Graduate Admission FAQ
Every year the Graduate Admissions Staff receives hundreds of inquiries about the application process. To help guide you through this process, we have compiled the following list of frequently asked questions. We hope that this information will help you better understand the application process and ease some of the concerns you may have about the processing and review of your application materials.
Please read the following information carefully. We respectfully ask that you refrain from calling or sending e-mail unless absolutely essential. The time that we spend responding to these inquiries greatly slows the process of processing applications for review by the Graduate Admissions Committee.
Where do I send my supplemental materials such as transcripts and recommendation letters?
Once you click the SUBMIT button on your on-line application and officially complete the process, you will receive a confirmation page. The address to send supplemental materials is:
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue, Scaife Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Note that supplemental material (test scores, transcripts, recommendations, statement of purpose) may be sent after the application deadline.
What are my chances of being admitted?
Note: Faculty likewise cannot comment on an applicant's chances. For this reason, we ask that you do not contact faculty directly regarding your admission status. We admit approximately 25% of all applicants.
What are my chances of receiving financial aid?
The Graduate Admissions Staff (who answer e-mail messages and phone calls) do not determine financial aid criteria and are not involved in financial aid decisions. Your chances of receiving financial aid cannot be determined prior to the Graduate Admissions Committee reviewing your completed application package. (For more information on the review process, please see the response below to "Have I been admitted?")
All MechE Masters programs are self-supported, meaning there is no internal financial aid available for Masters students. Masters students are encouraged to apply for external funding. Students may be eligible for funding at the doctorate level.
When is the deadline to apply for graduate studies?
May I defer payment of the application fee until after I am admitted?
The application fee is required in order for us to process your application. We cannot waive or defer the fee.
IF YOU PAY BY CREDIT CARD ON-LINE; YOU NEED ONLY SUBMIT THE PAYMENT ONCE. PLEASE BE PATIENT. Credit can NOT be given to those who submit their fee more than once.
Have you received my application?
Can I receive transfer credit?
Students who wish to receive transfer credit for courses completed while not enrolled as a graduate student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering must petition the Graduate Education Committee.
Up to 18-24 units (two courses or equivalent) of graduate course work completed with a grade of B or better at other universities may be given transfer credit, provided that such course work is part of the graduate program leading to the degree sought and the course was not counted toward any other degree received by the student. A transfer course must also be analogous to a Carnegie Mellon course that the student has not taken. Transferred courses appear on a student’s transcript as the analogous Carnegie Mellon course, with a transfer designation added. Course units transfer but grades do not. Such transfer credit generally is not granted prior to admission to the graduate program, and must be approved by the graduate committee, usually after the student has satisfactorily completed at least 36 units of graduate course work at Carnegie Mellon. Students may transfer courses from other departments as long as the courses meet their degree requirements.
Up to 48 units of graduate course work (500 level or higher) completed at Carnegie Mellon University with a grade of B or better while the student is not enrolled as a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering may be given transfer credit, provided that such course work is part of the graduate program leading to the degree sought and the course was not counted toward any other degree received by the student.
Please submit a statement (a clearly written email is fine):
- the course number and title you would like to have transferred
- the Carnegie Mellon course that you think it is analogous to
- a statement that the course you want to have transferred is a graduate course, that you received a B (or its equivalent) or better in the course, that it did not count toward a prior degree and that you have not taken the analogous Carnegie Mellon course
The statment must have attached to it a copy of the course description of the course to be transferred, a course syllabus for the course to be transferred (if available), the course description of the analogous Carnegie Mellon course, and a copy of your transcript from the other university where you took the course.
A photocopy of the transcript is acceptable, but we may ask for an official copy if we think it is appropriate. It is typical for us to contact the other university to verify the status of the course taken, so make sure the transcript has contact information on it.
What are the minimum GRE and TOEFL scores required for admission?
The guideline suggested for the TOEFL score is 84 (iBT) or 600 (paper-based); lower scores than this may require additional information such as a phone interview with our Intercultural Communication Center and suggested English training based on the results of this interview.
The guidelines suggested for the iBT subscores are as follows:
Reading = 22; Listening = 22; Speaking = 18; Writing = 22
Total score range = 84
We also accept IELTS scores in place of the TOEFL score. The minimum IELTS scores is an overall 6.
Can the TOEFL score be waived?
What is your GRE and TOEFL school (and department) codes?
Have you received my GRE and/or TOEFL scores from ETS, and may they arrive after the application deadline?
What is a GPA and what if my institution does not report grades this way?
The on-line tracking system states that my GRE and TOEFL scores have not yet been received, but I sent copies with my mailed documents. Why have they not been accepted?
Have I been admitted? (What is the status of my application?)
Once your application package is complete, we catalog the contents and then forward it to the Graduate Admissions Committee. All applications are held for review until after the application deadline; thus, there are no early decisions. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org should you have an extenuating circumstance which requires an early decision.
The Graduate Admissions Committee begins reviewing applications shortly after the application deadline. Depending upon the number of applications received, this process can take several weeks. Once all of the applications have been reviewed, on-line tracking will be updated, and a letter will be made available to you electronically informing you of the decision. Therefore, it is important that you continue to check your on-line record frequently.