Carnegie Mellon University

PhD Costs and Funding

For up-to-date information on graduate student tuition and fees, please visit the CMU HUB for tuition and fee information. 

Cost of living comparison for Pittsburgh and other U.S. cities. 

Research Assistantships

Many of our graduate students conducting research in the department (typically doctoral students and, in a few cases, MS students) receive financial aid in the form of research assistantships that cover tuition, technology fees, and a stipend for living expenses for the calendar year (including Summer) up to five years, as long as sufficient progress is made toward degree completion. Funds for research assistantships generally come from external research contracts or grants, or from funds provided by fellowships from the US and other countries. Students are required to pay for health insurance, activity and transportation fees, and books and course supplies. Off-campus housing is available within walking distance to campus.

Students awarded with a research assistantship are required to devote approximately 20 hours per week in teaching and research activities, on top of the time they must devote for their course activity, which we consider to be an integral part of their graduate education.

Full-time PhD students and the few MS students working on research projects engage in research under faculty guidance.

Graduate students are selected to receive offers of a research assistantship based on the following factors:

  • The qualifications and past performance of the student (based on transcripts, exams, and recommendations)
  • The interests of the student as stated in their “Statement of Purpose”
  • The availability of externally funded research contracts in their stated areas of interest
  • The student’s competitive position within the larger pool of highly qualified applicants

Faculty members with research projects related to your area of interest may contact you and begin discussions about your interests and competencies. Please know that these interactions are very important in the RA decision process. Take them seriously and respond in a timely and responsible manner.

PhD Fellowships

Our department is able to offer CIT Dean's Fellowships (complete tuition coverage for one year and $1,500 of support for use on the student's behalf) to qualified, first-year doctoral students admitted to the program. Students elected to receive this fellowship will be notified of the award in their offer letter.

The department also encourages all admitted students to apply for all fellowships for which they are eligible prior to joining the university. Students who have been admitted with support will still benefit from a fellowship, which will allow greater flexibility in choosing a dissertation topic and also provides enhanced stability in research funding.

Several of the fellowships that students commonly apply for before coming to Carnegie Mellon include:

For a complete list of available fellowships for which you might apply, please visit the Carnegie Mellon Fellowship Resource Advising Center.

If you would like to contact your advisor concerning a letter of support or assistance in developing your statement of purpose further for this application, please feel free to do so.

GEM Fellowship Program

The National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science, Inc. (GEM), a nonprofit organization, was formed to help assist underrepresented groups (African Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanic Americans) at the masters and doctoral levels in engineering and physical science.

The College of Engineering is pleased to support the GEM Fellowship program by offering a generous award to recipients in the GEM MS Engineering Fellowship Program.  A few select applicants will be eligible for an award which augments the GEM contribution to the fellowship and will help to defray your overall cost of attendance in the MS program at CMU. 

The application cycle for these three programs is July 1 – November 15.