Carnegie Mellon University
Prospective EST&P Student FAQ

There are two degree options with different time lengths-

The EST&P degree is completed in two semesters (one academic year) of full-time study.  Students typically begin in the Fall Semester and graduate at the end of Spring semester.

The EST&P-Applied Studies (EST&P-AS) degree requires three semesters of full-time study to complete (Fall->Spring->Fall).  The 3-semester EST&P-AS degree offers an experience-based professional study opportunity for students who want practice-based activities including master’s project coursework, independent/directed study, and/or internship. 

There is the opportunity to start in the Spring semester for both degrees.

Master's students must register for a full-time course load (36 or more units) in each semester.  The selection of EST&P or EST&P-AS degree must be made at the time of application, and you will be notified of the admission decision for the specific degree to which you applied. A note for international students who are considering a Curricular Practical Training (CPT) internship:  EST&P-AS degree students admitted in the Fall semester are eligible for CPT in the summer following their Spring semester, and will be required to register for a minimum of 3 units of Masters project during their CPT internship.  Pre-completion OPT is also available as an alternative to CPT, and does not require summer course registration. 

Yes, the EST&P and EST&P-AS Master of Science degrees are both considered STEM designated degree programs.

For more information about STEM: and

EST&P tuition is charged at the standard College of Engineering (Carnegie Institute of Technology) graduate student rate, and students are billed each semester for one-half of the academic year graduate tuition. The current CIT graduate tuition and fees are posted on the HUB website Graduate Tuition & Fees page. An EST&P student who completes the program in two semesters so will pay for one academic year of tuition and EST&P-AS degree will pay for three semesters. The full cost of attendance is estimated for CIT by including activity & technology fees, transportation, off-campus housing, health insurance, etc. on the Hub website Itemized CIT Cost of Attendance page.

The complete list of alumni appears on the EST&P About Us: Alumni page. Employer and job title information is available on this "About Us: Alumni" list for graduates who have provided that information to EST&P.

The Carnegie Mellon Career and Professional Development Center supports EST&P students with career and job search assistance, and they also offer engineering student placement data. You will find data here from EST&P alumni, as well as, from other Engineering programs and departments  Placement survey data for the EST&P Class of 2016 is available from CPDC.

EST&P does not offer a formal Integrated Master's/Bachelor's Degree (IMBD) program, but we do expedite admission for CMU undergraduates/alumni. 

We’ll waive the application fee and GRE exam. You’ll only need to answer one of the four essay questions and submit two letters of recommendation.  Interested applicants are encouraged to meet with us for more details on expediting the application process.


EST&P is a coursework based professional master's program and students are primarily self-funded through personal savings and educational loans, or externally funded through government or private fellowships or by their employer.  The Graduate Admissions Staff do not determine financial aid criteria and are not involved in financial aid decisions. Masters students are encouraged to apply for external funding.

All applicants to the EST&P program are considered for n alumni scholarship by the admissions committee at the time of admission review, which is the only minimal financial support offered through the program (~20% reduction in tuition). Selected applicants will be notified of this decision in their offer letters.


Students who are interested in applying for external fellowships should see their advisor or check the on-line information provided by the Office of Scholarships and Fellowships Web site. The Web site is an excellent resource for locating an abundance of information regarding available funding for students.

The deadline for local, state, and federal taxes is April 15.  Questions about your tax status should be addressed to the IRS or the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. Although subject to federal taxes, student stipends are generally not assessed local or state taxes.

External Funding Opportunities Outside Carnegie Mellon
U.S. Department of Education Resources
U.S. citizens and permanent residents may complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on line at
Students may obtain information regarding their loans through the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program, including deferment forms and payment information at
Information about the federal student aid programs may be found at

Private Loans: can start applying for graduate loans starting October 1st for the upcoming academic year, although you may apply for federal financial aid any time during the year.

