many requests for internships. DDL does not hire interns and may not respond to internship requests due to the large volume of inquiries.

Last Updated: January 12