Carnegie Mellon University

Graduate Students With a Degree Outside of Engineering

We welcome students with a variety of backgrounds to undertake graduate work in engineering at Carnegie Mellon.

While engineering backgrounds are common in our programs, we commonly admit students with undergraduate degrees in mathematics and science, including but not limited to: 

  • Biology 
  • Chemistry
  • Environmental Science
  • Mechanics
  • Physics
An outline of the math and science background expected for all entering students:
1 Semester General Chemistry
2 Semesters Calculus
1 Semester Differential Equations
2 Semesters Physics
1 Semester Biology (or other science) 
1 Semester

Probability and Statistics;
or 1 semester Linear Algebra

1 Semester Computer Programming, Applications or Tools 

Make-Up Requirements for MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering

If you are interested in pursuing the standard MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering degree you will need to take the equivalent of five basic undergraduate engineering courses in addition to the courses required for the graduate degree.

These makeup requirements are intended to provide the necessary background for graduate work in engineering. You may be able to substitute equivalent or closely related courses at the discretion of your faculty advisor.

You will complete the undergraduate makeup courses in addition to the 96 graduate units. This generally takes students three semesters.

Required Makeup Courses for students with a degree outside of engineering:

Engineering Mechanics
9 Units - First Fall Semester


Soil Mechanics
9 Units - Second Fall Semester


Fluid Mechanics
9 Units - First Fall Semester


Project Management Construction
9 Units - First or Second Fall Semester              


Engineering Economics
6 Units - First or Second Fall Semester

Additional Degree Options

We also offer additional degree options that do not have undergraduate makeup requirements, but may still require students to complete additional coursework to obtain the necessary background for certain graduate courses.

These degree options are as follows:

  • MS in Environmental Management and Science

  • MS in Advanced Infrastructure Systems

  • MS in Computational Mechanics

These interdisciplinary degree titles are administered by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.  They will each require 96 units, and can be completed in three semesters or less, depending on the extent of undergraduate course work you need (or would like) to complete. You may choose your courses with the help of your advisor, but the CEE Department Head must approve your curriculum.