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PIER Program and Application


To train scientists to do rigorous research needed for evidence-based educational practice and policy. A full description is available.


Up to 5 years of support, including $30,000 annual graduate stipend + $10,500 toward tuition. In addition, eligible for $1,000 per year for small grants project related to research (RAGS).


  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident (non-citizens and non-permanent residents may apply but cannot be funded according to IES)
  • Must be accepted to any existing PhD program at Carnegie Mellon relevant to PIER


  • Bi-directional flow of ideas and challenges between basic laboratory studies and real-world instructional applications
  • Knowledge assessment at multiple grain sizes, both temporal and cognitive
  • Leveraging educational technology to collect and mine educational data

Program requirements and canonical schedule

Years 1-2 Engagement in research as part of an augmented research apprenticeship, with interdisciplinary faculty committee, according to home department requirements
  Department coursework plus three course PIER Core Sequence: (Click the course title to see the most recent syllabus.)
Prior to Year 3 Field- Based Experience (FBE) in an Educational Context to develop understanding and appreciation for the reality of classroom/school based systems
Years 1-3 Additional Coursework / Individualized Training Experiences to meet PIER Core Competencies not otherwise covered in the Student's prior experience or the Home Department's Program (e.g.Experimental Design, Statistics,Educational Technology, etc.)
Year 3 Integrated, Interdisciplinary Project (IIP) to experience immersion in a PIER research team for an education research project culminating in a public presentaion and possible conference presentation and/or publication
Years 4-5 Dissertation Research addressing practical questions in education
Years 1-5 Integration into PIER Community via:
  • PIER Networking ( e.g. welcome event, peer professional networking discussions, etc.)
  • Speaker Series: Colloquia plus 1.5 days of Student-only Pro-Seminar with Speakers
  • Bi-Weekly Brown Bag Series Ed Bag
Years 1-5 Progress Evaluation via student's self-assessment, PIER Steering Committee Evaluation Meeting, and departmental graduate evaluation processes

Application Materials

PIER application

Please note: While PIER decisions are contingent on your first being accepted into your departmental program, we suggest that you submit the PIER application at the same time as your departmental application, or very soon thereafter.

For more information

Audrey Russo, PIER Program Coordinator
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
e-mail: ar3v@andrew.cmu.edu
phone: (412) 268-4701
fax: (412) 268-2798