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
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.