Additional Loan Resources

Effective July 1, 2006 a graduate or professional student may be eligible to borrow a Federal Graduate PLUS Loan. This loan allows you, not your parents, to borrow up to the cost of attendance less any other financial aid you receive.  It has a fixed interest rate of 8.5%, and no aggregate limits.  You must be a US citizen or permanent resident to qualify.  Credit checks are also required to determine eligibility, but the credit criteria are much less stringent than for most private alternative loans.  If you don’t meet the credit criteria you may still obtain the loan with an “endorser” who does meet the credit requirements. PLUS applicants cannot have adverse credit based on a review of at least one credit report from a national credit reporting agency.  Adverse credit is defined as:

  • No Federal Student Aid loans in default or delinquent status
  • No accounts that are 90 days or more past due
  • No evidence of default, foreclosure, tax lien, repossession, wage garnishment, or judgments in the last 5 years
  • No accounts in collection
  • No accounts that were “write-offs” or never able to collect upon A lack of credit history or insufficient credit history is not considered adverse credit. Credit-worthiness is not based on a FICO score, debt to income ratio, or annual salary. You must complete a FAFSA and have applied for your annual loan maximum eligibility under the Stafford program first.  You will also have to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Addendum for this loan.

The interest rate is fixed at 8.5%. The difference between lenders will be the “repayment incentives” they offer students to reduce the cost of the loan and possibly the interest rate during repayment as well. Because interest rates seem to be on the rise, and private alternative loans have variable rates with no upper limit, we are recommending Graduate PLUS for 2006-07 in lieu of alternative loans.  Attached please find a comparison chart.

If you decide to apply for the GRAD PLUS loan here at SAIS, here are the instructions: You will need to log into  You will need to follow the instructions for applying for the GRAD PLUS loan and be sure to complete your Master Promissory Note.  A drop down list of our preferred lenders will pop up for your convenience.  Preferred lenders have been chosen because of the benefits that they offer our students and in addition, will not charge the 1% default fee mentioned in the attached comparison chart. If you choose to go with an outside lender, please keep in mind that there is a possibility that you may be charged a 1% default fee.

Private Loans

Students who need additional funds beyond the financial aid package offered by SAIS have the option to borrow funds through a private lender. These loans are credit based, so applicants may need a cosigner. International students may utilize private lenders if they have a US citizen or permanent resident as a cosigner.  While many banks offer private educational loans, SAIS recommends that students apply first through Citibank, which offers competive interest rates and exceptional customer service.  To apply for a Graduate Citiassist Loan through Citibank on line, please go to

If you are unable to obtain a loan through Citibank's Graduate Citiassist Loan Program or you would prefer to use a different lender, you may wish to consider the following loan programs:

Other Resources for US Citizens
The following websites are available for researching other sources of financial aid.  Please be sure to pay close attention to the stated application deadlines.  

Sources of Financial Aid for International Students
The following information is designed to help international students in the search for additional sources of financial aid for attendance at SAIS. This list includes a Fellowship Program from the Institute of International Education, a number of Loan Programs, and relevant websites and online sources of information.

Private loan information:

Grants and scholarships:
1. Institute of International Education (IIE)
The IIE is a nonprofit organization that promotes international education. They provide information about the Fulbright Program on their website: Number and amount of grants differs from country to country.  They also publish several useful guides, including Funding for US Study: A guide for Foreign Nationals, English Language Orientation Programs (a guide to ESL programs in the US), and Academic Year Abroad. Books can be ordered through e-mail to

You may also write to:
Institute of International Education (IIE)
809 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017-3580

2.  Ford Foundation International Fellowship Program (IFP)
The Foundation sponsors three minority graduate fellowship programs - predoctoral, doctoral, and postdoctoral - through the National Research Council.  For information write or call the

National Research Council
2101 Constitution Avenue
Washington, DC 20418
tel: (202) 334-2872

The IFP provides support for up to three years of formal graduate-level study. Fellows will be selected from countries in Africa and the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and Russia where the foundation maintains active overseas programs. U.S. nationals are not eligible, although fellows may study in the United States. IFP Fellows must be nationals of eligible countries.

