Carnegie Mellon University

Graduate Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

What are the application deadlines for Fall and Spring admissions?

Please see the Submission section of our Admissions Overview.

What are the ETS codes?

Where do I mail my transcripts?

Please note that non-official transcripts are acceptable for admission review.

Official transcripts are required only after the applicant has decided to matriculate into the program, to be mailed to the BME Campus Office.

Graduate Admissions
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University 
Scott Hall 4N119
5000 Forbes Avenue 
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Can I submit supporting documents after the application deadline?

It is acceptable for the letters of recommendation to arrive a few days late without affecting the admissions review. We request that applicants monitor the online tracking screen to expedite the submission of any missing documents. The review process cannot be completed without all the supporting documents in place.

Non-official transcripts and test reports are acceptable for the admission review process. The applicant will be contacted to submit official transcripts and score reports if s/he is accepted and plans to matriculate into the program. The Department may verify the authenticity of the official transcripts and/or letters.

Are all international applicants required to submit TOEFL scores?

All non-native-English-speaking applicants must submit the scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS, as part of the requirements for the Office of International Education to issue I-20.

What are the minimal GRE and TOEFL scores required for admission?

There is no well-defined 'cut-off' for GRE scores, which are evaluated in the context of the entire application package. The minimal acceptable TOEFL total score is 88 with subscores of 22 or higher for reading, listening, speaking, and writing. The minimal acceptable IELTS band score is 7.5.

How do I check the status of my application?

The application status may be monitored online. This site is updated as supporting documents are received and as decisions are entered, which will trigger an email to the applicant.

After submitting an application, please allow the staff 3-5 business days to update the application status. The Admissions Staff makes it a priority to keep the application status current and accurate. 

Can I defer fee payment until after I am admitted?

The application fee is required in order to complete the application process. As a result, no admissions decision will be made without receiving payment of the application fee.

I am an international student and my GPA is not on a 4.0 scale, what should I do?

Most institutions in the United States use Grade Point Average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale. GPA on a different scale must be converted to the 4.0 scale using the World Education Service (www.wes.org) before entering the number in the online application. The transcript may remain on a different scale.

What are my chances of being admitted?

The Graduate Admissions Staff (who answer email messages and phone calls) do not determine admissions criteria and are not involved in admissions decisions. The likelihood of admission cannot be determined prior to the review of the complete package by the Graduate Admissions Committee. The number of applicants relative to the training capacity for a given research area also plays an important role.

I am an international student. When will I receive my I-20 documents after being admitted to the program?

Upon acceptance of the offer of admission, international students will receive from the Graduate Program Administrator detailed information on the documents required for the Office of International Education (OIE) to process for visa application. These documents must be submitted directly to the OIE, which processes the applications in the order of arrival. Please note that the process takes several weeks, during which OIE cannot confirm receipt of the documents. However, OIE will contact the student if any documents are missing. We suggest that these documents be shipped using a mail service that allows tracking of the delivery status. The student will be notified by email when the I-20 is issued and mailed out.

I am applying to the Ph.D. program. If I am not admitted, would you automatically consider me for the M.S. program?

If we are unable to offer Ph.D. admission, we will automatically consider the applicant for the M.S. program. Admission into either the Research-Option or Practicum-Option M.S. program may be offered as an option for the applicant to consider.

What is the difference between Research Option and Practicum Option M.S. programs?

The main difference is the research experience. Research Option requires independent research that leads to a manuscript for publication or a thesis of equivalent quality. As a result, the research typically requires substantially more than the minimal 24 units before it reaches the standard. Practicum Option, in contrast, requires only the completion of a designated course with a practicum/project requirement, without reaching the publication level. Therefore the practicum requirement typically does not require more than the minimal 12 units. This explains why Practicum Option may be completed within a shorter period than Research Option even though it requires 12 more units of courses.

I would like to reapply to a graduate program; can I use my old application materials?

Completed applications may be reconsidered once for the semester immediately after the original application semester (e.g. applied for the Fall, reconsider for the following Spring). The reconsideration is not done automatically but requires a requesting email message to the Graduate Program Administrator. The applicant may send updated information such as new test scores to enhance the application.

Is there any financial aid for M.S. students?

Please refer to the page on graduate Financial Aid.

What is the chance of a student in the M.S. program of the Carnegie Mellon Biomedical Engineering Department receiving admission into its Ph.D. program?

In order to be considered for the Ph.D. program, M.S. students must (re)apply and compete with other Ph.D. applicants. While there have been successful admissions into the Ph.D. program, the decision is not dictated entirely by the academic performance but by the availability of funded Ph.D. positions in the area of interest. Therefore M.S. students interested in pursuing Ph.D. are urged to apply broadly.

What is the English language requirement for serving as a Teaching Assistant (TA)?

Before serving as a TA, all non-native-English-speaking (NNES) students must pass an International Teaching Assistants’ English competence test (ITA Test) at the InterCultural Communications Center (ICC), in compliance with the Pennsylvania state law. All NNES Ph.D. students must contact ICC directly to request a test, since TA is a degree requirement. NNES M.S. students interested in TA opportunities must notify the Graduate Program Administrator before requesting a test at ICC.