Carnegie Mellon University

Frequently asked Questions about MSE application process

NOTE: There is NO paper application available for submission. 
The entire process is completed online except the submission of your official transcripts, GRE and TOEFL test scores

Yes, we accept students from other science and engineering disciplines to our graduate programs. We have had students from chemistry, physics, chemical engineering, and other engineering disciplines enroll in our graduate programs.

Application submission cycles open and close as follows:

Fall Term of Entry
    Ph.D.:  October 1 – December 15
    M.S.:    October 1 – January 15

Spring Term of Entry
     Ph.D.:  July 1 – September 26

The Admission’s office does not prescreen any application materials prior to the submission of your application. Also, the office will not advise applicants to whether they should or should not submit an application.

The nonrefundable application fee is required for us to process your application. We cannot waive or defer the fee.

Your transcripts, statement of purpose, affidavit of support (if applicable) and resume should be uploaded into the application, so it is not necessary to mail in these materials. You should request ETS to send official GRE and TOEFL score reports directly to the department -- this is the only supporting document that needs to be mailed. We encourage letters of recommendation to be uploaded by your provider via the ApplyYourself online application.

The Admissions Committee will review the unofficial transcripts that have been uploaded directly. Since the unofficial transcripts are already available, the Admissions Office will not rescan and re-upload as part of your application at this time. It is not necessary to mail in a hard copy of your transcripts until you have been requested to do so.

Yes, it is acceptable for your letters of recommendation and GRE and TOEFL score reports to arrive after the application deadline. Receipt of these reports a week or two after the deadline will not affect your chances of being admitted.

The most informative recommendations are written by those for whom you have done technical work or research similar to the type you will do as a graduate student in our program. Most often, this will be a professor in engineering or science with whom you have taken a course with a significant project component, an undergraduate (or MS) thesis advisor, etc. It may also be a professor in the social sciences or humanities. Supervisors or even co-workers in current or recent jobs are also often able to provide useful insights; however, we may be less likely to know them. Depending on how long it has been since you have been out of school, some combination of one or two (usually two) professors and one or two work supervisors (usually one) is the most common choice. Recommendations from people with whom you have not worked are generally not considered informative.

In order to sufficiently process your application, the Admissions Office suggests applicants request the provider submit the letter of recommendation online. Paper letters that are mailed in will delay the processing of application materials.  Since it is recommended that all letters be submitted online, there are no forms to submit with the letter.

The school/institution code is 2074
The GRE department code is 1402
The TOEFL department code is 73

ETS sends an electronic record to the University, which is uploaded into an internal database. If the scores were sent to the school/institution code 2074, the Admissions Office should be able to locate your scores in the database. If the Admissions Office is unable to locate your scores, we will request that you have ETS resend the scores our department code.

GRE's provide some standardized way of evaluating some aspects of the math, verbal and analytical skills of applicants, and we do consider them. The GRE's have instituted a new writing exam that tests your ability to frame and communicate written arguments and analysis, and we recommend that students take this exam. Writing skills are very important in graduate school (and in virtually any job you will want to have after graduate school) and we believe that this test will indicate some of the skills necessary to succeed in this activity. We almost never receive (or, look at) GRE tests in specific subjects. Most, though not all, of our applicants have GRE scores in the 600's or 700's for all three of the standard test areas (V, Q, A). We consider all three to be important, but again, the GRE is but one of many factors we consider in your application. A perfect application is excellent in all aspects discussed above. Few applications are perfect. Lower performance in one aspect (e.g., GRE's) can, and often is, compensated for by better performance in other aspects (such as strong grades and outstanding recommendations).

Although, there are no "cut-off" scores for the GRE examination, the scores are evaluated in the context of your entire application package.

As an applicant, either the TOEFL or IELTS exam is required for non-native English speakers.
Applicants who are non-native English speakers may only be considered for a TOEFL/IELTS waiver if you have attended and completed a four-year undergraduate program at a university within the United States.

If you are taking the iBT TOEFL, the following recommendations (for minimums) are being used for skill scores. These may be reviewed as more data from the iBT continues to be received from ETS. Reading = 22; Listening = 22; Speaking = 18; Writing = 22; Total iBT minimum = 84

Lower scores then the guidelines below may require additional information such as a phone interview with our Intercultural Communication Center and suggested English training based on the results of this interview.

Note: We will no longer accept computer-based TOEFL scores.

Yes. The minimum IELTS band score is 6.5.
Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering
431 Hamerschlag Drive
Ansys Hall Suite 250
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
In most cases, this means that we have not yet received your official GRE and/or TOEFL score report from ETS.  If you have already requested ETS to send your official scores, you need not take any further action.  TOEFL scores do not come directly to the department as GRE scores do since TOEFL scores are required for both undergraduate and graduate students. Instead, they come to the university’s Enrollment Service office and then are sent out to the departments.
The essay section is important and several faculty members read every word of it during the admissions process. It should be thoughtful, informative and written in crisp, clear English. It should show that you have thought about what you want to accomplish in graduate school, and why MSE is a place you believe would enable you to meet your objectives. Demonstrate that you are familiar with the program and specific research areas or projects that might interest you, but do not, however, copy whole sections of our catalogue or faculty bios, web pages, etc. into your statement of purpose. Suggest a few possible projects that might interest you, but do not limit yourself to a single, narrowly defined project.
Please sign into your graduate application to check the status. This site is updated when material is received and decisions are made, so please feel free to check your status frequently during peak admission season. 

Your completed application may be reconsidered for the next concurrent semester after your original application semester. If you would like your application to be reconsidered, send email to  stating your intentions. You may also send additional information if you wish; for instance, additional transcripts from other schools you may attend prior to admissions.