Please refer to the following website for more detailed information concerning the application process, eligible candidates, and IFP requirements:

International students may find the information on the websites below helpful in researching funding sources:

International Options.pdf

Students applying for an I-20 for visa purposes will be required to submit an International Student Information form and a Financial Statement and Affidavit of Support from their sponsor guaranteeing financial support for the student for the duration of their degree program.

Emergency Loans
The Office of the Dean of Student Affairs offers short-term emergency loans for supplies, medication, food or other unexpected circumstances. The loans are interest-free and for short periods of time (not longer than a month).

Yes, there are project and independent study opportunities in both the EST&P and the EST&P-Appplied Studies degrees

The EST&P degree is completed in two semesters of academic study, with a 48-unit course schedule each semester. This schedule requires significant effort and allows only limited time for research or project work. However, as described in the EST&P student handbook a maximum of 12 units of Independent Study or Master's Project coursework can be applied towards the EST&P degree in partial fulfillment of the Breadth Elective requirement. 

Students in the EST&P-Applied Studies degree have more opportunities for project work during their three-semester degree duration, and must complete a minimum of 24-units of project intesive coursework and/or faculty supervised project work. 

Most EST&P students have an undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering or one of the hard sciences (e.g. Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Science, ...). Exceptional students with non-engineering degrees or technical-related degrees, and/or appropriate technical work experience, will be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis.

ESTP students most frequently choose a disciplinary concentration that aligns directly with their engineering bachelor’s degree work. Students with BS degrees in the sciences choose an allied engineering discipline. For example: BS Environmental Sciences => Civil & Environmental Engineering concentration, or BS Chemistry => Chemical Engineering or Materials Science & Engineering.

Occasionally an applicant will request to change engineering disciplines (e.g. A BS Chemical Engineer who chooses ESTP concentration in Mechanical Engineering). The admission committee reviews such requests carefully to determine if the applicant has either sufficient coursework or employment experience to make such a shift realistic. EST&P students take the majority of their courses together with the graduate engineering MS and PhD student body at CMU, and must be able to perform at that level to succeed.

Yes, there are special considerations for applicants who apply for EST&P admission with the Engineering and Public Policy (EPP) disciplinary concentration. Many EPP classes are taught in a seminar format; requiring extensive reading, writing, projects, and in-class participation. Furthermore, objective and subjective evaluation skills are often called for, with consideration for the limits imposed by science, technology, and practicality. As a result, the admission committee considers favorably those applicants for the EPP concentration who have energy and policy-relevant internship and/or employment experience. In addition, while the committee has an expectation of very high GRE Quantitative Scores for all admitted students, EPP concentration students are expected to have commensurately high scores in GRE Verbal and Analytical Writing (and when appropriate TOEFL / IELTS).

The EST&P Admissions Committee does not enforce hard-cut-off numbers for GPA (prefers a 3.0) or standardized test scores. Undergraduate performance (especially in upper-level technical courses), GRE test scores, and answers to eassy questions are all reviewed carefully by the admissions committee. Letters of Recommendation, as well as, internship and work experience are also considered as part of the overall applications review by the admissions committee.

Students who apply for admission to the EST&P master's program must take the GRE general test, and official scores must be sent to the EST&P program directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Further instructions are contained in the EST&P Application FAQ (#5/12/13).

All international applicants are expected to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS if your native language (the "mother tongue" of your country). These scores must also be sent to EST&P by ETS to be considered official.

If submitting IELTS scores, please send the TRF# to (do not send paper IELTS scores). Give the IELTS test center the following information:
Carnegie Mellon University - Masters in Energy (EST&P)
M.S. Program Energy Science, Technology and Policy
5000 Forbes Ave
Scott Hall 5103 (EST&P)
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

If you previously obtained a four year degree at a US institution, you may submit an old version of your TOEFL scores for the application process. You may be asked to participate in a skype interview depending on your application packet and admission decision. Advanced approval of this exception is required, please email to request a TOEFL/IELTS exemption. 

There is no admission "cut-off" score for the GRE examination; your GRE scores will be evaluated by the admissions committee in the context of your entire application package. Strong weight is also given to your undergraduate GPA, TOEFL (non-native english speakers), your performance in upper-level technical courses, letters of recommendation, and responses to the essay questions.

Non-Native English speakers must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores.

Carnegie Mellon University recommends a minimum TOEFL score of 84 or an IELTS score of 6.5, and gives specific recommendations for individual sub-scores. EST&P prefers a total TOEFL score of 100.

Minimum sub-score recommendations for TOEFL: Reading = 22; Listening = 22; Speaking = 18; Writing = 22;  Total iBT score range = 84
Note: CMU and EST&P do not accept computer-based TOEFL scores.

Minimum sub-score recommendations for IELTS: Reading = 6.5 ; Listening = 6.5 ; Speaking = 6; Writing = 6;  Band Score = 6.5    

The EST&P degree was developed as a resident instruction program to be completed in two semesters of full-time study. However, part time study is permitted for local US residents, and as permitted by their visa status for non-residents. 

Students taking less than 36 units during a semester will be billed at the College of Engineering per-unit part-time tuition rate. However, please be advised that only a limited number of courses within the program are available in the evenings, and there are no current plans to offer EST&P courses online.

There is a limited amount of on-campus housing, you can apply once you have your AndrewID. 

There’s a new community housing website for those looking for off-campus housing.

Housing questions?  Contact:

Yes, all full-time students must have medical insurance that meets the University's requirements and must complete the online immunization form and tuberculosis (TB) screening questionnaire, documenting the required immunizations before arrival on campus.

Immunization requirements for new students:

Student health insurance requirements:

Health services is happy to assist with further questions:
Immunization information:  Lisa Lonchar, or 412-268-2157 (option 4)
Insurance information: or 412-268-2157 (option 3)

For a comprehensive overview of the programs including degree requirements please consult the most recent student handbook.

Once you have set up your email and password you will also have access to Student Information Online (SIO), where course registartion occures.  Your assigned registration time will be listed when you log-in to SIO.

Dr. Landis or Nora Siewiorek has been assigned as your academic advisor. For general advising questions you can email Nora, and for more specific course related questions you can email Dr. Landis.

The CMU schedule of classes can be found here.

Advising information and course examples are available for EST&P disciplinary concentration and breadth elective courses.

Registering for Courses:
The registration process can be completed within SIO in 4 easy steps:

1.  Plan your course schedule
2.  Review your planned schedule with your advisor
3.  Check your registration time on SIO
4.  Register for classes

To view an example of these 4 easy steps, go here

On the Course Schedule tab-select Planned Schedule, and double check that you:

*   Do not have a registration hold
*   Meet necessary pre-requisites
*   Intend to register for any necessary co-requisites
*   Understand any course messages
*   Course reservations have not changed

Now is also a good time to update your address and contact information, along with checking the rest of your My Info data.

-If you created a “planned schedule” in SIO, this does NOT register you for classes.  You will still have to go in an officially register for the classes that you wish to take.

-Some courses have waitlists, and the earlier you register the better chances are of getting into a course.  There are many options of courses to take.

-It is ideal to have your full or part time number of units registered for by early August.  This is because the fall tuition due date is August 15th.  You will need a minimum of 36 units to be considered a full time student.  Full time tuition is a flat rate, and part time students are billed on a per unit basis.

Guidelines to keep in mind:
-The maximum number of units you can register for is 54.

-Course numbering:  the first two digits are the department, and the next three numbers are the course number.  Generally graduate courses have course numbers 600 and above.

About waitlists:
-When registering for the CORE energy courses (39-610 and 39-613) you will be automatically put on the waitlist.  Don’t worry, Dr. Landis or myself will move you off the waitlist and register you for the course.  This is to ensure that all ESTP students are enrolled in the course before it is opened up to other students.

-Registration for breadth electives:
We don’t have any influence for registration outside the college of engineering (Tepper/business, Heinz/policy, School of Computer Science, etc).

Dr. Landis needs to pre-approve all breadth electives.
For some examples of breadth electives that were approved in the past, go here.  You can assume if a course was approved in the past, it will be approved again.

Keep in mind:  you are limited in the number of undergraduate units that you can take, the course needs to relate to energy and/or supportive of your career goals and the concept of breadth electives is to take courses outside of your concentration area (either other graduate level engineering courses, and a limited number of either policy, business, computer science, etc courses).  You are restricted to 18 units of non-engineering breadth electives.

-Registration for disciplinary concentration courses:  Follow the list of courses for your concentration here.

If you find yourself on the waitlist for any of your disciplinary concentration courses, please let us know which one(s) and we can advocate on your behalf to get you enrolled into those courses.  Please email Dr. Landis and Nora (on the same email) to know which courses these are (include both the course number and course title). 

About Deadlines:
You can add/drop courses during the first week of classes (for mini courses) and up to 10 days (for semester long courses) to finalize your schedule should you find something especially interesting that was not included in preregistration.  All the engineering courses follow the university wide academic calendar, dates found here, but Heinz (policy), Tepper (business) and computer science courses often have their own unique calendars different from the main university one.

Registering for Tepper courses (business):  If you decide to go with a Tepper class, please be aware that the Tepper school manages their own registration independent of the SIO system, so you will have to wait to pre-register for this class until Tepper opens up some of their elective classes to non-business-majors (for the Fall term this will be in mid-July).  We will send out an email notice once this has opened up, complete with more detailed instructions. See Student Resources page on the Tepper registration process.

No, EST&P is a coursework based professional master's program and does not require a thesis.

Up to 12 units of graduate work completed at other universities, with a grade point average in each course of 3.0 or better, may be considered for transfer credit, provided that such course work is part of a graduate program leading to the degree sought. Such transfer credit is not granted prior to admission to EST&P and must be approved after the student has satisfactorily completed at least 36 units of graduate courses at Carnegie Mellon. Transfer credit requests will be handled on a case by case basis, with special consideration to whether the transfer credits can be applied toward the EST&P degree requirements. Approval of transfer credits to CMU is no guarantee that courses can count towards the EST&P 96-unit requirement, and transfer credits will not substitute for EST&P’s core classes.

EST&P alumni work in various positions of responsibility in one of the many energy-related job markets, including traditional utility companies and energy suppliers, alternative and renewable energy companies, power generation and distribution equipment companies, energy intensive manufacturing and operating companies, consulting companies, NGOs, non-profits, government, and academic institutions, and in areas all around the world.  Approx. 10% of our alumni have gone on to pursue PhD's at CMU and other universities.

Visit our alumni webpage to learn more about EST&P graduates and the companies hiring them.

Unique to the College of Engineering graduate students, CMU has a team of Career Consultants dedicated to support the engineering graduate student population.  Consultants provide job search support before and during the program, and also to the alumni. They have created a novel career service model specific to the needs of engineering master’s students.

Students who are most successful in their career pursuits actively engage with their consultants and the resources available at Carnegie Mellon University, including numerous job fairs and employer events.  International students interested in pursuing career opportunities in the United States, should be prepared to conduct a rigorous job search, meet regularly with their career consultants and leverage the resources available to conduct both an on and off campus search. 

For students on an F-1 visa, visit our Working in the US webpage for more info.

Yes, Carnegie Mellon University provides two major resource centers to help international students maximize language skills and cross-cultural understanding to reach their full potential academically and professionally. See our language and cultural support webpage for more info.
The CMU HUB website consumer information page provides access to information that current and prospective students of the University may need in order to be informed consumers.   The CMU website also provides student consumer information linked on their Middle States Accreditation pages.